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Rat Phobia

Updated on October 28, 2018


Rats - Not my idea of a pet

Rats are something I have given a lot of thought about, and I am sure I am not the only one that feels like this about rats.

One night after going to bed, when the lights were out, there was this noise like something moving and chewing, in the top of my wardrobe. I was petrified and many memories came back to me of my early years of childhood and rats.

So here I am, going to put this down in writing and hope it will get rid of my rat phobia.

Brown Rat


Rats are supposed to be cute and lovable pets - but not to me.

This is a real phobia, not just simple fear, it makes my heart pound, tear-inducing, scared to move, in case it heads my way, if out in the garden, or someplace I cannot find shelter, I become paralysed and have to wait until I cannot see it, before I can move.

Rats play a large part in my life as growing up, starting when I was quite young, as my parents kept fowls, chicken they reared from 1 day old,and sold eggs. (Poultry Farm). Rats would scuttle around eating chicken feed and I dreaded seeing their large bodies scurrying away from sheets of iron if disturbed under trees and shrubs in the garden. But most of all hearing a rat scream if trapped in a bag of wheat, my parents would feed to the hens, a real blood curdling high pitch scream and I have not forgotten it, even 65 years later.

Now thinking about that years later, my brain, if it registers rat, I go cold with fear. I cannot even watch TV if there are rats on the screen as I feel that they are walking over my skin. So here I am, making this lens with the hope after I have studied rats and finished this lens, I will learn to accept them.By writing this and getting my fear out in the open, hopefully, I will be able to understand how anyone can keep a rat as a pet and accept them as just another animal and as long as I do not hurt them, they will not touch me.

Who knows why I react so intensely to such a small animal? I will probably never know, but I'm determined that I won't let it beat me again, now I am writing about it I will beat that dread of rats, I have not won with my phobia yet).

It's now October 2016, nothing's changed, I have given up trying to feel different to them and just accept them, and no it's not working writing about them.

River Rat

Brown New Zealand Rat

This is the rat I cannot bear to be around, it is large to me.

Arriving before 1800 (perhaps on James Cook's vessels), brown rats have posed a serious threat to many of New Zealand's native animals. Rat eradication programs within New Zealand have led to rat-free zones on offshore islands and even on fenced "ecological islands" on the mainland.

Before an eradication effort was launched in 2001, the sub-Antarctic Campbell Island had the highest population density of brown rats in the world. Even here in East Taranaki we have traps set to try and help the kiwis breeding it is a never ending task as the rats breed so fast.

Even here in East Taranaki, where I live we have traps set to try and help the kiwis breeding it is a never ending task as the rats breed so fast.

The brown rat, common rat, sewer rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, Brown Norway rat, Norwegian rat, or wharf rat (Rattus norvegicus) is one of the best known and most common rats.

One of the largest muroids, it is a brown or gray rodent with a body up to 25 cm (10 in) long, and a similar tail length; the male weighs on average 350 g (12 oz) and the female 250 g (9 oz).

Thought to have originated in northern China, this rodent has now spread to all continents, except Antarctica, and is the dominant rat in Europe and much of North America-making it the most successful mammal on the planet after humans. Indeed, with rare exceptions the brown rat lives wherever humans live, particularly in urban areas.

Selective breeding of Rattus norvegicus has produced the laboratory rat, an important model organism in biological research, as well as pet rats.

Baby Pet Rat

Rats as pets

Keeping Rats as Pets

Rats are intelligent, social animals that can make wonderful pets. They are omnivores, eat anything they find that remotely looks like food.

Rats are extremely smart and very trainable. They can learn their own names, come when they are called. Some can also be trained to use litter boxes. yes just like kittens. Affectionately groom and give you kisses and are easily tamed. Relatively easy to care for, but are not low maintenance pets.

Require a fair amount of attention and exercise time outside of their cages (at least an hour a day is ideal). Rats are very social and do best if kept with other rats.Same sex pairs or groups are ideal.

Males usually get along fine with other males especially if introduced at a young age or they are littermates. Keeping rats in groups does not make them more difficult to tame if they are handled from a young age. Rats are very curious.

Many owners compare the companionship of a rat to that of a dog.

To the owners of pet rats they are the equal of dogs and cats in playfulness, personality, and intelligence, and make a great friend to enjoy, as long as they are looked after the right way, feed and cleaned out and not let go smelly, you can have a great relationship with them.

Wishing you every success with your pet rat.

Pet Rats Playing and Doing Tricks

Do You Like Rats?

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    • Elsie Hagley profile imageAUTHOR

      Elsie Hagley 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      peachpurple: oh dear me, as I read your comment I felt that rat run over me, I went cold.

      Nothing will ever change my mind about rats.

      I wonder how many others when reading this comment can actually have the same feelings about rats, it's a very positive feeling and it's nasty?

      The world can do without them.

    • peachpurple profile image


      6 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      in the past, i used to stay in a shop house, during the night, a big fat rat ran across my legs which scared the hell out of me.

    • Elsie Hagley profile imageAUTHOR

      Elsie Hagley 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      @lbmiranda: Thanks for commenting. I admire you, even though you are saying that the tail bothers you, you are coping with it, I couldn't do that. All though I can't cope with rats, I sure hope your little dog does not eat him, that would be a worry.

    • lbmiranda profile image


      7 years ago

      We have a pet rat. Never thought in a million years but he's very sweet and it's the tail that bothers me. He's fun to watch him eat but my Yorkie dog wants to eat him! Kudos for your lens considering your phobia!

    • Elsie Hagley profile imageAUTHOR

      Elsie Hagley 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      @squidoopets: Thanks for visiting and commenting. Still hoping to over come this phobia. Thanks for the blessing.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 

      8 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      I do love pet rats - we have three of them - they are not like mice or hamsters which are somewhat mindless little creatures. Rats are very much like cats and dogs in terms of interacting with their owners. I can empathize with your childhood experience though and I am grateful to see you trying to get over your phobia. God bless :)

    • Elsie Hagley profile imageAUTHOR

      Elsie Hagley 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      @Seth Shafer: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I have heard that said about rats before, that they are very clean animals. Have a great day.

    • Seth Shafer profile image


      8 years ago from California

      It won't help with the phobia (and I never believed I would be saying this) but my wife and I have had eight pet rats and they're my absolute favorite pet. So affectionate and unique and, believe it or not, cleaner than any cat, dog, or other assorted animal you'll find.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      love it

    • Elsie Hagley profile imageAUTHOR

      Elsie Hagley 

      9 years ago from New Zealand

      @tfsherman lm: Thanks for visiting and commenting, I appreciate it very much.

    • profile image

      tfsherman lm 

      9 years ago

      I like Ratty from the Wind and the Willows. In real life? In my barbecue grill when I open the lid? In my house walls? Or even the pets at my cousin's, where they are in their cages in the children's room...mating aggressively. No, I can skip rats.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nope, sorry.

    • FallenAngel 483 profile image

      FallenAngel 483 

      9 years ago

      I hope you can overcome your phobia. I love my pet rats and have kept exotic rats as well. Rats can be a positive thing. The Malagasy rat is very beautiful and the Gambian Pouched Rat has been trained to sniff out landmines in Africa. New Zealand is the wrong place for rats you poor birds can't cope with them and that is a real shame.

    • DIY Mary profile image

      Mary Stuart 

      9 years ago

      I love most animals but rats give me the creeps!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I don't like rats, even the white one, the one you keep as pets. They scare me.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      9 years ago from Canada would love it in Alberta Canada. It is a rat free province and actually has people guarding the province against rats entering it. It also has a border zone that is patrolled to keep rats out. (I am not too fond of the little critters either.)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      9 years ago

      They can be very nice pets. Sorry!!!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Here is a rat proof chicken feeder to keep the rats from ever colonizing your yard

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Actually I do not like rats -- when I was visiting my mom in Brooksville, I told her rats were running out from under her house! And, gifted her a Rats for Christmas lens about it ... I think she has remedied the rat problem -- but not a good critter for under the house.

    • Cinnamonbite profile image


      10 years ago

      I think they're ugly. I'm not afraid of them because they're rats, I don't want to get near them because they're vermin that carry disease like the freakin' plague. Even more disgusting are the videos I've seen of people with them as pets and they don't seem to notice that the rodents defecate and urinate on everything-including their owners. That's just sick. I didn't like having a pet hedgehog because it crapped every couple of steps. At least my rabbit is fairly litter trained and when he DOES go, it's not a disgusting mess. Nope, I don't much like rats.

    • Elsie Hagley profile imageAUTHOR

      Elsie Hagley 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      @anonymous: Thanks for visiting and commenting. Sound like you had many hours of enjoyment from your rat, it is quite impressive that it stayed on the dresser without being in a cage.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Yes, I had a pet rat when I was about 13. It lived on my dresser without a cage. To keep the rats environment clean I placed an old towel on top of the dresser and changed it often. She (the rat) was really tame and loved to be held and would reach out from the dresser to those passing by in hope someone would pick her up. :-)


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