Everything You Should Know About Having a Pet Rat
Everyone knows that rats don’t have the best reputation, and very few people have actually thought about owning one as a pet. However, it seems that owning rats has become a big thing and many people are keeping them as pets. However, there are a few things you need to know when it comes to having a pet rat.
For one, you don’t need to keep just any rat. Rats do carry diseases and can make you and your family sick. That’s why in this blog we are going to go through everything you need to know about having a pet rat, so you can do it safely and with ease. So, grab your cage and let’s head off to learn about owning pet rats together, shall we?
Rats Need to be Kept in Pairs
Since rats become easily bored, it’s important to have two of them so they can keep one another out of mischief while you’re at work or otherwise unable to spend time with your pets. Rats are happier when they are in groups. However, they also have an alpha rat, so if you want to add to your little rat family make sure that they bond. If your rats are fighting a lot, it’s best to split them up and always makes sure they are the same gender, unless you want a ton of rat babies on your hands.
They Have a Varied Diet
Believe it or not, rats actually enjoy varied diets. They enjoy eating fresh foods, such as eggs, veggies, fruit and even love to snack on chicken as well. This is a good thing, as it keeps them healthy and happy. Make sure that you mix it up when feeding your pet rats, but make sure the food is safe for them to eat as well. Don’t forget that plenty of fresh water is essential to their health also.
Rats Don’t Usually Have a Long Lifespan
Keeping rats as pets is awesome, but they are pets that you shouldn’t get too attached to. Unfortunately, they don’t have very long lifespan expectancies. They are prone to many illnesses, including tumors and are said to usually only live for two to three years. Getting your pet rat checked out by a vet is one way to ensure they live a little longer, but you need to prepare yourself in the beginning for your rats to pass after a couple of years at the longest.
They Need a Suitable Environment
Rats have requirements to thrive in the environment you put them in. For example, they love to climb, so a cage with glass walls will not work well. Metal cages work well for pet rats, but you have to make sure that the bars are not spaced far apart or the rat will squeeze through and escape, leaving you with a rat inside your home that you can’t find. If you have more than a pair of pet rats, make sure that the cage is big enough to house them comfortably as well.
They Need Outside Time
It’s important that your pet has run around time as well. Whether you set up a play area or an entire room, they need to be able to get out and exercise. Make sure to scatter toys around the room so that your pet is able to be active and interested during their exercise time, and don’t forget to keep other pets and small children out of the room during playtime for their safety and the safety of your pet.
Males and Females Are Different
As with any other species, male and female rates have different traits. Male rats are in general the lazier of the species and will at times be perfectly content just laying around and doing nothing. Female rats, on the other hand, are more energetic, curious, and adventurous. Males grow larger than the female of the species, usually because they lay around more.
What gender you choose when adopting a pet rat, depends on what you want from your pet. The girls are more fun, but they do tend to get tumors and pass on faster as well.
Rats Are Clean
Contrary to popular belief, rats are very clean creatures. The images of them in movies with their razor-sharp teeth and claws and their nasty appearance are just that, images that sell the scene and the movie they are being portrayed in. As a matter of fact, rats love to be clean and groom themselves regularly. You won’t need to give your rat a bath, as they keep themselves clean and do it quite well, we might add. Also, since rats usually go to the bathroom in one corner of their cage, it’s easy to teach them to use a litter tray, which makes it much easier for you to clean up after them on a daily basis.
Now that you know what you need to consider before adopting a pet rat, it’s time to move into our section on the pros and cons of keeping rats as pets. Remember, as with any other type of pet out there, there are advantages and disadvantages to keeping rats as pets as well. Ready to find out what your pros and cons are? Then, follow us into the next section of our blog for the answers to help you determine if keeping a pet rat is indeed the right choice for you and your family. We will also go into some of the safety concerns with owning rats as pets in another section of our blog as well.
Pros and Cons of Owning Rats as Pets Revealed
When it comes to choosing a pet for your family, you have many different options out there. You can go to the cute and cuddly route with a puppy or kitten. You can go the reptilian route with snakes and lizards, or you can go the rodent route with mice, squirrels or rats. Deciding to keep rats as pets come with its own set of pros and cons. Read on below for a few of each to be revealed.
Pro: They Are Very Intelligent Creatures
If you have ever wondered how a rat seems to be able to infiltrate your home when you’ve taken every possible precaution to keep them out? It’s because they are actually quite intelligent creatures. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that rats can be trained faster and easier than most animals people choose to have as pets instead of them.
Con: They Don’t Live for Very Long
As previously stated, rats only live a few years at best. So, one might not be the best choice for a pet for a child. If you do get a pet rat, you need to be prepared to tell it goodbye in a couple of years.
Pro: They Are Quite Affectionate
Contrary to the belief that rats are blood-thirsty evil creatures, they are actually quite affectionate with one another and their owners. Once your pet rat is used to you and its new surroundings, they will be as affectionate as you let them be.
Con: They Get Sick Easily
One of the biggest disadvantages of owning a pet rat is the fact that they get sick very easily. Their tiny bodies are susceptible to different illnesses. These illnesses seem to strike the females easier and more often than the males of the species as well. They are also at great risk of developing upper respiratory infections as well. If you take your rat to a vet on a regular basis, then many of these illnesses can be caught in time or prevented, however.
Pro: They Are Inexpensive
If you’re working on a budget, then a pet rat may be just the pet for you and your family. They are inexpensive to adopt and inexpensive to care for as well. You have to spend the money on a cage and a few toys for them, but all in all, rats are pretty easily affordable.
Con: They Can Trigger Allergies
In some cases, it is possible for rats to trigger allergies in some people, just the same way as cats, dogs, and other animals do. The best way around this is to make sure you have no family members with chronic allergies before you bring a rat into your home.
Pro: They Are Easy to Care For
On top of being inexpensive, rats are pretty easy to care for as well. Once you have a proper cage set up and the right toys and materials, you should only have to scoop out the cage once a day and completely clean it once a week. Rats are much easier to care for than any other type of animal out there you might choose as a pet. In many cases, they can even be trained to use a litter tray, making daily cleanup a breeze.
Con: They Can do Damage to Your Home
It’s important to note that rats are scavengers by nature. They are never happier than when they are looking for something to chew on. However, if you keep them fed, happy, and contained in a proper cage, then you shouldn’t have to worry about them escaping and chewing on things in your home.
Pro: They Clean Themselves
Unlike dogs and cats, you don’t have to worry about giving your pet rat a bath. They are quite clean and have no problem grooming themselves. You don’t have to worry about buying pet shampoos or other cleaning products to groom your rats. They are great at keeping up with their own baths.
Con: It May Be Difficult to Find Care for Them
Remember, the more exotic an animal is, the harder it is to find a vet to treat them. In many cases, local vets don’t want to treat and look after rats. You may have to travel quite a ways to find a vet that is willing to look after and treat a vet, so be prepared for that before you adopt a rat or two is important, as you don’t want your pet rat to be ill and be unable to find treatment for him right away.
To Add to Your Family or Not?
These are just a few of the pros and cons you might want to consider before deciding to adopt a pet rat or two. While they do make great pets, you need to do your research well to determine what breed of rat is best for you and whether you’re capable of having a pet that will not live over a couple of years. It’s important to take your time, do your research, and then determine if this is the right pet for you. Just like any other pet, rats are a responsibility, and the last thing you want is to have to turn your pet rat out into the wild, where they won’t make it for very long on their own, now would you?
There are a few safety concerns to owning rats that you might want to consider as well. Rats have been known to carry diseases, so never catch a rat in the wild and try to keep it as a pet. Be careful of it around children and watch the claws when holding one.
This concludes our blog on everything you need to know about owning a pet rat. Do your research well, decide, and enjoy the new addition to your pet family. Until next time, happy pet hunting, everyone!
- Pets Problems Solved: 6 Things to Know Before Adopting a Pet Rat
- NYLN: The Pros and Cons of Owning Rats
- WiseGeek: What Are the Dangers of Keeping Pet Rats