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Rats - please help me decide which sex to get....

(28 Posts)
juicychops Tue 01-Jan-13 15:40:06

a would like to get 2 rats in the next month or so. I think i would prefer to get 2 so that they have company, although i know this means a bigger cage.

They will get the run of the flat in the evenings once ive blocked areas where there are wires etc so will have plenty of exercise.

I am unsure what sex to get. As i want 2 is it best to get 2 males or 2 females, and is it best to get 2 from the same family or from different families.

I don't really want loads of babies to deal with so a male and female is probably not best!

any help is gratefully appreciated smile

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 01-Jan-13 15:48:44

I'm not a rat-fancier (is that the proper term) nothing against them, just never had them. (I've had mice. The boys stink)

The rats I've seen in PetShops - the females are playing and winging their way across the cage (mesh on the roof that they hang onto) and leaping between their different enclosures.

The males- without exception- were sleeping. Curled up, really sweetly (with their impressive rat 'nads on full display) grin. But no playing or exploring. They'd be different I'm sure in a home environment.

If I didn't have the guineas, I'd get female rats.

juicychops Tue 01-Jan-13 21:12:45

thanks for replying. i had a look on another website and they said similar to you regarding sleepy mmales v active females, but it also said that females are more prone to tumours. When i was a teen my rat had a tumour and had to be put to sleep - although im sure he was a boy.

this website recommended females though as they are more active and playful.

is there anyone else out there with a recommendation??

midori1999 Wed 02-Jan-13 22:08:18

I have kept hundreds of rats (long story). They make fab pets!

Boys are lazier than girls, but also happier to sit and snuggle and they can get to an impressive size. They can smell a bit more than girls though. Girls are more active, don't really smell, but can get mammary tumours, which boys can't as they don't have 'breasts'. Good breeders will aim to reduce the incidence of this in their breeding programmes though.

Have you considered three? Don't really need more space than two and then if something happens to one you aren't left with a lonely rat. Do bear in mind (although sounds like you've researched well!) that most cages sold as rat cages are far too small.

juicychops Fri 04-Jan-13 11:07:28

thanks midori. Oh i don't know which i would prefer... lazy cuddly males or active playful females!

i think getting 3 might be pushing my luck a bit as my bf hates the idea of rats as it is and it was a push for him to accept that im getting 2.

I can't get a giant cage due to space restrictions but won't get a tiny one either. what do you think of this one? it seems fairly big but its the space between the bars im worried about.

midori1999 Fri 04-Jan-13 15:35:08

I think the bar spacing will be a bit wide, certainly for does and young rats will escape. I've got a furet tower and the bar spacing is 1.7cm, which looks huge and I know people whose does have escaped from them.

You can pick up Ferplast Jenny cages quite cheaply second hand. Lots of people find them a pain to clean or get rats out of, but I didn't mind and my rats always came to the door when i had them. Equinecaninefeline have some good offers on too.

Can you take your boyfriend to visit a breeder? In my experience unless people are squeamish about tails etc then they quickly come round to rats as pets once they've met some super friendly ones!

haggisaggis Fri 04-Jan-13 15:54:38

We had boys - 3 to start with then 2 died and we got another 2 . All gone now (and not getting any more as kids didn't help with them and I really don't have time). The boys became quite cuddly - one would sit on my lap while I watched TV quite happily. THey can be smelly - and when you let them will dribble pee all over the place.

drivinmecrazy Fri 04-Jan-13 16:01:55

DD1 has 2 male rats. That cage is really not big enough.

If it helps your DP, I was totally against rats (tails mainly) but when we got the babies I became totally smitten. They have definitely become family members.

Nothing to add, just that they are what you make them. Plenty of handling and they are so affectionate. We are dreading when they go sad

drivinmecrazy Fri 04-Jan-13 16:06:55

Just to add, no amount of boarding up and rat proofing is ever enough. It really got better when they were trained to their name so we now don't have to remove the sofa to retrieve them. Food also helps!! But be very careful not to over feed because they will really eat any time they are offered food.

DD has learnt alot from this website

SirEdmundFrillary Fri 04-Jan-13 16:07:47

They're lovely creatures, I think. Definately neutor them though and give them enough space, and affection. But there are a lot of books and websites and shelter places to check with first whcih will help.

strawberrypenguin Fri 04-Jan-13 16:15:09

Girls, get girls. I've had both at various times and although i've loved them all and they were all lovely the girls smell less, do more and are just as cuddly but love to come out and be played with more. My boys have all been lazy and just sort of sat there but my girls loved to play and be with you. I had one who loved to ride round on my shoulder - shed happily stay there for hours and another who after a run round would come and snuggle down my top for a cuddle.
Whichever sex you get imo they are fab pets.

Jojobells1986 Fri 04-Jan-13 16:18:22

I've had both male & females. The boys weren't as inactive as I was led to believe - they certainly didn't want cuddles, except when they got old & ill! The girls play-faught a lot but didn't really pay much attention to us unless it was dinner time! We neutered our boys because they were all relatively aggressive. Didn't need to neuter the girls because we got them from a breeder & they were sweethearts from the start! I'd recommend joining a fancy rats forum for advice, support & ideas.

I miss my rats now! We decided to stop buying more when we started TTC as we felt we wouldn't be able to give them the same level of attention. We've kept most of the stuff though so we can get more one day!

juicychops Fri 04-Jan-13 16:33:39

ok i think im leaning more towards girls at the moment.

im cage hunting at the moment but don't have a small budget. i can't find a Jenny cage local within collection range so looking at others.

what do you think of this one if i add some platforms to it....

it seems pretty big for the price.

Im so excited!! just want to get them now.

midori, i would never be able to get my bf to a breeder he's a stuborn arse and even if he one day decided he doesn't actually mind the rats he will never admit it to me, so think i will have to stick with 2 for now sad

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 04-Jan-13 17:01:31

Oooh the tails grin
Our mice (which have thin little tiny tails compared to a rat) used to whisk them back and forth to 'whip' us with them. And wrap them round our wrists when we held them.

But they do look like Big Worms wink

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 04-Jan-13 17:04:31

drivin that Dapper link went onto a clothes site smile

lljkk Fri 04-Jan-13 20:04:27

Either boys or girls are fine, boys being bigger need a bigger cage but they are much less likely to get tumours. I say get 3 rather than 2, as well.

Do not underestimate their destructive potential. They will chew carpets, curtains, sofas, door frames; any ball in the house is already destroyed, I promise you.

lljkk Fri 04-Jan-13 20:06:58

I reckon cage in last link is just about big enough for 2 girls, not big enough for 2 boys, though.

Are you or BF handy? DH built our rat cage for about what it would have cost to buy one, but the size we wanted.

HecatePropolos Fri 04-Jan-13 20:08:29

I find the boys more cuddly than the girls.

My lads used to love to snuggle into my neck and snuffle. They really were total love sponges grin

HecatePropolos Fri 04-Jan-13 20:11:49

That cage seems a bit small and really dull for rats, btw. You'd need plenty of toys in it or they'd be bored to tears.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 04-Jan-13 20:57:55

I've read that they pee all the time. As in, zero bladder control.
Are boys worse culprits than girls?

My experience of rodenty males (GPs and mice) is they smell as bit more pungent. (The male mice were intolerable TBH)

I can cope with the GPs because they can hold it in. But an male rat who just peed at will- not sure confused

HecatePropolos Fri 04-Jan-13 21:06:29

Apparently they can be litter trained.

click here

lljkk Sat 05-Jan-13 10:44:06

Most rats will only defecate in their cage, bit hit & miss on whether they wee outside cage (would be marking territory if they did). None of mine were ever dribble weers.

My experience of mice is they dribble wee a heck of a lot, girls or boys.

Jojobells1986 Sat 05-Jan-13 16:06:55

Our boys were mostly litter-trained using a corner tray. I think the girls were too but that was also their favourite play-fighting spot so everything ended up everywhere anyway!

The forum on the website linked above is a great place to get advice from very experienced owners. There are a lot of breeders on there as well so you could almost certainly find someone reputable who's local to you.

Plentyofpets Sun 06-Jan-13 18:01:36

I think boys are better first time rats than girls, they are still very playful but will enjoy sitting on you to watch TV and have ear scratches etc, they are also much easier for kids to handle if its relevant smile

I have 50 rats - rescues and my own pets, they are all different smile

They don't wee indiscriminately like mice do, youngsters will mark things but they do grow out of this and can be litter trained, mine return to the carrier for the toilet when they are out for playtime smile

Do try and get them from a breeder not a pet shop - a breeder will have handled them from birth, whereas pet shop rats tend to be produced in battery farm conditions in large tupperware tubs sad

They will cost the same or less from a breeder, but will have been bred from healthy friendly lines and be less prone to tumours and other ailments smile

Breeders list below

strumpetpumpkin Sun 06-Jan-13 18:03:30

get females, because the males all have disgustingly huge bollocks

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