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Domesticated rats as pets.

  1. natures47friend profile image81
    natures47friendposted 5 years ago

    We have one pet rat who was neutered at 6 months to stop scent marking.
    They are social animals but our rat comes out to be sociable with his humans and to risk a run (occassionly) across the floor. The two cats are usually sleeping when he does this...of course!

    Some people think they would have a pet rat over any other pet....who likes this thought?

    1. Jesus was a hippy profile image59
      Jesus was a hippyposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Rats are awesome pets. I never had one but I have handled other peoples pet rats and they are so friendly. They are WAY nicer than hamsters and mice. I've been bitten by loads of hamsters and mice (I used to work in a pet shop) but NEVER by a rat.

      1. jennzie profile image84
        jennzieposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I agree- I also work at a pet store and rats have a much friendlier demeanor than most of the other very small mammals. I dread when people ask me to see a hamster, gerbil or mouse!

    2. moonlake profile image88
      moonlakeposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I had a pet rat as a kid. She was so smart. I would blow a whistle and she would run and hide. When I blew twice she knew she could come out and run to me. I did all of this outside with her she never ran away.
      I think there much better pets than hamsters. They run in those little wheels all night.

    3. Melindas Mind profile image85
      Melindas Mindposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Interesting fact. My daughter did a report on rats, and we learned that rats smell like grape juice. It has something to do with the way their spit reacts with their fur. My daughter read that and went immediately and smelled the rat and she says it's true. So does everyone she's gotten to smell the rat (I wont' smell the rat, I don't need the allergy attack).

    4. Dubuquedogtrainer profile image61
      Dubuquedogtrainerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Not my choice, but I do respect that personal preference. I have handled rats, starting when I was in graduate school working in a learning lab and have learned to appreciate them, although not my personal preference for a pet.

    5. landscapeartist profile image81
      landscapeartistposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I used to have a pet rat years ago, and Max was awesome.  We lived in a 3 bdrm apartment,  my boyfriend, my 2 daughters, Max (rat), Mischief (cat), and Buck (dog), and I.   We all got along.  Max spent more time out of his cage then he did inside it.  The 3 animals would play all day together, and none of them was vicious at all.  My girls and I bathed Max every night before he went to bed in his cage. 
      Max lived 5 years with us before he passed away,  We loved him very much and we miss him still. 
      My son was given a female rat a few years ago. Sarah was moody, the complete opposite of Max.  At first she was very friendly but with females, I guess there is a need to breed them at a certain age or they can turn.  I don't  know this for sure but my daughter was told this by a pet store attendant. 
      I think it was a change in environment.  Jamie got the sister and his dad got the brother.  Within 2 weeks, Sarah was moved to my home, and then 2 to 4 months later, she moved to my daughters because I could not take her with me when I moved.  Apparently, if there is a change in the environment around 6 months of age (a.k.a. the teenage stage) the rat can become aggressive.  In Sarahs case there were 2 changes in that time of her life.
      Even so, I would still jump at the chance to get another rat.  But, I prefer males.

      1. Theophanes profile image94
        Theophanesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I don't know what the pet store attendant was talking about but I bred rats for ten years... They all have different personalities and unfortunately some are just naturally skittish, especially the ones who have been bred for feeders with no thought given to their temperament like a pet breeder would do.

        Females are different than males but not in docility... males are just far more likely to be pudgy little couch potatoes and females are going to be on the go- exploring, running around, and if she's tame she'll be playing with her owner and perhaps other pets. You were very lucky to have Max five years! Most rats only live around 2 years. I wish I could get back into the hobby. I really miss raising beautiful babies that lick their owners fingers and ride on my shoulder, etc. Perhaps someday.

        1. landscapeartist profile image81
          landscapeartistposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Yes, I miss Max.  He was more playful than I would have ever expected a rat to be.  I was wondering what the pet store attendant was talking about too.  I think they are different with their own personality and tempermant too.  I have seen some that do nothing but bite.  I always thought that maybe somewhere down the line they were bred with a wild rat, and it was just the wild tendancies coming out in their decendants.

      2. natures47friend profile image81
        natures47friendposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Wow...five years...that is incredible for a rat. Our rat has had surgery on his ear to remove a small growth. The vet said it was the smallest growth they had ever seen. I wanted it dealt with as it was growing longer and Specklez might make it bleed. we did not find out if it was cancerous  as it cost enough for the drugs. Poor thing .......he staggerred into his cage and had trouble putting one leg in front of the other!

        I bought him a ball to run in. The cats find this very amusing but he is getting used to it. He will roll back to the room his cage is in and then I take him out and tell him what a clever boy he is.

        He has been shredding paper a lot and making rather tidy nests to sleep in. So about nine months old and now he can make a bed!

        1. landscapeartist profile image81
          landscapeartistposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Oh, he sounds adorable.  We got one of those exercise balls for Max once.  He used to go all over in it, but then one day my kids let him run around free, and the cat and dog didn't bother him or try to fight with him at all.  They all would play together.  It was awesome to watch.

          1. natures47friend profile image81
            natures47friendposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            That sounds so cool! I'm not sure I'd let him wander without watching one of the cats. Specklez does take risks, insisting on climbing down to the floor and exploring. I watch him very closely then and pick him up when the cat looks very interested. He has put up with that cat jumping on his cage and whacking his cage. But he looks down his nose at the cat, like he's boss. He is cute. But he does chew his cover (privacy during the day!) and makes holes in it!

            1. landscapeartist profile image81
              landscapeartistposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Yeah it is cool.  I know all animals are different in personality and demeanor so I won't even suggest to make an attempt at watching them play.  Mischief was only a kitten at the time and Buck was about a year old when we got Max, so they basically grew up together.

              1. natures47friend profile image81
                natures47friendposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                That would make a difference with young animals. One of our cats is 13 and the playful one is two.

    6. NicholeRLovi profile image84
      NicholeRLoviposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Rats are awesome pets! I love my dogs to, but rats have stolen my heart!

      1. natures47friend profile image81
        natures47friendposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Good to see another rat fan!
        I discovered they like African Violet flowers this morning. I moved Speklez on from that and peeled and cut up small pieces of persimmon for him. He refuses to eat the skin! Very fussy.

  2. Cagsil profile image59
    Cagsilposted 5 years ago

    To each their own. I would have no need for a pet rat. Nor would I want one as a pet.

    1. Jesus was a hippy profile image59
      Jesus was a hippyposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I agree. I'm more of a dog man myself.

  3. Melindas Mind profile image85
    Melindas Mindposted 5 years ago

    I have always had pet rats. Rats are great pets. They're cleaner than hamsters and mice; rats only pee and poop in one corner of their cage and they bathe themselves regularly. Rats have wonderful personalities, and are extremely social; if you're looking for a pet and not just a caged animal don't get two rats or they will only bond with each other. Rats are really smart, that's why scientists use them for intelligence experiments.

    The only bad thing about rats is that they don't live very long and they usually die of cancer.

    1. natures47friend profile image81
      natures47friendposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Yes, it is a shame rats do not live very long. My daughters one is cute though. He is always washing his face with his fists. We did have a mouse but she got mites off the guinea pigs when they were introduced to each other. They were cured, but the mouse developed a psychological scratching disorder! Mice pee a lot and it smells. They need to cleaned out often, but they clean themselves a lot too. Sadly we put our mouse down - she looked awful and had ripped her ears and an eye. She squeaked in pain...that was horrible to hear.

      I hope Specklez (rat) does not get cancer - he had a painful abcess after de-sexing cos being a rodent he nipped his stitches out. But all wasn't lost, Specklez apparently unknowingly provided entertainment to cats along a top row of cages in the recovery room at the vets! Just as well he did not know that!

    2. Theophanes profile image94
      Theophanesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Please don't advise people to get single rats! Rats are EXTREMELY social creatures. Studies show in the wild they have up to 500 rat friends they can recognize. Getting them in same-sex pairs doesn't make them just bond with each other it just adds to the love and fun they'll give you! I've had lots of single males who were badly bred or kept alone too long before I got them and let me tell you - mentally they're not the same. They're not nearly as happy and if anything they're usually more withdrawn. I bred rats for years, 1-2 litters a month, and in all that time I made sure all my adopters took same sex pairs. Also because I was breeding for health I only was ever told of two cases of tumors ever. My beasties were living past three years on average. I was so proud. smile Cancer is almost always the symptom of bad breeding (such a pet shop that badly inbreeds or buys from even worse inbreeding mills.)

      1. Melindas Mind profile image85
        Melindas Mindposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Exactly. If you are looking for your pet to bond with you, and not with other animals, you can't put them in with other rats. Rats will choose another rat for a friend over a human any day - after all, fellow rats speak the same language, like the same foods, have the same attitudes ... I've had many rats, and the ones who had friends were not at all interested in being pet, held, or snuggled. They were getting all they need from their fellow rat. That's fine for people who just want a caged pet they can feed through the bars - if that's what you're looking for I STRONGLY suggest getting two pets so they won't be lonely.

        I, however, keep my rat with me all the time - or  I used to until I started getting hives when I hold them. She sits on my shoulder, and climbs around on my desk and shares my snacks with me. She goes into her cage when I sleep and when I am not home. She's getting plenty of socializing and plenty of exercise which is so important for their health.

        1. Theophanes profile image94
          Theophanesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          It's not an either or situation! Rats will pick both rats and their human because their human will also be part of their mischief (pack). I'm serious. I used to have a group of ten or so to each huge cage and they would come running when I came into the room. they'd snuggle on my shoulders or in my bra when I was working and they'd all run to the door and lick  my fingers like little puppies. Oh how I loved that! They are SO MUCH happier when they are in a little mischief. It's cruel to keep them alone.

          1. Melindas Mind profile image85
            Melindas Mindposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            I'm glad it worked for you. It's never worked that way for me. Every time I get more than one rat I can't even get them to leave their cage.

            1. Theophanes profile image94
              Theophanesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Have you gotten them from a breeder? Usually early socialization and good breeding is the key to this one. Don't get me wrong I've had single males before but they were all very poorly socialized when they were young or were so inbred they couldn't tell with was up and which was down. Either way these rats were never included in my breeding program as I did not want this temperament default to be passed on and that's usual in the hobby. I have never had a female that had to live singly, ever. In any event rats really respond to early socialization. I handled my babies from the day they were born on so they really didn't see me as anything different than another playmate.

              1. Melindas Mind profile image85
                Melindas Mindposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                Depends. My current rats were hand fed, their mother died when they were just days old. I had to seperate them for two reason. One, they're opposite gender, but also because they weren't showing any interest (despite being hand fed) in making friends. My rat before hand had some trauma issue due to his early life, and wasn't very friendly, but I didn't really expect him to be. He would, after everyone went to bed, come to the edge of his cage and talk to me, though. The one before that my mom got from a breeder to breed. When they (my mom and sister) realized how hard it is to find homes for rats that didn't involve them getting fed to a snake they decided not to do that again and separated them. My sister got the boy and I got the girl. Kitty was probably my favorite rat of all time. My mom had another, older girl, at the time named Priscilla, and Pris was AWESOME. Mom would keep her on her desk during the day and Pris would just scamper around and steal any candy left out. The one before her was rescued from a snakes cage (every time the snake tried to eat him, he'd sit on the snakes head). He was a sweety but wouldn't leave the cage. Ever. We had to clean his cage around him, he had serious PTSD. Before that was two girl rats that I got from a friend when her kids grew bored of them. They were about six months old when I got them, and had been handled a lot. They weren't afraid of people, but they had each other and weren't interested in being friends, either. I don't know where she got them, but I'm pretty sure they weren't inbred - they were too smart. And opinionated.

                So here's the thing. If they're content to be with just two rats, then one human (or a family of humans should suffice), as long as they're a part of the family. Why should they be with a rat, unless the rat is going to be their main companion. In your shoes I'd want my rats to go in pairs, too, because most people just keep their rats in cages and rarely pet them, but if the rat is a member of the family, then that family becomes their mischief. They don't need an actual rat to be part of their mischief.

          2. natures47friend profile image81
            natures47friendposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            I believe that is true... is so cool...rats running to you. My daughter's single one often has to be pulled out, but he like to see who is coming in as well. Last night it was colder and it was the first time he moved and tore up the newspaper....trashed his house...looked like a real rats nest!
            Do rats do that normally?

  4. Theophanes profile image94
    Theophanesposted 5 years ago

    I have had so many unique animals over the years but I have a special fondness for rats. They remain my favorites. I bred them for years and had I not acquired an allergy to them I would still be happily doing so. smile

    1. Melindas Mind profile image85
      Melindas Mindposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I'm getting an allergy to mine, too. I can't hold them anymore, I break out in hives. If I'm careful to wash my hands after I pet them I'm okay, though.

      1. natures47friend profile image81
        natures47friendposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        That is unfortunate....you will not be able to let them run in your bed...I have some good quality sheets that have little holes made by rodent teeth. I am not very impressed about that side of rattiness!

        1. Melindas Mind profile image85
          Melindas Mindposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          I don't let any of my pets sleep with me. I'm allergic to everything, and I put up with it elsewhere, but I need my sleep. Plus, Mr. Cranky (otherwise known as my husband) tend to throw things that startle him in the middle of the night.

    2. natures47friend profile image81
      natures47friendposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Theophanes - breeding rats sounds very involved. What colours did you breed. Our one is dark charcoal and white, has three big dark speckles on his belly hence the name Specklez...lol.

      1. Theophanes profile image94
        Theophanesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Oh it was very involved. I was breeding for longevity mostly. Got my furless ones living on average past two years and my furry ones living over three years on average. I bred dumbos and furless, most of which were blues, beige, agouti, or black but I was delighted to have platinum, mink, and cinnamon occasionally pop up too. I was deeply into the genetics. SIGH. Those were the days! I have a few rat hubs up but they're nothing too special, though the domestication of rats article is interesting to me. Good talking to you guys. I miss my rat community almost as I  miss my rats! You're usually very good people!

        1. natures47friend profile image81
          natures47friendposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Wow...what interesting colours!
          We keep seeing baby rats in pet shops and often think we could add a friend to ours, but Speckles is about 8 months now. Is it true that you should get them at the same age? I must go get him, he sleeps a lot during the day and its nearly dark.

          1. Theophanes profile image94
            Theophanesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            If you want an easy introduction (after a proper two week quarantine to make sure they don't have anything contagious) you should try getting a baby. Getting two rats from the same cage at the the same time or introducing a baby later on is always going to be your easiest bet. As a baby they're not yet a threat to the territory. smile

            1. natures47friend profile image81
              natures47friendposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Thanks for that...I'II keep it in mind. Specklez has trashed the paper in cage lately....could that be a form of boredom...do you think...he has not done it before.

  5. Disturbia profile image60
    Disturbiaposted 5 years ago

    My youngest daughter rescued 3 rats from a friend's house who's mother was about to trash them.  I was not thrilled at the time she brought them home.  My first reaction was... "Oh no way, those things are NOT coming into this house."  But, I have always spoiled my kids and can deny them nothing, so Pixie, Dixie, and Trixie became part of the family.  I had to get used to them, there is just something about their faces and tails that makes me cringe.  However, I must admit they turned out to be awesome little characters and I really had fun with them, once I got used to them.

    1. Melindas Mind profile image85
      Melindas Mindposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      My mom works for the humane society, and the last three rats I got I got from them. The ones I've got now were literally just days old and their mom just mysteriously died. The one I had last was released in the local high school in between periods and was barely rescued from a bunch of high school boys who thought it would be fun to 'stomp the rat'.

  6. mistyhorizon2003 profile image92
    mistyhorizon2003posted 5 years ago

    I have had three rats over the years and they do make top class pets which don't bite, are clean and don't smell. I highly recommend them. I actually had one of the three as an 'only rat' and the other two as a 'pair' (both females). In each instance they were very sociable and very happy to interact with humans independently. I personally feel rats should be kept in a minimum of pairs, because you can't be with them 24 hours a day and if you have to go to work etc your lone rat will miss the company, (I am an ex-veterinary assistant). I never noticed any difference in their interactions with people whether in a pair or kept as a single rat, (in both cases they were friendly, affectionate and happy to be played with).

  7. girlgonestrong profile image60
    girlgonestrongposted 5 years ago

    We've had rats, mice, iguannas, bearded dragons, boas, and dogs in our home.  Rats are not particularly awesome pets. Especially if anyone in the house is alergic. A shih tzu is better.

    1. Jesus was a hippy profile image59
      Jesus was a hippyposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      My friend has a cross between a shih tzu and a poodle. She calls it a shiht poo.smile

  8. mistyhorizon2003 profile image92
    mistyhorizon2003posted 5 years ago

    Rats truly are excellent and entertaining pets, but naturally they will not compare favourably with larger mammals like dogs and cats. As a small pet they are amongst the best though (especially for intelligence, cleanliness, not biting, sociability with humans and lack of odour).

    1. natures47friend profile image81
      natures47friendposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      That is true..we always have cats and have had dogs too.

  9. Bedbugabscond profile image88
    Bedbugabscondposted 4 years ago

    We have 3 pet rats, all ladies. They are all amazing in their own way. They each have their own unique personality and all of them are very friendly. They have never bitten. They are very smart animals, too. We have one cat, and due to allergies she is the only one we can handle here. I don't have a dog because we are just to busy to handle one. The rats are perfect, and so much fun.

    I was against rats at first, but I am glad I caved and let my son get them. He has autism, and they are perfect for him. They are so sensitive to his needs and you can tell how much they love him. We love them, too.

  10. Greek One profile image80
    Greek Oneposted 4 years ago

    That's a crazy idea.....
    They all should stay in Congress where they have been living for years

 
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