Not Another Julia Roberts Story
updated 03/30/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/30/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST
Not so, says Randy Morgan, surrogate mom to the 32 baldies in residence at the Cincinnati Zoo—one of a handful of zoos worldwide that house the little rodents. "They are the only mammal that lives colony-style, like insects," says Morgan, himself an entomologist. Indeed, the East African desert natives live underground in tunnel towns, like ants.
For entertainment, there's courting the queen rat. Since she doesn't see well, her suitors appeal mostly to her sense of smell. "To attract attention from the queen and to identify themselves as belonging to her colony," says Morgan, "the males roll in the communal urine and feces pile." Sounds a little like fraternity life.