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to be considering some pet rats?

(56 Posts)
jollymary Wed 05-Oct-11 21:26:42

Anyone have pet rats? Have DD11 and DS8, hamster and cat. How hard are rats to look after? How cute and cuddly? How smelly (kids will clean out v regularly). Any advice welcome, thankyou.

BruciesDollyDealer Wed 05-Oct-11 21:28:02

we bought a house from someone who had a couple of pet rats. Took months for the smell to go sad

NettoSuperstar Wed 05-Oct-11 21:31:14

I have two and they are gorgeous, all snuffly and cuddly, they're easy and cheap to care for and don't smell bad if they are regularly cleaned out.
Go for it.

hester Wed 05-Oct-11 21:33:14

I had one many years ago, in my teens. They're very good pets: clean, tame, intelligent. I used to take mine to art school in my pocket (I know: just the sort of thing art students do).

I assume you mean a white fancy rat rather than a brown house rat? I got mine from a lab, and it had its nest in a big drawer sitting on a tabletop. I don't think we ever gave it a cage - it just had the run of the place.

Vallhala Wed 05-Oct-11 21:34:50

Now I'd disagree with Brucies. Rats are far less smelly than hamsters or mice. They can also be housetrained and make fantastic pets, far less skittish and nervy than hamsters, not nocturnal so more fun for the family, very sociable and able to be trained to come if you call them with a treat.

They take more effort than a hammy and being sociable should ideally be kept in pairs and need more human interaction. Lots of handling makes for a very handle-able rat. They rarely bite and if folk can overcome their natural distaste for them can make you many friends. We used to take ours on the school run, they'd have the kids coming up for a stroke and a chat about the rats and the mums shuddering in a corner! grin

They need a fair amount of room too, a small cage is not for a rat and they need toys which you should swap around regularly.

Lovely pets, I'd recommend them and would still have some now were it not for owning a killer cat who looks like butter wouldn't melt. <<glares at puss-cat>>

5inthebed Wed 05-Oct-11 21:35:15

Rats are fantastic pets!

I had one as a teenager, she was great. She used to sit on my shoulder when I was out riing my bike.

Vallhala Wed 05-Oct-11 21:38:03

PS best cage is not a cage but a huge old aquarium or similar, with levels and toys and somewhere to hide. And best place to obtain one is from a rescue or a breeder via a breed club and NOT a pet shop where they are often not well kept, over bred or obtained from unsuitable sources.

ScaredBear Wed 05-Oct-11 21:39:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleWhiteWolf Wed 05-Oct-11 21:41:16

I've been obsessed with the idea of getting pet rats for years. Haven't got any at the moment as I'm making babies instead, but when DD is older I intend to give it some more serious thought. From what I've seen, they make brilliant pets and give so much back. There's a wealth of info on the web, so get researching!

Naoko Wed 05-Oct-11 21:44:14

Rats are great. I have three at the moment and have had anywhere between two and eight for the last 7 years.

They're smart, sociable and very easily tamed. They need interaction and at least one (same-sex!) ratty friend, or they get very lonely and miserable. Females are more active, boys are more cuddly - girl rats tend to be all over everything, climbing, exploring, running about, boys are more likely to curl up on your lap and go to sleep.

Girls (generally, there's always exceptions) smell less than boys, and they don't smell much anyway. You can further help this by getting a large cage with coated (not just bare metal) bars, doing a full clean once a week and wiping shelves and littertrays with a fragrance free baby wipe once a day, and regularly changing paper nesting material and hammocks for clean ones. The best litter for smell purposes I find is Aubiose hemp bedding, which comes in large bales because it's designed for horses - it's a bit awkward to store but it's awesome stuff.

They really are fantastic pets. Feel free to PM me if you want to know more, I'm always happy to talk ratlings!

Naoko Wed 05-Oct-11 21:47:08

And I must respectfully disagree with Vallhalla on cage issues - rats love to climb, which they can't do in a tank, and they are quite sensitive to respiratory issues, which is why the obviously better ventilation of a cage is better for them.

I do agree on going to a rescue or breeder though, pet shop rats have so many issues of health, rodent farm origin, bad animal husbandry, overbreeding, etc.

SockMunkee Wed 05-Oct-11 21:51:14

I have had loads of pet rats over the years, they need a big cage, more beds than rats and lots of toys. They only smell if not cleaned out and love company.

jollymary Wed 05-Oct-11 21:54:17

Thankyou all! Generally hear more good than bad re ratties. How do I find a local breeder? We are going to a local small animal park on Sat so we can all cuddle rats and ask more Questions.

Naoko Wed 05-Oct-11 21:57:00

Have a look here jollymary, it lists the email address to contact for a list of breeders registered with the National Fancy Rat society smile

ZhenXiang Wed 05-Oct-11 21:58:52

Had two sets when I was a child, they make great pets for the reasons others have outlined above.

Second what Naoko has said about tanks, I had a tank and although I cleaned them out every three days and let them out to run around my room everyday both sets I had developed pneumonia in their old age. Vet said it was probably linked to poor ventilation and too much amonia from urine in the air in the tank. I also got them from a pet shop which I later found out was notorious for having rats with respiratory infections sad

I had two boys first, they didn't fight as much as the set of girls I had funnily enough, but their wee did smell stronger. The girls were also expert escape artists whereas the boys were much more chilled out.

Vallhala Wed 05-Oct-11 22:08:02

Naoko, I bow to better knowledge. smile

I was going on what I was told by a rescue when I took my second rat on, having had a cage with the first pair. (I did say about creating levels in a tank though, in my own defence!).

Our tank was nigh on 6 foot long and had a custom made (well, made by ex DH) wire mesh top not a solid one so there was plenty of ventilation, which I should have mentioned, shouldn't I? It was cleaned every other day at least and dirty bedding removed daily but I take on board what you say with gratitude and when I have rats in the future, a cage it shall be.

ratspeaker Wed 05-Oct-11 22:08:23

I love my rats grin
I really like it when they see me and push their noses through the bars in greeting

though one of them did push a candle and its glass container off the mantlepiece this evening hmm

I'd go for a cage rather than tank for reasons stated above
Ours have little plastic containers in the corner of the cage to poo in which makes cleaning easier
We also use hammocks and other material "shelves" rather than plastic shelving as its so much easier to clean, just unclip and bung in washing machine

and other such sites show a variety of hammocks etc

They do love company so pairs or more are best

PointyBlackHat Wed 05-Oct-11 22:09:49

Rats are fabulous pets, intelligent, clean, friendly. They do like a lot of human interaction and should definitely be kept in same-sex pairs. I second cages over tanks, rats are very prone to chest infections. They need toys, a secure and private place to sleep and lots of cuddles from you.

They are much nicer than hamsters and guineapigs, we will be getting some when the DCs are a little bit older and can look after them properly.

Vallhala Wed 05-Oct-11 22:12:12

I second boy rats as being more laid back too, btw. Our first was, according to our vet, a hermaphrodite. Most confusing, but a lovely little soul. Used to wander the house at will (housetrained). At the time we had 2 cats, both of whom loved Baxter, and who would be found in the morning sitting on the stairs watching Baxter wandering around our long hall having come out of his house in the sitting room with their, "Mum! The rat's having a stroll again!" looks on their faces. grin

ratspeaker Wed 05-Oct-11 22:21:34

We were really lucky and got 2 beautiful rats off Gumtree
The people would only let the litter go in pairs and questioned us as to how we'd look after them

My daughter got some lovely pet rats from the city farm

helendigestives Wed 05-Oct-11 22:24:39

Rats are inquisitive, friendly, excellent pets. I recommend the Fancy Rats forum for information, tips, links for rehoming and so on.

IneedAbetterNickname Wed 05-Oct-11 22:32:18

my brother always had rats when we were growing up, dp had some at old house but dont have room for them here. Loved them all, cute cuddly, and not in the least smelly. smile

depob Wed 05-Oct-11 22:57:07

Rats in the house? You must be suffering from temporary insanity. Those hairless tails, the beady black eyes, the smell...

MercyDulbottle Wed 05-Oct-11 23:05:48

They are lovely, like little dogs.

However, they DO wee everywhere when out of the cage - but, you have to let them out, it's cruel not to.

They DO chew everything, computer wires etc, if they can get to them.

They die young - a two year old is an old rat - of distressing conditions - respiratory ilnessess and tumours. I've read that pet rats descend from lab rats that were bred to develop tumours easily, don't know if that's true.

maighdlin Wed 05-Oct-11 23:08:22

we have two rats, mario and luigi. we all love them. they are so funny and DD (2yo) absolutely loves them but you have to stop her feeding all her food to them. we also have a terrier mix dog and she even likes them! however my mums cavalier freaked out at them. one did nip DD when they first came home but they have learnt not to nip and she has learnt not to stick jam covered fingers through the cage. overall i highly recommend them as pets. i didn't really want them DH did but i really have fallen for them

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