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All Previous and present Rat owners please read!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Goat_Walker, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Goat_Walker

    Goat_Walker I Am THE Crazy Duck Lady

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    Well I know this girl(Savannah), we are sort of good friends.
    She likes to talk real shrill like, and and likes to scream a lot.
    As far as I know she has cats, and thats it. When we went to a party together, the girl who's party it was has ferrets, well Savannah gets her turn to play with them and tosses them around like rag dolls!

    So anyway I heard today from some people that she is getting a rat for Christmas. So at once I was a little concerned for her future pet.

    I have owned two rats for the past year and a half, so I know about rats, there care and everything , I just need some people to reinforce what I say .
    Well she said that she has all the help she needed but would welcome more, so I asked her who her help was, and she referred me to another friend who was sitting right there. I asked the girl what she knew so we could compare notes so to say and give Savannah all the info we could. She replied to me " I have gerbils , so I know how to take care of rats". I kind of gave her a "shes crazy" Look and walked back over to Savannah.

    So, needless to say I am doing my best to give her all the help I can.

    So, here is where Id like for yall to come in:

    I would love if any of you could share some of your all mighty knowledge as well as any stories you have of your beloved rats.

    Im trying to encourage her that rats are not a " play with for 5 minutes once a week" kind of thing....


    So all help is appriciated in my walk to help her out!
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  2. skirbo

    skirbo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Walton County, NW FL
    Rats are also very social animals and not happy as singles. Unlike many other similar species, boys get along together very well as adult males, given enough living space. Boys are less active/more cuddly than girls. Girls tend to stay more playful.

    It's very easy to build them a large multi-leveled cage that will keep them active and fit, there are plans for building or converting out of bookcases, etc., all over the internet.

    Sarah
     
  3. Maidservant

    Maidservant Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Norwich, Norfolk, UK
    If you have a female, you'll need to take in consideration that there is about a 75% chance of her developing mammary tumors. Even non-cancerous tumors can eat rats alive. We had one little rescue girl die from them not long ago. Pet store rats have a higher chance of being sick than rats that come from a breeder, but most rat breeders raise them for snake food. Rats are extremely sensitive to loud and shrill noises. They do not like screaming or squealing. Honestly, they don't like any loud noise. If you want to be able to handle your rat, expect to spend at least 30 minutes per day just playing with them and handling them. That doesn't count the time it takes to spot clean their cage on a daily basis, do a once weekly scrubdown of their cage, feeding, watering, etc. Rats do better in pairs, and if properly cared for do not smell. Some rats have skin allergies, and if you get one with those allergies, it is a lifelong battle to keep them under control. Pink or red eyed rats can have vision trouble.

    Gerbils are much different than rats. For one, the domestic rat comes from a completely different continent than gerbils do, therefore different climates, habitats, and diets. They have different mannerisms too. I've spent 5 years raising rats, gerbils, mice, and a few exotic species of rodents. Rats get much larger than gerbils, and cannot be kept happy in a 10 gallon aquarium.

    Rats are in my opinion the most loving of the rodents that I have raised, and are the most laid back. With that being said, there is always a chance of getting a high strung rat that will attack anything that enters their cage. Rat bites hurt, bad.

    I could go on and on. If you have any specific points that you want me to write on or any questions that need to be answered, please let me know. I answer based upon researched information and my own experiences from my five years of raising rodents.

    Rats are not starter pets. You cannot go out of town if you own a rat. In my opinion, if you want a starter pet, get a few creek guppies, they can survive nearly anything and they're cheap!

    Emily in NC

    ~All God's Critters Small Animal Rescue~
     
  4. chickiebaby

    chickiebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2008
    western mass
    We loved our rats, and had several for years. All of the above is true, but don't SCARE the girl! You can too go out of town, you just take the rat over to a friend's house. Never any problem.

    The mammary tumor thing is really sad when it happens, but we're all going to die someday, rats and dogs and people - and chickens - included, so I wouldn't let that stop me from having a pet I loved.

    A rat raised from youth by an owner should never bbite. Unless it's treated badly. Just don't get an adult as a rescue unless you already know what you are doing. But that's true for any animal. Start with a young, sweet l'il thing and learn from there.

    I do agree with you that having a rat is nothing like having a gerbil or any other little furry, careless, adorable and dumb critter. More like having a dog or parrot. If she just wants cute, a gerbil or something might be better. If she wants a pet to really play with, train and love, can't beat a rat.

    What else? Most are definitely happier with company, though one of ours, Athena, lived alone for quite a while and was happy to just hang out on my homeschooling son's shoulder most of the time. Not so interested in other rodents. Preferred humans.

    Never had a more sociable or smarter creature in my life than a rat, and I include most of the guys I ever dated.

    Gt
     
  5. Maidservant

    Maidservant Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Norwich, Norfolk, UK
    I'm not trying to scare her, she just needs to know the bad along with the good. Everyone else is doing a great job of explaining the good. I loved my rats, and out of everything I have ever raised and/or rescued, I miss them the most.

    Emily

    PS - I've seen too many rescues come through here that kids bought and got tired of to not say something about it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  6. Goat_Walker

    Goat_Walker I Am THE Crazy Duck Lady

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    Quote:Would you mind helping me explain the difference between rats and mice? I used to own a few but its been about a year since. Im trying to explain to her that there IS a huge difference and that Rats are not just over sized mice needing the care that mice do. Where as mice can live in 10 gals, rats can not. And intelligence is a totally different matter.
     
  7. kusine

    kusine New Egg

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    Rats are very intelligent; I'd say that's the biggest difference between mice and rats. Ask her how she'd feel if she were left in an empty room all day with nothing to do and no one to hang out with - that's pretty much how a rat would feel.

    Rats need stimulation: toys, foods, other rats, people ... And if you don't give rats something to do, they'll find it! Think of a rat like a bored 2 year old left alone for five minutes and that gives you a pretty good idea of the trouble they can get into!

    Good luck!
     
  8. Maidservant

    Maidservant Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Norwich, Norfolk, UK
    Quote:Definately!

    Rats need a higher protein concentration in their feed, mice need higher caloric concentration in their feed. Feeding them a petstore rat/mouse food isn't the best for them. I loved giving my rats hay to play with, eat, gnaw on, and build nests with. The only problem with hay, it gets everywhere! It was worth it for me, but it did add a few minutes of cleaning every day. Rats are more fragile than mice, at least in my experience. They both can have health problems, but you really have to be careful what type of wheel you get a rat. Their back doesn't need to bend, and their feet shouldn't be able to get caught anywhere on it. A running wheel is a great toy for caged animals, but no matter what, their human is going to be the toy they enjoy the most. We interact with them, love them, give them treats, and care for them, what better toy could they ask for. That is why playing with them is so important. When I was out of college for the summer, I would spend whole days just playing with my little ratties. Rats give unconditional love, as long as you teach them to trust you and you give them your patience. Mice, while they can be playful and laid back, have more of the mentality of "you're huge! You're going to eat me! RUN!" than rats do. Rats think "yay! Jungle gym!". Also, none of my rats liked the roll around balls that you put them in. They would just sit and stare at you with big lonely eyes. Believe it or not, I would (and still do) play with all of my rodents in a childs tent in my living room. Childrens tents give you a safe, small, enclosed space that you can give a rodent freedom in, but still keep them confined. Plus, you can fit in the tent with them to play! Be sure that they don't try to chew out though, some have a facination with the fabric or zippers...I had one that could open the zipper on the tent....but that's another story, lol.

    Hope this helps a little!

    Emily in NC

    PS - I am by no means an expert, and everyones experiences are different. I encourage everyone to chime in with any advice they have!
     
  9. Goat_Walker

    Goat_Walker I Am THE Crazy Duck Lady

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    Im lending her a pen ( i prefer not to say cage ) for when she first gets her rats. Ill have it scrubbed good of course to get all the sent off.
     

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