Today DP and I bought our first pet together - 2 lovely little rats!
We bought a cage at the shop that accommodated 6 rats, but only have our two in it as didn't want to overrun ourselves. They're two little girls, about 9 weeks old.
Just looking for any general advice from previous rat owners! We did research before to make sure rats were for us but first time owners and want to make sure we do everything right. They're currently snuggled up asleep in their cage and we've been advised not to touch them for 24 hours to allow for settling in.
Oh rats make amazing pets! You'll love them.
Bring them out quite often to play with them and exercise them but keep your eye on them as they find it really easy to jump and hide in places that you didn't know existed.
Get a few bits for the cage for them to play with including some wooden ones that are suitable for chewing on. Don't leave your expensive new boots and favourite top near the cage though or it will get chewed to shreds.
Keep your eye on them when they start to get older as cancer and tumours in rats are very common due to inbreeding - take them to the vets if you do spot anything, they tend to be on the sides of the abdomen so easy to spot and can be operated on but have a good chance of coming back again it's worth paying for pet insurance for them as vet bills don't tend to be cheap!
Can we see pictures?
Thanks - they're already showing little personalities, and are great fun just to observe!
We've ordered quite a few toys and bits and have been advised to rotate them to prevent them getting too bored, so hoping they'll be happy!
Didn't even think of pet insurance, thanks! Will look now
Not a very good picture as this is when they first went into their new cage so were a little nervous! ❤️
I love rats, I have six does currently! The most important job you've got right now is taming them and getting them super cuddly! It's worth it in the end. After they've settled in I'd begin by getting them to associate you and your hands with pleasant experiences. Everday, several times a day, I'd take one out at a time and carry her around with you. A big, old, baggy jumper, or dressing gown is perfect for this. A hooded jumper worn the wrong way around so they can sit in the hood is ideal. You cannot hold them enough! Put the effort in now, whilst they are young and you'll end up with lovable, affectionate, playful girls in no time!
When they do things that you like, like come to you, give them a little treat to reinforce this behaviour. Treats for rats from the petshop are great, or rice krispies, which mine love!
I be aware of the GMR syndrome (get more rats) as it is addictive, which is why I've ended up with six! A word of advice though, if you do plan on getting anymore, avoid the petshop as they are only in it for profits and generally they come from rat farms (awful places) Buy any future rats from a reputable rat breeder. They breed for health, temperament and longevity.
Getting does spayed reduces the likelihood of mammory tumours significantly but again you have to weigh up the pros and cons and find out of your vet actually has any experience with rats. Some are good, most are not unfortunately.
YouTube is great for rat videos and there are some really brilliant ones there too!
If there's anything else you'd like to know please ask as I've been keeping rats for years and I love it when people take a rat on as I know how much fun they are!
Oh they're so cute! You can tell they're a bit nervous in that pic but it won't be long before they're out of their shells. I want rats again now!
Thanks everyone you guys are so helpful! As first time rat owners I was a bit nervous but you've all been so helpful :D looked at the YouTube videos as well, now I can't wait to teach my little ratties some simple tricks! I do feel slightly guilty as we did get them from a rather well know, national chain pet shop but hoping they've been bred nicely and will be good girls
The grey one (Lexi!) is definitely the more adventurous of the two - she's been climbing all over the place, had a good rummage around and is quite happy to come over to the bars and stick her nose through when I sit next to them. Her sister however is a little more nervous but it has only been a few hours so to be expected! Will keep you all up to date with how they settle :D
Blue there are lots of Rat Threads on here, spend a few happy hours browsing
You need to find yourself a vet who specialises in Small Rodents , rats like all the Small Furries can have quite specific health needs.
You might be able to get recommendations from the seller , or go online and look up local vets ' webpages, they often list their vets specialities.
You might never need a vet (hopefully) but if you do, it's good to have a name and have your new rats registered with them.
Enjoy them . (I don't keep rats, I like my rodents a bit dim and non agile)
I love our pet rats. They are adorable!! I think it's their tiny hands!! They aren't paws!! They have hands like a tiny wizened wizard!! I teach p1 and bru g them into school-the kids love them! (Though my classroom asst isn't quite so fond!!) Mine love cornflakes!! They hold them individually and move their heard from side to side like a typewriter!!! Cute. Cute. Cute!!!
Scrambled eggs were always a favourite with my rats. They would come and lick my lips if I'd ever been eating them, the weird little things!
turd I love the hands too, so cute! I'm not generally much of a fan of most smaller pets (though they are all cute) but rats are totally different for me, they seem to have much more distinct personalities and are so intelligent.
blue I've always had sibling pairs and there's always been one more confident one and another slightly more cautious one. I saw your picture and assumed the grey one was the more confident as well!
I bought some from what I presume is the same place you got yours (before I knew about reputable breeders as well!) and they were fine - confident, happy, sociable girls so I'm sure yours will be fine. I do recommend proper breeders if you get any more in the future though.
Just wait until they're a little bit bigger and like sitting on your shoulder (tie your hair back if it's long!)
Did I mention I want rats again?
oddsocks they are identical to our first two! So I probably assumed they came from the same place...pets at home?? They always seem to have those markings!! Only have one left at the minute!! Sad!! She came from a breeder and is a Dumbo. She was tiny but is growing fast!! The pet shop ones were very food and people orientated. You only had to cast a glance at the cage and they'd be begging! This one isn't quite so "in your face"!! She loves a snuggle though!! She would (& does!) curl up in the kangaroo pocket of my cosey red jammie fleece while I do my school work!!
Yeah it was Pets at Home! I had a black and white one like OP but she was a properly confident and risk-taking type - "yeah, course I can jump this distance" and then looking surprised that she was on the floor but her sister was pure black with no markings.
The last few I've had have been dumbos, gorgeous things! They've always seemed more inquisitive to me though that could just be the ones that I had!
People orientated has made me giggle though, I remember my first set of rats would always run to the bars and peer through anytime I got undressed it was a little bit weird!
I had rats growing up- we once had 6 at once! They're lovely pets; like little dogs. They have their own personalities and can be really affectionate. I miss them!
I'll post properly in a bit; just reminiscing!
So today tried to see if the girls would like to come out for the first time!
The grey one is tempted and will sniff and follow my hand but not too keen to get on, she did once and then ran like crazy from one hand to another until I had to put her back as I was afraid I would drop her! She also peed and poo'd on me...
She's definitely curious though, and has had a few gentle nibbles on our fingers which I'm hoping is normal.
Her sister hid under the ledge she's been under for the whole time, and literally cowers if my hand goes near her. I didn't try anymore after that but curious as to what is best - I want her to get used to us but equally don't want to scare her!
Blue I've bumped four threads.
Have a cup of and some and indulge in the world of Rats
They are cute! Do you have a photo of them being held or anything? Just for size context!
I have six rats at the moment, 4 girls and two lone boys. We had 8 in November but have lost two since then, but they are addictive once you get started!
As Breastmilks says (I love your name!), being spayed reduces the chances of tumours. We've had two of our girls spayed. You need to get them done before 12 weeks (before their second in-season time starts roughly) for it to really have any affect and we've only had three from before that age. Our youngest we decided not to get spayed though. Do look into it, tumours are very common in rats but the choice whether to spay or not is a very personal one.
I hate to put a damper on it but most well known chain shops don't source their rodents from decent sources But I have had three pet shop rats (rescues) and they've been lovely once they've gotten used to us!
Call around vets and quiz them, some get a bit antsy about it but do your research as well about common ailments in rats and their treatment.
turd I love the head swaying It's to do with eye sight being bad, only our baby does it now but she's red eyed so her vision is worse for that. It's so funny though, they look like charmed snakes!
OP Keep putting your hand in the cage and letting them get used to you. I find wearing an old t-shirt for a few hours and then putting it in the cage helps them get used to your smell and calms them a bit. Also, bribe them. Find their crack and use it to your advantage! Our big boy and his brother loved marrowfat peas from a can when they were small, no other peas would do. We trained them to spin and stand using those before we had to stop (lack of time )
Yoggies are popular, milk bones for dogs, yoghurt, peanut butter (though be careful with it as they can choke! I water ours down or mix it with honey depending on who it's for and whether I've concealed Baytril in it!) I can't think of others right now!
Thanks for the bumping
So today we have role reversal! The scared, timid girl continued hiding in her corner so I thought I better just pick her up and see what she does - she was fine! Sat in my jumper and had a clean, ran up and down me and was generally ok. Very fast but coped well (although did practically jump back in the cage!)
The confident and curious sister acts like she wants to come out, but when i finally managed to hold her was very skittish, ran like mad and would not settle at all. Will try again tonight. Going to try and offer them a few foodie bits to see if the bribery will work! Still too quick to get many good pictures but managed a couple.
I come back with good news!!!
When DP got home tonight we tried again with the girls. Roxy (brown) was nervous again but settled when actually being held. Lexi (grey) was mad for a good fifteen minutes or so, lots of fear pooping (so stinky!) but started to settle. I had her on me for around an hour, she was letting me stroke her ears and rub her tummy, and then started the teeth chattering thing which from what I've read is a really good sign?! Then even managed to have both girls on me at the same time. Beyond thrilled with how tonight went and feeling much more confident with them :D
II AM SO JEALOUS, rats make the best pets ever!
My tip is that they love porridge; and don't leave any clothing items within grab-and-nibble distance of the cage bars - I lost a couple of jumper sleeves that way
Oh OP they're such gorgeous girls, you're all going to be so happy together! I still have laugh-out-loud memories of mine and my mum and sister and I still giggle about the antics of ours
Oh and definitely yes to handling them as much as possible now.
Be aware of the tumour thing though. We lost all ours to tumours, they were so big they dragged behind them. When we fed them they used to sit up on their haunches, drag one of them round and pile food up on it like a portable picnic table
Oh they are so cute!
The chattering can be happy or nervous, 99% of the time it's a happy noise. We call it bruxing, there is also boggling which occasionally goes along with it, which is when their eyes move in their head. Very funny.
Three videos of my boy Ashi boggling on here I can't link to the individual videos apparently
Handle them as often as you can definitely. If you have a baggy jumper that you don't mind being chewed then put that on and throw them inside, rats love sitting in baggy jumpers
Those videos are adorable rattie 😍
Our girls are slowly getting there. We've been trying hard with them and feel like we're getting somewhere. Roxy has continued to be the braver of the two, she will climb on my hand if I put it in the cage and scamper up and down my arm. She's also got brave enough to leave the cage and run a short distance across the floor to us and jumps on our arms and then back to the cage and repeats! Lexi hasn't quite got there get, she'll climb on our arms a little bit won't leave the cage on her own at all. We've also found they love cereal and bought one of those kids mini multi packs which we reward them with when they come to us etc.
(Picture is them eating shreddies in the shoe rack!)
Thanks! Ashi is my heart rat! He's a lovely and special boy
Oh they are soo beautiful! I love rowans, I so want one. I'm not sure if you know already but your grey and white one (the rowan) will completely lose the grey over time!
Glad to hear that they're getting braver Slowly but surely they'll get there
We have a rescue who we've had for nearly a year now, she still doesn't venture on the floor unless we put her there. Sofa and behind the bookcase on their cage shelf is fine
and she tends to stay behind the bookshelf... but she still doesn't like the floor! Some rats just are a little skittish!
It's good that you've found a treat they like, once you've found their crack you can train them
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