Caring of Pet - Rat

Rats make excellent pets if they are cared properly. They seldom bite when raised as pets and handled with care. They are easy to care for and responsive to handling. These timid and social pets are fun to watch performing their natural behaviors of burrowing, searching for food and playing. The average life span for rats is 1.5 to 3 years. The following information is designed to help you take the best care of your pet.
  • Nutrition:
      A poor diet can result in obesity, diarrhea, or overgrown teeth. Provide a balanced diet that is high in fiber. Oil-rich and high-fat foods such as nuts and sunflower seeds should be avoided.

      Commercially available foods and pellets should be the main diet for rats. Balanced "block" type diets are ideal since they are nutritionally complete and provide the added benefit of gnawing exercise.

      Fruit is a great treat. Rats love to eat apples, bananas, peaches, strawberries, and grapes. They also love vegetables like carrots, kale, cucumbers, beans, and broccoli.

      Rats love to eat lots of other things too. Spaghetti noodles with sauce, pizza crust, wheat bread, and even healthy breakfast cereal. Anything that’s good for you to eat is probably good for your little pet too.

      Rats can get sick from eating junk food even though they love the taste. Never let your critter eat candy, cookies, chips, soda, gum, chocolate, or cheese.

      Rats have a "sweet-tooth" and crave sweets. Sweets should be given occasionally in small quantities based around a nutritionally complete diet.

      If a rodent's appetite or water intake drastically changes he should be seen by a veterinarian
  • Water:
      Water should always be available and fresh daily. The container should be a water bottle equipped with a sipper tube.
  • Housing:
      Rats don’t like to be in a draft and they don’t like too much sunlight. Find a place for your furry friend’s home where it’s protected from cold air and the sun.

      Rodents often chew through wood and thin plastics. For this reason cages should be made of wire with a solid floor.

      Several types of cages which are suitable for housing small rodents are available. Many of these units come equipped with cage "furniture" such as exercise wheels, tunnels and nesting boxes. Such accessories, as well as sufficient litter depth within which to burrow, are desirable for the pet's psychological and physical well-being.

      Cages should be sanitized with hot water and nontoxic disinfectant; then thoroughly rinsed. Water bottles and food dishes should be cleaned and disinfected daily.

      Bedding must be clean, nontoxic, absorbent, and relatively dust free. Shredded newspaper, tissue paper, bathroom or facial tissue, cotton or processed corncobs are the preferred beddings. Provide at least 2 inches of bedding in the cage to allow normal burrowing behavior. Do not use cedar shavings, pine shavings or chlorophyll-scented shavings because they may harm your pet.

      Heavily soiled areas should be removed from the bedding material daily and the bedding should be changed once a week.
  • Exercise and Play:
      Because pet rats are very intelligent social animals, they can quickly become bored if enough activity and stimulation are not provided. This can result in undesirable activities such as excess chewing or gnawing, constant moving or rearrangement of accessories, or regular attempts to escape.

      Make sure your pet has plenty of toys and nests.

      Exercise wheels can provide them with hours of fun. Empty paper egg cartons and paper-towel or toilet-paper tubes make good chewing and climbing material, and untreated wooden blocks satisfy their need to gnaw.

      Chew toys are a good choice since they offer stimulation as well as gnawing exercise that help wear down teeth. When you are home, spend at least half an hour a day playing and interacting with your pet outside of the cage. Never leave pet rats unattended when they are out of their cages.

      Pet rats are very intelligent and can learn to respond to their name and come to you when called. Time spent training your pet rat is quality time socializing and interacting with your pet.
  • Handling:
      Rats become tame and seldom bite when accustomed to being handled, but, rats can be very territorial of their cages and should be coaxed out of them before being handled.

      Also, it is best not to disturb a sleeping rodent because most are usually quite cranky when awakened.

      Regular weekly handling is recommended to properly socialize your pets. A lack of handling could result in aggressive behavior.

      Rats can be easily picked up by scooping them into cupped hands and holding them near your body. Be sure not to grab them by their tails. Picking up rodents by the scruff of the neck in not recommended.
  • Love and care:
      Rats are great pets. They quickly learn to recognize their owner and will come running out to visit when they see you.

      Always be gentle when holding your rat or mouse. Our furry friends don’t like to be squeezed, poked, or dropped. They are very little and can get scared.

      Rats are very smart. Some people have taught them tricks like coming to their name and walking on a tight rope. There are even rats that play basketball.

      Rats love to snuggle and be petted. Lots of rats like to ride on their owner’s shoulders. Others prefer pockets or purses.