Rodents: Would You Keep a Rat as a Pet?

Though not everyone will agree, adopting a rat can be a great decision.
Rodents: Would You Keep a Rat as a Pet?

Written by Alberto Fuentes

Last update: 27 December, 2022

The world of pets never ceases to amaze us. More and more people are choosing to live with unusual, exotic and even dangerous animals. Keeping a rat as a pet might put people off coming to your house, but trust us when we say it’s not as bad an idea as it might seem.

Keeping a rat as a pet

The decision to bring a rat into your life is probably going to cause more than one argument with family and friends, but the reality is that many of the objections they might have probably come from a lack of understanding of these lovable animals.

Keeping a rat as a pet: what is it like?

These affectionate rodents are really sociable. As long as they’ve been properly handled from a young age, they’ll love spending time with you. Plus, they’re so easy to look after that it’ll make looking after a dog seem like ridiculously hard work.

Before you go out and adopt a rat, it’s important to remember that they’re more similar to a cat than a dog. Their ability to climb and reach seemingly impossible places means you’ll need to be careful about what you leave on the counter, and be sure not to leave food cupboards open. They’ll have great fun trying to get up to the highest shelf for a little feast…

Their intelligence will never fail to surprise you. Their ability to learn is not dissimilar to that of a cat or dog, and they rarely forget things. As long as you have plenty of treats, they are really easy to train, and capable of learning loads of different tricks.

Rats are great pets for children.

Unlike hamsters and rabbits, rats are intelligent enough to play and interact with their owners and other animals, and can be really fun pets for children.

Plus, they are rarely aggressive, and don’t usually bite. However, you need to be a bit more careful when they’re young, as, just like puppies and kittens, they don’t yet know their own strength, and may bite too hard by mistake.

Unlike other animals, they find it easier to adapt to their environment if they live with other rats, whether males or females. However, you’ll need to take precautions if you don’t want hundreds of baby rats running around your house…

Rats: physical characteristics

A rat’s most noticeable, and often most unpopular characteristic is its long tail. The tail is a very important part of a rat’s body. It helps to control balance and regulate their body temperature.

Rats are sociable creatures.

There are lots of different breeds of rat, with different coat types, colors and characteristics. One of the most popular rats is the hairless rat. These animals are sweet-natured and curious, but you do need to be careful when it comes to their temperature.

Rats: behavioral traits

Rats can usually live between 3 and 5 years. They measure between 8.5 and 11″ in length (without counting their tails, which can measure between 7 and 8.5″). Their size makes them perfect for small homes. However, if you’re going to have them loose in the house, it’s important to know that males mark their territory. There isn’t really any way to prevent this behavior, but because the quantity of urine they produce is so small, it isn’t usually a huge problem.

Rats are so intelligent that they are even able to sense your mood. Just like dogs, their behavior toward you will change if you are feeling sad or upset.

Like all rodents, rats are nocturnal animals, and you probably won’t see sight nor sound of them until nightfall. If you keep their cage in your room, you might find they keep you up at night. As a result, it’s important to get them used to interacting with you during the day.

Rats are lovable animals you’ll quickly fall in love with. Despite being one of the cleanest and most affectionate small animals, rats are still really badly viewed by society. You may find that people look at you in amazement when you say you have a rat as a pet.

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All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Muy Mascotas. Gregoria Caro. 2017

  • Tienda animal. ¿Ratas de mascota?

  • Hogarmanía. Las ratas como mascota: un animal sociable y cariñoso.


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