Have you ever seen a rat’s eyes boggle? Have you ever heard of the phenomena of a rat’s eyes boggling?
Eye boggling is when a rat’s eyes vibrate rapidly in and out of the eye socket (really) when the rat is very relaxed and content – circumstances similar to those surrounding the tooth purring (bruxing) of rabbits; in fact, eye boggling occurs in association with bruxing (gentle tooth grinding) by the rat.
The reason these two behaviors occur simultaneously is because the eye boggling is caused by the bruxing. The rat has a muscle called the masseter muscle, which actually passes through the eye socket right behind the eyeball. This muscle is responsible for moving the jaw rapidly back and forth during dental bruxing (grinding). When the rat grinds his teeth intensely, the contractions of the jaw muscle physically vibrate the eyeball in and out of the socket.
The result is the bizarre (and alarming, to the uninformed) spectacle of a rat’s eyes rapidly bugging out and then returning to the sockets of the eyes. This is completely normal and is a sign that the rat is in fact very relaxed, content and happy.
While rats, like rabbits, will also brux when in pain, this is usually a loud bruxing and is generally associated with other behaviors such as hiding acting lethargic; rats are a prey animal, as are rabbits, and will hide their illnesses and pain quite effectively.
Are you thinking about having a pet rat? Please do your research and read up on a rats housing and care requirements. If you find that a rat truly is for you, please consult your local rescues and shelters or consult Petfinder.com to find a rattie in need of adoption.
You can see a rat boggling in the video in this article; for more rat boggles, check out these links:
More rat boggles