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Old 01-13-2018, 01:44 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 74
Default Rats

I have begun to take an interest in rats. I would like to get one or two, but I want to research them and know as much as possible before I acquire one, so that I know I really want one and that I can take the best care possible of a little rattie or two. If you can answer one or more of any of the questions below I would be extremely grateful!

1. Do you need to have more than 1?
2. Are males or females friendlier?
3. Are there different breeds/varieties of rats?
4. How much do rats cost per month overall?
5. Do they bite/are they often aggressive?
6. Do they need a wheel?
7. What type of bedding is best to use for them?
8. What is their temperament like?
9. What is your recommendation on rats?
10. Do they have depth perception? For example, I know that hamsters don't and that you have to be careful when letting them play on your bed or on other surfaces. Example: Could you let them run around your bedroom with supervision? Or do you generally just let them sit in your hands?

I would appreciate any advice or tips on rat ownership.

Thanks in advance for any answers! I'm searching around for an educational rattie forum to join. Iv'e been told that they act just like little dogs and make great pets.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:01 PM   #2
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Location: Wales UK
Posts: 19,734
Default Re: Rats

I'm not sure how many active members keep rats now but if you have a look through the other pets section you'll find quite a few rat threads.
I don't know that much about them but I do know that they are very social & you must have more than one, they usually tend to be kept in groups.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:39 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 2,363
Default Re: Rats

Some member on here have rats so they might be able to help when they see this thread. I have never own rats myself but want to have some in the future so have done a little research, so can answer a few of your questions

1. Rats need to be kept in pairs or small groups as they are really sociable animal and really enjoy one another company.

3. There are quite a lot of varieties of rats - including Standard, Hairless, Dumbo, Rex, Satin.

5. From the research I have done Rats are friendly animals and don't often bite - and like you mentioned have personality like dogs and can form close bond with their owners. But as I have never owned rats I cannot say for certain.

6. I don't think wheel are a necessity for rats like they are with hamsters - although not 100%

7. Also Rats need a dust free bedding - like either fleece or paper/wood pellets - as they are prone to respiratory infections
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Old 01-25-2018, 11:09 AM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Birmingham
Posts: 7,363
Default Re: Rats


Sorry, I usually notice ratty threads I have kept rats for 8 years now, I show them and can't imagine life without them!

1. Do you need to have more than 1?

Yes. Rats MUST be kept in at least same age pairs. You can introduce pairs to other rat pairs or trios to make a larger group. They are very social and even though a lone rat may seem happy with human company, a human can never replace ratty friends I like a group of around 5-7 personally, that suits my life and space.

2. Are males or females friendlier?

Each rat, like hamsters, are individual. It depends on their breeding and how they have been raised and tamed. Generally males are more laid back and females more active but this is very general. I have met lots of cuddly females and owned many hyper males!

3. Are there different breeds/varieties of rats?

All rats are a single breed but they do come in lots of varieties and coat types. Ears are often mistaken as different breeds. There are top ears or dumbo ears.

Coats can come in smooth, rex (wavy with curly whiskers), satin (like hamsters, very soft and shiny), double rex (the rat sheds its coat so is bald for a period and curly/wavy when not) and bald. It is not generally recommended to have double rex or bald rats due to numerous health issues.

The "standard" rat colour is agouti, like a wild rat but there are so many new and lovely colours and markings being bred. Take a look on the NFRS website for the currently approved show colours. And of course, there are always odd jumbles and mixes that wouldn't make it to the show bench!

4. How much do rats cost per month overall?

This all depends on how many you have and how much "bulk" buying you want to do. The initial set up is costly. To get a good decent cage is a good investment. I then use horse bedding, finacard and buy it in two bales at a time. I also buy 15kg bags of food so my costs can seem a lot but spread over the year I think I worked it out my avg group of 6 costs perhaps 4 a month bedding and food.

However, rats are prone to illness. Respiratory and lumps being the main causes so a decent vet fund is a must. You would be hard pressed to find a rat that hasn't needed vet or medical treatment at some point in its life. Experience can help though. I now know how to treat absesses at home and cut nails so vet visits have been cut down by learning some basic ratty first aid. This has only been possible by meeting other owners at my local rat club Again, certain varities are prone to different conditions but a good breeder will work toards lines that have a better health history.

5. Do they bite/are they often aggressive?

Not if you got your rats from a decent breeder who picked good parents and raised them well from kits! Rats will play or dominance fight occassionally being group animals but real agression isn't something you should worry about. Males can get hormonal around 4-8 months and if they are bullying the group neutering is a common option. However, in all my years keeping rats ive only ever had a few bits and most of that was my own fault..poking fingers through bars etc

6. Do they need a wheel?

The experiences of most people is that females tend to take to a wheel more than males..who tend to just pee in them! Getting a wheel big enough to fit in your cage can be expensive though and they shouldn't be wired. Tic-Tac wheels are the popular brand atm but average around 50 I believe. You would generally have your rats out more than a hamster to free range them so a wheel in the cage isn't as important as a hamster who would be active mostly when you sleep so would need that kind of exercise.

7. What type of bedding is best to use for them?

Sawdust isn't great due to being prone to resp issues. Many opt for cardboard based bedding like finacard or bedmax. Others may fleece line a cage but this will require more upkeep. Rats can be litter trained so a recycled based cat litter like back 2 nature is a popular choice in the litter tray.

8. What is their temperament like?

Again, every rat is different but if you have a good breeder rats are very social. I have a boy that never stops licking me and all have different personalities. Some are shy and cuddly, others hyper and explorative. I love hamsters but I have always thought rats make better pets for children as they are so friendly...and hardy!

9. What is your recommendation on rats?

Like pringles, once you get rats you can't stop! They do take time but become part of the family like a cat or dog so if you only plan to get them out once a week I'd say avoid rats. They are social, clever, cheeky and leave a big impression. They don't have a large lifespan though so that can be hard to deal with. Why not visit a local rat show to meet rats and see how different they all are? I am unsire your location but there are midland rat club, northern rat club, national fancy rat society that all hold shows.

10. Do they have depth perception? For example, I know that hamsters don't and that you have to be careful when letting them play on your bed or on other surfaces. Example: Could you let them run around your bedroom with supervision? Or do you generally just let them sit in your hands?

Rats will explore everywhere!!! I close the doors on my upstairs landing and put out tunnels and boxes etc. They like to climb up and down the stairs and all over me. Older rats tend to sit on you more like a "lap rat" and they will cuddle up to you but as with any pet it is always good to supervise them. Rats don't have great eyesight but they have great balance, many people walk around with them on their shoulder! I have mine on the sofa with me too, we all curl up under a blanket

Any other questions, feel free to ask xxx
Feel free to ask me about rat advice too
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