Rat Symbolism And Meaning: Things You Must Know About These Creatures

Rat Symbolism And Meaning

Rats have been around for quite a while, still unsure if they existed since the times when humans were not around or vice versa.

They are some extremely common animals around the world, but that doesn’t make them any less significant in the symbolism world.

We are also quite well aware of how some fables and stories for kids have mentioned rats and their symbolisms to preach important lessons among young minds.

From history to literature, rats literally are everywhere in the true sense. Hence, without further ado, let’s get deeper into what exactly is rat symbolism and its meaning.

Understanding Rat Symbolism And Meaning 

In a general context, a rat is a symbol of filth, death, cruelty, chaos, and poverty. In western culture, the rat represents intelligence, destruction, and evil. While in eastern culture a rat symbolizes a god-like being with both good and evil features.

Dirt and Filth

Whenever we talk about rats, it would be a lie to not confess how we almost instantly relate these small creatures with dirt and filth. They belong to dirty places, bring infections, and eat dirty things, hence the symbolism.


Rats are believed to act as spies and secretive messengers. They are also linked to deceptive behaviors and dishonest approaches that have the evil intentions to destroy the money and possessions of people.

Sadism and cruelty 

These creatures are mainly symbols of poverty, i.e. wherever they are found are considered to be poor and deprived. Not only that but such a relationship is also established with sadism and cruelty from the spiritual aspect of these beliefs. It is a reflection of the miserable sides of society.

Rats Symbolism In Different Civilizations 

What Does Rat Symbolizes In Native American Culture?

Native Americans believe in the intelligence of these creatures. These animals are quick learners when it’s about finding food and escaping out of places to hide in dark small corners. 

This culture interestingly casts light on both the knowledge imparting and annoying nature of rats. However, their tendencies of creating nuisance in households outdid its good impressions all the time.

In Spite of being animals that humans tend to chase away as fast as possible, they still regarded the agility, dexterity, speed, and intelligence of this creature.

They also believed that rat medicines are epiphanic and can bring knowledge to the ones who intake them.

Their unpredictable and smart nature is anyway quite appreciable. They can also direct you towards the South and bring you prosperity against any resistance that you might face.

What Does Rat Symbolize In Eastern Culture?

Chinese tend to associate Rats with money, strange right? Well, they believe that whenever you hear a rat is scrabbling for food, it is symbolic of counting money as the sound is quite relatable.

However, the term “Money Rat” in their culture is a disgrace of being called a miser. They also celebrate rat weddings like that of humans with grandeur. 

Apart from all these, the demonic powers of male evil rats are not ignored by the Chinese at all. Rats are also the first zodiac sign of China.

Japanese however believe that rats are the foremost creatures to introduce rice to humanity as an edible. Hence, they relate this creature with industry, intelligence, and auspicious occasions.

Indians believe that rats are the associated animals with Lord Ganesha, the God of prosperity, and hence believe that the Animal is divine and must not be killed or chased out.

What Does Rat Symbolizes In Christianity?

Rats are symbolic of destruction and demonic energy, as mentioned in the Bible. However, these creatures as per their symbolisms are barely found in Renaissance art, except in association with death, and a painting of black and white rats eating each other as a sign of day and night. 

Its extraordinary sense of judgment was however regarded highly, being the only reason for its preservation.

There are also some stories where Jesus saves the world against rats and the only mention of them in the Bible is of an unclean creature.

What Does Rat Symbolize In Celtic Civilization?

If not all, some parts of Celtic, especially some extracts of its literature believe that rats have magical, rather prophetic powers.

The principal power of rats that are associated with this symbolism is that these creatures have the capability to forewarn, like a rat leaving a ship might signal that it will drown, and a pet rat leaving a house might mean that misfortune is about to occur.

This belief also reached a conclusion that anything that has rats in it is less likely to ever face destruction and ruins.

Are You Dreaming Rats? Here’s The Meaning

  • Rats in dreams are largely associated with undesired siblings. If you have one, you should start being nicer to them as they deserve to be treated better. If you do not have one, you might have a sibling soon who deserves to be treated with love.
  • Dreaming of rats might also mean that you have some thoughts and imaginations hidden in yourself that you are in denial of. They are less likely to be real and hence you keep escaping them. This is an indication to embrace your thoughts.
  • Seeing rats involved in disadvantageous and vicious intentions means that it reflects on your envious nature, guilt, pride, and wrath.
  • Rats taking careful steps might have sexual impressions on your life. You might have an erotic or lustful experience soon.
  • A dead rat’s dream might mean you are too clingy to cleanliness or you feel insufficient and dirty for absolutely invalid reasons and you do not need to feel that way.
  • A dirty rat in your dream can mean that someone with intentions to betray is in your inner circle waiting for the right moment to stab you.

Rats Totems and Omens Explained

  • The positive or negative impact of a rat encounter wholly depends on the culture and beliefs you are inborn associated with or tend to associate yourself with.
  • If you believe in cultures that associate rats with wealth and prosperity, encountering a rat will mean an inflow of wealth in your life.
  • If you believe in cultures that see rats as symbolic of destruction, it is most likely to be the case that it’s a bad omen and signifying an unfortunate event in your life.
  • Other beliefs are like seeing a rat walking along the left side of a road is a sign of good luck. 
  • Germans believe that placing a broken tooth in a rat hole decreases its pain.
  • It is also believed that writing a note to the mouse keeps them away from creating nuisance in your house or with your things.
  • Being gnawed by rats, however, is a bad omen and predicts extreme misfortune and destruction.

Is Rat Your Spirit Animal?

If you have a rat as your Spirit Animal, you are an owner of multiple strengths that are disguised inside you in different forms, mostly undiscovered by your own conscious self.

You have this innate capability to survive all situations and stand victorious out of them. You are the one who takes your responsibility and absolutely dislike being babied or treated as a dependent.

You have extremely high and accurate instincts and can almost predict futures and hence, you must at all costs always trust your guts.

You are intelligent, a quick learner, and flexible in both mind and body. Lastly, you attract wealth and good fortune at all stages of your life.


Hence, even though rats have some extremely low symbolisms that flashlight on the dirty aspect of their existence, some cultures have still managed to find the goodness in them which is indeed iconic.

This animal proves how no matter where you originally belong, you can still outshine people of higher classes with your capabilities irrespective of the eyes of dirt you have to encounter.

It’s indeed exemplary, how even though it is an animal that is mostly phased out, it manages to impart valuable knowledge among humans.

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