The informant brought this up in an informal environment.
“Oh so, I’m from Venezuela and there, instead of a tooth fairy, we have what’s called a tooth rat. So it’s a rat that comes in and steals your teeth whenever you lose a tooth, um and takes it to his underground rat tooth kingdom.”
This is a fun variation on the tooth fairy belief more common in the U.S.. As a country with British influences, it makes sense that some of our folk beliefs will have fairies in them, even if belief in fairies is dwindling overall in the U.S.. With the tooth rat, one might assume that such creatures are not present in Venezuelan stories.
However, this also suggests that parents trying to soften a child’s fear that comes from a loose tooth is nigh universal. Perhaps a rat takes on the tooth collecting role as it is small, and active at night. One might also speculate that rats are viewed as friendlier, or nicer than they are in other countries.
Annotation: There are several countries with variations of a tooth rat, such as Mexico and France. The French version reportedly has the tooth rat switch out the tooth with toys, rather than coins.
H, Lotta. “Baby Teeth – Tooth Fairy and Worldwide Traditions | Toothpick.” Toothpick Blog. Toothpick, 07 Mar. 2014. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.