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Rat or hamster?

(31 Posts)
KitKat1985 Sun 16-Jun-19 19:07:04

I'm thinking of getting a pet that my DDs (4 and 2) can enjoy. DD1 in particular has autism and adores animals, and I think she would love to have a pet of her own. However I'm very aware that I'm going to end up looking after it, so something small and easily manageable is probably best as I work full time etc so wouldn't be fair on the animal to get anything that requires loads of time (I did also consider guinea pigs but we have a lot of foxes around here so not sure it's a great idea).

I had a hamster as a pet as a child who I loved and he was very sweet, but obviously being nocturnal I'm wondering if the DDs would really enjoy a pet that's largely going to be asleep in their waking hours. Are rats better? I've not had rats before but am aware that they obviously need a bigger cage and to be kept in pairs, but are also supposed to be intelligent and interactive so wondering if this may be better for the kids?

bluebellation Sun 16-Jun-19 19:08:55

Rats make wonderful pets. My DDs had them and they were so friendly and playful. We did have a hamster once but they didn't engage with it in the same way at all.

KitKat1985 Sun 16-Jun-19 20:23:47

Yes I'm leaning towards rats at the moment.

bluebellation Sun 16-Jun-19 21:31:13

Re: keeping rats in pairs, my Dds first one she had as a single and he was perfectly happy. He grew as big as a kitten and was extremely affectionate - they grind their teeth when they're happy and it sounded as
though he was talking to you! They do appreciate a large cage and we used to let them out to roam around the room, they love climbing and exploring and you can set up a sort of assault course for them. I'd definitely recommend!

Rose220 Sun 16-Jun-19 21:37:50

Gerbils we've had ours for 3 years they are great to watch. There not smelly as there desert animals and don't need cleaning out as often. My kids love them.

Wolfiefan Sun 16-Jun-19 21:41:16

I wouldn’t get a small pet for such a young child. They need very careful handling.
Give it a couple of years at least. Then rat!!

TeaKettleBell Sun 16-Jun-19 21:43:21

Wait until they are a bit older.
Hamsters a bit less... verminy.
Sorry rat owners!

lovesawindyday Sun 16-Jun-19 21:51:02

i had a
fancy rat when i was a kid they are really good pets never bit me and used to great me when i got home from school. they are quite intelligent 😂

crocsaretoocoolforschool Sun 16-Jun-19 21:58:01

I'd go for rats every time

They make lovely pets, are really sociable and not generally nibbly of peoples fingers

parrotonmyshoulder Sun 16-Jun-19 22:02:57

Just got rats here to share with my 10 year old. I had them when I was younger, much better pets than the hamsters I’d previously had.
Unless you’re really going to enjoy them though, I think your children are too young.

LuluBellaBlue Sun 16-Jun-19 22:04:49


stairway Sun 16-Jun-19 22:13:35

Rats are the are the rodent equivalent of a dog intellegent and affectionate. They do need a large cage and a lot of stimulation. We had them as class pets they never bit anyone and the play monitors were terrified of them! It meantime during wet plane we had the classroom to ourselves.

stairway Sun 16-Jun-19 22:17:22

Also rats have a good grip and will happily sit on your shoulder while you go about your day.

thethethethethe Sun 16-Jun-19 22:20:14

Interesting to hear about rats - they freak me out a bit because of their reputation / seeing them in the wild.
Why not get a cat? Very rewarding and very easy to keep. You can even leave them at home for a few days and they're fine.

Wolfiefan Sun 16-Jun-19 22:41:56

A cat can live for over 20 years though. A small rodent less so.

ASilhouetteAndNothingMore Sun 16-Jun-19 22:45:53

I've got 2 very well trained rats. One is a dumbo rat, she's bigger and more chilled out, the other one is smaller and more inquisitive. My sons gave trained them to sit on their shoulders.
They are very affectionate. Perfect pet for children.

PinkCrayon Sun 16-Jun-19 22:48:35

I had rats and hamsters as a child.
Rats make the better pets.

Laurajjj Sun 16-Jun-19 22:49:34

Rats. They are so much more tamer, plus they smell less than hamsters

BikeRunSki Sun 16-Jun-19 22:53:21

I had both, at different times, when I was a child. Hamsters are actually a bit rubbish as pets, nocturnal, not that affection and font live that long. Rats are far cooler.

IHeartKingThistle Sun 16-Jun-19 23:04:41

Oh we loved our rats. Lovely pets. Wish they lived longer than 2 years!

thethethethethe Sun 16-Jun-19 23:07:28

scent marking (urine) and prone to illnesses.

TroysMammy Sun 16-Jun-19 23:10:52

Rats. Hamsters have bad eyesight so can be bitey solitary and nocturnal. Rats are friendly, fun and love company.

Bumply Mon 17-Jun-19 08:07:39

Gerbils are more active during the day compared to hamsters, and they live longer as well. Just don't put them in plastic habitats as they'll chew through and escape.
Not had rats so can't comment on that comparison

BarryMcguigan Mon 17-Jun-19 11:06:57

Honestly... I'd consider a cat. Any caged animals is so much harder work than a cat in my opinion. Their cages need cleaning daily to prevent smells and they need such careful handling to get them used to people and to stop them nipping. If you have outdoor access then a cat can enjoy the garden and you can put down food and water once a day (and with a garden most cases you can avoid a litter tray)

TheSilveryPussycat Mon 17-Jun-19 13:48:43

Rats are lovely. I've kept them over the years. IME females are lively and fun, males are lazy chilled.

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