Abby Roeser loves rats. It says so in her YouTube channel “about” section. And since late 2012, she’s posted videos to YouTube showing pet rats doing some pretty spectacular things, including just being adorable and begging for petting.
The most recent video posted in July 2015 and it’s a compilation that includes photos of the rats, video and snippets of their past training successes. Besides the trick of running to fetch and bring a tissue to her when she sneezes, Roeser used positive reinforcement training to get her pet rats to do standard things, such as coming when called and running an agility course, and non-standard things, such as pulling a “rope” to open a cage door, recognizing words on cue cards to perform a spin or an up on cue, putting trash in a trash can and more. My favorite might be the rat who hopped on a wheeled “car” and used a rope to pull himself several inches while riding the car.
Via Abby Roeser/YouTube
Rats are pretty smart!
Roeser notes in the video that rats groom constantly and are playful, affectionate and intelligent. In a 2013 interview with the New York Post, Roeser said that her rats learned things faster than her dog ever did.
The short life span of rats, they typically live only one to three years, can’t be sidestepped. Roeser announced on her Facebook page this October that the last of her rats had passed on.
“For the first time in almost 4 years I am without rats after Puffin died today from presumably a uterine growth, and Piper died from uterine cancer a few weeks ago. Anyone that knows me even a little bit knows how large of a role my rats have played in my life. Its very strange and sad knowing that I have not only loss beloved pets, but a big part of what I consider my identity.”
Although the rats in this video aren’t around to appear in any new footage and it’s unknown whether Roeser will train rats again, it’s wonderful that what she and her rats accomplished together has been captured on video for people to marvel at for years to come.