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Interesting Facts About Rats

Updated on April 18, 2017
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Krishna the Blue Dumbo RatWeek old rat pups.Furless Dumbos.Four week old rat pups.Himilayan rats.Standard blue vari-hood rat.
Krishna the Blue Dumbo Rat
Krishna the Blue Dumbo Rat
Week old rat pups.
Week old rat pups.
Furless Dumbos.
Furless Dumbos.
Four week old rat pups.
Four week old rat pups.
Himilayan rats.
Himilayan rats.
Standard blue vari-hood rat.
Standard blue vari-hood rat.

Interesting Facts About Rats

When most people think of rats they think of sewer rats or the plague but, actually, these ingenious little creatures have been marching at our side since the beginning of civilization and not everyone detests them so much. In fact, there's lots of reasons to love them including their colorful history of living with us.

  • Our current domestic strain of rats likely began in England in the seventeenth century. Jack Black, the royal rat catcher to Queen Victoria was rumored to have bred the first albino rats in captivity. Before this rats were killed as vermin, used as food in times of plague, and captured live or bred to use in a sport called rat baiting where one dog was challenged to kill as many rats as it could in a certain time period. Albinos may have been encouraged in captive specimens because they show blood better but it wasn't long before they started becoming pets for ladies of high learning.
  • Sprague Dewley are a well known laboratory strain that was developed to produce very large litters, sometimes containing more than twenty pups!

Rat Performing Tricks

  • Most rats in captive populations are a domesticated strain of Rattus norvigicus. These animals probably originated in Asia but they were so good at jumping on our ships and travelling with us to new lands that we may never be able to trace back their original country of origin.
  • Sometimes also found in the pet population Gambian Pouch Rats are an African species that can weigh more than 8 pounds in adulthood. These rats are so intelligent that they have been trained to sniff out mines in war torn countries.
  • Fancy rats usually live anywhere between 1-3 years of age with 2 probably being average. However one remarkable rat who died in 1995 made it into the Guinness Book of World Records by living for seven whole years and four months!
  • Rat math: Female rats can sometimes breed as early as six weeks of age and can have back to back litters every month until she's between one and a half and two years of age. That means one female having litters of eight pups each could have more than 180 babies in her life!
  • The Black Death, or Bubonic Plague, has long been blamed on rats but it really wasn't the rats who caused it. Instead it was an organism living in the fleas that the rats carried. When an infected flea bit a human it was usually curtains for them. The Bubonic Plague still exists and there are an average two cases per year in the US, although the advent of antibiotics has made it much less deadly.
  • There is a temple in India called the Karni Devi that has housed thousands of rats for hundreds of years. Far from being pests the temple was built for them and the people who visit worship them as their reincarnated ancestors. Albino rats seen in this population are believed to be the Goddess Karni Matta or her sons. People share food with these rats, walk barefoot through their temple, and if they kill a rat, even by accidnet, they must replace it with a life sized gold rat statue. Curiously while the black death swept through the area people in the temple never fell ill - this is likely because the local healthy population of rats kept out infected intruders.
  • Rats were one of the first animals sent into outer space. In 1961 the first rat to see outer space was launched from France.
  • The yellow teeth of a rat show their maturity, as babies initially have white teeth. These tough teeth continue to grow for as long as the rat lives because if they didn't the rat would file them down to nothing which would eventually ause starvation when it could no longer chew its food.
  • Conrad Gesner was the first to record the appearance of wild albino rats in the Western wold when he spotted two in a cemetery in 1553.
  • Rats entered the laboratory for the first time in 1828. Albino, black, and piebald (those displaying white) were favored over their brown wild type counterparts.
  • The Wistar Institute in Pennsylvania started the first inbred laboratory strain which remains today one of the most popular strains to inhabit laboratory settings.
  • Cloning in its most rudimentary form was first practiced with these inbred strains. Rats were mated brother to sister until all resulting offspring were 99% genetically identical. In case you're wondering, that's at least 300 generations of rats. Even real clones aren't that identical to each other.

Gambian Rats Finding Land Mines and Detecting Tuberculosis

  • Early sleep studies involved tireless researchers poking rats awake to see the effects. At the time people did not know what the role was sleep was but they didn't think a lack of it could kill you. During the experiment the rats that they kept awake steadily declined in health as well as emotional attitude. They became aggressive, disoriented, lost chunks of hair, formed lesions on their feet and tails, ate more but lost weight, and eventually their internal organs went completely haywire and after 17-20 days they'd finally find the sweet mercy of death.
  • A more humane study has found that rats laugh, or at least they make a noise that resembles laughter in its meaning. The rats studied made these noises (undetectable by the human ear alone) when tickled.
  • Mice and rats weren't always considered two different creatures. Surely the Romans didn't feel they were, instead calling them Rattus Major (big rat) and Rattus Minor (little rat.)
  • There are at least 4 genetically unique strains of furless rats within the laboratory setting as well as in the pet trade. In thepet trade they're often call Sphynx.
  • Rats use their whiskers to feel where they are going because their eyesight is too poor to be of much help. This is why you'll rarely see one out in the open where its whiskers aren't touching a border of some sort. This would leave them vulnerable to hawks and other predators.
  • Humans have employed rats as laboratory assistants, as companions, as religious icons, as characters in popular fables, and they have even taken on the jobs of feeding the desperately poor with their meat, finding potentially live mines, and some have even been trained by electricians to drag wire through walls.
  • Legend dictates that rats are to be the first animal on the Chnese Zodiac.
  • Rats cannot vomit or sweat. Most rats use their tail to get rid of excess heat. Tailless rats don't ave this luxury so if you have on of those keep them cool!
  • The royal rat catcher of Queen Victoria, gave an albino rat to Beatrix Potter, the author of the much loved Peter Rabbit series. She was one of the very first pet owners of such animals and she even put this beloved pet into at least one of her stories.

If you have an interesting or unusual rat fact, let me know and I'll add it! All photos were taken by me of rats I've bred over the years at the Oh Rats Rattery.

The Rat Temple

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    • Theophanes profile image
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      Theophanes 3 years ago from New England

      No problem. I know it's difficult sometimes. I had rats for many years- had to give them up because I developed a fierce and worsening allergy to them. I still miss them and although I've gone onto other things they'll always reside in a special place in my heart. Personally I found them to be more personable then a lot of dogs I've met. It's a bleeding shame they don't live very long. Right before I developed my allergies I was waiting for the Monkey Pox Ban to break so I could get a breeding pair of Gambians legally. They live up to 7 years.. but alas, that took too long to happen. Not even sure if anyone has them in the US any more, besides of course the feral colonies in the Everglades, dumped at the onset of the Monkey Pox Ban by pet shops who knew they could no longer sell them. DUH! People sometimes....

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 3 years ago from United States

      These are some awesome facts and adorable pictures. Gambian Rats are huge, but pretty amazing. And thanks again for the advice - it's really helping me cope.

    • profile image

      Gotta Love Rats 4 years ago

      Another Fact: Rats are the eighth smartest animal in the world, humans are twelfth

      One More: Rats can hold their breath underwater for as long as 15 minutes

      RATS RULE!!

    • Theophanes profile image
      Author

      Theophanes 4 years ago from New England

      I am not sure what you mean by that question. The first generation of lab rats were born to captured wild albino and a wild agouti-colored rat. The first generation would have been albinos and solid agouti in color. If this isn't the question you asked just rephrase and I will give it another go. :)

    • profile image

      poop 4 years ago

      what was the first generation of lab rats

    • profile image

      John Kimbrell 4 years ago

      My pet rat, Applelonia, would come out at night and search my face for any abnormality. She would remove scabs without damageing the underlying tissue - a practice which my doctor, unaware, later instructed me to do in order to prevent bacterial infections. Luckily, she didn't catch any deseases from me (smile).

    • profile image

      SHANNA 4 years ago

      HEEEY i loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee rats i just got a baby today hes the cutiestttttttttttttttttttt omg when he sleeps u can put him on his back and he looks dead and its cuteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    • Theophanes profile image
      Author

      Theophanes 4 years ago from New England

      I have never heard of that behavior parveen. Perhaps you just have a quirky rat or maybe she's just grooming as rats often do. I had a rat that would get his paws wet and then lick up the water off them, maybe this is the same behavior?

    • profile image

      parveen thakur 4 years ago

      I have a snow wight rat .....i want to know , why the continuse swalow (suck) there feet,hands or a tail......when they drink water ,then the do that immediate ....why the do this .

    • profile image

      Grace 4 years ago

      I have a pet rat, they are very playful nice and CUTE!!!! when i told my friends about my new pet they all made fun of me... i still have her, too :)

    • profile image

      Esther 4 years ago

      Hi, I would live to have a rat :) I've researched them now for over 2 months and I've never neglected my pet that I have now which is a bird that I bought out of my own money. They sound like amazingly fun lol critters.

      I've talked to my mother and she just says "no they are disgusting dirty creatures!" I've tried sharing some interesting facts about them like intelligence and cleanliness and traits, but she still hates them.

      I have saved up more than enough money to buy a cage 2 female rats, toys, food etc but I haven't come straight out an told her I want a rat yet, because too soon could ruin my chances altogether. Please if ANYONE has any tip on how to make her at least not mind rats I would be extremely grateful!!!

    • Theophanes profile image
      Author

      Theophanes 5 years ago from New England

      Why thank you for that pointless trolling comment "Rat ruler." Why are you still up? Isn't it past your bedtime? Do your parents know you're up antagonizing random people online? TSK TSK.

    • profile image

      Rat ruler 5 years ago

      I HATE RATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Mitch 5 years ago

      I just saw a wild albino rat in greenfield,ma. I was walking. With mt girlfriend and she spotted it walking along the sidewalk towards us. It then jumped Down into a sewer grate. We watched it for a bit then it jumped farther down. It was really exciting n never seen a wild rat especially an albino one where I live. 4/15/12

    • profile image

      Rat ruler 5 years ago

      I love my pet rat

    • profile image

      Woof 5 years ago

      Hopefully the info about the Bubonic plague will help convince my parent to get 2 rats.

    • profile image

      jake 5 years ago

      Yah I've got a pet rat I love and well it didn't tell wat I need but now I think its more interesting

    • profile image

      austin 5 years ago

      rats are funny

    • profile image

      Lorissa 5 years ago

      I am on here because i got a project about rats in elementary the project is called rat island so bye hope u get to read this.

    • profile image

      hannah 5 years ago

      thouse are really intresting facts

    • profile image

      abster123 5 years ago

      cool facts LOL

    • profile image

      Tina.xxx 5 years ago

      Rats are amazing little creatures! By the way did u know that: There is is just about always a rat within about 10 feet from you.

      :)

    • profile image

      jonathan 5 years ago

      rats are kindof cute but they get in stuff to much

    • profile image

      tracy ann strickler 5 years ago

      i hav 4 1 is pretty big they are all meals and then 3 med, they are realy smart i let the big one run on my bed he sleeps on my pillow and the outhers love to play in ther play pin they have lots of toys they are the love of me and joy of my boyfriends life we love are rats and would be deavastated if they died on use we have had the big one for 3 years and the other3 four 7 nouthes ther grate pets,

    • profile image

      charlotte 5 years ago

      i love rats but some people go all silly coz their tails

    • profile image

      elesia 5 years ago

      hi i have 2 rats named pepsi and coc

    • profile image

      jessica 5 years ago

      sierra im so sorry hope you feel better

    • profile image

      sierra 5 years ago

      my pet rats died

      im so sad

    • jeremytorres profile image

      jeremytorres 5 years ago

      Lab rats is great, Thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      Ben 5 years ago

      Rats really are amazing creatures! I have two. One I got about 6 months ago now and the newest one about a week ago. and when I got her I had a feeling something was up because the size of her belly but i wasn't to sure if she was pregnant or if she was just fat. And today I walk into my room to find little pinkies all over the cage! It's very cool to watch her nurse her babies and i'm definetley adding one to the family! for the rest, (6 others) I have already found wonderful homes for. THE ONLY thing I have against rats is them tearing up my furniture! I cant let my eyes of them without them getting themselves into trouble. perhaps a male rat is more for me!

    • profile image

      kk 5 years ago

      rats are cool.

    • profile image

      kk 5 years ago

      i love rats

    • profile image

      firstdestination 5 years ago

      I like your destination....

      Its a pure work of good research....thanks for such wonderful information.

      I have tried to write something on Rats... hope you like it

      http://firstdestination.co.in/2011/07/27/top-11-in...

    • Angelic92 profile image

      Angelic92 5 years ago from Belgium

      I have a pet rat and it is cute :)

      Also an Albino rat that did need some taming at the start but got used to me very fast.

    • profile image

      ratter 5 years ago

      I am fostering 13 rats (2 moms had babies at the shelter). The females have weaned the babies and they're bored of their cage. How do you entertain an energetic female rat, while making sure she doesn't get into some small area and get lost??? I'm a male rat person and the females are just so energetic and fast, they make me nervous because I don't want to lose one! Please Help!

    • StephenSMcmillan profile image

      StephenSMcmillan 5 years ago

      Very2x wonderful hub, I really2x love it.

    • profile image

      crazy4rats 5 years ago

      im gonna get a rat i dont know if i should get a boy or a girl

      HELP!!

    • profile image

      crazy4rats 5 years ago

      what is the diff between dumbo rats and fancy rats? which one has better health

    • profile image

      Maya 5 years ago

      Rats also excreate a blood like supstance from pores around their eyes when stressed. This happened with my PEW named Blood(coincidently), about a year after I've had him, and this was shocking. So I looked to see why that happened and it turns out its nothing to worry about.

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      rats are wonderful

    • profile image

      Marina 5 years ago

      Rats are so cool. My rat presses his nose against the screen whenever he sees a picture of a rat.

    • profile image

      Lilly 5 years ago

      My dad has two white rats with red eyes People think that rats r awful but they can be great pets.

    • profile image

      Vitamin 5 years ago

      Rats are really good pets. All people, who hate rats just have no experience of close interaction with them and also just afraid of it. I may agree that wild rats may be unpleasant, but pet rats are the different. I guess, that any mammal animal have it's own charm, and pet rats not the the worst of them.

    • profile image

      tiffany 6 years ago

      rats are awsome like miss hokie

    • profile image

      AnnaH 6 years ago

      i think rats are gross..but i found out they are not that bad. they seem really cool and very intersting to check out about. see i have to do this anatomy research for my class and i choose a rat after i could not find any thing else on other animals. overall, rats are pretty cool and again very intersting.

    • profile image

      Ch3lz3y 6 years ago

      Absolutelyly facinating I mean like im twelve ok and I am scared of rats but... they have the most facinating history EVER!!!

    • profile image

      Lori S. 6 years ago

      What is the best way to choose a rat from the pet store? Shouls I let the rat come to me? What are foods that rats like and what foods should they stay away from?

    • profile image

      Tim 6 years ago

      Hi I need some help my neighbor has a garden with bird feeders, nut feeders flowers and more. I have seen mice run in and out of her garden. She has reported me to our home owners ass. Saying that I'm attracting rats by not picking up after my cog every day and rats eat dog poop is that true? Please let me know and how to prove it. Thanks Tim

    • profile image

      lizzie 6 years ago

      hay i have seen a rat with red eyes

    • profile image

      rat man 6 years ago

      rats breed so fast that in 18 months 2 rats can have 1 million descendants.. fact

    • profile image

      dont know!!!  6 years ago

      i love rats i got a ret his name i larry and he licks and he does loads of tricks!!!!

    • profile image

      hailey 6 years ago

      i love rats

    • profile image

      Tzudro 6 years ago

      A rat, similar to a cat, has the ability to fit its body through any opening its head will fit through.

      A rat can tread water for two days before drowning.

      A rate can swim for several miles before tiring and drowning.

      A rat can chew through materials such as copper and concrete. While it takes a considerable amount of time, and puts an enormous amount of wear on their teeth, the rat will usually accomplish their goal, as their teeth continually grow.

      A rat has the ability to "shed" the skin from its tail in times of duress, such as when the tail gets caught in an opening, under a fallen or heavy object, or when in the jaws of a predator. The skin will grow back, but the rat is particularly prone to infection during this time.

      When facing an opponent, a rat will stay very close to the target. Due to their poor eyesight, they will fan their whiskers forward and attempt to keep in contact with their foe.

    • profile image

      Kay 6 years ago

      My rat had ten babies last week... Now she only has three.... They are in a cage and there is no way they got out... Did she eat them?

    • ruby4352 profile image

      ruby4352 6 years ago from Australia

      Hey I'm not following you yet but I have two pet rats and your hub is probably the most useful hub on here for me even though they are just interesting facts.

    • Alli Kat profile image

      Alli Kat 6 years ago

      This is a Wonderful Article! All the facts are interesting, an i have a few other facts about rats, rats can have chocolate But Not oranges, Their Teeth never stop growing, they are great pets, they hate hamster balls because of their tail's, Their Closterphobic, (Even tho they squeeze through tight spaces), and they move they heads back and forth to detect motion (somehow idk)

    • profile image

      Ratatoui 6 years ago

      i like to eat ratatoui, hmmmmmmmmmm nice rats

    • profile image

      kehl 6 years ago

      rats are cool

    • profile image

      ratperson53 6 years ago

      I know that rats can't burp.

    • profile image

      sparta_rat 6 years ago

      wow this is very cool and my rats think so to they are climding all over my cp

      rats are awsome

    • Amez profile image

      Amez 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Wow its amazing tosee how many people love Rats, I thought I was told I was weird for raising Rats, but their quit smart and fun to watch, if you build them a large enviroment to live in,but never let them get lose, they will enjoy all your boxes of paper and getting into the box springs.

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      mandy palmer 6 years ago

      my old male rat cheesey puts his paw out the cage and then up to his mouth and asks me for treats hes so clever.i have also just got three hairless girls they are stunning.

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      random person 6 years ago

      the red stuf is called porphyrin which is caused by stress

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      Tydin 6 years ago

      The stuff they sneeze isn't blood it's just the colour of their mucus. Same for their eyes too. So relax he's a normal rat

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      Rats r awesome!!!!!!! 6 years ago

      OMG i love rats and this article has helped me soooo much. at the moment im trying to teach my pet rat tricks!!!!! it would be sooo cool if you could put videos of more rats doing tricks because at the moment my rat isn't learning that well. Anyway does anyone know why rats bleed when they sneeze or is that just my rat??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • profile image

      ?!? 6 years ago

      :) these facts ROCK! i was thinkin about getting a pet rat but my mom hates em and i want her to see how awesome they are

    • adorababy profile image

      adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

      I agree with Emilie. No offense but red eyes or not they are yuck. Sorry though, this is just my opinion.

    • profile image

      Emilie 6 years ago

      The rats with red eyes are so yuck.The facts were interesting

    • profile image

      ratzilla 6 years ago

      i am getting two rats i don't know about the diet can you tell me any ideas of what i need?

    • profile image

      willie stroker 6 years ago

      random fish are related to elephants and rats

    • profile image

      William Shakespear 6 years ago

      rats are epic im going to make one the main character of my next performance. red bull gives you wings

    • profile image

      margret 6 years ago

      i have a 4 week old rat and she is so cute.

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      Beth 7 years ago

      hello i have 5 pet rats and i love them

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      lori s 7 years ago

      Nicole, You can buy a bottle of scent remover from your local pet store that will get rid of the smell. Just add three drop[s to your rat's water bottle. you should notice a difference in a few days. You can also mix baking soda in with their litter. two or three table spoons should help.

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      Nicole 7 years ago

      I Have grown up with rats and i hated the smell

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      lori s. 7 years ago

      neddd have you thought of taking them to your local pet store. They will usually be glad to take any healthy rats.

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      Neddd 7 years ago

      i have sixteen rat babys any takers i have sixteen to come i live in nh anyone want

    • profile image

      lori s. 7 years ago

      I have to be away from squinch for a week. What can I do to make sure he is going to be happy and well while I'm gone?

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      Lucero 7 years ago

      there IS such thing as fllying squirrels...

      It might be one...

      :D

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      alfred means 7 years ago

      2 nights ago i witnessed a rat glide or fly from a tree to a light pole, climb to the top of the light pole and then glide to another tree. My question is there such a thing as a flying rat? or is there another type of rodent that flies but looks like a rat. Unfortunately i don't remember much about the tail, but it definitely looked like a rat. If you don't know or haven't heard of such a thing could you tell me where i might find out? I live in central Florida.

      Please respond via email ameans73@yahoo.com. Thank you.

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      Lori s. 7 years ago

      Kim, you need to clean up your language!! Some of us really like rats and don't appreciate nasty comments. This site is dedicated to those of us who like rats! If you don't like rats stay off the site!

    • lisa brazeau profile image

      lisa brazeau 7 years ago from Canada

      My pet rat, Irene, was a dear little thing. Like any pet owner, the list is long on her attributes. Great article, and it tipped me over the edge in my musing to get another!Thank you!

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      Dudette 7 years ago

      humans have the same genes to grow a tail as rats the gene is just switched off in humans!!

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      mitch 7 years ago

      rats rule

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      lori s. 7 years ago

      Hey Mcawesome, I don't think what you said was nice. that makes you less than awesome in my book!

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      lori s. 7 years ago

      My current rat is still skittish with me. I've tried feeding him with my fingers and petting him before I pick him up. Does anybody have a new way that they used to get a timid pet comfortable with them? By the way his name is squinch and he is a black hooded.

    • profile image

      lori s 7 years ago

      Did you know that rats can't throw up so you have to be careful what you feet them. I've had rats for a number of years and find them to be sweet, gentle, pets

    • profile image

      7 years ago

      good to known

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      lulu 7 years ago

      thanx i got an a+ on my projects about rats

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      KAIRA 7 years ago

      my rats eat anything (apart from chewing gum of course)

      and they are perfectly healthy :D they eat whatever i eat, chocolate, burgers, even toffee. i put it in the fridge first though so that its really hard and harder to chew :) makes their work harder XD i read somewhere that if a rat chatters its teeth it means they're happy, mine do it a lot so i hope they really are happy with me :)

    • profile image

      Katherine 7 years ago

      I have had two rats and I have two more there so lovly

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      Catherine 7 years ago

      This Article was very helpful because it helped me do some of my homework for Girl Scouts. Thanks a Bunch!!! :)

    • profile image

      elle  7 years ago

      i might be getting a rat soon and i know a bit about them one fact i know is that a boy and a girl ratcan make babies in two seconds! another one is that a female rat goes into heat every four to five days! rats reach pubity at six to eight months. rats can eat chocolate but they try to avoid it so dont force them to eat chocolate.

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      briana 7 years ago

      i have a rat named splinter her nails are long like her sister do you have any tips on how to cut them. i also notised the older she gets the lazyershe get,when she was a baby she was crazynow not so much

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      Paige 7 years ago

      hi i have a rat fact for you. Rats tails are sensitive. rubbing a rats tail is like some one rubbing the bottom of your foot.

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      Melyssa T 7 years ago

      Hello. I have heard this before and wanted to know if you could confirm it. I have heard that if you have a rat in your home, as pet or otherwise, a mouse will not enter. Is that true?

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      chrissyjones 7 years ago

      I have been watching a family (1 female and 5 juveniles) of wild rats every day where I work. I saw the mother nip the backside of a pheasant and chase a rabbit! This family is so cute, all this goes on 2 mtr from a window. Awesome. x

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      emily 7 years ago

      rats are AWESOME

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      fuzzy 7 years ago

      thanks for helping me with my homework!

      (PS.I know what plagiarism is)

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      ryan yourgayman 7 years ago

      rats r ok

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      Anki 7 years ago

      Hi Theophanes...

      It's so interesting that I have stumbled upon this site, I have two Rats myself and one (Zoe, Himilayan) is sitting on my shoulder as we speak. I just bought her a baby friend, and she is taking care of him like it was her own... I have noticed a very interesting fact about rats, when they are little, they are very playful, and will actually play with your hand and chase it around like a cat. It is the sweetest thing, but as they get older, unfortunately, they become lazy. I must say, the little one is giving Zoe a hard time, chasing her around and always jumping on top of her. Also, if they are taught they will come to you when you call them, like Zoe, if she is playing around on the couch and I call her, she comes to me, don't know if she thinks I've got a sweaty for her ( she loves chocolate) or if she really loves me, but she definitely knows me very well!!! We love our rats, they are such good pets!! Was good to read the other comments, I love them even more now....

    • Brian Long profile image

      Brian Long 7 years ago

      very interesting article. I had no idea there were so many interesting facts about rats.

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      tayshay 7 years ago

      I have an albino male named Keenan. he was a rescue from being snake food which he shouldn't have been in the first place. he is going on 3 and doing good other than he is a fatty mc fatty. my fault for spoiling him rotten, he eats mostly all healthy food he just loves food too much, that and he has always refused a wheel and ball i try to make him work for his food by putting it farther away and changing the place its at. but he just loves to sleep and eat and be loved, and i can say he's had a way better life then being let out into the wild to die at 3 months old. i just wish he would stop gaining weight so he could live longer... i never would have bought one as a pet, but adopting him has been one of the great things in my life. he's such a love bug and thinks everyone is his buddy.

    • AshleyNikole profile image

      AshleyNikole 7 years ago from Virginia

      I have bred Rats for 7 years and these are interesting facts! Thanks for sharing.

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      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      Rose, I've had a lot of lone males over the years who just didn't get along with anyone (usually rescues and inbred feeders and whatnot... you don't see this too often with breeder bred rats like in the old days.) Females though... I really do like to see them have friends, they seem more social on a whole. In the wild rats can distinguish between up to 500 other individual rats, friends, per se. It's something to think about.

      Lynny, check out my article on furless, it may help you decide. They're wonderful little boogers but they do require a little (not a lot) of extra care.

      https://pethelpful.com/rodents/Common-Furless-Rat-...

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      lynny 7 years ago

      Hey, I'm trying to decide to get a hairless rat or a regular one.

      What could you add?

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      Rose 7 years ago

      Okay, cool! It'll be nice to try to leash her instead of worrying about my sweetie breaking through my barriers while free roaming.

      I have one rat, but spend hours with her daily, she has lots of toys and fabric in her cage, do you think she will be fine without a "sister"?

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      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      I have tried all sorts of rat harnesses... I have tried ferret harnesses, kitten harnesses, home-made harnesses, and parrot harnesses as well as vests. I haven't had any luck really, since a rat can easily squeaze out of anything that it can get it's head through... Depends on the rat too. I had a few that just didn't care and would wear them like perfect gentlemen. I never was daft enough to try this with a female. :) The ferret and kitten harnesses deffinately were better than the bird harness. The vests had differing success rates...

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      Rose 7 years ago

      Do you have any advice on rat leashes?

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      Lynny 7 years ago

      Thanks for your help! Checked out the site before, and all were way too far. :(. I don't think my dad would drive that far anyway.

      You seem to know a lot about rats! Thanks for the info

    • Theophanes profile image
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      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      Really? There's four listed in Ratster... http://www.ratster.com/breederlinks.html

      I only had one PetCo rat. Sweet as pie until one day he snapped and became one of my most difficult animals. I'll never get it! PetCo gets their rats from rat farms... same problems really. Hope you can find a breeder, it's really the best way to go and don't forget to check your loacl shelters, you might be surprised! :)

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      Lynny 7 years ago

      Thanks! My bro had one and it died quickly. :(. The dude working there didn't even know the diff between sexes. He was cleary a male.

      I was thinking about getting one from petco, their cages are always clean and they have plenty of toys and the sexes are seperated. I tried lookig for breeders but can't find any here in Tx.

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      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      That really depends Lynny. As a whole albino rats aren't that much different from regular rats (though their eye sight is worse than darker eye colors.) You might have gotten that idea from people buying feeder rats for pets... A lot of people use albino rats to feed their reptiles because you can't really tell the difference between them at first glance... and of course if you're breeding rats for food you're not going to be concerned about health or the diversity of the gene pool so a lot of white rats you find at pet stores are severely inbred, which could indeed cause them to have significantly shorter lifespans (if there's already a flaw in the family genes inbreeding will intensify it and the rats will have shorter and shorter lifespans over successive generations.) Hope that answered you question!

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      Lynny 7 years ago

      I've heard that albino rats have shorter life spans and poorer health, is that true?

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      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      Well, junkfood's not good for them because of the sugar and caffeine. They have a sweet tooth too and sometimes will refuse regular food until you feed them something they want... so you might be creating a monster there! But eh, a little treat no and then shouldn't hurt them.

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      cheez-it 7 years ago

      thanks! Is it true that they can't have junk-food?

    • Theophanes profile image
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      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      Most things are safe for rats in moderations, cheese crackers included. :) Just avoid pits and seeds from fruits, and things that could melt and choke them like marshmallows and whatnot. Oh and a lot of household plants can be really bad if gnawed on so keep them away from that! My boogers LOVE boiled eggs and fruits. Healthy diets are good for rats too!

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      cheez-it 7 years ago

      is it safe to feed my rat baked cheese

      crackers?

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      gracie 7 years ago

      It might be a bit till i send the pics....Cherio says Hi!

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      gracie 7 years ago

      i'll send a picture in a bit

      THANKS :)

    • Theophanes profile image
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      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      Ah, well... in that case, do you have a picture of Cheerio? (You can send it to the 'contact Theophanes' button at the top of the page if you want reassurance!) When did you get Cheerio? Gestation is only 19-25 days, 21 being average, so if you've had him or her longer than that then you're fine! Also nipples are hard to find on furry rats if you've never looked before but if he really doesn't have any than he's a boy and not pregnant, just fat! Boys tend to get very obese... I actually had a few that topped two pounds at one point.. Though obesity shouldn't really be encouraged it's veeery common in males. Anyway, feel free to send a pic if you have one. I'll gladly check out Cheerio's tail end. :)

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      Gracie 7 years ago

      i have a rat book that includes facts about jack black the royal rat catcher! well i'm a new rat owner of my baby cherio. one problem - no idea if its a boy or a girl! cherio has no boy or girl parts! it doesn't have nipples but cherio looks pregnant - help!!!!!!!!!

    • Theophanes profile image
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      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      And what country are you in Sumera Raqueeb? I can certainly put a photo of one or two up. I've had a number of them in the past... I just need to find the photos to prove it. :)

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      Sumera Raqeeb 7 years ago

      facts about rats are interesting but there is no pic of albino rats.

      albino rat are very short in the country , they should be breed so tha the research can be done.

    • Theophanes profile image
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      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      No problem! Thanks for stopping by to read my article.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Hi. I just wanted to say thanks for the cool rat facts. I didn't know some stuffee that I do now!

    • Theophanes profile image
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      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      Oh heavens, I don't know. When I had my most I had a full-fledged moderately-sized rattery with 59 permanent residences who of course all had names. At that time I was breeding two litters a month for sale to the public... so it adds up. I got out of breeding (and wish I didn't now!) and am currently contemplating getting back into it. My first rat was actually a chocolate capped boy the dog officer caught outside. Someone obviously let him "into the wild" thinking he'd be OK in the middle of winter! I guess he had a mate who died in the storm previous to his capture. I named him Nappy. My latest addition to the family are two furless sisters, one a black capped and one a black self, who I have named Story and Soho. You can check out my article on Punderful Furless Names to see more names I've used in the past. :)

      https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Punderful-Names-for-Fu...

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      RattyLover 7 years ago

      Hey, By the way awesome hub. just out of curiosity how many rats have you had throughout your life and what were their names.

      I have two female rats named daisy and Kiwi they are adorable little creatures.

    • Theophanes profile image
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      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      Awwwe, you mean like get enough of a life to heckle random articles you don't like out of ignorance? If only I could aspire to that! Thank you Jon. You're adorable. I just want to pinch your wee little flame warring cheeks... Have a lovely day!

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      pippi 7 years ago

      i love rats

    • Alexander A profile image

      Alexander A 7 years ago from Internet

      Great hub :)

    • Eternal Evolution profile image

      Eternal Evolution 8 years ago from kentucky

      Very interesting facts. I have two female rats. A black hood rat named Scythe (she has a rock in her tail and holds it like a scythe) and a light tan hood rat named Sickle.

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image

      GeneriqueMedia 8 years ago from Earth

      Yeah, I think the pouched rats are back to being legal. They are awesome! Though as you say, I don't think they're being bred here anymore.

      A Nutria is a semiaquatic rodent. Here's a video link to one eating a carrot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBkXljIPsCc

      They seem to be just as tame as their rat counterparts. Doesn't even bite when you mess with it eating, as many dogs and cats are apt to do.

    • Theophanes profile image
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      Theophanes 8 years ago from New England

      Nutria aye? Refresh my memory, are those the rodents that they have started to farm for meat? I have always wanted a Gambian Pouch Rat but they were made illegal to sell/buy/adopt during the monkey pox thing (don't get me started on that!) and now that they are again legal to buy/sell/transport/trade the only ones you can find are the ones breeding in the wild in Florida after pet shops dumped them... SIGH. I wish I cold find a breeder! (In the States as theyhave remained illegal to import..)

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image

      GeneriqueMedia 8 years ago from Earth

      Awesome article. Its a shame so many people fear these gentle critters. I've had six rats since 2002-03 and they have quickly replaced a cat or a dog as my favorite pet. Not that I hate either, but the ease of care and loyalty has me really hooked. =)

      One of these days I wanna get a Nutria, though.

    • Cindy Letchworth profile image

      Cindy Letchworth 8 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

      Great piece. I love pet rats too. They are some of the best animal companions.

    • RiaMorrison profile image

      Ria Bridges 8 years ago from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

      I've had four rats in my life, and the last two both died less than a month ago. As much as I love them, I don't think I can have any more short-lived pets for a while, at least not until I've recovered emotionally from losing these last few. But seeing this hub just renewed my love of them and gave me a lot of interesting facts to tell my roommate! Thank you!

    • Theophanes profile image
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      Theophanes 8 years ago from New England

      I am so sorry to hear that! I fear that myself as I've developed an allergy to them over the past two years that seems to be getting worse. I really adore the little buggars and would be crushed if I couldn't keep them anymore. I am glad you at least lived with your tango with death though! Geesh! That's harsh!

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      Brenda 8 years ago

      I also raised rats for fun. I was astounded how intelligent and social they are. I would still be doing it, except I found out that I am "deathly" allergic to them. If I were to get bitten again, it will most likely kill me. ( I only got bitten once, and that was while I was putting down a very sick rat).Within 1/2 hours, I quit breathing and was rushed to the hospital. I really miss my pet rats. They were great fun to watch and interact with. I hate that they only live 2-3 years.

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      ... 8 years ago

      RATS ARE FANTASTIC!!!

    • Theophanes profile image
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      Theophanes 8 years ago from New England

      Thank you for that terribly helpful critique kittykat. Care to tell me why I "suck"? Is it just a petty prejudice ageinst rats because I have cat articles here too you know... might be more suitable to your... tastes.

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      kittykat 8 years ago

      wow u suck

    • Robin Layne profile image

      Robin Layne 8 years ago from Oregon

      Fascinating. I especially was impressed by the lab rats surpassing clones in similarity.

    • Woody Marx profile image

      Woody Marx 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Glad to see your original hubs back and running! :)

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