Rats Vs. Mice as Pets

Two female rats.
Two female rats.
Male mouse.
Male mouse.

Which Do You Prefer?

Rat or Mouse

See results without voting

When debating between a mouse or a rat there are several things that you should consider before making a purchase.


Naturally, rats get larger than mice and require a larger cage. Larger cages are more expensive than smaller cages. And, with a larger cage, you have to have somewhere to put it. Do you have room for a medium - large sized cage?


When it comes to diet, nothing is different. Rats and mice have the same diet. You can purchase rat/mouse food at your local petstore and feed it to either a rat or a mouse. You do want to consider the brand of food. Where Kaytee Forti-Diet maybe be great in the sense of it's for hamsters, gerbils, mice, and rats, so if you already have a hamster or a gerbil, you, technically, could purchase this and feed either a mouse or a rat, too. But, with this particular food, it is high in fat, and should not be used as a staple diet. Seeded diets are not the best for rats, as they too, are fatty. You're best best is to find a rat/mouse block


Personally, I feel that mice have a stronger odor than rats do.

Female rats and mice will smell less than male rats and mice, but I have three female rats in one cage, and one male mouse in another. My one, small male mouse smells worse than my three. larger female rats.

If you clean the cage out weekly, the smell will be reduced. I have to clean, or at least rinse, everything in my mouse's cage in order to reduce the smell to near nothing.


This may be the biggest concern when deciding between a rat or a mouse.

Mice will play on you and around you, but not with you. Rats will play on you, around you, and with you, but only if socialized properly. Rats are friendlier than mice when it comes to people interaction, but that does not always mean that they will always play with you.

If you're looking for a sit on the couch and watch tv pet, neither will sit for long periods of time and hang out, but a rat would be the better option of the two.

If you're interested in more than one mouse or more than one rat, both are social towards their own kind. It's best to house two females (mice or rats), versus two males. Although, it's not impossible to have two males housed together, sometimes, it can create territorial concerns. When housing two males together, you're best bet is to bring home two males together, versus introduce one at a later time. I personally, think that you're best bet is to stick with two females of either mice or rats.

More by this Author

  • How to Train Pet Rats

    Rats can be easily trained to do simple tasks. You may actually be training your rat already.... You just may not know it. Teaching your rat to come when called- When you go to the cage and either say the rat's name...

  • Homemade Rat Diet and Food

    There are many diets for rats on the market, but you may want to vary your pet's diet with something homemade.

  • Infected Tattoo: Signs and Treatments

    An awesome-looking tattoo can unfortunately turn into a big infected mess. Read on to learn the symptoms of infection and how to treat it.

Comments 124 comments

Gracie 4 years ago

Pffft, I have a whole mischief full of male rats and 2 spayed females, they are just as friendly and loving towards each other as they are with people. This isn't an isolated event either, so long as you intro properly boys tend to get along just fine once they've established a hiearchy. If anyone is aggressive you just need to take them in for a quick snip of theur manhood and it'll be fixed up :)

Rat Luver 4 years ago

Its not at all true that 2 male rats can't be out together! I have 3 males right now in one cage and they all three live together in peace goolies intact

Justin 4 years ago

Great except for as an experienced rat owner...1.you always get at least two rats. That's only fair. And 2. I have housed over five make rats togeter at different times and they all get along fine. Don't scare people away!!!

katelyn 4 years ago

can someone tell me where i can find a breeded rat .

Nokoyoko 5 years ago

I've never owned mice before, although I've had some experience with them. I can say however that rats are fantastic pets, especially if they've been socialized with humans from birth.

Rats shouldn't be kept alone. Yes it's possible they can fight, however this is usually only the case if they haven't been properly introduced or one or both of hormonally aggressive, in which case neutering will tend to sort them out, in both males and females. It is not fair to keep a rat alone because you fear it won't be as affectionate (the rat has no choice but to cling to you, and you'll never replace another rat) or because somewhere down the line they might fight. A lone rat might seem happy, but if you've ever kept a pair, a trio or a larger group you'll see how happy they are to all pile into one hammock, despite having several. They are social animals, it is cruel to keep them alone without giving them a chance.

If you observe your pets every day like you should do you'll notice warning signs if one rat is becoming aggressive, it's very unlikely a rat will just snap and kill the friends its been living with for the past 6 months if there has been no hint of aggression before hand.

When it comes to introducing rats, don't just plonk them in the same cage, introduce them on neutral territory, in a small place where they can't run off and hide (trust me, that's not a good thing), but be there to intervene. The introduction process can seem rough, but unless there is blood it's fairly normal behavior, some rats will be more aggressive towards intruders than others. But it's not black and white, there are varying degrees. Just because rats fight doesn't mean they have to be separated, they form social hierarchies and will beat each other up from time to time.

Please don't keep rats in tanks, they have very sensitive respiratory problems and they give them little opportunity to climb, it's also unlikely they'll be big enough. Something like a Freddy one cage is minimum for a pair, but you should get the largest cage you can afford, there are so many on the market that are pretty huge and not expensive, if you can't afford to spend £80+ on a cage you probably shouldn't have rats as they can rack up that amount in a single vet visit. I've had simple check ups with a small about of antibiotics come to £50.

On the case of bedding, I really wouldn't recommend any kind of wood shavings, even if they don't give off phenols like softwood they're likely to be dusty, even carefresh sets of one of my boys sneezing, hemp is good but the best and least messy are those made from 100% cardboard.

mabmiles profile image

mabmiles 5 years ago

This is crazy information ^^, but this is interesting.

ernie35 5 years ago

thats crazy! i've introduced old males to each other when one of them has never met another rat before! you only have to know how to do it! if you don't know what you are doing they will get killed. its not easy but it is definitely not impossible!

i love my rats! i've never owned mice before but they look like baby rats... maybe i'll give them a try although i've heard they aren't as smart and not as nice...

new ratlover 5 years ago

i want to get a rat but dont know where to put it

kimmi 5 years ago

iv just woke up to find my hairless dumbo mouse has eaten the head of my other mouse does anyone have any idea why?

woopery 5 years ago

Good article though it is incorrect in saying female rats together are less promlematic than two (or more) male rats living together. I have been a rat breeder for many years and it was more common to see two females fighting. Though this itself has been extremely rare.

Male rats by nature are more, how can I put it... chilled, than female rats. They just love a good cuddle :D :)

Guest 5 years ago

I have 2 rats and they are so sweet! My friend had a mouse that wasn't very nice. I'd say rats make better pets. Grown rats may not be as cute as grown mice, and mice may be more easy to take care of, but rats are more friendly and almost never bite. I say rats!

Scar & Rafiki 5 years ago

Hey there, We are two male rats and would like to thank you for all this helpful information for our mother. She does have one thing to say though. We are both males and we are happily at home together in the same cage! Though, we are only 6 weeks old. So her info is that as long as you get us males (rats) young, Its pretty easy to house us together! She again thanks you for the helpful information about everything!! P.S. We thank you too! We LOVE Apple, and you gave our mom the idea to give it to us. THANKS!

hrlessratluva317 5 years ago

I have a pet hairless rat who i believe has a respitory illness. She has very heavy breathing that sounds like somethings in her chest and she has red residue that comes out of her nose. I have had four rats and two of my rats dies after showing these symptoms. Please tell me what is wrong with her and how I can help her. I hav done research to look for vets in my area but i can't find any. I am really worried about my little baby and I don't want anything to happen to her. Please help me if you can I am don't know what to do!

IceFeather 6 years ago

I love mice. I've had over 25 in my teen life. Right now I have a buck living alone and he's perfectly healthy and active (nocturnal though). I've really been considering getting a rat. Do they poop as much as mice? I can't hold mine without him pooping all over me every few minutes. Although, all the local pet stores have sick, infected mice and rats. I went once and some of the mice were BLOODY. And very lethargic. Ew. No one takes me seriously when I ask about a breeder. I'm afraid to breed my male, because he could get sick from the female. Any female I buy will probably be inbred and diseased.

Rattatat 6 years ago

Thanks so much for posting a warning about not always being able to house multiple male rats together. Online, I always see people demanding that males *must* be kept together. I've seen several friends now with multiple males, where the rats did fine together...until months or years later when one of them suddenly ended up injured or dead. Some of the blogs I've seen for people who insist that males be always kept in pairs or groups then later post pictures from surgeries a male had to go through for fight injuries...but go right on with their mantra. Also, whereas females will often barber themselves and develop others signs of stress from living alone, I've not yet seen personally seen this happen in a singly housed male rat (though if it did, I'd hope the owner would find them a cagemate). It's certainly not impossible to find compatible males, but to completely ignore the possible danger seems misleading at best. I'm very glad to see balanced and good advice on rodent care being offered here.

Also, I know you mentioned it in your comments, but I was wondering if you considered editing the caging section to specifically mention the value of open-air/wire cages vs. closed aquarium type caging for rats? It is still very common to buy ten gallon tanks for rats it seems, and even many of the pet stores still do this.

Jamie 6 years ago

I just bought a rat earlier today, and I've been doing lots of research. He's a male, and the man at the petstore said he's about 10 weeks old. I could only get one of them, so I do plan to give him (his name is Dave) lots of attention. His cage is fairly big, it used to be a rabbit cage for a large rabbit. But I have noticed he sneezes, a lot. And I know this could most likely be a URI, so should I take him to the vet? Will it be expensive? And is there a good chance that he'll live a long life?

chocolatebunny 6 years ago

i absolutly love rats, im going to get one and i can't wait! My hamster, Poco, died so im looking for a friend and a rat fits the place perfectly.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Sometimes they may fight, but two females can be better than two males in some cases.

Madison aarogonas 6 years ago

Hey im getting my first rats. they call them fancy rats at petsmart. i plain on naming them Kazoo and Reese cute huh! well is it okay to room 2 girls together or do they also get "violent"! thx god bless yall taking an amazing interest in a wonderful creator! =)

Emmie 6 years ago

wow you people really know a lot about rats, so do have any pointers about when you adopt your first rats????? :)

Courtney 6 years ago

I have three hooded males rats; Henley, Topher, and Jagger. They are just about 3 months old. I absolutely love them. I've had quite a few hamsters, but rats are so much smarter. They each have their own adorable personalities.

ChunkyMonkey 6 years ago

I got my rat, Moleskine, about 6 months ago and since then we've bonded. He sleeps with sometimes, and he grooms me, we play games, he always comes when he hears my voice. I spend a total of about 6 awake hours with him during the day every day. I've tried pairing him up, but he seems far happier on his own. He doesn't seem unhappy or lonly. I'm just not really sure how to deal with the situation. Like, right now, he's never locked up because he never runs and that's created a kind of freedoma nd trust between us. If I lock him in a cage with another rat is that going to cause problems in our relationship?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

A mouse

Jaazz 6 years ago

I want to get only one rodent, either mouse or rat. But i only want one of them. Which one would be better off by itself?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I have never heard of leaving a tumor for longer life. Typically, by removing a tumor, the animal will have a greater chance of survival. It may depend on the type of tumor.

Raul 6 years ago

I have 2 pet mice and 2 pet rats. All of them are females. My pet mice are much more friendly and like to play on my bed. My pet rats dont bite me often but have before and they also dont like playing with me. My mice never bite me and dont get sick often. One of my rats has a tumor and my vet says it will live longer if it was not removed. Its only a year and a half and im attached to it. I dont know if my vet is lying and does not want to perform surgery (or cant perform surgery) or if this is true. What should I do?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Because there was some separation, there may be some complications, but being that they are young, you may be ok.

lizzy108 6 years ago

i have one male rat and i have had him for 5 days nows his 2 months old i got him from the pet shop and i was going to get him a friend from the same pet shop so it would be his brother would this make it easier to introduce them?would my rat still remember him?or do you think id have problems?

rebecca 6 years ago

I'm going to be moving across the country in a few months, and I need to know how I can keep my 2 male mice calm on the very long car ride. Any tips?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You can check out the below link for housing info. It had different types of cages and size:


It's not ideal to tote your pet around with you. It can severely stress out the pet. Plus, most stores and such won't allow animals in the store.

It is good to have all your ducks in a row.

Alana 6 years ago

Hey Whitney,

Ive just read through all of the posts on this (whew!) and still im curiouse about a few things. Ive recently lost a hamster and hae been in denial about getting any other pets, but i found out about pet rats from a book i just read and now im considering getting one. My parents are both saying no at the moment but i still want to know everything about them before i try again.

So, what is the right size cage for a male rat? and what kind of rat would you suggest to a novice owner? Is it ok to carry pet rats around with you in public places? At the moment those are the only questions i need answered, thanks.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Neither rats or mice should be kept in an aquarium.I wouldn't suggest either unless you're willing to get appropriate caging.

Marcus 6 years ago

I'm not sure wether to get mice or rats. I don't have a particularly big aquarium but I feel from what I have read that mice are quite boring as pets. What would you recommend?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

No one said that you can't put two males together. It's just harder with two males than with two females, especially if purchased at different times. That doesn't mean that it's still impossible. It really all depends on the rats.

Rocky 6 years ago

Thats not true that you can't keep two male rats together, I have two male rats that I bought at completely different times, they just have to be introduced properly.. They fought at first, but now it's as if there brothers, you just have to know what you're doing..

DaniellaWood profile image

DaniellaWood 7 years ago from England

Hiah Whitney,

I agree with everything you said in your hub - mice do smell more etc. but I think mice are equally as friendly as rats when it comes to socialibility; my mice used to sit quite happily on my shoulder while I watched TV, and loved to meet other people - they were my best friends! :) Whereas all my cousin's rats seemed interested in was chewing my flip-flops! haha

dooshie 7 years ago

I have two mice they just had babies the people at the pet shop said they where both girls!!!

I love my mice

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you Chris. I only hope to help. And, yes research should always be done prior to getting a new pet, but continuous research after as well is always beneficial, as there are potentially going to be changes to proper care and nutrition.

Chris 7 years ago

hi whitney

i just wanted to thank you for helping out these people and their pets. its really nice of you, and im sure the animals appreciate the improved care. i wish people would do the research befoooore getting pets but its never too late i guess.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

If you've had the rat for a little bit, it may be hardto integrate another male into the cage. Sometimes male rats get along perfect but not all the time. You could try it out, but if they don't get along after careful quarantine and slow inroductions, you'd need two cages. Typically, rats are better in pairs though.

munkii 7 years ago

hey whitney, i have a male rat named skitz (skittlez) i was wonderin if u believe its better for a male rat to be housed alone or paired up , please reply asap thanks kiera

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Ok. Sounds good.

Alyssa 7 years ago

Ok, thank you. I'll let you know how things are going when she has the babies.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

That's probably a good idea. Just make sure there's enough ventilation and air. Aspen should be fine. The brocoli should be fine. The cardboard box won't last long with mice; even if you set them up in a neutral territory it'll need to be short term, take away, put them back together for a little longer, take them away. You can't monitor whether the male will get along with the boys long-term by just a 20 minute neutral territory trial. I would definitely consider the separate cage, as I highly doubt that it will work leaving the father with the boys long-term. The same thing can fall into place with the boys not getting along, even though they're brothers. Mice can be very territorial and cannibalistic- both males and females.

Alyssa 7 years ago

Ok, I've decided to put the male in the drawer thing until I can get another cage that he can't escape, so I'm watching him closely to see if he can get out, and if he does then I'll try putting the female in there. I have them on aspen shavings, and in the female's cage I put a little igloo thing and gave her a little toilet paper and shes already made a nest inside the igloo so I'm guessing that she's getting close to delivery. I have some fresh broccoli, would that be ok? And as far as the putting the sons in with the adult male, I was going to wait until they are 5 weeks old, and introduce them in neutral territory such as a cardboard box, in case they don't get along I'll keep the wire cage for the sons.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Wow ... Ok... the mice should be kept with the mom for at least 4-6 weeks and immediate sexed then, which can be rather hard to do since they're so small. The adult male mouse will probably bully, if not kill the babies if you put them in there with him. Mice can be very territorial, especially males. You'll want to separate the male mouse from the mom before she has the babies, as she can get pregnant fairly quickly after giving birth. Make sure to use a bedding that cannot suffocate the babies (carefresh and most recycled beddings can easily suffocate them). There's really not a supplement that you could provide, but offer a carrot piece, slice of celery, or some fresh produce as extra nutrients.

Alyssa 7 years ago

I got 2 mice from someone who fed live to their snake and the mice killed the snake. there's a male and a female and the female is already verrry pregnant, and I know this doesn't really have much to do with post thing, but I thought maybe you could help me. Right now I have them together in a 30 gallon tank until I can find something that the male can't escape out of because i put him in a wire cage, and I'm not sure how he did it, but somehow he got out and the cage is brand new so there aren't any holes or anything. I would put the female in there, but I know that her babies might be able to get out of it, so I was thinking of putting her in a drawer from one of the storage things until she has her babies, then putting her in the wire cage with her daughters (if she has any) and putting the sons(if she has any) in with the male mouse. I've had plenty of pet rats before, though all of them were female, so I never had to deal with a pregnant rat, so I just want to make sure that I keep her as happy and healthy as I can so nothing goes wrong with the delivery, and to get to the point of this is there any certain type of food I should be feeding her or anything I should supplement to keep her healthy?

Jennifer 7 years ago

Hmm I LOVE rats, Mice suck and so do hamsters, they are more likely to bite than a rat and they stink. My females i have owned are always to active and curious to sit with me or even play with me and one of them loved marking me while all others NEVER urinated or defecated on me. Unfortunately i lost both females to tumors. I now have a male, he is so sweet and loves to play tickle games. All my rats have always been housed alone and spent time together during out side play time. I once housed 3 males and 1 female mice together and they males got along with the female unfortuneately even though all were purchased together the smallest male ended up being the most violent and i had to return the larger males to the store due to serious injuries. All in All I have owned mice and rats my whole life and I will always say rats are better pets and Males are better for those who want a pet rat that will be affectionate and focus more on u then exploring everything around it. I have never been bitten by a rat but i have been bitten MANY times by mice and hamsters. (Hamster are moody creatures) LOL Another problem I have always had is EVERY single time i have purchased a rat from a pet store such as petsmart and petco They ALWAYS have URI and have to be returned for treatment the very next day...Luckily petsmart and petco will either replace or treat for free.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Sounds like upper respiratory condition that a vet needs to check out.

ilovetwilight! 7 years ago

hi, i just bougth a rat at a local petstore and he is very small( he was the runt) and i noticed that he has the reddish brown stuff around his nose and sneezes a lot....but other then that he loves being held and sleeping by me he also eats a lot and i give him fresh fruit all the time like apples and he loves them! im not sure what's wrong with him though do you have any idea? hope you can help! thanks.

Eternal Evolution profile image

Eternal Evolution 7 years ago from kentucky

Over the past 22 years of my life i have owned many pets, including mice and now rats. I have enjoyed my rats more than my mice, they are smarter and seem to have more personality. But this is just my opinion.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Hope I was able to help.

annonomus 7 years ago

oh, ok.

I'll try to get 2 :)


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

They can be kept alone, but just typically do better in pairs or small groups so that when you can't play with them and interact, they always have a buddy for mental stimulation and play.

annomomus 7 years ago

hi, I might be getting a rat soon, but my parents said I could only get one...is it OK to keep them alone? (if it helps, I'm going to try and get a male) some people say it's perfectly fine to keep them alone, but others say they are social to there own kind... (?)

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Yes, those are my rats. I'm glad that you joined HP; have fun writing.

nicko guzman profile image

nicko guzman 7 years ago from Los Angeles,CA

Whitney,I was looking at the hubs you wrote and I noticed this hub.Did you know this is the hub that got me started on hubpages.See,I even still have my post from when I still have not joined.Mice do sometimes make good pets.I never noticed that.I still prefer rats and I still do not like mice though.Thanks for writing this.Without it,I would not have known about hubpages.Are those your rats?They are adorable.Still have them?

GeneriqueMedia profile image

GeneriqueMedia 7 years ago from Earth

I agree with a couple people here, Whitney. From my personal experience I've found male rats to actually be more tame and "lazy," a better companion for a lap rat experience.

Also, I've four rats now (two in each cage) and while they are apt to play and wrestle, they are seldom violent towards each other. I've heard and read also of conflicting reports on this issue. Many will see female rats are actually harder to house, but I think in general all rats love each other. =)

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

It is ultimately your decision to make. What is the average lifespan leaving the tumor? And what is the average statistical lifespan removing the tumor?

Brianna 7 years ago

I took my rat to the vet because she had a tumor. She is 17 months old and is healthy except for her tumor. Her type of tumor is a benign mammary tumor. They said they could try to remove the tumor, even though it is very large. They said surgery on rats can be risky due to anthesia and she might chew her stiches out. The vet told me to think it over because sometimes it can do more harm than good. I'm trying to decide whether to let her live her life with her tumor or risk surgery. Can you give me some advice?

nicko guzman profile image

nicko guzman 7 years ago from Los Angeles,CA

I guess everyone agrees that rats rule and mice stink(literally and figu(rat)ively.Just remember that rats spelled backwards is "star".

nicko guzman 7 years ago

Rats make better pets than any dumb old mice.They stink less(less amonia in their urine) and are more social towards humans. Males do make better lap pets than the more active females(not to say male rats are better) I would just feed the dumb mice to my snakes(like I do every 4 days).However I would never feed my dozens of (all taken good care of) intelligent rats to my gorgeous pythons(I feed rabbits to larger ones.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

The price of the rat will vary on size, as most rats sold at petstores are sold as feeders. Breeders are typically about 10-20. You must remember that the actual pet will be much cheaper than the cage, bedding, food, water bowl, and other caging accessories. Plus the ongoing expense of beddingi food, and potential vet bills.

ratlover? 7 years ago

How much does a rat cost? My mom said I should get a pet and i can't choose. I want a Hamster, Rabbit, Mouse, or Rat. It would be very nice for some help but i need it soon. Thanks a lot

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

One rat is fine but you must give it plenty of attention. Two rats are better because they can give each other constant attention. One rat will love you, but two rats will show you more attention as they will fight for your attention. (Not literally fight, but they will both try harder.)

eevee 7 years ago

hi! i have to rats. they are hooded, i think. i love them a lot. but i heard that it is ok to have only 1 rat. i heard that if you only have 1, it will love you more and if you have 2, they wiil love each other more. do you think that is true?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Have you called around or checked the internet for specialty vets in your area. If it is a tumor, a vet will need to look at the mouse to determine the prognosis and any treatment. A vet is also the only person who can properly diagnose the lump.

Riley 8 years ago

hi, I have like a bunch of pet mice, and one of them has a tumor...or at least I think it's a tumor, I've just noticed it today, when I was feeding them. I've tryed to take them to every vet I know, but none of them have experience with mice. I'm not sure what to do...can you help me?

Walsh19 8 years ago

Sorry to bring up an old argument but i have 2 male rats and they were bought from the same shop (brothers) one was at the start growing much quicker then the other and so fights broke out. The large rat (saitan) and the smaller rat (pysco) fought for domince not to kill saitan quickley became dominate. Then pysco began to grow too and they fought again during one of these fights my mother intervened and got bitten by saitan. SHe made the decision to have them de-sexed. Once their balls had gone they didn't pee everywhere and the fighting stopped.

So male rats are fine as long as you can put up with fighting until their old enough to be de-sexed

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

The rat is probably scratching itself, which could be attributed to an allergy or mites.

Lampant 8 years ago

My rat has scars on his back, especially his upper back. There are no other animals that he associates with. I wonder if he gets these from scratching or from a skin condition. What could it be?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Typically, males smell worse than females. Cleaning is the only way to reduce the smell. I used to use vinegar and peroxide to clean the cage before adding fresh litter, and that helped, but throughout the week, they will start to smell again.

Smeagoll 8 years ago

Hi Whitney,

I have previously owned mice but never rats and was thinking this time of trying rats. However, I have heard male rats smell more than females? My last female mouse smelt really bad (even though I cleaned her cage at least once a week). I love having rodents as pets but not so keen on the smell. Is there anyway to reduce the smell other than the obvious cleaning? :)

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

It shouldn't affect your health. Just keep the wound cleaned.

Classified 8 years ago

My mouse bit me, til I bled...will it affect my health in anyway? (She bit the tip of my finger)

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

That's good his battle wounds are healing. As for the ones on the neck, they are caused by him scratching, which could be an allergy, mites, or fleas. Since they hve been separated a while, there could have been something in the bedding that you last bought. I'm not sure. You may want to consider a vet for antibiotics..

Amber 8 years ago

This is Amber again, I have a new problem with my male mouse. (It the the only male I have left, and is the older brother) He has a 10 gallon tank to himself now, and we've noticed his "battle scars" on his runp have healed quite nicely, but new scars are appearing on his neck, and upper shoulders...He has been scrathing a lot. So much near his ears that they are bleeding. Do you have an idea of what this might be? my worst geuss would be like a mange, or flea problem, but out of all the females and him (housed in different cages, as I've mention earlier) he is the only one with this problem, and I was also wondering why? if you have any information please help...

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

I would consult a vet to verify that it is a tumor. If it is a young rat, you may be able to have the tumor removed so that your rat will live a healthy life. Otherwise, how long your rat will life with the tumor will vary on your rats age, how long it's had the tumor, what kind of tumor it is, how big the tumor is, and your rat's overall health.

Brianna 8 years ago

Hi I have a rat that has just grown a tumor. It hasn't become a problem yet. She is still healthy and active, but I'm starting to worry about how long she will be able to survive with it. Do you know how long she can live with it or do you have any comments of what I can do to help her.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Samantha, you shouldn't use pine in a small animal's cage. Switch to aspen if you want to use a wood bedding. Pine can cause respiratory concerns.

Kayla, You want to make sure that they are both young, same age, and similar size, and slowly introduce them. You may need multiple cages so that they can sniff and smell each other through the cages, if your current rat/mouse is not a baby. Sometimes you may not have any problems throwing a new rat in with a current one, but sometimes you will encounter bullying. This is even a concern with littermates.

Kayla 8 years ago

How do you introduce male rats/mice that aren't littermates? (if there is a way.)

I'm gettting a new male rat friend for Kilo and they aren't littermates....and I don't want them to fight/

Samantha 8 years ago

I use a pine bedding for my mice, I'm starting to worry, because other sites I've been on say you can't use them because of dust, and the oils releases from the pine. Is the pine bedding I use ok?

I use the Premier Pet Natural Pine Bedding

It says it's dust-free, and absorbency for healthier pets and eaiser care...

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

the rats will kill the mice.

Julie 8 years ago

Can you house rats and mice together? or will they fight?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

sneezing is the first sign of respiratory illness. Yougner rats will sneeze more than older rats, but not an excessive amount of sneezing, and typically only when excited. You will see noticeable size difference in a few weeks. Rats are typically full grown by a few months old.


kat 8 years ago

do you know how i can get my rat to become more comfortable around me. i've only had him a few days, i understand it takes time. but i just wanna make sure he likes me! and also, he keeps sneezing. i've heard it could be bad, but then again i also heard a lot of younger rats sneeze. he has no discharge from his eyes or nose. and one more thing, how fast do rats grow? can i expect to see some size difference in a few weeks? thanks.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

It's actually not recommended to give them baths. do you know what is causing the smell? is the cage fairly small? is the one sleeping in the bedding where they pee and poo?

kayla 8 years ago

I have have two rats. they are so cute! but one of them is starting to smell. can i give her a bath?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

are they bullying each other? rough wrestling?

ratlovinggirl 8 years ago

i have two adorable rats, bonnie and chloe. they are the sweeetest things alive.. get rats!!!

bonnie is getting a few sores and cuts around her neck and stuff, what is it? what should i do? please help!!! thanx <3

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Paralysis is serious. You may need a vet. There is typically some underlying cause.

jenn09281979 8 years ago

I have a male mouse maybe 6 months old, and his back legs are not moving. He appears to be happy, eating and is still able to get around his cage but his back legs are dragging. Anyone know what this might be? My kids are very sad


amber 8 years ago

ok, well maybe my mom can take me to Petsmart or something to get him a cage :)

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

I'm sorry to hear that.

As for the dad, you need another place to house him. Mice are very smart animals, and you are killing him having him couped up in a pickel jar.

Buy another cage.

amber 8 years ago

The younger of the brothers died this morning :(

I don't really have anywhere to put the dad, besides back in the tank. Which I don't really want to do for a reason, and I can't put him with the females either, because I'm not allwoed to breed them for another month or so...

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Sounds like you need to separate them asap! First off take the one out of the pickel jar. Mice need more room to play and be a mouse than in a pickel jar. That's really cruel of you to do that. Secondly, get the wounded mouse to a vet for antibiotics. It doesn't sound like he's doing well at all.

amber 8 years ago

hi, my name is amber. I have 3 male mice in one cage. Two are brothers, and the "dominant" one is their dad. He keeps fighting with them, we had 3 mice to start with (1 male, 2 female) and we were breeding them for a snake (not my idea, it was my moms) so we had like 9 males total before we split males and females, and they kept fighting. I had one he was my favorite, and his dad killed him just for running on the wheel. He won't allow any of them in the house now, and I'm not sure what to do. We split them up, the 2 brothers are in the tank, and he's in a pickel jar. Does anybody have any advice?

The younger of the brothers isn't using his back legs, he's draging them everywhere he goes, and they both have wounds from the middle of the back to they're tails... please help me.

Rat Lover. 8 years ago

I absolutely love rats, but they are incredibly social creatures so I urge you to get more then one. Even if they do have plenty of toys, their brother and you will be their entertainment most of the time. The have a much healthier upbringing when raised with a friend(s).

How to tell your boy rat has reached puberty

1. You find much chewed copies of PlayRat magazine in his stash when cleaning up his cage. 2. He's given up all his favourite healthy treats in favour of yogurt drops and coke. 3. He demands you put a lockable privacy door on the litter tray. 4. 555-HOTRATS is programmed into your phone's speed dial. 5. You discover that your drivers license has been "fixed" with a photo of your rat, so he can get into clubs. 6. Scritches are no longer acceptable in public places. 7. He dribbles pee all over your house without embarrassment.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Sometimes you can be successful at introducing males together early on but there are many cases where they will fight at an older age even if that is done. It really all depends on the rat.

Deanna  8 years ago

hey its fine to have male rats housed together, yes if they're are introduced young its bnest, but if introdocued properly in a nuetral area.. they will be fine. I have four boys Ben, Edy, Breyer and Dasz. I love them to deatha dn try to educate people on rats, i work at a pet store and try to change the "eeeewww rat" person's mind.. i usually suceed.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Kayla/baby girl rats really don't play with you, but they will play on you. I'm not really sure what you mean by play with. She's an albino from your description.

baby girl 8 years ago

my rat has red eyes and white fur but her ears are a light brown like her nose. what tipe is she ?

Kayla 8 years ago

Hi I have one rat named Ruby I love her but she will not play with me. Do you now how I can get her to play with me?

hayley 8 years ago

I have a hooded pet rat and my sister has a blue rat we love them!

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Not really. They do so much better in pairs. If you're going to have one, you should have the cage space and the food for 2. Just make sure that you have the cage space, as you don't want to cramp them. A small beginner cage, just won't do for 2; actually it really won't do for 1 rat. They are social animals, and do better in pairs.

can't identify 8 years ago

Is it possible to keep one rat alone w/o adverse effects on the animal?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Because all parents are different, I'm not sure what exactlyl you could tell her. I will say rats are much more social and less likely to bit than mice are.

Gavin 8 years ago

i really want to get two rats (female) but my mum wont let... instead she wants mice :S, ive told her many times over that rats smell less and are more sociable but she doesn't listen... any tips on something i could say to make her change her mind?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you. And we do have things in common. I have homemade rat treats and homemade rat diet recipes as well. Here on HubPages you have all the time. Make sure that you have time to devote to a hub before you slap something together. I can't wait to read your hubs when you do have the time.

Rat707 profile image

Rat707 8 years ago from California for 1 year

Hi Whitney- Guess we do have things in common! :-D lol Your rats are so adoreable. Love the info to! I am soo eager to write but afraid I won't have much time this weekend. =/ Sorry! =)

kaori 8 years ago

i h8 rats im getting some mice 2marrow

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 9 years ago from Georgia Author

I meant to mention earlier, that I have a friend who's male rat has a heart disorder (at this moment, I forget what exactly), but he must live alone. Recommended by the vet.

Neutering is a great idea, but in many cases vets will not neuter them, not just rats, but specialty/exotic pets. One must find a vet who will see rats, and is fluent with their care, as a dog or cat vet is not the best option. So, in many cases, a vet with these requirements, may be accessible.

skullie profile image

skullie 9 years ago from Liverpool

I'm quite sure that rats will be more stressed living alone than they would be living with a cage mate that harrasses them. I suppose the only responsible thing to resort to in a situation such as that is to get both of them neutered.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 9 years ago from Georgia Author

I'm not saying it's impossible to house more than one male together, but there are cases where it just doesn't work out. Even with prolonged periods of determining dominance, it can stress out the beta of the two rats.

skullie profile image

skullie 9 years ago from Liverpool

I've housed up to eight bucks in the same cage at any one time. But usually, before and after they went, I only had 4 max together at any one time because I wanted to move onto concentrating on does (I kept bucks for about eight years). There was hardly any rough play, apart from when they were going through their hormonal stages or fighting for dominance, and the most that resulted from that was

the occasionally abscess. If bucks are seriously harming each other for long periods of time, they're probably having hormonal imbalances and need neutering.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 9 years ago from Georgia Author

Not necessarily... There is a big difference in determining dominance, rough housing, and fighting... My girls rough house and have decided dominance. Males can have serious territorial concerns, especially when adding a new male to an existing male. It may work for you, but it's not suggested by most long term rat raisers and such. I will admit, though, that it's not impossible to house two or more males in the same cage.

skullie profile image

skullie 9 years ago from Liverpool

That's because they're trying to take position of the alpha rat. The rough play will only last for a while until it's certain between the two which one is more dominant than the other. It's common in a lot of animals.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 9 years ago from Georgia Author

Actually, that's not 100% true. Male rats and male mice can have territorial problems if not introduced young. They don't necessarily have to be related, when it comes to males, it's best to introduce young.

I've had male rats, unrelated, fine to start, but after a few months start bullying each other, more than normal rat wrestling and play.

skullie profile image

skullie 9 years ago from Liverpool

no no no no no ! what are you saying ?!! male rats are PERFECTLY capable, if not more capable of living together with their own gender despite whether or not they are related. rats, disregarding gender, must ALWAYS, ALWAYS be kept in pairs or more.

Krysta 9 years ago

No, she doesn't have a name yet. I'm going to get her on this Sunday . My other rat "Ratella" is kinda darker than the male mouse picture. Ratella is very sweet . And very tame. So put them in 2 cages for about 2weeks ? or play it by ear and see how it goes? I've gone over to see it and it is very playful.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 9 years ago from Georgia Author

I don't think that I've seen a gray rat. I've seen blue and silver ones, maybe that's what I'm thinking.

When you introduce the new rats, do so slowly. You may want to try two cages next to each other for a while and letting them play together outside the cage. Then try putting both in the bigger of the 2 cages for a little bit to see how it goes. Just a tip.

You may want to check out the new rat's personality. Does it already have a name? Some rats will respond to a name, but that doesn't mean that you can't change it.

My hooded female (in the picture above) is named Zoe, she'll come out of her house when I say Doe-Doe. her pet name started as Zo and progressed to Doe, then Doe-Doe.

Krysta 9 years ago

Aren't rats something ! My rat is gray and has a black spot on her ear .

Those are very cute rats. I'm gonna get another rat. What do you think I should name it ? If this helps she is gonna be a hooded rat. A friend is giving her to me .

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 9 years ago from Georgia Author

Tiffany, I have 3 female rats.

tiffany 9 years ago

I think people should get a pet rat because they are smarter, and they give you more effection. I have a rat named Cleoratra! she is a hooded rat.

Do you have a rat Whitney?

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article