Interested in owning rats?

bumblinBee

Member
Hello! I have never owned any kind of rodent, but I've always been intrigued by rats and one day (not soon) would love to own some! I have some basic knowledge of rats and what it takes to care for them but I was wondering if there is any specific advice or resources you can offer me so that I can not just keep my future rats healthy but happy and thriving? All advice appreciated!
 

Mongo75

Member
They're social, and you should keep 2 or more. They will gnaw wood and plastic, so keep it to a minimum in their habitat. Being social, take them out and let them explore, and play with them.

Dumbo-eared are my favorites.

I've never owned them, but did a lot of research before deciding I wouldn't make a good custodian for them.
 
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bumblinBee

Member
Mongo75 said:
They're social, and you should keep 2 or more. They will gnaw wood and plastic, so keep it to a minimum in their habitat. Being social, take them out and let them explore, and play with them.

Dumbo-eared are my favorites.

I've never owned them, but did a lot of research before deciding I wouldn't make a good custodian for them.
Thank you for your input! I intend to keep either two males or two females, haven't decided which. I don't know much about temperament difference between the two genders? Do you know which of the two is typically more laidback? Rats need to chew to keep their teeth filed down correct, is wood not safe for them to chew?
 

Mongo75

Member
tum0r said:
Thank you for your input! I intend to keep either two males or two females, haven't decided which. I don't know much about temperament difference between the two genders? Do you know which of the two is typically more laidback? Rats need to chew to keep their teeth filed down correct, is wood not safe for them to chew?
I don't remember much about sexual compatibility or aggression, it was about 3 years ago that I was interested and did my research. What I meant about the wood and plastic was actually in the habitat/cage itself. Some people like wooden frame cages, or cages with plastic holding the shelves, and they can gnaw holes large enough to escape through in the wood, and the shelf support can be weakened causing the shelves to fall.
 

MomeWrath

Member
I had a rat for several years, and highly recommend them over something like a hamster or gerbil. my best advice is to look at it like a tiny dog. I kept mine (alone) in a ten gallon glass aquarium, but he spent a lot of time out of his cage riding around on my shoulders while I did housework, shopping, even a couple of trips to class in my backpack. I had him trained to give kisses....their whiskers are the best. They are as social as dogs in that you can keep one but he needs lots of attention.
I got him when he was very small and handled him a lot. When he was about three and a half life went pear shaped and I had to rehome him to a neighbor that had fallen in love with him.
I don't know if I did "what is recommended" but my rat was healthy and well adjusted.
 

Mongo75

Member
Magicpenny75 said:
I had a rat for several years, and highly recommend them over something like a hamster or gerbil. my best advice is to look at it like a tiny dog. I kept mine (alone) in a ten gallon glass aquarium, but he spent a lot of time out of his cage riding around on my shoulders while I did housework, shopping, even a couple of trips to class in my backpack. I had him trained to give kisses....their whiskers are the best. They are as social as dogs in that you can keep one but he needs lots of attention.
I got him when he was very small and handled him a lot. When he was about three and a half life went pear shaped and I had to rehome him to a neighbor that had fallen in love with him.
I don't know if I did "what is recommended" but my rat was healthy and well adjusted.
I think they've been given a really bad rap as pets, just like a lot of reptiles have. They're adorable, and very social and loving, like you said, much like dogs. My main reason for not getting some was I was away from home a lot, and couldn't give them the attention they needed. That's why it's recommended that they be kept in groups. If you can spend time with them like you said, there's nothing at all wrong with keeping one by itself.
 
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bumblinBee

Member
Mongo75 said:
I don't remember much about sexual compatibility or aggression, it was about 3 years ago that I was interested and did my research. What I meant about the wood and plastic was actually in the habitat/cage itself. Some people like wooden frame cages, or cages with plastic holding the shelves, and they can gnaw holes large enough to escape through in the wood, and the shelf support can be weakened causing the shelves to fall.
Thank you both for your replies!
 

Feohw

Member
I loved mine. They are a great pet, though not many people I knew understood that. I had 4 males and tried to give them at least an hour outside of their cage a day. Females tend to be more active, males tend to make better lap pets. This doesn't apply to all of them of course.

Mine would climb throughout my dressing gown until they found their way to my sleeves. They would curl up in there for a nap. Their only flaw is their short lifespan imo.
 

PascalKrypt

Member
All of this makes it sound like it would be wonderful to have one.
But I'm afraid my dogs would agree. It'd be wonderful to have a bunch as snacks

They would make great pets for people with limited space though!
 
  • Thread Starter

bumblinBee

Member
Feohw said:
I loved mine. They are a great pet, though not many people I knew understood that. I had 4 males and tried to give them at least an hour outside of their cage a day. Females tend to be more active, males tend to make better lap pets. This doesn't apply to all of them of course.

Mine would climb throughout my dressing gown until they found their way to my sleeves. They would curl up in there for a nap. Their only flaw is their short lifespan imo.
Thank you for your help! Aw, that's adorable, and I understand, but in a way I like that they have shorter lifespans. It means I can guarantee that they are happy, healthy and fulfilled for their entire lives. Unlike other creatures—like fish for instance—who as most of us know, can live for extraordinarily lengthy periods of time. Lifespans like that mean we as beings with ever changing living circumstances can't always guarantee ourselves as forever owners. Often we need to rehome them to people who may not treat them with the same kindness we had.
 

SeaMonkey06

Member
"Blegh! Why do you want to keep a rat? They're gross!"
This is the reaction I always get when I tell people I want a pet rat. I think they're absolutely amazing creatures! They're so intelligent and cute

I used to have a rat, he was a baby and we had rescued him from a parking square. His eyes weren't even opened yet and his little sibling had been ridden over. My mum and I couldn't help ourselves, we bought a card box, scooped him up and took him home. My aunt helped us bathe him, we fed him and he was so active. He slept in his little box on his hot water bottle to keep him warm and lived for considerably longer than I thought he would! I've been wanting to keep a pair of rats for ages, and keep begging my parents. My mum is all for it, but my dad says there's no way he's asking our landlord for permission to keep a rat XD I'm going to keep trying though!

Anyway, this isn't about me. What I know about keeping rats:

- As it's already been said, best kept in pairs if you can't be with them for most of the day as they are very social
- Even if they are kept in pairs, most love exploring outside their house (mine you to sit behind my hair when I watched TV) (as long as it's out of the way of any curious larger animals)
- Don't use scented bedding in your cage/enclosure as it can irritate their noses and skin (and make sure it's dust free)
- If you keep them in a cage, try putting some card or fake grass over the holes as it stresses them when their feet are caught
- Rats love to be entertained (try some training)
- Make their home stimulating as they're really like little (dare I say almost more intelligent?) dogs.
- Hydration and food (you know, the basics, some RAT treats)
- Like with fish, some emergency care items

and...

If and when that one day comes, and you get rats, you have to share pictures of them as we'd all love to see!!
 

emilydupree17

Member
Mongo75 said:
They're social, and you should keep 2 or more. They will gnaw wood and plastic, so keep it to a minimum in their habitat. Being social, take them out and let them explore, and play with them.

Dumbo-eared are my favorites.

I've never owned them, but did a lot of research before deciding I wouldn't make a good custodian for them.
I bred dumbo rex for a little while they were so cute!!!
 
  • Thread Starter

bumblinBee

Member
SeaMonkey06 said:
"Blegh! Why do you want to keep a rat? They're gross!"
This is the reaction I always get when I tell people I want a pet rat. I think they're absolutely amazing creatures! They're so intelligent and cute

I used to have a rat, he was a baby and we had rescued him from a parking square. His eyes weren't even opened yet and his little sibling had been ridden over. My mum and I couldn't help ourselves, we bought a card box, scooped him up and took him home. My aunt helped us bathe him, we fed him and he was so active. He slept in his little box on his hot water bottle to keep him warm and lived for considerably longer than I thought he would! I've been wanting to keep a pair of rats for ages, and keep begging my parents. My mum is all for it, but my dad says there's no way he's asking our landlord for permission to keep a rat XD I'm going to keep trying though!

Anyway, this isn't about me. What I know about keeping rats:

- As it's already been said, best kept in pairs if you can't be with them for most of the day as they are very social
- Even if they are kept in pairs, most love exploring outside their house (mine you to sit behind my hair when I watched TV) (as long as it's out of the way of any curious larger animals)
- Don't use scented bedding in your cage/enclosure as it can irritate their noses and skin (and make sure it's dust free)
- If you keep them in a cage, try putting some card or fake grass over the holes as it stresses them when their feet are caught
- Rats love to be entertained (try some training)
- Make their home stimulating as they're really like little (dare I say almost more intelligent?) dogs.
- Hydration and food (you know, the basics, some RAT treats)
- Like with fish, some emergency care items

and...

If and when that one day comes, and you get rats, you have to share pictures of them as we'd all love to see!!
Thank you! Aww it was lovely of you to take him in like that (I hope you get to keep rats again someday )! Actually, there is a video on YouTube of somebody comparing the intelligence of their cat, dog, and rat! It's quite entertaining, you should check it out.
emilydupree17 said:
I bred dumbo rex for a little while they were so cute!!!
Would you recommend purchasing from a breeder over chain stores?
 

emilydupree17

Member
tum0r said:
Thank you for your input! I intend to keep either two males or two females, haven't decided which. I don't know much about temperament difference between the two genders? Do you know which of the two is typically more laidback? Rats need to chew to keep their teeth filed down correct, is wood not safe for them to chew?
My males were fat and lazy, but God can they stink especially with their buck grease. My females were more social and wanted more attention.
 

SeaMonkey06

Member
tum0r said:
Thank you! Aww it was lovely of you to take him in like that (I hope you get to keep rats again someday )! Actually, there is a video on YouTube of somebody comparing the intelligence of their cat, dog, and rat! It's quite entertaining, you should check it out.

Would you recommend purchasing from a breeder over chain stores?
Thanks Believe me, when I have my own place, I'll keep more than just two!
I'll try find it, sounds interesting!
 

emilydupree17

Member
tum0r said:
Thank you! Aww it was lovely of you to take him in like that (I hope you get to keep rats again someday )! Actually, there is a video on YouTube of somebody comparing the intelligence of their cat, dog, and rat! It's quite entertaining, you should check it out.

Would you recommend purchasing from a breeder over chain stores?
Oh definitely from a reputable rat breeder. All of the rats I’ve purchased from stores were sick. One was infested with rat lice, one had an upper respiratory infection, one developed an eye infection after we purchased him because he was kept in a bin of pine shavings and he got a shaving stuck behind his eye. Better safe than sorry. Also, the ones purchased from local breeders lived longer (4yrs vs 2yrs) and were more energetic and happy. They just seemed better bred.
 

Mongo75

Member
tum0r said:
Would you recommend purchasing from a breeder over chain stores?
That's a catch-22 question, lol. A reputable breeder will give you a better choice and a healthier pet, but I see buying from a pet store more like a rescue

emilydupree17 said:
My males were fat and lazy, but God can they stink especially with their buck grease. My females were more social and wanted more attention.
I would only own females. They're generally a little smaller, more active, and like you say, not as aromatic
 
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bumblinBee

Member
emilydupree17 said:
Oh definitely from a reputable rat breeder. All of the rats I’ve purchased from stores were sick. One was infested with rat lice, one had an upper respiratory infection, one developed an eye infection after we purchased him because he was kept in a bin of pine shavings and he got a shaving stuck behind his eye. Better safe than sorry. Also, the ones purchased from local breeders lived longer (4yrs vs 2yrs) and were more energetic and happy. They just seemed better bred.
Right, I figured as much. I've thought about trying to get rescue rats, rats that were once used in labs or as test subjects. I know rats used in any kind of chemical testing are usually put down, but rats used for psyche research are apparently rehomed afterwards, and the idea is very appealing to me. Have you ever tried something like that yourself?
 

Mongo75

Member
emilydupree17, I find it interesting that we both used the term "reputable", without seeing what the other had yet posted
 

SeaMonkey06

Member
tum0r said:
Right, I figured as much. I've thought about trying to get rescue rats, rats that were once used in labs or as test subjects. I know rats used in any kind of chemical testing are usually put down, but rats used for psyche research are apparently rehomed afterwards, and the idea is very appealing to me. Have you ever tried something like that yourself?
This is how I would want to get my rats too. I would try
 

emilydupree17

Member
tum0r said:
Right, I figured as much. I've thought about trying to get rescue rats, rats that were once used in labs or as test subjects. I know rats used in any kind of chemical testing are usually put down, but rats used for psyche research are apparently rehomed afterwards, and the idea is very appealing to me. Have you ever tried something like that yourself?
I personally haven’t because I wanted specific rats (dumbo rex), but my mom has. She rescued one from a testing place.

Mongo75 said:
emilydupree17, I find it interesting that we both used the term "reputable", without seeing what the other had yet posted
Great minds think alike, huh? Lol!
 

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