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Rats or Chinchillas? Advice please!!

(13 Posts)
Lara2 Sat 12-Mar-05 20:38:15

When all our hideous building work is done, and I have totally de-cluttered our house ( no room to swing a shrew let alone a cat!!), I have promised myself and my 2 DS's some pets. Can't do dogs (out all day), DH allergic to cats, so I thought that rats or chinchillas would be the answer. But have only had gerbils as a child, know nothing about rats/chinchillas and would really appreciate some advice. How suitable are they for a 12 year old and an 8 year old? How to best keep them etc? Space won't really be a problem. TIA

scottishmumto1 Sat 12-Mar-05 21:26:17

i cant give you much advice on the chinchillas apart from they are a lot more expensive to set up
i have a rat at the moment, i got her as the last owner didnt want her anymore. she isnt friendly as she wasnt handled before and she is too old now to tame
but i have ahd rats for quite a few years now. best thing to do is get them as young as you can and handle them a lot, especially at the start. they are very funny and clever. i use to let them run around a room but keep an eye on them. the one i have at the moment is in a tank which is a 3 foot tank but a cage or tank is good. girl rats dont smell as much as boy rats, but still need cleaned out once or twice a week. i use wood shavings and ripped up kitchen roll for bedding. they eat almost anything along side a dry food designed for small rodents.
hop ethis is helpful and if you want to know anything about rats just ask

miggy Sat 12-Mar-05 21:29:07

Rats-much hardier-cheaper to buy and house, easier to handle.
Chinchillas not good at being handled by kids-if you are too rough they get a thing called fur slip where their coat falls out. Need huge cage/dust baths etc. pretty to look at but much less fun than rats.

Lara2 Sat 26-Mar-05 10:20:35

Got 3 gorgeous rats (on Wednesday)- and being easter weekend, they're looking a bit peaky. All 3 have slightly runny noses, bit of sneezing,no discharge from eyes or ears, but active, eating and drinking. Do I try and see a vet today, or will they be ok until Tuesday? Worried that they'll go downhill fast and we'll end up with seriously ill rats. Complete novice at this and don't know if I'm being panicky or not.

scottishmumto1 Mon 28-Mar-05 10:20:40

lara what kind of cage or tank have you got them in. what bedding have you given them. have you given them wood chippings or saw dust. are they in a ventilated romm and one that doesnt get too hot and stuffy. how are they since you posted on saturday. i would have posted befor enow but too busy entertaining family over weekend. hope your rats are ok.

Lara2 Mon 28-Mar-05 16:51:15

Hi scottishmumto1, the rats are doing fine thanks, bit snuffily, but alert and eating and drinking. I did end up at the vet on Saturday - they have respiratory infections and have now got anti-biotics. (The pet shop has refunded my £14 bill and quarrantined their rats.) They have a flipping mansion of a cage - 3 storeys and well ventilated. Room not too hot and well ventilated everyday - wood shavings at the bottom of the cage. is this all OK?

Did want to ask your advice on the best way to tame them. Slug is quite happy to come to me and play for a little while, but Ratta and Roda are still very nervous, jumpy and a bit nippy. I've been putting my hand in the cage and letting them sniff, they won't climb on it. Have managed to stroke them a couple of times. I'm worried that if I don't handle them more they won't become tame, but don't want to spook them and make them more jumpy. Any advice?

My nephews think I'm mad, but they are the most gorgeous little things and I'm very fond of them already.

scottishmumto1 Mon 28-Mar-05 19:59:50

wood shavings are fine. its the saw dust stuff i wouldnt recommend.
as for handling, as long as you handle them a lot. may be just lots of short handles to start with will get them used to you. if you handle them and give them a treat of cheese or something as nice then they will know you are not going to hurt them.
how old are they. i would love another young rat. but my rabbit just had 9 babies on saturday and i have a rescued tawny owl as from today so i am busy enough.
good luck with the handling. i used to sit mine on my shoulder and people thought it was disgusting. but i loved it

Lara2 Tue 29-Mar-05 14:03:15

The rats are just 11 weeks old. Slug sits on my shoulder and runs round my neck. A little girl in my class has 3 rats and her mum brings them most evenings when she picks her up. I always get a cuddle with her rats which is lovely. So many people think they're disgusting, but they just have to get over that vermin, plague mental block!
I bet the baby rabbits are just beautiful. Where did you rescue the tawny owl from. you're right, far too busy for any more animals at the moment!

scottishmumto1 Tue 29-Mar-05 14:51:51

the baby rabbits are lovely. aint held them yet. dont want to upset them or mummy rabbit.
the tawny owl was rescued from an empty house near us. luckily someone seen it. we were very worried as he was very dehydrated, but we have been giving him water and some mice that i have for my snake. today he is doing a lot better but will probably have to keep him for 2 weeks anyway to make sure he gets some weight back on.
i used to carry my rats round with me all the time, i used to love scaring people with them when i was younger.

Iklboo Tue 12-Apr-05 14:17:49

I've got 4 gorgeous lady rats age 9months to 15months. All friendly and sweet with their own distinct personalities. Millie likes nothing better than some sweetcorn & a cuddle, Paige grooms your hair for you, Honey is the climbing/jumping/adventurous menace & Muffin is the shy one of the gang. Rats are the best!

Lara2 Wed 20-Apr-05 23:11:06

My boys are settling in - but still have respiratory infections and now mange! Bloody pet shop! Cost me another £17 at the vet last week and will have to go again this week. They seem to be perking up and getting very tame, absolutely love them. My 2 DS's think they are great and I love seeing the delight on their faces when the rats sniggle up to them! Just love that chattering noise they make when they're happy!

scottishmumto1 Thu 21-Apr-05 18:10:04

hi lara, glad you are getting on good with the rats. glad they are getting better now too after their wee hiccups

Dophus Thu 21-Apr-05 18:13:54

Rats make wonderful pets - note they are social animals and shouldn't be kept on their own.

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