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Old 12-29-2011, 11:39 PM
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Default Considering a pet rat. Help!!!

I am considering bringing home a pet rat or two. I have never had any pet beyond a cat/dog before. Im not sure what Im getting into. There is this female rat at work that I love. She is less then a year old. I am considering taking her home as they are getting rid of her (she isnt fertile). How much work are rats? What do you "do" with them? Do they pee/poop everywhere/on you when out? How much light/heat/etc do they need? Do they need compainions? There are baby rats from another female, and they said I could take one of those too. Do rats like companions? Another female? Just not sure what Im getting myself into. I shouldnt have become attached to this rat, but I dont want to see her go. Help!
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:43 PM
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Quickly, rats should definitely have at least one companion..I prefer three or four personally. They technically can be litter box trained but I wouldnt personally rely on that unless you can really invest a lot of time into it. There are a couple GREAT rat forums out there that have a TON of info. Make sure you have a appropriate sized cage (there are rat cage calculators to make sure). What to do with them...depends on their personalities and what you want Females tend to be busier and more active where males tend to be squishy cuddlers. They are very trainable, especially with a clicker.

Definitely do same sex grouping unless you neuter the males (and even then you have to keep seperate before the surgery and for a bit after)
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:54 PM
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Rats are pretty great. They should have a buddy or more (same sex). You have to make sure they're on a good diet or they will reek, females are less smelly than males and without the massive balls lol. They can be litter trained, or at least kind of litter trained. If I were you I would take her, especially since you're already attached . Remember they only live for a few years. Although they DO enjoy people, you can make them a playpen and they're easily amused with new things to chew/climb through etc. so they don't require a massive daily time commitment.

It's best to get them a cage instead of an aquarium IMO. Aquariums are easier to clean...way easier to clean but rats lurve to climb. Make sure the bars are powder coated. IME you need to clean it at least once a week. The bars need to be wiped down, and the bottom emptied. They should get a steady diet of some kind of lab block (you may want to research the best brand in your area because if it's too high in protein or whatever... they will not smell nice) as well as fresh veggies with some chicken/fish/egg/insect morsels mixed in. Instead of lab blocks, some people mix their own food, you could look into that.

Some training comes in handy (condition them to come to a clicker click or something) because if they get out loose in your house they can be HARD to get back, we had rats that escaped into the house that went missing for a week.


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Last edited by Xandra; 12-30-2011 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:22 AM
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They can be very messy, they can smell, but they are fascinating to watch. I had a pair of females, so not very cuddly, but Tabasco was amazingly smart; Rae was just a shy, bitey bitch who liked to stay in the cage.

Then again, I essentially had BYB rats in a less than optimal set up. I loved them to pieces, but there is so much I'd do differently if I had rats again.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:36 AM
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I have to say that my favorite rats ever were some neutered males that I got from the animal shelter. If you keep the female, check your shelters/ rat rescues to see if there are some neutered boys available, then you could have a busy body and a cuddler
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:50 AM
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What everyone else said..

They are great, fun little pets. They enjoy having at least one same sex companion. They're omnivores and, thus, enjoy a varied diet. They are quite dog like and easily learn their names, etc.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:53 PM
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Ok, thanks guys! I will have to look into some things. If I got her then I would take one of the babies for a companion (prob. a female, I dont think they would let me take 2). I will look into some things. I have a few weeks to decide. Considering the alterinative, I will almost surely bring her home. Can someone please post some good rat forums? Thanks!
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:02 PM
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http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc/ is a great rat forum

I just recently got two new boys, they're really fun pets!

But they aren't as "simple" as lots of people make them out to be (they aren't hard to keep pets by any means though). So many think you can just toss them into an aquarium with pine bedding, feed some generic "Rat" mix from the pet store and you're done. Not the case, that is if you want to be a decent rat owner

Wire cages are best; Martin's Cages are GREAT. A good one for two rats would be the R-680 or R-685 (I have the 685 for my boys). I use Yesterday's News as bedding, it's great for controlling odor and lasts forever. I feed Oxbow's Regal Rat; it's a complete diet, so nothing else is really needed.. although I give fruits, veggies, bread, all kinds of other stuff when I remember.

Hammocks are another thing I'd invest in.. they LOVE them There are people on Goosemoose who make them and they aren't too expensive. Another thing to think about is vet care.. rats are pretty prone to URI's, tumors (especially unspayed females), and a couple other things and when they get sick, it's NOT cheap (unless you have a really cool vet).

They're awesome little pets though!
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:18 PM
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Ok. Can I get those cages at a local store, or will I have to order them? As for vet care, that isnt a problem. Im a vet tech, and Im getting these rats from the college I teach at (they are rats used for teaching/hands on stuff). Vet care is no problem.
Will it be too cold to keep them in the basement? Its furnished, and they would be in a bedroom. I live down there too, but it can get chilly.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:18 PM
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When I was a teen and lived in another province some friends of mine had pet rats and they were very well mannered and sweet. Alberta though is suppose to be rat free so it is illegal to bring pet rats into the province. Can't wait to see pictures if you do bring her home.
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