Via Matt Little/YouTube
Go, Pizza Rat, Go!
On September 21, 2015, the world was introduced to Pizza Rat (aka #pizzarat), thanks to a YouTube video by Matt Little. It was a humble, 14-second video showing a rat dragging a slice of pizza in the New York subway. In the nine days since, the video has been viewed more than 7 million times. That’s more than the current population of the country of Denmark, which is 5.6 million.
What’s the fascination? The comments beneath the video vary. Many make jokes about the rat being Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. That was actually what Matt Little referred to when he posted the video. Other people were reminded of other famous rats: Remy of Ratatouille, Gus from Cinderella and Stuart Little. In fact, some people asked whether Matt Little might be related to Stuart Little.
Many others consider it a comment on the state of New York City, or wrote that it reminded them of a certain person (often a local politician). Other people are perplexed about why the video is getting so much attention. It’s a rat scavenging food. It’s what they do, so what’s the big deal?
I’m no psychologist, but maybe the big deal lies in what others point out: the rat is taking on what seems to be an impossible task — that slice of pizza is larger than he is — and not giving up. It’s inspiring. People began calling Pizza Rat their spirit animal. Or, maybe, it’s just a silly bit of fun to watch. And that name is pretty catchy — Pizza Rat.
The best viral content usually inspires others, and Pizza Rat is no exception, with Milkshake Squirrel and Sarasota Ducks soon following. But wait, there’s more! The team at the Conan show put together a Pizza Rat prequel to show what happened before the Pizza Rat video. And someone made a Pizza Rat Halloween costume for their dog. With Halloween coming soon, can Pizza Rat costumes for people be far behind? This is the power of the Internet.
And is this type of food good for these animals? No, not really. Rats, squirrels and ducks have varying diets, but processed foods would never be the considered the best for them.