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YES! Rats Make Great Pets! How Old Should a Child Be Before They Get a Pet Rat?

Updated on January 11, 2014
Awwww...so cute.
Awwww...so cute.

Yes, Rats Can Be Great Pets!

Yes, believe it or not, rats can be wonderful pets! Just as a child needs to learn to interact correctly with a dog or cat the same goes for a pet rat. Rats can be quite interesting and entertaining… loads of fun for a child who knows how to care for and properly interact with these curious little balls of fur.

First and foremost, never get a rat (or any pet for that matter) with the expectation that your child will take full responsibility for the pet. I can tell you from experience that this rarely happens. For the well-being of any animal, an adult should always assume full responsibility of the pet allowing the child to help with certain age-appropriate tasks.

Young Children Should ALWAYS Be Supervised!

Most children over the age of eight can handle their pet rat with little or no adult supervision. Obviously, they must be taught how to interact and handle the animal before-hand. Younger children should always be supervised!

It is not a very good idea to allow a rat to climb on a young child. Why? Well for one thing, rats have sharp toenails and they can unintentionally scratch! I have witnessed a young child throw a rat to the ground because they were scratched. Though the child didn't mean to hurt the rat... the rat landed awkwardly and hurt its leg (the owner had to take it to the vet later that day). If you do allow your rat to climb on children (or anyone for that matter) thick clothing is highly recommended.

The most recommended way for a child to interact with a rat (or any small pet such as a hamster or gerbil) is to sit on the floor with the animal in his or her lap. If you wish, place a towel or extra piece of clothing on the child's lap before-hand in order to prevent scratches. Older pet rats are more likely to stay calm and in one place... this is because they are more accustomed to being handled and played with. It is also interesting to note that male rats are calmer then female rats. Go figure!

Great Rat Toys Can Be Found at Amazon!

Many rats, especially young ones, would rather explore then sit still. If this is the case, have the child use toys and objects to entertain their furry friend. For example, hide food behind small objects and watch as the rat searches for their treats. Another great idea (that both children and rats love) is to build a maze out of wooden blocks. Rats love a good challenge and will enjoy running through the maze searching for the exit (make sure to have a treat waiting at the finished line as rewards are always appreciated!). Some rats simply like to be carried around in a basket so that they can observe their surroundings. This is an ideal and safe way for a young child to interact with their pet! Below are some great toys that will most certainly keep your rat busy and entertained (easy to order on AMAZON!).

Educate Yourself FIRST!

Though not everyone agrees, rats can make wonderful pets. In fact, they are much smarter than most people give them credit for. Children over the age of eight can safely play and interact with a pet rat as long as they are taught to respect and handle the animal properly. Children under the age of eight should always be supervised. Not sure if a rat is the right pet for you? Educate yourself by reading a book or two before you bring a rat into your home. The books below are highly recommended.

If you enjoyed this HUB page and have a moment to spare, please consider reading some of my other animal related HUBS. Thank you.

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Cat Myths!

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