The viral video of a rat seemingly showering like a human actually stars a different animal, according to Newsweek.
Newsweek on Monday reported that the so-called “shower rat” is a pacarana, a separate rodent variety found in South America.
“With the large head size, bipedal position, flexible forelimbs, short stiff tail, and consistent coat color…this animal fits the ID of a pacarana,” Dallas Krentzel, an evolutionary biologist who studies rodent diversity at the University of Chicago at the Field Museum.
“There is just no other rodent that would fit all of those features, and the fact that this video was taken in Peru where pacaranas are known just seals the deal,” he continued.
“Both pacas and pacaranas are some of my favorite species for how weird they are, so I took notice of this post today.”
A video from the Twitter account Nature is Amazing became an internet sensation after it was posted last Saturday.
The footage shows a sudsy rodent standing on its hind legs and scrubbing its face, under its arms and all over its body, much like a human.
Social media users dubbed the creature “shower rat,” but Krentzel said Monday that a pacarana is a more plausible culprit as the animals are comfortable on their hind legs.
“It makes sense that this animal could wash itself like a human because it needs that forelimb mobility for foraging and food processing,” he said.
Krentzel noted that washing with soap is unnatural for pacaranas, adding it may prove unsafe or even possible inhuman for them.
The critter in the “shower rat” video appears larger than a typical rat, and it also lacks the long, snake-like tail typical of such rodents.
The popular clip emerged from Peru last weekend, a South American nation known for having pacaranas.