Rats at Singapore Zoo deprived of air? Vet says rodents in good health, are ‘exploring new scents’

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SINGAPORE — Sensing that a group of rats at the Singapore Zoo may be in danger, people who care about rodents, more specifically hamsters, have stuck their noses in to ask Mandai Wildlife Reserve to give the creatures more air to breathe properly.

The Hamster Society of Singapore posted on its Instagram account on Thursday (Jan 26) saying it had received notice that “a family of more than 20 rats under the care of our Singapore Zoo” were looking deprived of oxygen while “living in a large enclosure”.

“They were acting abnormally, putting their noses to breathe through the fine holes and gaps in the edges. At times they can be seen climbing on top of each other to do so,” it said.

It claimed that people working at the zoo apparently said that the rats were "looking for fresh air" and the workers would “open the acrylic box for 30 minutes a day”.

Evidently, the animal welfare group believes that this was "not enough".

“We hope this gets heard by the appropriate people, who will be able to make immediate changes to rectify this situation,” the society said.

In a video accompanying the post, some rats are seen gathering at one panel of the acrylic enclosure where there are tiny ventilation holes and sniffing at the holes and joint of the chamber.

However, an internal review by Mandai Wildlife Group after it was made aware of the video found the rats to be “in good health condition, with no signs of respiratory distress or laboured breathing”.


In response to TODAY’s queries, Mandai Wildlife Group said in a statement that the enclosure in the video is part of the Fancy Rats exhibit at Singapore Zoo’s Rainforest Kidzworld. 

Dr Heng Yirui, a veterinarian with Mandai Wildlife Group, said that the exhibit in the video is home to 13 rats and consists of two large connecting chambers, “with ample space for the rats to move about”. 

“Each of these chambers is also fitted with fans to circulate air and ensure ventilation at all times. The exhibit is also cleaned daily.”

Dr Heng also said that the veterinary and animal care teams’ visual assessment of the video found that the behaviour of the rats is “not uncommon” since it was taken close to the rats’ feeding time. 

“By nature, rats are also highly curious animals and r...

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