Looking for rats owners! Want some info!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Chickerdoodle13, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I've wanted pet rats for the longest time. Usually when someone hears me say that, they look at me like I'm crazy!

    So I probably won't be able to get one for awhile, but I wanted to gather some info and talk to some owners now. Currently, I don't think there's any more room in this dorm for even another fish! LOL. My two friends got hamsters, but I would rather just wait and spend the money for a nice rat cage, toys, etc. Besides, I'm not really a hamster person. Technically pets other than fish and small birds (go figure) aren't allowed either, so that's the major reason I am going to wait. Next year or the year after I get to move into the apartments so that's when I plan to actually get my pets!

    Anyways, if I am planning on getting two males, how big of a cage will I need? I will most likely go with a wire cage and I do have a ferret cage at home, but that is REALLY big. At home I could put them in that, but I wouldn't even be able to fit the cage in my car LOL. Are there any good sites I could go on to look at appropriate housing? I also saw these like panels you put together and that would be real convenient because it would fold down for transport.

    I got the number of a breeder in my area and there are usually baby rats for sale at the small animal shows near me. The breeder is awesome because they really hold the babies before they sell them to new homes. They had all types too. I'm really looking at a hairless and a dumbo. Those are my two favorite kinds, but can they be put together?

    Also, has anyone ever had mice? Do they make good pets? Can you tame them if you get them young enough? I'm mostly just curious, but if the rats don't work out, then I might consider mice. I love the little fancies! Also, what size cage would a pair or trio of mice need? (I read somewhere that females are usually easier to tame than males.)

    Thanks for any info! I'd love to see pictures too!
  2. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Rats are quire tame. I had a few domestic rescue who were dropped of with babies to be euthanised (Im a CVT). We also had a few come in for surgeries here and there to remove tumor/masses. They are quite personable and smart. A few of the vets I worked with had them in aniaml behavior classes and were required to "train" them in mazes as an assignment. Ive heard good things about having them. I am sure you could find lots of husbandry info online.
  3. texasgirl

    texasgirl Songster

    May 27, 2007
    South Texas
    I love rats!!! I had 3 females and one male. I enjoyed the females more than the male but they are quite a bit smaller, some people say they are less friendly but I didn't find that to be the case with mine at all. One of the females was a hairless and the male was a dumbo. If you get a hairless it's recommended to get a partner with fur because they sleep together and the hairless variety do get chilled easily.
    A good quality rat lab block is required for a balanced diet but they love fresh fruits and veggies and nearly anything else.
    Here are the cages I used.

    This was the males cage (not nearly as cluttered with stuff as this one)

    And the 3 girls shared this one

    I loved having them sooo much and I want to have them again someday. The only drawback is their short lives. Mine all died or had to be euthanized because of tumors/cancer. 3 years is usually the max lifespan of a pet store rat.
    I highly recommend them! [​IMG]
  4. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    You asked about mice vs hamsters, etc. (don't have any personal experience with rats...)

    Anyway, I've had hamsters, gerbils and mice at various times.

    I can honestly say the mice were the most fun of the three to watch, etc but I won't have any again because of the odor.

    I don't know what it is, but with only one mouse there is very little smell, but when you have more than one (we had 4 females together originally) they must compete to out-musk each other.

    Their urine is just foul and no matter how clean you keep their cage, the next day it will smell just as bad. We tried aspen, pine and clorophyll as well as carefresh bedding and no matter what we tried, it just stunk.

    We're down now to just one very geriatric mouse - she's going on 3... and it's weird because with just one mouse in a 10 gal aquarium with a wire cage top there is almost no smell at all.

    Anyway, that's just my experience... YMMV. I would have hamsters again, but never mice, or at least definately not more than one!
  5. chickengirlnm

    chickengirlnm Songster

    Sep 4, 2007
    clovis, new mexico
    I had 4 rats at one time , 3 hooded , 1 hairless.
    I loved them they are very easy to hand tame, very friendly and once they get used to thier name will come when called. They can be very smart and find ways out of the cage if you are not careful. Some males can live together, but to avoid any fighting you can have them desexed. two of my males were desexed and they got along just fine. my female was very sweet and when she had her babies would let me hold them right after birth.
    as far as cages I tend to go over board and by cages that are really big with lots of room to move around and lots of toys and things to hide in and they need things to chew on to help thier teeth - not grow to long.
    they make great pets- they just dont live long enough.

  6. Hannah'sPlaidChickens

    Hannah'sPlaidChickens In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2007
    I have raised twelve pinkie feeder rats.They are really hard to raise as babies! But it sounds like you aren't planning on raising babies, just purchasing some young boys. Anyway I love rats, and enjoy having them as pets. I used just a small wire cage with two floors, but I was able to teach my ratties to use the litter box. After that my three girls were basically "free-range" meaning they could have free-range off my room. I kept them locked up during the day, and all they did was sleep. Then they were free to wander around and play. They even slept with me in my bed! They are really responsive to training. You can train rats to do an assortment of tricks, and they enjoy all sorts of fruits and veggies. I highly recommend them! Also a side-note: girl rats are higher energy. They were easier to train and more fun to watch play. THey also were really funny, and did lots of goofy things. But males are not as active. They didn't train very well at all, but could do things like use the litter-box and stand, sit, lay down, and roll over. However they were a lot more snuggly, and were much happier to watch T.V and eat Cheetos then the girls were (they liked to run around my feet and pick up the crumbs!) Good luck!
  7. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    I had two male rats, but they're the only pets i've ever rehomed. They were from the same litter, and got along fine but they were extremely noisy, especially during the night. I got them a ferret cage, which was in my bedroom to begin with, but they would play so loudly wrestling with each other that I could not sleep. I put them out on the landing in our house instead, outside my bedroom door, and they kept me and my two roommates awake. It got so bad that we would scour the petstore for 'quiet' bedding, and I think we tried it all. On top of the noise, they smelt terrible despite bathing them frequently and cleaning their cage out every three days. Cleaning a wire cage that's housed rats isn't as simple as cleaning out the plastic base and putting in new bedding. They pee everywhere, so i'd have to take out each of the wire shelves and scrub them everytime. Rat pee is really sticky, and it took half an hour of soaking before I could scrub them clean. They were fairly friendly and one of them only bit my roommate once when he tried to catch it as it was escaping.

    The hardest part of keeping rats is finding a vet to treat them who won't charge a small fortune. Many class them as exotics, which makes me wonder what they dissect in college. One vet charged me $65 to look at a healthy rat between appointments. Another wanted $85 to euthanize my sick rat. I was in school at the time, and couldn't afford to spend that, so I had to surrender them to the humane society.
  8. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Songster

    May 4, 2007
    Rats are great pets. I have probably about 12 pet rats in my life. They are pretty easy going, friendly and smart. Having had both mice and rats, I definitely prefer rats. The mice are cute and everything, but their lifespan isn't as long and they don't seem as personable. All my rats knew their names and would come when called. The are little Houdini's though and escape very easily. If their head can fit, they can get through the hole.

    I like the females better, though. They are more lively and sorry to say smarter then the males. The males just kinda sit around and mark territory, especially if you have two together and you'll end up cleaning their cage every day to keep the odor down. Plus when the boys rub on you the scent gets on you, too. I just don't like smelling like a male rat.

    Mine where always hanging out on my shoulder or in my pockets on my hoodie. I had one girl, Buttercup, who enjoyed making a nest in my hair and she was just a sweetie. They do nibble and it's a little nerve racking having one nibble on your ears, but the only time I've been bitten was by a protective mother and she bit hard.

    It's good to buy from a breeder because they are usually smart enough to separate the males and females at a young age. Since they can reproduce at 5 weeks old and you usually end up buying a pregnant female from pet stores.

    I've never had the hairless variety, honestly I don't think I could deal with the no hair thing. I've had Dumbos, Rex and Hooded (which are what you usually see in pet stores) and I liked the hooded the best.

    They will eat most anything and will want to "share" your food with you. I would always give mine bones and they are great for their teeth.
    Good luck on choosing your little companion. [​IMG]
  9. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Cara, did you have yours in college? I'm assuming you were in an apartment so were they allowed there?

    The problem is I would be able to get away perfectly fine with getting them while I'm away at school, but having them home during the summers would be another thing. I've tried to talk my parents into letting me have them FOREVER! My mom doesn't want anymore indoor pets. I would have to talk to them now and see if the rules have changed. I kind of gave up wanting them badly during the two years before I left for college because I didn't want to have to worry about leaving the rat at home or having to take it with me.

    Like I said, I probably won't get one until a year from now or if I become an RA in the dorms. As a student, we are not allowed to have anything other than a fish or small bird (Even though the rule isn't really enforced) I'm happy with my fish for now, but I really wish I had something more cuddly! My friend's hamster isn't even very friendly, so I can't even hold that! LOL If I was to get one (or two) now, I would just have to slide the cage under my bed while I'm out because of the fire inspections at the end of the month. That wouldn't be a problem though, because it seems like they sleep during the day anyways! (I should also add that I'm usually in my room during the day. It's not like I leave and don't come back for hours! Two hours is the max that I am away from my room) I will probably end up waiting though. All my friends getting pets makes me sad though! I want one too, but I've been good despite all the trips to the pet stores! I can hold out for another semester or two I think!
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2007
  10. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    Yes I got them while I was in school. I was living in a house with two roommates, one of which was my landlord.

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