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Old 09-02-2013, 17:01
klendathu
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Hi guys

When I was growing up a friend of mine had a pet Rat which I thought was amazing, so now I am considering getting one myself.
But I have some questions -

Are they relatively easy to look after?
What are a rats dietary needs? Do they need regular exercise out of the cage?
How much would you pay for a Rat and associated equipment?

Can any rat owners shed some light on living with a rat and whether its a big commitment or otherwise

Obviously I am capable of doing some research online but I wondered if anyone on here can offer an opinion , DS is the place to go for positive reponses
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Old 09-02-2013, 17:10
Muze
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I had rats in my teens, lovely pets if they are well raised and handled.

They need plenty of space, enrichment and interaction outside their cage, they are almost like little dogs, very smart and trainable.

Females tend to be more active then males and IMO may require more space, they also like company, I wouldn't keep a single rat unless it was a particularly cantankerous fellow.

I'd join a rat community if you can, talk to some breeders and rescues. It's been a good 15 years since I lost my last rat so I imagine things like books and diet suggestions have moved on a bit

All the best
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Old 09-02-2013, 17:39
klendathu
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I had rats in my teens, lovely pets if they are well raised and handled.

They need plenty of space, enrichment and interaction outside their cage, they are almost like little dogs, very smart and trainable.

Females tend to be more active then males and IMO may require more space, they also like company, I wouldn't keep a single rat unless it was a particularly cantankerous fellow.

I'd join a rat community if you can, talk to some breeders and rescues. It's been a good 15 years since I lost my last rat so I imagine things like books and diet suggestions have moved on a bit

All the best
Thanks for your kind reply .
The general consensus seems to be more than one Rat is the way forward
Lots of people are telling me they are good pets
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Old 09-02-2013, 20:42
orangebird
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A friend of mine had two rats - they were funny, engaging, clever and affectionate. They also love carrots with a sour cream and onion dip and enjoy cuddles and falling asleep under your jumper very much . Make sure you handle them as much as possible and give them a spacious cage but do give them a round around outside the cage once in a while.
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Old 09-02-2013, 21:33
Pavster
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We've got 4 rats at the moment and they're great pets.

Have a search for fancy rats. Their forum is pretty good.

Don't just get one. They like company. Both human and ratty.

The other thing I'd suggest is don't buy from pet shops, try to find a breeder. Couple of reasons. Breeders are trying to breed from good lines which hopefully means healthier rats. Also they will have been handled from birth. Pet shops are just buying in from breeding farms. This makes a huge difference.
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:20
SmartTIIam
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If you want pet rats, get at least two, maybe three but don't get one on it's own. They're great pets but social animals and like to be with other little ratties. They're not like hamsters. They don't like being alone.

In terms of the practical side, they're obviously not as high maintenance as a dog but they need to be let out of their cage every day. You can also get rat balls, like hamster balls but bigger. I found these were great because I could let my two out without them getting into trouble. Male rats are lazier, female rats are more active and inquisitive so it depends whether you want a laid back rat or one you can interact with. You will need to get them toys and make a play area for them. if you are letting them lose you will have to "rat proof" things. They do tend to chew and you don't want any cables they can chew through.

In terms of cage bedding, I suggest a paper based cat litter like Bio catolet. Like other rodents, their teeth constantly grow so they have to gnaw. Dog chews are a good option for this such as dentastix.

Don't get them a cage with a wire mesh floor, get a plastic floored cage. I found that I had to clean the cage out about twice a week.

In terms of diet, they will eat just about anything APART from oranges. There is an enzyme in oranges that are poisonous to male rats, but you will find that rats won't go near them regardless.

In terms of illnesses, rats can be prone to respiritory (sp?) diseases, hence use a paper based cat litter for their cage as then sawdust is not getting on their lungs. Not good for them.

In terms of set up costs, get them the biggest cage you can afford, that you can fit as well. The more room the better. They like to be high up in the cage so a cage hammock is great for them and you will find that they will sleep in it.

They also like salt, so they will appreciate a salt lick.

As for food, specific foods can be bought but this can be supplemented with little treats and veggies and meat as well. They love chocolate but go easy. Rats don't have a gag reflex so if they eat anything poisonous, they can't vomit it back up.
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Old 10-02-2013, 14:53
klendathu
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Thankyou everyone for your kind and informative replies

I have located a breeder up here in South Yorkshire and am arranging the purchase of two female rats , hopefully for next weekend.
I have also looked at a spacious cage which seems reasonable .
There are a lot of knowledgeable Rat owners out there who are more than happy to advise a newbie
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Old 10-02-2013, 15:16
Pavster
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That's good news. Hope you enjoy them.

Try Rat Rations for food. You can get some really good, balanced mixes. Would probably get a bit expensive with a lot of rats but fine with a few. From memory I think I get 11a. They'll eat nuggets etc but like foraging for different things.

There's also treats and toys on there.

Get them done Dr Squiggles Daily to go in their water as well. It gives them some vitamins they need and it's like rat crack cocaine. They love it.

Ours always have kale available as well.

I think you can add Brussels to the things they shouldn't eat. In general try to go a bit easy on treats. The breeder will give you some advice on extra nutrition when they are babies. They need more protein until about 3 months.

Fuzzbutt are good for hammocks etc. Ours seem to be fans of plammocks - half platform, half hammock.
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Old 10-02-2013, 16:03
SmartTIIam
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I just thought of something else. Rats actually communicate with each other ultrasonically, so all that constant squeaking you here on television is rubbish. They only tend to squeak if they are in pain so they shouldn't be too noisy and they will have little fights with each other to determine who is top rat, and like dogs they can even be known to get dominance of humans. I read this and did it to mine a couple of times, just to flip them on their backs and tickle their tummies to tell them you are in charge.
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Old 10-02-2013, 17:06
cheshirechesse
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They are also a wonderful way of getting rid of doorstep sales people. When answering the door if my two are out loose, for safety I pop them on my shoulders. You should see the looks on the callers faces when they cop that it is rats, followed by swift departure.
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Old 10-02-2013, 17:15
Badcat
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Rats are one of the best pets ever.

As others suggested, get at least 2 and make sure the cage is as BIG as you can afford. (and no wire flooring)

The bigger the cage the happier the rats I used ferret tubes and sleeping hammocks for mine and they loved them. (have 2 of everything like the hammocks so you have have one to wash and a clean one to use when you clean their cages out)

loved my rats... good luck in your search! They make such lovely companions.
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Old 10-02-2013, 17:39
klendathu
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They are also a wonderful way of getting rid of doorstep sales people. When answering the door if my two are out loose, for safety I pop them on my shoulders. You should see the looks on the callers faces when they cop that it is rats, followed by swift departure.


I shall be employing this tactic shortly

Rats are one of the best pets ever.

As others suggested, get at least 2 and make sure the cage is as BIG as you can afford. (and no wire flooring)

The bigger the cage the happier the rats I used ferret tubes and sleeping hammocks for mine and they loved them. (have 2 of everything like the hammocks so you have have one to wash and a clean one to use when you clean their cages out)

loved my rats... good luck in your search! They make such lovely companions.
I have my eye on quite a big cage with tubes, sleeping hammocks and a plastic floor . All the components for a happy Rat abode

I'll try and upload a pic in the future when all set up
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Old 10-02-2013, 17:40
klendathu
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I just thought of something else. Rats actually communicate with each other ultrasonically, so all that constant squeaking you here on television is rubbish. They only tend to squeak if they are in pain so they shouldn't be too noisy and they will have little fights with each other to determine who is top rat, and like dogs they can even be known to get dominance of humans. I read this and did it to mine a couple of times, just to flip them on their backs and tickle their tummies to tell them you are in charge.
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Old 10-02-2013, 17:45
Pavster
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Apparently they laugh when you tickle them. Sadly it's ultrasonic, you need a bat radar thingumy to hear it.
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Old 10-02-2013, 19:10
klendathu
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Apparently they laugh when you tickle them. Sadly it's ultrasonic, you need a bat radar thingumy to hear it.
Haha I actually Lol'ed at the thought of a Rat laughing
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Old 10-02-2013, 19:52
sadmuppet
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Haha I actually Lol'ed at the thought of a Rat laughing
Me too!

I love these pictures - rats are so cute, don't know why anybody wouldn't like them!!

http://www.thatcutesite.com/uploads/...t_teddy_01.jpg

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_s3qDWL0fVt...69_634x286.jpg

http://www.peacockshock.com/archives...bear-thumb.jpg

http://cdnimg.visualizeus.com/thumbs...095f7720_m.jpg


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Old 10-02-2013, 23:42
SmartTIIam
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Those are cute. It makes me want rats again...

While you can't hear a rat's laughter, rats do brux when they are content, which is grinding of teeth. Mine used to if I tickled behind their ears. Cutest thing ever
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Old 19-04-2013, 19:45
teresagreen
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Thankyou everyone for your kind and informative replies

I have located a breeder up here in South Yorkshire and am arranging the purchase of two female rats , hopefully for next weekend.
I have also looked at a spacious cage which seems reasonable .
There are a lot of knowledgeable Rat owners out there who are more than happy to advise a newbie
I hope you got your rats ok. They make lovely pets and are very affectionate. There are things you can teach them, like answering to their names and playing with toys. I was worried when my grandaughter first got pet rats but now I am hooked. They never hurt people and are so funny.
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Old 20-04-2013, 06:30
annette kurten
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i love rats, i`d get them again but i`ve got a cat.
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Old 20-04-2013, 18:46
Aarghawasp!
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Another thumbs up from me.
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Old 20-04-2013, 19:05
teresagreen
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That's good news. Hope you enjoy them.

Try Rat Rations for food. You can get some really good, balanced mixes. Would probably get a bit expensive with a lot of rats but fine with a few. From memory I think I get 11a. They'll eat nuggets etc but like foraging for different things.

There's also treats and toys on there.

Get them done Dr Squiggles Daily to go in their water as well. It gives them some vitamins they need and it's like rat crack cocaine. They love it.

Ours always have kale available as well.

I think you can add Brussels to the things they shouldn't eat. In general try to go a bit easy on treats. The breeder will give you some advice on extra nutrition when they are babies. They need more protein until about 3 months.

Fuzzbutt are good for hammocks etc. Ours seem to be fans of plammocks - half platform, half hammock.
One of my grand-daughter's rats won't settle unless it's covered up with it's little fleecy blanket thingy with doggy bones printed on it. I think he rolls himself up in it if no-one covers him. It must have been meant for a dog, but my grand-daughter cut it up to make several, and they can be washed or thrown away.

I would never have believed a couple of years ago what beautiful, gentle pets they are, but now I absolutely love them. they seem to be getting more and more popular as pets.
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Old 20-04-2013, 19:10
teresagreen
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There is a video on 'you tube' with a lady teaching how to train a rat to play 'fetch' with a little ball.
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Old 20-04-2013, 19:29
TWS
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mine used to come to the pub with me on my shoulder and used to enjoy the car ride too they are very sociable and love being out, mine used to come when called, i find the males more pliable and affectionate the females tend to want to do their own thing more imo
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Old 21-04-2013, 00:16
Wolfsheadish
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Are they relatively easy to look after?
What are a rats dietary needs? Do they need regular exercise out of the cage?
How much would you pay for a Rat and associated equipment?
Rats make great pets, but please don't get any animal based on whether they're "relatively easy to look after". I mean I guess I know what you're asking, but like most pets, the more you put into a rat's care, the more you'll get out of it!
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Old 21-04-2013, 01:01
chocoholic100
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If you get one, please call him Roland.
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