How to tame a wild brown rat? I know, I sound insane.

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by MageofMist, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. MageofMist

    MageofMist Songster

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    Hello, I know I probably sound insane... But I have this huge male brown rat that lives on my yard who is very timid and sweet, and my dad wants to kill it. I don't see it as a threat to my chickens as it is clearly afraid of them, and it is quite friendly for a wild rat. I tossed some bread to as I was treating my chickens to it, when I spotted the rat and it hid in the shed... I sat down and tossed some bread to it and it came out of hiding, stared at me for a minute as if judging my trustworthiness, then ran off back into hiding after grabbing the bit of bread, seemingly deeming me trustworthy enough to take food from me.

    I am hoping on catching it so that my dad won't harm it as he wants to poison it, I am hoping to keep it as a secret pet if possible. It has no signs of any illnesses, clean sleek fur, shiny bright eyes and is quite plump and very alert and active.
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

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    I wouldn't try to tame it. For one, you won't be able to keep it as a secret pet. Rats need a lot of space, how would you hide the cage? Plus it looking fine doesn't mean it can't be carrying something that will make you sick. What's especially scary is the hantavirus they can carry. It's lethal to nearly 40% of all who contract it. On top of that, they can also carry Weil's disease, rat bite fever, cryptosporidiosis, viral hemorrhagic fever, and Q fever.

    If you want to save the rat, a much better idea is to catch it in a catch and release trap and release it far away from your house. Then if you still want a pet rat and get the okay from your parents, you can get a domestic one. The domestic ones make great pets. You'll want at least two because they are very social animals.
     
  3. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

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    While wild rats might not harm adult chickens, they can eat and destroy eggs and harm peeps as well as carry disease.
    Rats can be caught in a trap but poisoning it isn't the most effective way as other animals, even your chickens could get the poison and if the rat is poisoned nd dies and something else eats the carcass that animal (a pet dog or cat perhaps) could be poisoned also.
     
  4. RoosterCogburn7

    RoosterCogburn7 Chicken Atlas Farm NPIP 74-4231

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    Ever hear of the bubonic plague. It still exists along with the Honto virus. In sections of NM people are still catching plague annually due to the rodent population. Further more, where you see one, there are a lot more. The reason it is there is because it is getting fat on your chicken feed. Your dad is right to dispatch it. The nasty buggers will also attack your birds while they are vulnerable and roosting at night. That is why we only feed once a day to deter rodents.
     
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  5. MageofMist

    MageofMist Songster

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    I think it may be an escaped or "released" pet rat as it approached me and fits all the descriptions of a domestic rat, and I have seen pet rats of his 'wild' colour before in pet stores. And it is black rats (Rattus rattus) that carry the plague, brown rats are Rattus norvegicus, the same type as your ordinary domestic rats.

    ~If the rat approaches you,
    he is a fancy rat.~

    ~If the rat is reasonably relaxed,
    and the rat is not ill,
    he is a fancy rat.~

    ~If the rat's ears seem lax,
    or if they're on the side of his head,
    he is a fancy rat.~

    ~If the rat is fat,
    he is a fancy rat.~

    It fits him exactly.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
  6. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    The rat taking food you tossed down doesn't mean it's a domesticated rat. It might very well be the descendant of some, or an escaped pet, but that doesn't mean it can be so easily retamed. And once rats get out in the wilderness they pick up all sorts of diseases and pests that may cause problems down the line for people or other pets in your household.

    If you really do want to do this I would also caution you in trying to make this a "secret" - pet rats actually require a bit of space (minimum 2 cu ft per rat, a large male should get more than that) as well as other rats for companionship.
     
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  7. MageofMist

    MageofMist Songster

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    I managed to sneak a fishtank, temperature regulator, an air bubbler and filter, tropical fish food, and 4 guppies in without my dad knowing after he said no to letting me have some fish... I know, I am stubborn. He only found out when he came into my room and saw the pretty fish and was "How the hell did you get these up here?" And let me keep them. This was all from the money from my chores and built up change from college. :p

    I don't think I'd have any issue sneaking a proper cage or two in and another rat (once I am sure the one I captured IS healthy) in the house. I have read up on how to introduce two rats together to prevent fighting.

    Edit: The fish tank isn't small either, it is quite large. No idea how he didn't notice as he opens the door for me to come in.
     
  8. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

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    That's going to be a problem unless you have a lot of money to drop, because you're going to need to get it tested for ALL the diseases I mentioned above to ascertain that it is healthy. Like I said, they carry those diseases with no outward signs. And those diseases I listed are what brown rats carry, not black rats.

    I recently had some wild deer mice that I raised tested before I released them. The test for just hantavirus, which is all I had to test for because that's really all deer mice carry that could make humans sick, was $85 alone. Plus the overnight shipping to the lab.

    And that's if you can even find a place to do it. I'm lucky that there's a lab here in the US that lets you take your own samples and mail them in. I don't know if you'd have that in Britain. You might have to find a vet willing to do the testing. And then be ready to drop even more money because now you're paying for the vet's time along with the tests.

    Like I said, the best thing to do here is just to catch this one and release it elsewhere, and then if you still want rats (and your parents are fine with it; I know it's frustrating but if they say no you should respect their wishes, and I say this as an animal lover that wanted pets all the time when I was younger and didn't like it when my parents said no) get two from a breeder or rescue some albinos from a pet store that would otherwise be snake food.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
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  9. RoosterCogburn7

    RoosterCogburn7 Chicken Atlas Farm NPIP 74-4231

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    In NY, NY the rats outnumber the population. I am certain you could start a huge collection there.
     
  10. KaylorFarms

    KaylorFarms Crowing

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    Rats carry lots of diseases, including rat bite fever, tifuss, and their droppings are really germy and deadly. You can sick just inhaling their droppings. So I'd be careful while handling:)
    Good luck taming him!
     

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