Consider: Hairless Rats and Yogurt Covered Raisins

Imagine having rats as pets.

Would that be weird? Or cool? Or both?

Maybe you’re a little freaked out by the idea. Many people are.

As I tell people about my daughter’s plans to get pet rats, they seem to cringe a little.

Inevitably, we hear cases being made for other types of pets – dogs and cats and more “traditional” kinds of pets.

Interestingly, we hear more statements than questions…

Why is that?

Confirmation Bias

It’s confirmation bias, and it’s a good thing to know about. Because we all do it. All the time.

If you already believe that rats are gross, then you are not going to easily accept any information to the contrary. Rather than take in that information, you will find ways to rationalize your already existing belief.

That’s how confirmation bias works. We do it because it’s uncomfortable to hold two contradictory ideas in our mind at once. That cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable.

The quickest way to get comfortable again is to re-affirm your belief. To discount contrary evidence. Even if that means rationalizing things in an irrational or uninformed manner.

Why Not Ask Why?

Not many people ask, why rats?

Not many people want to challenge their own beliefs and dig into the details.

That’s certainly what I did at first, when my daughter mentioned this whole rat idea to me.

Then, I dug in, because, well, my daughter was interested in rats.

Sometimes, it’s good to challenge our thinking a bit.

Sometimes it’s good to explore why a rat might be a good pet (because they’re smart, clean, and sociable).

Sometimes it’s good to dig a little deeper and wonder where you would even go to get pet rats (from a reputable breeder).

Sometimes it’s good to go and find information (like on the many pet rat forums, websites, and Facebook groups).

Now I think they’re actually kinda cute. And I can see how this whole pet rat thing might work out. We even went to visit a breeder yesterday.

Babies and Yogurt Raisins!

We saw little baby rats, just three days old. They are born hairless, so she wasn’t quite ready to pick some out just yet. Plus they need to stay with their mom for five weeks.

We also learned that one of their favorite treats is yogurt covered raisins. Who would have guessed?

It’s cute to see them clutch one in the little arms and nibble away at it.

But the point of this post isn’t to convince you to like rats.

It’s to convince you (and me) to question our beliefs every now and then. To be open to new information. To invoke curiosity more frequently. To wonder…and then go find some answers.

Because after this rat experience, I wonder…

What else have I missed?

And I’m asking you to think about what have you might have missed…

When confronted with new or unusual ideas, it might be a good idea to make less statements and to ask more questions.