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rats - are they easy to look after ?

(31 Posts)
doughnuts Sat 30-Jun-07 18:26:07

Just seen two very sweet female rats in pet shop - does anyone know about keeping them ?

jura Sat 30-Jun-07 18:27:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

doughnuts Sat 30-Jun-07 18:30:48

Would female be better than male ?

SomethingIncrediblyWitty Sat 30-Jun-07 18:40:04

They are best kept on their own, as they need alot of attention. If you keep two then they both need attention! They can be very affectionate and you can teach them to do tricks (apparently. I have asked dh as he used to keep rats).
I would reckon they aren't all that easy to keep as dh says they need about 1 and a half hours a day attention - like a little dog (can play fetch and everything! In the house obviously) otherwise they would be more wild, may try to escape, bite, etc.
Soooo cute though aren't they - if we had enough time during the day i would have one

doughnuts Sat 30-Jun-07 18:46:03

also, how often would you change the bedding ?

SomethingIncrediblyWitty Sat 30-Jun-07 18:50:24

Dh has gone so i can't ask, sorry!

SomethingIncrediblyWitty Sat 30-Jun-07 19:22:19

Dh says they don't smell a lot, unlike mice which reek even if you only have one.
They need their tank (better than a cage he says - the rat will gnaw bars of cage incessantly, and scratch in corner chucking sawdust on your floor!) cleaning thoroughly once a week, but partial cleans inbetween times if you think it's really necessary. He doesn't know which is best, male or female...hasn't noticed much difference. HTH.

PersonalClown Sat 30-Jun-07 19:26:05

If you have the time for attention, get just the one. Mine used to sleep on my neck under my hair. Used to scare the living daylights out of my mum when her nose would peak out!
I agree with the once a week thorough clean although I would recommend newspaper. Sawdust can cause alleries in rats and they love to tear up paper to nest in. Mine gets shredded paper (great way to use junk mail!) and lots of sheets to destroy.

oggsfrog Sat 30-Jun-07 19:46:40

I believe that the foot problems arise from keeping them in a cage with a wire bottom.

If you do use a cage line the bottom with lino to stop them getting sore feet .

mytwopenceworth Sat 30-Jun-07 19:52:33

They are best kept in pairs I think, because they are very social animals and a lone rat would be very very miserable, unless you devoted hours of your day!!

Territorial in the cage, when you get them out they are lovely. Loving, always pleased to see you!

They are prone to cancer though.

Make sure you get a HUGE cage, lots of levels. They need to be mentalled stimulated. Lots and lots of stuff.

Hang on, I know a website.......


brandy7 Sat 30-Jun-07 19:53:16

ive got a female dumbo eared pet rat,apparently they live longer than the normal rat.

ive had boy rats and they have huge knackers so girls definitely better to look at

dont have a pair, they might getalong fine or they might fight like hell like my pair did. when they get older they get tumours, mine had them on the body, but they didnt live too long once they got em, thank goodness.

brilliant pet, mines in an aquarium with wire roof, bed is a straw hutch thingy,ive got the wooden pellet catlitter as flooring, no bedding, toilet rolls, bits of wood, ladder,tubing,toys

loves titbits, really easy to look after. very clean, they have a special corner for weeing so you only have to clean that bit regular.

you can tell im a big rat fan

mytwopenceworth Sat 30-Jun-07 19:53:21



mytwopenceworth Sat 30-Jun-07 19:54:35

oh no no no you can't have just one, they get far too lonely. They need to be with other ratties, no matter how much you love them!

brandy7 Sat 30-Jun-07 19:54:59

forgot to say the other reason i wouldnt have a pair is because they have each other for company, if not fighting, so i found them not so sociable with us. whereas a previous lonerat i had, used to fetch toys and jump all over us like someone else said

brandy7 Sat 30-Jun-07 19:56:03

aw mytwotuppence, shes not lonely, when shes not sleeping shes got a teenager,toddler, me and a dog chasing her

mytwopenceworth Sat 30-Jun-07 20:02:41

You've all made me miss my rats now (and my guinea pigs, mice, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits......). I used to love having them. I had one (of a pair of rats!) once who used to snuffle in my ear every time I got him out. Just sit on my shoulder nuzzling me! I miss him.

I just don't have the time to devote to them. Plus my kids would never leave them alone (and they're not gentle!)

brandy7 Sat 30-Jun-07 20:06:24

wait till the kids have left home then buy some more all for yourself mtpw

doughnuts Sat 30-Jun-07 21:21:03

wow, thanks all,that's lots of good info...will have a think - we don't actually have much room here for a tank/cage etc, which would be another consideration. I've noticed the boy rats ,um appendages, they look a bit alarming !

charliecat Sat 30-Jun-07 21:27:16

Ok, the tumours can be treated at the vets. They are removed and no need to lead to dead rat.

binkleandflip Sat 30-Jun-07 21:27:59

Not read all the thread but can say that rats are fantastic pets, very sociable and very easy to care for.

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks Sun 01-Jul-07 20:36:26

I've got 2 female rats, girls smell less than boys. Normally I was told that boys are more cuddely than girls who have a reputation for being a bit lively. But my 2 are very cuddly. We probably only get them out the cage for about 30mins a day.

I've litter trained them so they only go in their litter tray, change this 2 or 3 times a week. Clean cage about every 10days.

They're really nice.

flack Mon 02-Jul-07 14:26:33

Aquariums are not good rat cages because they aren't well ventilated.

Totally disagree with whoever said to only get one, they are sociable and it's unkind to keep only one (like most other rodents). Ours are both very sociable, like cuddles, run up to you for attention when you come in the room, etc.

Megazorb is a good bedding, wood shavings are okay. Some suggestion that they get respiratory problems if kept on sawdust or shavings.

We have 2 does who have been very tolerant of young children as young as 2 (being dropped, over-squeezed, accidentally kicked, etc.). We let ours run around the house for short spells; but they do dig up houseplants and will pull up carpet threads attempting to "dig" under doors.

You're not supposed to give them milk products as they are supposed to be lactose intolerant (but mine love milk, anyway).

They aren't that compatible with any other pets: They either attack other pets or may get eaten by them.

GodzillasBumcheek Mon 02-Jul-07 15:13:41

I think it was me who said about a tank/aquarium. I have kept gerbils in one and they were insanely happy (had babies and everything). I did omit however to point out that you need a lid with (tough) wire mesh on rather than a closed in lid. But someone else mentioned that anyway! Does that make any sense?

brandy7 Mon 02-Jul-07 19:50:43

flack, my single rat is very happy as shes hardly ever in the cage, only to sleep.

my pair i had fought too much and the cage was always splattered with blood

whats wrong with an aquarium most people i know have their rats in aquariums and they all seem quite happy, theyre kept in aquariums in pet shops

doughnuts Tue 03-Jul-07 09:55:12

thanks again for all this info - very useful - I hadn't realised how complex rats are - or at least the things you need to take into consideration (as when buying any pet really).

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