Why would you have a rat for a pet?!

Rats are the most loving, intelligent and entertaining of any rodent/pocket pet. They are very clean and can learn simple tricks, such as to come when called and to sit up for a treat. Rats can be handled outside of their cage and is a necessity for their social bond with humans. A rat will be perfectly happy to ride around the house on his humans shoulder.

What is the average lifespan of a rat?

Most rats live to be between two and three years of age. Of course the age of a rat varies depending on diet and health, but these ages are most common.

What does a rat live in?

Most rat owners house their furries in a large aquarium or wire cage. We prefer large rat or ferret cages to ensure plenty of climbing room, but aquariums will work as well. Cages should have bars small enough that little ratties cannot escape through them and should have a solid bottom floor. Aquariums should be very spacious for the number of rats living in it (at least 20 gallons for 2 adult rats – more if possible) and may need to be cleaned out more often than a wire cage. Aquariums do protect rats from drafts, so if you live in a drafty or chilly environment an aquarium may be best. Otherwise, we recommend wire cages.

What kind of bedding or litter should I use?

This question is a very important one. Cedar or Pine type bedding should *never* be used for rats (or other small animals). They give off aromatic hydrocarbons that will harm your rats respiratory functions and immune system functions. Many good alternatives for bedding include: CareFresh, Yesterday’s News, Aspen shavings and/or pellets or any other type of recycled paper litter. Beware, most pet stores sell pine and cedar shavings in large quantities for cheap prices and recommend these beddings for rat litter. For the safety of your rats, DO NOT use these beddings…there are several inexpensive alternatives.

How many rats should I get?

Rats are very social creatures and should never be kept alone if possible. When buying your first rats, try getting a couple (or more) litter mates of the same sex. They will already be comfortable with each other and since they are the same sex you won’t have to worry about them having babies in a few weeks (unless you happen to buy a pregnant female)! Even when several rats are housed together they should still have time out of their cage in a “rat-proofed play area” on a daily basis. This helps them to get exercise and also allows them to become more familiar and more comfortable with their human.

Where can I find a breeder in my area ?

To find a rat breeder you can start by checking the Breeder Listings.

If checking the listings does not help, the message boards are a good place to ask many people all over the world about where to find a breeder near you.

Written by Francisco Vietto

Francisco Vietto

Francisco Vietto is one of the chief specialists of The Getafe Veterinary Clinic. He had graduated from the university by the age 24. He is the author of many scientific works on the topic of microbiology in veterinary science. Now he is a thirty eight years old family man. In the free time he is also intrested in surfing and football