Want to Make Your Kid Happy? Buy Them a Rat

iStock
iStock

Ron Weasley may have had the right idea when he opted for a pet rat (who could forget Scabbers, a.k.a. Peter Pettigrew?) instead of an owl, cat, or toad. A new study spotted by People Magazine reveals that children are reportedly more satisfied with pet rats than any other animal.

The pet ownership study, conducted online by pet product review site RightPet, is quite comprehensive. It was conducted over a period of eight years, from 2010 to 2018, and asked nearly 16,800 pet owners from 113 countries to rate their level of satisfaction with a particular animal on a scale of zero (extremely dissatisfied) to five (fully satisfied).

As it turns out, pet rats do not disappoint. Kids between the ages of 10 and 17 reported being happier with rats than cats, dogs, or other popular pets. However, their satisfaction diminishes as they get older, while satisfaction with cats and dogs increases with age. “In other words, young people tended to enjoy rats more than do older people—whereas the reverse was true for most other common pets,” the study notes.

According to RightPet founder and editor Brett Hodges, young children most likely enjoy rats because they’re smart, cheap, and easy to care for, and perhaps most importantly, they’re “great for freaking out your parents,” as People puts it.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the survey found that the least satisfying pets are scorpions and geese.

The study also analyzed respondents’ personality traits, which yielded some interesting results. For one, RightPet claims that dog lovers are more curious and open to new experiences than cat lovers. And lending credence to the cat lady stereotype is this finding: “Moody and anxious men don't care for cats. In contrast, moody and anxious women enjoy cats.” To see more insights from the study, visit RightPet’s website.

[h/t People]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

A Wily Fox With a Passion for Fashion Stole More Than 100 Shoes From a Berlin Neighborhood

The smirk.
The smirk.
Brett Jordan, Unsplash

In Berlin, Germany, a fox has embarked on a crime spree that puts Dora the Explorer’s Swiper completely to shame.

CNN-News18 reports that residents of Zehlendorf, a locality in southeastern Berlin, spent weeks scratching their heads as shoes continued to disappear from their stoops and patios overnight. After posting about the mystery on a neighborhood watch site and reading accounts from various bewildered barefooters, a local named Christian Meyer began to think the thief might be a fox.

He was right. Meyer caught sight of the roguish robber with a mouthful of flip-flop and followed him to a field, where he found more than 100 stolen shoes. The fox appears to have an affinity for Crocs, but the cache also contained sandals, sneakers, a pair of rubber boots, and one black ballet flat, among other footwear. Unfortunately, according to BBC News, Meyer’s own vanished running shoe was nowhere to be seen.

Foxes are known for their playfulness, and it’s not uncommon for one to trot off with an item left unattended in a yard. Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife explains that foxes are drawn to “things that smell good,” which, to a fox, includes dog toys, balls, gardening gloves, and worn shoes. And if your former cat’s backyard gravesite is suddenly empty one day, you can probably blame a fox for that, too; they bury their own food to eat later, so a deceased pet is basically a free meal.

The fate of Zehlendorf’s furriest burglar remains unclear, but The Cut’s Amanda Arnold has a radical idea: that the residents simply let the fox keep what is obviously a well-curated collection.

[h/t CNN-News18]