RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After a grand on-camera debut in Netflix’s “Hidden Lives of Pets” last year, University of Richmond’s famous “driving rats” continue to garner international attention.

Last week, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) documentary “Rat City” spotlighted these local rats. Lead researcher and University of Richmond professor, Kelly Lambert, is eager to continue furthering research.

“Once you start thinking about if you can teach a rat to drive a car, it’s hard to get that out of your mind,” Lambert said.

Lambert and her colleagues have conducted such experiments for years now, but there is still a wealth of knowledge to unlock.

“It certainly opens up this childlike curiosity about animals,” Lambert said. “Like seeing pigs fly or something like that.”

CBC’s recently released segment, in part, explored rats’ survival skills in large urban environments.

“The rats, they’re the true superstars and the theme of the latest “Rat City” is their superhero kind of qualities — climbing, scaling walls, sniffing, driving,” Lambert said.

Lambert’s team of researchers also dove deeper into potential communication strategies.

“A lot of people ask if we know they like it,” Lambert said. “I can’t just ask them that.”

However, she can gauge their responses through “ultrasonic vocalizations.”

“They can kind of tell us if they’re enjoying [driving] based on the type of vocalizations that they’re emitting,” Lambert explained.

She noted how — as fun as these experiments may be to watch — the work is more than a circus trick. Her studies help foster greater understanding of neuroplasticity and can even be extrapolated to learn more about the human mind.

“It is a very good model to start with when trying to unlock some of the secrets of the human brain,” Lambert said.

The professor is currently working to continue uncovering more about how factors like age and sex can impact a rat’s driving capabilities and its future. Lambert is also looking into how urban, environments alter the various ways animals like rats and raccoons adapt to their surroundings.