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I want a rat! Watch

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    (Original post by Kasc)

    Anyway... I want a pet rat for when I move into my student house next year, not enough space in halls unfortunatley.
    I've owned rats my whole life so I can answer your questions.

    Do they smell, if yes can it be covered up with air freshners? They do smell but if you clean them out twice a week then you'll find they won't smell (be sure to get neutered males.... or females. Entire males SMELL)
    Do they like being stroked (are they tame etc.)? Depends how much you handle them and their personality. I have one that's incredibly friendly, while his brother will bite you if you hold him. Just handle them from day one. I must say that I've found neutered males to be more interactive than females.
    Do they cost much to keep? I use newspaper I get for free and I buy their food in large packets that last for 3 months-ish.... so every 3 months I only spend about £15 on them.
    Should I get 2 so that they can play with each other? Definitely get 2... they are social animals, but if you get males (whether unneutered or not, let them have their quarrels. One of mine has a scar and a bite mark, but it's a hierarchy they have to sort out. Females do this too, but to a much less severe degree.
    Do they escape, if yes will they chew through my wires etc. ;(? As long as you get a cage made for rats then they shouldn't escape. Buy wire ones, not plastic ones, because rats are hardy and need the space that only wire ones can offer. I must stress that they need lots of space... My wire cage atm is just under a meter long. You won't need one that long, but one with height would be brilliant to put things in it to keep the rats active.

    On another note.... they are nocturnal so if you find falling asleep to be difficult then rats will not help with that... best keep them in a kitchen or something. Hope this helps. If you need more info, just quote me.

    Edit: One other thing.... this is important. Feed them 'Pets at Home Rat Nuggets'.... rats sift through their food to get to the tasty stuff and end up leaving things out that are valuable in their diet. The nuggets don't allow them to sift through the food and so my rats are much healthier than the rats in stores that sift through the food. Seriously, nuggets are fantastic for them and my rats can't get enough of them lol!
    If you need info on rat types let me know as I've owned different types of rats. TTFN
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    They dont really smell as long as you clean the cage regularly. If you have time to look after one properly then they make great pets. I had one for 2 years and he was a lovely pet, very friendly and intellegent.

    They are really cheap to keep - I used shreded paper to line the bottom of the cage which is free (if you have a shredder and plenty of old essays) and you can feed them a variety of things.

    If you get two they will entertain themselves, however if you get one and have lots of time to give to playing with it then you will develop a really good bond with it.

    My rat never escaped from his cage, but if he did I imagine that there is every chance he would have chewed through cables. But you can do really fun things with them and they do make good pets.
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    Rats can make great pets and I won't repeat everything that's already said here.

    The real expense is the cage and bedding, as most won't recommend wood shavings for rats as it effects their lungs. I use hem core which is cheap to buy in big bags and can last several months. The cage has to be as big as possible, savic and ferplast sell some good cages like the Jenny cage and the Freddy cage. Any smaller then that and the cage is too small for rats.

    Boys can be lazier and they're bigger, they do play fight more and have fights in the middle of the night, but rarely would be aggressive, if they become aggressive neutering usually solves it, but it's not required to neuter unless there's a huge problem. I find boys generally do better in pairs or fours.

    Females are smaller but more active and less likely to sit still for a cuddle, they explore more and are just as noisy as the males when playing. I find girls suffer more from tumours and enjoying living in groups from four rather then pairs. (they can live happily in pairs, they just seem happier in groups)

    Regarding health and colour. It doesn't matter, an agouti rat (wild coloured) won't be more healthier then a siamese rat if they come from the same litter. It's where you get them which will determine their health.

    Petshops and rescues are likely to be less healthy because of the petshops that mass breed them for quantity over quality. They are more prone to respiratory problems, tumours and from petshops; missexing. (which means buy one get 12 free as rats breed from as young as 5 weeks old and can have from 5 to 20 young each litter and one after another monthly if kept with a male) they are also not used to being handled from petshops so are skittish, shy and more likely to bite. There are many exceptions though. This is the quickest and easiest place to get rats.

    Rescues would be healthier as most will give them vet check ups and won't let them go until they are healthy, a few even know about rats. These rats are generally tamer because either they are older and used to handled every day or are born into rescue and handled since young. Not all rescue rats have problems. This generally takes a while to get rats as they do homechecks to make sure the rats are going to the best possible homes.

    Breeders. There are several types, some are like petshops and just breed for the sake of it, others are breeding their pets or breed the odd litter and there's those that breed for show and those that breed for health and temperament. Any breeder that sells different coloured rats at different prices are not good breeders in my opinion, since all colours are raised in the exact same way so nothing special is needed, the only difference is colour or fur or ear type. The rats are still the same thing.

    Depending on the breeder this can be as easy as going to a petshop or you may be kept on a waiting list for the rats to be born for a couple of months and have to travel. Unlike pedigree dogs however, pedigree rats usually are healthier then non-pedigree rats and from responsible breeders they are always friendlier on average and bigger. http://www.nfrs.org/ has a list of breeders and there's plenty of rat forums out there with lists of rescues.

    Your choice where you go, I've had rats from breeders, rescues and petshops and all were lovely with their own personalities. I currently have four from two different breeders; two Russian blue agouti, one buff berkshire and one black downunder berkshire and two I rescued from the fields two years ago with their family, one is a neutered albino and the other is siamese berkshire. (I recently lost their dad and brother) all boys and lovely little things.
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    I had two boy rats (from a breeder of pet rats), so this is based off of experience with them, and research I did before I got them.

    Do they smell, if yes can it be covered up with air fresheners?

    The girls smell less then boys do. The boys have this muskie rodent thing going, which can get kinda smelly. Boys, however, also can be generally more outgoing then girls are, and they can be bathed like dogs can in the sink with baby shampoo if necessary.


    Do they like being stroked (are they tame etc.)?


    My two were cuddle bunnies. They were extremely friendly, and never bit anyone. They LOVED food, and liked getting their little chins scratched.

    Do they cost much to keep?

    They don't cost to much. If you can find any good rat food around where you live, you can give them dog food. And they eat a lot less then dogs do. They are not alergic to chocolate like dogs are though, so that was a special treat for them.

    Should I get 2 so that they can play with each other?

    Rats are highly social animals, and are happiest when they have another rat with them. They also keep each other entertained when you are busy. So I would agree that getting two of the SAME sex is the best idea.

    Do they escape, if yes will they chew through my wires etc. ;(?

    I never had a problem with my rats escaping from their cage, but it really depends on the rats. There could be a problem with them chewing on wires if they doing escape, because they like to chew on stuff. But you can get toys (Wood blocks, rat toys, stuff like that) for them to chew on, and that should keep them occupied with things that are okay to chew on.


    Let me know if you have any more questions, I'm glad to help.
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    I want a Basilisk.
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    Do they smell, if yes can it be covered up with air freshners? They don't smell if you train them to wee in one place and clean out the cage regularly. Female rats are more active and are generally cleaner than male rats though.
    Do they like being stroked (are they tame etc.)?
    They're very social animals, i think you should do some more research before you think about getting any so you know all this in advance, maybe buy a book or 2.
    Do they cost much to keep?
    they're pretty cheap, they like leftovers, but you need to feed then a very healthy diet, and shop bought food is best to get the right balance if you don't have time or haven't researched what they need. and clean bedding can be cheap. Though make sure they're not in a cold place they're prone to neumonia anyway and vets bills could be costly.
    Should I get 2 so that they can play with each other?
    yes, deffinatelty, they''re very social, and will play with each other, and i'm assuming you won't be there all the time, or carry them around with you, then you should
    Do they escape, if yes will they chew through my wires etc. ;(? I've had 9 pet rats in the past, none of mine did, but if it's plastic or wood they can, not a proper metal cage. Also buy a hammock to put in the top of it, saves space in there and keeps them warm at night, they sell pet hammocks for alot of small pets now
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    (Original post by Kasc)
    (I wonder how many people came in here thinking this was about something else)

    Anyway... I want a pet rat for when I move into my student house next year, not enough space in halls unfortunatley.



    Few questions though:

    Do they smell, if yes can it be covered up with air freshners?
    Do they like being stroked (are they tame etc.)?
    Do they cost much to keep?
    Should I get 2 so that they can play with each other?
    Do they escape, if yes will they chew through my wires etc. ;(?

    That's all for the moment!
    I have 2 pet rats (dumbo) called Oskar and Ollie with another one on the way! I've had a quick look through the thread and I've found some VERY inaccurate information regarding the wellbeing of your rats.

    Rats are prone to tumours, that true. However, it is possible to get a rat that has a next to 0% chance of getting tumours. Don't buy your rat from [email protected] [email protected] breed for profit and no attention is paid to the health of the mother and father rat. If you go to a breeder, you can get rats that have a history of NOT having tumours of any other significant health problems. These tumourless rats span a family tree of sometimes more than 25 years, meaning there is a good chance of you getting a rat that will stay healthy for a very long time.

    Secondly, I saw someone said to feed your rats [email protected] nuggets - that is a big no no! [email protected] offer all of the nutrients needed, but they also offer stuff which is not needed as well not including other nutrients which the rat doesn't need but will find valuable which can increase their life span. Most rat owners, including my self, make up their own base mixes. You can find more info on that on sites like fancy-rats.co.uk. Its good if rats live on an 70% solid and 30% fresh food on a daily basis.

    Rats need to be kept in atleast pairs. They can come depressed and in some cases, the rat starves itself to death. You also need to spend around 30mins-1hr a day with them.


    Do they smell, if yes can it be covered up with air freshners?
    Rats don't smell at all if they are fed correctly. [email protected] nuggets does make rats poo smell - I know from personal experience. Your rat will smell for around 2 weeks after you get them, this is because they will be nervous and this makes their poo extremely smelly. But after a week or two, there will be virtually no smell.

    Do they like being stroked (are they tame etc.)?
    Yes. Bucks are more tame and enjoy sitting on your shoulder or you lap being stroked and scratched. Does are much more lively and probably won't sit still

    Do they cost much to keep?
    Rats can't live in wood shavings. ALL rats are allergic to it. You need to buy something like 'carefresh' which can be expensive (20 quid for one that lasts 2-2.5 months) You need to make your own food for their health, sites like ratrations.com can help. It will be expensive, but after you've bought everything you need you won't need to buy food for a while and probably works out the same price as [email protected] nuggets would over a year, just you need to buy all at once

    Should I get 2 so that they can play with each other?
    2 is a must. The more the better. They need a big cage. A very big cage, with hammocks etc

    Do they escape, if yes will they chew through my wires etc. ;(?
    Yes. Provide them with enough wood and chew toys. However, if they do escape they will bite and chew everything. They have a fetish for wires I think !
 
 
 
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