S’pore Zoo Responds to Allegations That Rats in Zoo Are Being Abused

As people around the world aim to eradicate rats, one group comes in and calls for Rats Lives Matter.

Cannot Breathe 

Yesterday (26 January), The Hasmter Society of Singapore posted on its Instagram page of a horde of rats appeared to be struggling to breathe while living in a “large enclosure”.

In the video, the rats are seen behaving strangely, as if in a survival-esque scenario. A few rats congregate around a panel of the acrylic cage that has teeny ventilation holes and sniffs at the holes about the chamber, and others even climb on top of one another for access to the holes.

When the zoo staff was asked about this, they allegedly explained that the rats were just “looking for fresh air” and they would “open the acrylic box for 30 minutes a day,”.

Not convinced and concerned for their safety, the group asked for Mandai Wildlife Reserve to allow the animals more air to breathe.

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Mandai Response

In a statement sent to TODAYonline, Dr Heng Yirui, a veterinarian at Mandai Wildlife Group explained there is actually nothing to worry about.

The exhibit, located at Singapore Zoo’s Rainforest Kidzwolrd, is made up of two large connected chambers, with “ample space for the rats to move about”.

Each of these chambers also has fans installed in order to maintain ventilation at all times. And the rats aren’t smelling each other’s day-old shit either, because the exhibition is cleaned every day.

In fact, this might sound absolute but they’re doing that… because they’re hungry?

Yeah, having a small push-and-shove because food is life.

Dr Heng added that the animal care teams assessed the video and concluded that the behavior of the rats are “not uncommon” because the timing was just before their feeding time.

He further explained that rats are naturally very inquisitive creatures who rely on smelling to explore and survey their environment, and in the video, the rats are likely investigating new smells in their surrounding, particularly when visitors approach their enclosure.

To reassure the public again, he shared that for over two years, none of the rats had respiratory issues or any other illness linked to inadequate ventilation.

Sounds reasonable to me—especially if you’re one with a pet, because it’s common for pets like cats to do weird things before their feeding time.

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Featured Image: @hamstersociety.sg / Instagram