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What are the Personality Traits Associated with the Chinese Zodiac Sign Rat?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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People who are born in the Year of the Rat tend to be strongly associated with secretive, aggressive, and energetic traits. This sign of the Chinese zodiac is ruled by the fixed element water, making rats compassionate, flexible, intellectual, and creative, but also passive-aggressive, manipulative, and sometimes even self destructive. The rat is a yang zodiac sign, linked with many masculine traits. Career-wise, rats are very flexible, fitting into a range of positions from espionage to law.

Within the framework of the Chinese zodiac, there is a lot of wiggle room. The Chinese zodiac is actually a cycle, which runs through five elements in their yin and yang aspects and 12 animals. As a result, the year in which a rat is born is very important, with rats tending to be natural leaders, since they lead the Chinese zodiac. The location and time of birth is also very important for rats; rats who are born at night, for example, will supposedly face hardship in their lives.

Like their animal counterparts, rats are sneaky, hardworking people. They tend to be extremely clever and intellectual, with many rats being lively conversationalists. However, they value privacy intensely, and they do not like to be backed into a whole. Arguing with a rat can be difficult, as rats tend to go on the defensive when they feel cornered, resorting to pettiness and frivolous attacks. It can also be hard to make friends with a rat, and rats tend to have few friends that they really open up to.

Rats are known for having a good sense of humor, although their sense of humor can be a bit unusual, and despite their quick tempers and aggressive natures, they are extremely sensitive. Rats are easily hurt, and they can turn quickly to vengeance, bearing grudges for a very long time. Rats are also extremely energetic, versatile, and practical, often coming up with sensible solutions for a wide variety of situations. Rats have a tendency to fall into hedonism which can be quite dangerous, especially when paired with their naturally guilty nature, and some rats abuse themselves a bit more than they really need to.

Working with a rat can be frustrating, because rats are very controlling, dominating people who crave order, and they can be highly critical. Rats do well in positions which allow them to work with some autonomy, like espionage, or in jobs which allow them to solve challenging problems, like scientific research. They also fare well as creative professionals.

Dragons, monkeys, and oxes all get along well with rats. Rats also tend to interface well with other rats, along with snakes, pigs, and roosters, thanks to their personalities, which can be quite charming and likable despite their aggression. However, rats do not get on with dogs, rabbits, tigers, and sheep. They are also notorious for getting along very poorly with horses.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon115338 — On Oct 01, 2010

This is all me. I swear that's who I am.

By anon35583 — On Jul 06, 2009

I'm a rat, but I'm not really like this at all. And really, by reading this, some people (like my younger sister, a tiger) believes that that is who they are supposed to be, and she tried to change to fit the sign. I like the information you have given, and it amuses me to see myself fitting this personality exactly (whoo, I'm being critical right now...)

By anon13137 — On May 20, 2008

i love this site and am going to read everyday. your information is fun to read and is interesting that everything matches up with my friend and my own personality on being a rat in the chinese zodiac! lol!

By anon13136 — On May 20, 2008

I came upon this site and started reading because I myself am born in the year of the rat. I think that what you say in here is absolutely true for me and my friend (she is a rat also). we believe strongly in the chinese religion and will come to this site often. This site not only helps us with questions it gives us info that we didn't know before!

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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