Does anyone have pet rats? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-22-2008, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canberra, Australia
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Does anyone have pet rats?

I live out of home in share accommodation and often I get lonely at home and want a pet to keep me company. I love animals and although my horse is lovely I can't really take to my house or to places with me.

I wanted a dog badly, but in share accommodation they are a bad idea, and I can't keep a dog where I am, and probably not anywhere that I will go to live. And i can't really hide a dog when my landlady is always around.

Cats, well they are also hard to hide, and in a lot of peoples faces often, and while better than dogs as far as moving house goes, still not great.

So now I have found out about rats. I have no problem with rats, and I know heaps of people do for some unknown hate, which I have no problem with, their choice, but I have read around that they make good pets.

So does anyone have rats? What are they like? Can you handle them much? Can you take them places with you? Like I spend maybe 6 hours or so at my besties usually everyday, we just hang, could I have a small portable rat cage and bring them with me? Would they be okay with that? Would cleaning twice a week be alright? Are males or females better?

So any advice would be appreciated before I decide to get two.


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post #2 of 5 Old 11-24-2008, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: New Jersey
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Not currently, but I had two when I was a teen. Molly, a white rat, and Robin, a black hooded rat (pun intended). They actually make wonderful pets!! They're very smart and wonderfully friendly!! Robin use to fall asleep on my chest when I was watching TV! I also had a friend in NY who had two rats and she did EVERYTHING with her boys! She had leashes for them, they went in her car, they slept with her, she let them run around her yard! Everything!

Yes, you can totally handle them! They like to be cuddled, they'll walk across your shoulders and everything. Just try to get younger ones...if they've spent all they're life in a pet store cage, they won't be as friendly. I mean, I wouldn't be either.

And yes you can take them along with you to your friends! Just make sure you don't lose them while they're exploring new surroundings!

As for care, if not planning on cleaning cages daily, 2-3 times a week is okay. Just make sure they have fresh food and water daily. I would personally go with females 'cuz male rodents smell stronger (musky), no other reason!

Let's us know if you get any! Pictures are always good!!

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to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it"
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-25-2008, 03:08 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In a box
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I keep 25+ rats currently. Five males and then a whole load of females. They are 'just for breeding' but I treat them all as pets.

What are they like?-
They are HILARIOUS! A normal rat is endless humor, no matter if awake or asleep. It is very important to keep two or more together. Rats are very social and will spend a lot of time grooming, cuddling, and playing with each other.

Can you handle them much?-
You can handle them as much as you like! There quite fun to have hanging around and will enjoy play time with their human.

Can you take them places with you?-
In warm weather and with a rat-safe leash and harness you should be able to take them around with you. On warm summer days I usually take my cages outside so that everyone gets a little fresh air.

Could I have a small portable rat cage and bring them with me?-
So long as it's big enough. I would suggest a small wire cage for easier interaction and transportation.

Would cleaning twice a week be alright?-
Yep. I use pine bedding for my rats and clean usually once or twice a week, it suits them just fine. I have also heard that a few drops of vanilla extract helps keep the smell down.

Are males or females better?-
Both are GREAT pets. In my experience, males tend to be more cuddly and 'human bound' than girls. The only problem with males is that they aren't to shy about there anatomy. Girls seem to like to explore and investigate more. My boys tend to race back to me at the slightest sign of danger while the girls prefer to try and sneak off to explore whats under the couch cushions.

There are also 'mini' rats whom are about 1/3 the size of regular rats. My personal favorites are dumbo rats in any color, so long as they have a wedge blaze!

Just a few more tips-
Get a same sex pair, or have your male or female spayed or neutered if you don't want babies.

High quality dog food or lab blocks are excellent for feeding rats. I like to add a dried fruit and nut mix (Parrot Seed, usually) for a little added fun and variety.

Rats will probably shred whatever soft, snugly bed you give them. You can make your own hammocks out of old shirts. I usually give my ratties a cheap (but warm) cat bed to snuggle up in. They usually take all the stuffing out and make extra beds, so loose cotton fluff works just as well.

Wait! I'll fix it....
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-25-2008, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange County, NC
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Years ago we had a couple pet rats and they were much more entertaining than gerbils or hamsters, but watch out...they do have sharp, needle-like teeth.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-25-2008, 10:06 AM
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I have had one for about 2 weeks now and i have to say... he has shocked me. He is so frienldy and he is chatty. he asks you to pick him up and he kind of hangs out with you... really cool little guy!

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