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That rat lathering up in the viral video may not be what you think.

Screen shot of ‘Shower Rat’ video
Screen shot of ‘Shower Rat’ video YouTube

It sure looked like a rat bathing itself.

But now we’re not so sure.

In Peru, local DJ Jose Correa told UK’s Metro that he was about to take a shower at a public bathroom Saturday in Huaraz, Peru, when he spotted a rodent standing up in a sink lathering itself with its little paws, very much in the same way a human does.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Correa told the site. “It went on for about 30 seconds, and then he ran off. I think he just wanted to give himself a good clean.”

On social media, the fastidious rodent is being referred to as “The Shower Rat.”

Yep, it sure looks like it was scrubbing its body clean. But really: What the heck was it doing?

An animal expert weighed in.

“The movements are pretty strange,” Tuomas Aivelo, researcher in Urban Rat biology at the University of Helsinki in Finland told tech blog Gizmodo. “A rat wouldn’t do that unless there’s something it really wants to get rid of. I think it’s soapy all over. That’s probably a problem for the rat. It just wants to get rid of the soap.”

But another trusted source explains that the little guy’s not even a rat — but a pacarana, a type of rodent from 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, told Newsweek.

Krentzel added that pacaranas aren’t known for cleaning themselves either, so the situation is still strange.

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