parenting our toddlers

Rats as Pets
Giving Time - Teaching Skills for Life

fancy rat

This article is about fancy rats as pets.

Wild rats are common rats or black(ship) rats

Common rats will live anywhere that they can get food and water. They will live in sewers, gardens in compost heaps, or in the loft, or cavity walls of homes cellars. Black(ship) rats live inside.

Wild rats carry disease and need to be rapidly dealt with if living in or near homes. Fleas from diseased rats were the cause of the bubonic plague of 1665.

Pet Rat Care

Pet rats are known as fancy rats

Rats as pets can live between 2 to 5 years.

They are prone to cancer.

Pet rats are very clean, intelligent and sociable rodents.

They love company, we always kept three together but you should have at least two.

Rats are affectionate and love to be out of their cage with their owner

They will happily scamper around in your room under close watch of course.

Rats will sit on your shoulder as you sit or walk around your house Pet rats as pets are playful and curious and can be taught to do tricks.

We had girl rats who are very energetic and playful. Boy rats as pets are supposed to be calmer and more docile.

Our rats did not bite.

Rats need to be handled gently and regularly so they are tame.

Never pick rats up by the tail.

Rat Cages and habitats.

Rats need high sided cages that are as big as you can get.

We used a super pet ferret cage

It should have different levels in it, no wire floors though. If the floors are wire cover them with lino.

Rats as pets cages should be cleaned out at least once a week. As an addition wipe off levels every day if rats are weeing on them as this can smell.

You can also bathe your pet rat as needed. Here are some instructions

They should have hammocks(they love them). make them from old towels.

Supply lots of hidey holes with cardboard boxes.

Rats can get very hot, place cage away from radiators and windows.

Rats as pets should be kept indoors.

Pet Rat Toys

Rats love to chew to keep their teeth down so you may not want to spend money on toys.

Toys for rats can be provided cheaply by using stuff you already have.
  • For instance:
  • An old sock stuffed with hay.
  • Cardboard tubes.
  • Paper bags to hide in.
  • Empty tissue boxes
  • Here is a page with lots of good ideas
  • It has some clear instructions for a digging box.
  • Paper screwed up with a treat inside.

Rat Bedding

You can use wood shavings and then a layer of meadow hay.

Paper towels and shredded tissue are also good.

What Do Rats Eat?

Rats should be fed a good quality rat mix from your pet store.

Very small amounts of vegetables fruit and scraps can be given every so often. Ours liked frozen peas in a little water when it was very hot.

Rats should have a sipper bottle with fresh water daily.

This is not an exhaustive article on rat pets so do some more research if anything is concerning you. Rats are known to get several illnesses if you think your rat is not well take it to the vets.

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