Rats As Pets

Rats As Pets

Last update: 23 November, 2018

Rodents can be amazing pets that are nice, docile and intelligent. Hamsters and guinea pigs are great examples of this. However, rats can also be incredible pets and great friends. 

Rats as pets

Although most people associate rats with filth and diseases, they’re actually very intelligent animals with a great sense of survival and adaptability. They can also be very docile and friendly if they grow up around humans.

However, not all species of rats are apt to be companion animals.  This is only limited to a few species that have already been raised among humans. So, the rats that are used as pets are not those that have been picked up off  from the street or the countryside. 

Anyone that has had a rat as a pet, knowns that they’re small, friendly and funny rodents. However, they got an awful reputation that they don’t deserve.

Caring for domestic rats

Rats are not needy pets. All they require is a companion, a cage adapted to their basic needs, a balanced diet and a little mental stimulation. Providing them with all of these things will be enough to keep them happy and healthy.

Despite being small animals, they have a lot of energy, so they need a large cage. A cage with several floors, that allows them to go up and down, would be the best option for them. These cages will also provide them with more room to move around in, while taking up less space in your homes.

Rat in a blanket

Their cage should have a lot of hiding places and places to sleep. Their instincts tell them that they should sleep in small, dark places. Even if they decide to sleep on the sofa, or on your legs, always give a place to hide in.

Also, choose a good substrate for rodents. Your rat will use their cage to relieve itself. So, the best way to keep it hygienic is to choose a good quality substrate. Make sure it’s easy to clean and that it won’t accumulate dust, which could cause respiratory problems for your rat.

Rats live better with a companion. They tend to live in groups, so you should have more than one. This will keep your pet from getting lonely and he’ll have a playmate. This will help them use up all of their excess energy without needing your attention. These are all advantages!

Rats are intelligent animals that need to solve problems or learn new tricks in order to be happy. Put interactive toys or puzzles in their cage. If you don’t have toys for them, then you can teach them tricks and commands. It’s very important that they don’t get bored!

Safety at home is also essential. You can let your rats out of their cage to explore the house, but don’t forget providing hem with a safe environment. Watch out for electrical cables that they could gnaw on. Also, make sure there aren’t any holes or gaps behind furniture where they could hide and get trapped.

Health of domestic rats

Domestic rats are generally healthy animals. But frequent vet appointments are necessary to ensure their health and well-being. Pet rats have a life expectancy of three to  five years, but some have been known to live even longer. Currently, there are no mandatory vaccines for rats.

Rats love lactose free cheese

Most health problems in rodents have to do with their teeth. Their teeth never stop growing. If they don’t wear them down correctly, they’ll have problems with pain, poor digestion or they even won’t be able to eat.

Feeding your pet rat

Pet rats are omnivorous, which means they eat all types of food and they must be given a complete and varied diet. They should also always have fresh water close by.

The easiest way to ensure that your rat is fed properly is to give them food that’s specially made for rats. However, you should avoid seed-based rat feed. But that’s not all, they should also always have fresh food within their reach. 

As for fruits and vegetables, you can offer them a daily mix of different veggies and fresh products. Let them choose their favorites, such as spinach, tomato, carrots and zucchini. You should also give them grains like rice, bread and pasta, as well as legumes. As for animal protein, you can give them eggs, chicken or lactose-free fresh cheese.

All of the foods that were mentioned — except those of animal origin — must be raw and natural. Avoid salt, oil, spices, sugar or any additives. The fresher the food is, the better it is for their health.

If you’re looking for a fun, sociable, affectionate and intelligent pet, rats are a great option. Make sure to stimulate their mental capacities, provide them with a balanced diet and enjoy their friendship for many years. 

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.