Top 10 Reasons to Have Rats as Pets
Keeping Rats as Pet Animals
Pet rats have existed for several hundred years, believe it or not! Having rats as pets may seem like a strange concept to many people, but for those who keep rodents, rats tend to be a preferred caged pet. Pet fancy rats are much less likely to display aggression like other rodent pets and caged pets such as gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs. These are all animals that are commonly kept as pets, and many do not have as docile of a disposition as the domesticated pet rat does.
The domesticated pet rat can be one of the most trustworthy pets that you can own, as long as it has a wonderful lineage and was raised properly. They are also incredibly intelligent and quirky, making them very entertaining for adults and children alike. Journeying into the world of rat ownership is very exciting, and it all begins with your very first fancy rat!
1. With Rats as Pets, There's No Shortage of Personality!
One of the coolest things about rats as pets is the personalities that they have. Each rat is much different than the next, something you probably would not expect of smaller animals. Some rats are more shy and sweet, while others are more mischievous and outgoing. You have varying levels of intelligence and applied learning (while rats are incredibly smart in any case, their intelligence levels can vary from rat to rat), and this further varies their personalities.
As a rat grows up and bonds with its owner, the developing personality will forever set the individual apart from the rest of the mischief—even if the other rats in the mischief are the exact same color and difficult to tell apart through markings!
2. Rats Are Low-Maintenance Pets When Necessary!
If you a current pet owner, you know there are many situations where you may not have much time to spend with your pets. This can have a negative impact on many high-maintenance animals. Thankfully, rats are very hardy pets. They may not like that their attention may die off while you pick up a second job over the holiday season or go away for vacation; however, they will be able to fully entertain themselves with a cagemate and plenty of stimulating toys.
With rats as pets, you can take on more responsibilities on occasion without having to worry about the rats feeling neglected. Just do make sure that it is not a long-term or ongoing issue; they do need our love just as other family members do!
3. They Form Loving, Close Bonds With Other Rats and Humans
Rats are very compassionate, family-oriented animals. They live in close-knit mischiefs, usually spending the day playing and grooming one another. They form very close bonds with one another and their human family members. They crave attention, which makes it important to have at least one cagemate.
While there are space and safety concerns with having too many rats in too small of a cage, rats tend to be happier in larger family groups. I found that many of my rats were happiest in groups of 8—especially the kiddos! There is nothing cuter than watching a play "riot" amongst a group of young kits!
4. Rats Are Very Clean Pets
When you have rats as pets, you will notice that rats tend to be fairly clean animals. Much like other small animals, they like to designate a particular area of their cage as a potty area. Rats do not like to regularly use the potty all over their cage.
However, they will leave urine trails across many of their items. This is a territorial instinct, rather than a need to use the bathroom. When they leave these urine trails, it signals to other rats that this is their home, and it can also indicate whether or not it's an "off limits" area or the home of a potential mate. You can also potty train pet rats to use a litter box!
5. Costs Associated With Rats Are Generally Low
Rats can be fairly cheap as far as basic needs go. Their food is not very expensive, and you can use all sorts of materials to create their homes, toys, and jungle gyms yourself. They are also able to eat many of the foods we eat, such as certain meats, vegetables, grains, and fruits. Therefore, you can feed them a little bit of your own cooking when you have extra available, and you can create a temporary hide-out from last night's dinner box!
6. Rats Can Be Trained
Since rats are so incredibly smart, you are able to train them to do many different things. Rats are able to understand behaviors and reward systems, as well as parts of the human language. They learn their names and can easily learn about what is going on around them and what to expect. They are even capable of learning advanced tricks. In some countries, rats are used to detect land mines, rewire buildings when humans cannot get into tight spaces, and even act as messengers or transporters.
7. Rats Are as Friendly as Can Be
Rats tend to have a much lower risk of becoming aggressive versus other small pets. This is one of the biggest reasons that they are recommended for younger children. They are very unlikely to bite as long as they come from reputable breeders.
The temperament of a well-bred rat usually means you are nearly 100% safe from ever being bitten out of aggression. Even if the rat comes from an inexperienced breeder or pet shop, rats are still excessively docile creatures; they never mean harm, they just want to explore and make friends along the way!
8. Rats Are Typically as Healthy as a Horse
If a rat is cared for properly from birth, it tends to stay very healthy. Rats seem to almost never get sick, and they have an immunity to many illnesses. The only issue is that females tend to be susceptible to mammary cancer.
The chances of this are drastically reduced under these conditions: The female rat has raised at least one litter to maturity, and she has been spayed. If both conditions are met, cancer can be almost avoided. Other than this, a balanced diet, clean cage, and plenty of exercise make for a long-lived, healthy pet.
9. Pet Rats Are Easy to Find
If you are considering rats as pets, you will notice that they are relatively easy to find. You can find professional breeders and ratteries, experienced hobby breeders, and pet shops that usually have rats available for adoption.
10. Rats Have so Much Variety!
Pets rats come in all colors, varieties, coat types, and sizes! There's a type of rat to fit nearly anyone's tastes, and they are all most definitely cute! There are hairless rats, dumbo eared rats, rex coated rats, tailless rats, and more. Some are more rare than others, with one example being tailless rats.
As rats are bred, there are more types and color variations than before. The rats in the images above and below are rather stunning!
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Do You Currently Own Pet Rats?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.