Rebecca has successfully cared for orphaned rodent litters and wants to ensure others in this situation are equipped to do the same.
“Pocket pets” such as hamsters, gerbils and mice are fun animals that are very rewarding to keep and can stay healthy with far less maintenance than larger animals such as cats or dogs. Rodents are also very easy to breed, and generally the litters are very successful. However, there is always the chance a mother rodent will die during childbirth or simply refuse to care for her litter. While baby mortality rates are high in these situations, there are a few things you can do to take care of them and boost their chances of surviving their infancy
First, get some milk replacer, if you can't find anything specifically for rodents then kitten milk replacer will work just fine. The nursing bottles sold along with milk replacer in most pet stores are designed for puppies and kittens and are far too large for newborn rodents, but you can use either the corner of a piece of fabric such as silk or old t-shirt material. Do not use terry cloth, such as wash cloths or flannel (old flannel is sometimes usable) because they tend to be fuzzy and fibers can be swallowed by the nursing babies.
Alternatively, a small syringe without a needle attached works very well for nursing as long as you’re very careful when pushing the plunger to give the baby more milk. In general, pushing out a small drop on the end and letting the baby lick it off is the best way to make sure they don’t get too much at once and end up with milk in their lungs. Syringes can generally be obtained from a veterinarian's office or from a pharmacy. Most pharmacies have the syringes on hand to hand out to patients and may be willing to sell or give you one for your rodents.
Babies will need to be fed about every 1-2 hours, though this time varies with the species and age of the babies. The best way to determine feeding intervals is to watch the litter closely and set a timer after a feeding; when the babies start becoming more active and nuzzling around in their bedding for food, check the timer and use that as your feeding interval.
The amount for feeding will also vary, but in smaller species may not be any more than three or four drops of milk per feeding. Pay attention to the way the babies eat and when their interest starts to wane, even if they keep nursing, they’re likely done. Be sure to watch their bellies. Should they begin to get distended then stop feeding because they’ve definitely had enough and it could be harmful to give them more.
At about a week old (may be a little more or less depending on the species) the babies will need a little more substance to their food. At this point you can begin giving them baby cereal meant for human babies with a little bit of milk replacer mixed in; rice, oatmeal, or mixed grains seem to work the best. Rats may appreciate a little bit of meat-based sauce along with their meal, such as spaghetti sauce. As the baby’s teeth begin to develop, you can introduce grains and seeds from an adult rodent food, though you may need to soak them in water or milk replacer in the beginning. Depending on the species, the babies can be weaned entirely on to adult food at around 3–4 weeks.
Keeping very small babies at the right temperature can be a challenge, but perhaps the best nest for babies that are not yet mobile is a small box that fits the litter in it, but does not have much excess room.
Line the box with a layer of cotton batting, then cover the batting entirely with a soft fabric such as flannel or silk. Place the box in a place free from drafts. Keeping the box inside a plastic or glass-sided rodent cage can help hold in some of the heat.
Depending on the outside temperature, it is often a good idea to place a piece of light fabric over the top of the litter to keep additional heat in, though make sure it is set loosely so they still get fresh air. Whenever the cloth becomes soiled it can be changed out for a clean one, and the soiled cloth may be washed in warm water and mild soap to be re-used.
Voiding and Cleaning
For the first week or two, babies do not have the muscle tone necessary to void for themselves. While this can make keeping the bedding clean easy, it also means that after each feeding you have to stimulate them so that they can defecate. Failure to do so will result in severe constipation and, quickly afterward, death.
To stimulate, place the baby belly-down on the palm of your hand (most people prefer to put a cloth down on their hand and place the baby on that) and gently rub its back end with a fingertip. Moistening the finger with warm water can sometimes help, but is unnecessary if the baby goes just fine without the additional stimulation. It is safer to keep the baby as dry as possible.
After it voids, carefully wipe its anal/genital area with a soft, moist cloth until the baby is clean and then return it immediately to the nest before it has a chance to get cold. As the babies become more independent and move out of the nest, you will eventually be able to switch to normal maintenance and cleaning of the rodent cage.
Audrie on July 24, 2020:
Do you have to stay up all night and still take care of the baby hamsters cause that will be a pain
Samantha on January 29, 2019:
how do you know if hand reared baby hamsters are doing well enough? I see little poops here and there and feeding them tiny drops of puppy milk every hour and a half and i have an infrared light on 60cm from them but not sure if they are getting enough or doing well enough?
Kathy on July 22, 2018:
Can uou put orphaned baby gerbils in with another nursing mom.
Animal man on May 23, 2018:
Will my 3 week old mice survive with no mother. She died this morning.
They’re eating solids by the looks of things
Safe and Toxic Wood for Rats to Chew
Rats are rodents that need to chew on things regularly to keep their teeth trimmed and healthy (because their teeth grow continuously throughout their life). Wood is a popular and natural choice for rat owners to provide to their pets but not all types of wood are safe. Before just grabbing that tree branch from your backyard or a chunk of wood from the local lumber yard, make sure that the wood you are offering your pet is safe, free of pesticides, untreated, and free of paint.
Many kinds of wood on the safe list can be found in your yard, but if you aren't 100% sure on what it is, it is best not to give it to your rat.
How to Care for Mice During Vacation
Last Updated: April 11, 2019 References
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.
There are 23 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
This article has been viewed 26,680 times.
When planning a vacation, you need to consider how to keep your pets healthy, safe, and happy while you’re away. Taking care of mice is relatively simple as they are low maintenance pets. The easiest choice is having a friend come and feed your mice every day or two. As long as you make sure your temporary caregiver knows how to handle your mice, you should be good to go. In other circumstances, such as if you’re traveling for a long period of time, you may want to leave your mice elsewhere or take them with you. In these cases, you should plan carefully to maximize your mice’s comfort and wellbeing.
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I had a rat once when I was about 15 years old! I think it was a girl rat (not sure what it is called in English. It was grey and white). She was the best little friend I had. She would follow me around, lick me when she was happy (my neck also). Her favorite spot was on my shoulders (the weird part is, cats and birds also loved sleeping on my shoulders) and came to me when I called her name!
I remember they told me they live for about three years, however she lived for a little over six years and that was a lot! Her name was slinky (corny, name, I know) and I was really sad to see her final days barely able to move in the cage.
I took her up one last time and she licked me -- affectionate to the end! I never was the same after that little friend and have not been able to get once since, but now I think I finally want a new friend in my life. I can tell you this: the more time you spend with your friend the more your friend will adore you. They are clean and they make great friends and that is really all you need to know! Take good care of them, my friends, and have a nice day! anon935014 February 23, 2014
I love my rat. I got him for Christmas. One slight problem: my mom doesn't want me to get another rat. Should they be in pairs? I really want another and I heard it's good for them.
I have a big cage but my mom says if I want another, it would be hers but I have to pay for it and clean and feed and pay for everything, which frankly, I don't think is fair. anon340251 July 1, 2013
Great page and lots of wonderful information about ratties! One mistake: you mentioned that rats use cedar chips to build nests. If you own rats and use cedar OR pine as bedding, you need to get something else like aspen, paper, or fleece. Softwoods (like cedar and pine) contain toxic aromatic oils called phenols, which cause respiratory and liver problems. Didn't mean to cut you down, just want to make sure your rats don't get sick! anon321500 February 22, 2013
I went to a pet shop to get a syrian hamster as my last one had become paralyzed and had to be put down. Just by chance, I asked to see the rats as all the hamsters were unfriendly. The rat was so cute and curious, I had to take her! Two months later, I have four female rats (one is a baby). They all get on playing, stealing each other's food, grooming, sleeping together. So for those of you who think having just one rat is OK, it really is unfair. Once you have a few together, you understand how cruel having just one is!
As for the smell, they don't smell (females anyway) and their cage only smells when you don't clean it! They are amazing pets, but expect some people to be rude about and scared of them, but who cares what they think? anon279745 July 13, 2012
I get the nasty comments all of the time for my passion of loving rats. I tend to go for the old feeders. I currently have 18 ratties. They are, of course, separated by sex to prevent babies and range in age from two weeks old (purchased a pregnant feeder) to over two yrs old. I introduce my love to anyone who can hear, whether they want to listen or not.
I just adore these creatures as they truly have changed my life. I think the love they offer has healed a lot for me, and I'm pretty sure they are just as grateful they didn't end up as snake food. They crawl in my hand, come up to me, ride on my shoulder or in my hoodie, and come right up to the cage to get to me when I walk near.
They have taught me so much over the years, and I'm truly blessed for the life lessons. They all get buried in my flower garden out back as they age and pass away when their little lives are over. anon272760 June 3, 2012
The best places to find rats are a breeder or rescue. It's not good to buy a rat from a pet store or feeder rat. You are not saving a life you are giving them money and room to buy more feeders. As for good cages, look at Super Pet. Their My First Home for exotics is perfect for the biggest to smallest of rats and can be found online for a reasonable price. anon265076 April 30, 2012
My mom said I can't get one even after she read this. She said no and she thinks they are disgusting! She is so mean! anon230112 November 17, 2011
The number of ill-informed comments and the amount of people who are claiming to have one rat is abysmal. Any good rat owner knows that rats should be kept in at least pairs. Imagine how your ratty feels when you leave them on their own. Think about it: as pack animals, 99.9 percent of humans need sociable contact with species of their own kind, so what is the difference with pack animals such as rats? Unless there is good reason for keeping them on their own e.g., a grumpy, hormonal old buck/doe who despite trying all other avenues, just cannot live with other rats, or if the rat is poorly and needs to be quarantined, please do not do it. It is effectively psychological abuse, and is not fair to the animal.
I ensure I have a mischief of at least four single sex rats in a cage at any one time. Currently, I have eight rats (four girls and four boys - separate cages of course) and they are all happy and healthy, ranging from seven weeks to 2 1/2 years old. I have also only ever had one issue in having to use baytril, and that was due to the new rat being stressed, and I have been a rat owner for 21 years.
Also, those who advocate rescuing rats from being 'feeder' food, think long and hard about 'rescuing' them. Often they have a lot issues and through buying one 'feeder,' you give the pet shops reason to buy at least five more. It is the lesser of two evils not to buy them. There are thousands, if not millions, of rats who need homes, who can be sourced from breeders and rescues. It makes me thankful that we do not tend to have this problem in the UK.
Also, just to clarify: Rats are naturally clean animals. Think of this way: if you as a pet owner do not look after your pets properly, they are going to stink. If you do not clean them or bathe them regularly, then you are a bad pet owner. How would you feel if you were left for more than a week in the place you defecate and urinate? They cannot pop off and do it themselves. That is your responsibility. If you feel you cannot do this regularly, the answer is simple. Don't be a pet owner.
Finally, please research thoroughly and join online ratty groups such as 'Fancy rats' when looking into buying/owning rats. The more information you get, the better it is, as you constantly learn and you will have contact with other rat owners and advice, if you should so need it. You will soon find out, however, that rats are truly loving and affectionate pets, who offer so much on so many levels. anon223648 October 20, 2011
I was just doing a search on creative housing for pet rats and came across this blog. I am also an adult woman and rat lover. I have had rats off and on for twenty years (mostly on). I have three males: (Harvey, Cecil, Percy) two in one cage together and one by himself because he is terribly aggressive with other rats. They usually live for two years and are euthanized for lung related illness. It's heartbreaking to own pets with such a short life span, but knowing that they have lived a happy life makes it easier. Everyone who has met my boys totally love them. They do not stink, though I've had males that get greasy backs and need to be shampooed. I use a gentle shampoo for colored treated hair diluted 10 to 1 if needed. I really think that's it very important to use cages that are have coated wires and can be lifted out of a plastic floor pan for easy cleaning. Also giving them multi-levels and "houses" to sleep in as well as hammocks is very important.
One thing I noticed in all the posts that no one mentions having a large pot of dirt for them to dig in. I have a huge cage and I keep a plant pot 1/2 full of potting soil for them. It's hilarious to watch! When I clean the cages, I water the dirt as well. Oh yeah, I should mention that I've always had a cat which has never been a problem. My rats chase the cat instead of the other way around. anon220687 October 8, 2011
I bred rats for seven years, then stopped for a few and have returned to it again.
Rats are one of the best pets you can get. They are relatively quiet, very clean and highly intelligent. I noticed a lot of statements and will post information from my own experience and research.
Males tend to mark much more than females. It's noticeable when I open the cage and let them walk on top for a bit. As for pooping, it varies from rat to rat. If they are full up and can't help it, or if they are fearful, you may notice a lot of turds within the first couple minutes of handling.
Some rats are well trained even by nature and if it is on your shoulder nice and calm and then is trying to get down, it can be them saying, "Hey, I've got to use the can!" It is a common error on our part to make them stay. Alternatively, if you take the time you can train this behavior in them, that when they try to get down you take them and put them where they can use the bathroom, and even if that isn't their reason, in a month or two it will be very obvious to them how to give what signals. I have trained rats to do tricks too, like jumping on command. I had one male. He was a real bull, all muscle who could leap a 3 foot gap.
Breeding: As for breeding rats, you have to ask yourself about your goals. Are you becoming an actual breeder? If so, health should be top priority. Some people worry about stigma of inbreeding, but in rats a line is not considered inbred unless at least 20 generations of consecutive tight inbreeding occurs. Also, it is sometimes necessary to backbreed to check for any recessive health issues or other traits.
Males can be good fathers, however it is not advisable to keep him in with the family because the first 48 hours after giving birth the female could go into postpartum estrus and get pregnant right away, which is usually inadvisable because the energy that goes to milk production is partially diverted to the growing litter and when they are born they may have to fight for milk with unweaned siblings a month older and many times their size. Additionally, without a break between weaning and breeding, it causes extra stress on the mother rat.
A well-socialised, friendly mother rat will not freak at her owner handling her babies, though it is best to give her the first day or two with them. It is good to get the babies used to your human scent in the first week so when they open their eyes at two weeks they are already familiar with you. Sorry if I have typos. I have a couple of four week olds (not even) running rampant on the couch with me and I'm trying to keep an eye on them at the same time as I type.
Some interesting info for breeders really into genetics. Normally, you cannot get a pink-eyed baby from two ruby-eyed rats. The genes are separate and so at different places on the same chromosome, but very close such that crossing over virtually doesn't happen. However it has, and so there is a copy of a chromosome that carries both the pink eye and the ruby eye genes. I have first hand knowledge of this, and am currently investigating what happens if this chromosome is homozygous. I should have a good idea early 2012 if this one ruby eyed male I have is a carrier, because I know the two adult females I have are both carriers.
Selecting a Pet Rat: Feeder rats are just that, as mentioned by another poster and will only be replaced by another one destined for feeding. If you consider 'rescuing' them, the void will always be filled and often their health is not being considered when they are bred.
Regardless of from what line or source, when you get a rat you must check a few things before selecting it, things that are more important than color. If it is overly skittish, it may not be socialised and you may need to consider the extra time to get them socialised. Also if they are aggressive and nippy, it may not be the one for you, but please note the difference between nippy and gloomy. Sometimes a rat will nibble a little (but gently) in grooming which is friendly and healthy, but if one grabs your finger with its teeth and pushes away, even if it does not break skin, it may not be a friendly rat and should be passed over.
Another important thing to check is the eyes. Make sure there is no red discharge. This is not blood, but is a sign of possible stress or illness. Also, if you listen to its breathing and make sure it is quiet and doesn't sound like someone sawing wood because that would be an active respiratory infection. Also check the poop. If you notice diarrhea on more than one in the same container, you may not want one unless you are ready and willing to treat them especially if the sources is so unreputable as to have worms (which is rare) but is something to watch when selecting a pet. Rats getting worms is rarer than dogs getting them, but is a sign of poor keeping.
As for mycoplasma, from what I researched, most rats do carry it, as do humans carry a few illnesses that just don't show but exist in us, and only show up when stressed or weakened. It's the same with rats. The mycoplasma is not transmittable to humans. We do not get ill from it just as they do not get ill from most of our illnesses, and it is easy to treat if you see a flea, but hopefully when you get them, they are from a source that sells them to you pest free.
Please keep in mind dogs and cats get fleas all the time and we just don't notice as much because of flea baths, flea collars and injections. All animals are prone to hair pests species specific hair pests that usually do not transmit from one animal type to another, as each mammal is prone to their own set of these pests. Rats have their own that they can get and can easily be treated. I have a shampoo and wash my rats every four to six weeks. It is not required to bathe them more than this. However the males of some lines are mustier than others and may be good for a rinse every couple of weeks. anon215497 September 18, 2011
To Post 63. I'm a rat lover and rats are indeed smart. I've had rats, ferrets, mice, dogs, and cat. Ferrets are fun pets to have, but lack common sense. Mice are scared of everything, and are kind of dumb. Cats, well I can't measure their intelligence. The only animal I have had that was smart then a rat was a Border Collie/Lab mix, and a Shetland Sheepdog. Rats are problem solvers and they are always thinking and looking around and thinking. Rats are indeed smart animals, no question about that.
Another thing is, they are caring. When I was young I fell asleep while playing with one of my rats. Instead of the rat climbing off my bed and walking around the house, it lay right next to me. The animal could have easily got away and crawled somewhere outside of the house, but it stayed with me. Another one would climb on my shoulder and stay on my shoulder, while I did work around the house or rode my bike. So yes, rats are kind animals. I think my rat liked me more than my ferrets, mice, and cat liked me.
Yes, rats have ups and downs, like they use the bathroom a lot when you play with them. They can chew through anything, yes, anything. And are they trainable like dogs? No, but you can teach them trick that will wow your friends. But don't think a rat can catch a frisbee.
But overall, just because a rat isn't doing what dogs are doing in the job world (like drug sniffing, duck fetching, and recusing) doesn't mean rats are dumb. And just because rats don't purr, wag their tails, and smile, doesn't mean rats aren't friendly.
So Post 63 rats aren't dogs, cats, birds, mice or ferrets, but they are nice and smart animals. (And I even put unbiased facts in here) lizdodman July 25, 2011
rat intelligence is highly questionable,as is their affection. So they lick your fingers once in a while and are friendly. I have never seen such biased people as rat owners! anon171310 April 29, 2011
To comment #48: All rats (dribble), a.k.a., scent mark things, people, and places they like. Yes, it is kind of gross, but they are not peeing (urinating) all over. Regular weekly baths should take care of your rat becoming stinky or sticky. But I take you as a person who doesn't bathe their animals someone who regularly washes their pets would not have this problem.
Unless anything is from a reputable, a.k.a. science lab breeder, they will all have health problems when they get old. Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and even human beings. All get health problems some time in their life. It is called nature because it is natural. And because rats age from birth to old age in the matter of a few years compared to our average of 90, they die and get sick quicker. Again, it is called nature, and is natural.
As for rats becoming paralyzed and dragging their behind around, that would be a rare case for someone who has had rats their whole lives. It happens to animals and humans. Get over it.
Pet store rats (fancy rats) do not carry mycoplasma. Wild rats and rodents do. Research your facts before you state things that are opinion and not fact. You contradict your argument in the fact that you blatantly state there is no evidence of rats giving mycoplasma to humans. Rats do not carry pneumonia 24/7.
Mycoplasma infection Mycoplasma infection is a respiratory illness caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
Mycoplasma is spread usually from coughs and sneezes.
Your rat more than likely got it from an infected wild rodent running through your house. And just how was it that you identified the pneumonia? Because as far as I know, only a specialized vet or doctor diagnoses it. So your rat may have had something else all together.
Cancer is natural, and any animal can get it with age, humans included.
So, as for your argument, you are making opinions and not facts. You obviously don't even know what mycoplasma is, because you never stated the definition that it is pneumonia. You stated that it was a completely different infection all to itself. You seriously need to research your information before you give any opinion on things or it will make you look stupid.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, though. anon168337 April 16, 2011
I'm 15 years old and have a white and tan hooded rat called alice. She's very good tempered and runs everywhere whenever she's out of her cage.
I have her in a 50 gallon tank, I used to have a bearded dragon but after she passed away i decided to get a rat, so i cleaned and disinfected out the cage and made it a home for alice then i went and got her.
Alice is a lone rat but i spend about three hours or so with her every day so that she never gets depressed or upset. I have heard and read that rats get respiratory problems by living in a tank as wide as alice's. i don't believe this because i have had alice for quite some time now and i check her regularly and she seems to be a very happy and healthy rat.
alice is a healthy, happy rat that has the best temperament and has never bitten me before. every time i pick her up and play with her, or rest with her on the couch, bed, etc., she always licks and grooms me. also when i go to grab her out of her cage she runs out from her box (where she sleeps during the night time) and comes over and i tickle her on her rump (just above her tail) and she goes crazy running around and i let her win most of the time but stopping and she will frantically grab my fingers and lick them playfully then run around again chasing my hand.
She's very curious and is never scared of anything. all she ever asks from me is a little bit of attention and loves it when she gets it. If you are looking into getting a rat, then be sure what type of rat you want. If you want an energetic rat that is always running around and curious, it's best to get a female. females are very energetic and never stop playing. whenever they get the chance, they are off exploring. But, if you are looking for more of a chilled and laid back rat best to go for a male. Most males are more relaxed and are couch potatoes. Every time you sit them on your lap they will stay there and either sleep or rest happily, so yeah that's about all the information i have. anon155971 February 25, 2011
The only thing keeping me from keeping another rat is the heartbreak.
I've had a wonderful, beautiful hooded rat called Fievel.
She was one of my best friends (the others are my dogs and cats) and I miss her so much. anon136347 December 22, 2010
i am a young women and i would love to get a rat. my mom is thinking about it and i think after reading these posts she may be encouraged to buy one. a good idea i read about was getting a feeder rat. i have heard they are very affectionate, loving, and playful.
Why would you get a breeder rat when you can get one that you are saving its life. if anyone had anything that would further convince my mother to buy a rat please let me know! thanks for all the posts! anon130687 November 29, 2010
I currently have 11 rats, five boys and six girls, boys and girls in separate cages of course. I had more before, but gave the babies to a local pet store, and my favorite girl passed away about six months ago.
Rats make the greatest pets. All of mine adore any attention from humans, even my five month old son who likes to pick them up and give them a shake around. they either walk away when they get the chance or a few just don't care and will stay on him because it's attention in general.
None, absolutely none have bitten me, my husband, or our son even with him not handling them gently. Girl rats make better companions than the boys. My boys have more of a tendency to be spooked easily and will become aggressive out of fear occasionally. All in all, there are no pests or diseases you can get from them. Anything of that sort is species specific and they almost never get anything anyway. That is, if they are properly cared for.
Cancer is a common factor of death for them because they age so much faster than us. Each one of my rats has a different personality, no two are the same. None of them want to leave my side when I'm around. when we let them run around the room, I get up to get something and they all tag along running behind me to keep up. When I stop, they often bump their heads on my foot because the hadn't had enough time to react from me stopping yet. I can't help but to laugh every time. They really do love their humans.
Mine love to lick and groom me every chance they get. One of my girls (Gracie), will get upset when you don't give her any attention after a while and will give you a tug on your clothes to make you pay attention to her. Ignore her and she will have chewed a nice hole in your pants.
She is also the rat that keeps their cage the cleanest. She'll run around picking anything in her way up and putting it in the food bowl. For a long time I wondered why there was always poop in their food bowl when I went to refill it, until one day I sat and watched her. Once they know one of us is in the room, they are all up on the bars sniffing and wanting attention.
I regularly bathe them with puppy shampoo once a week when I clean their cages. To say that rats are disgusting and disease infested is inaccurate they are not. And you are a fool to assume from nothing, no experience that they are. They are the pet I recommend to any kid any age because they love their handlers.
I've tried hamsters and mice, they bite all the time and it hurts. They are nothing, but a positive influence to kids. Run to the nearest pet store and get one. I guarantee you'll fall in love with them. My mom did, and she used to think they were disgusting, but not anymore. anon118429 October 14, 2010
is it better to get two male or two female rats for my children? anon113316 September 23, 2010
I have been interested in rats for many years, ever since my school friend got one, she was called tricky. she'd open her own cage door walk across the plank of wood attaching the cage to the sofa and sit on her shoulder!
Rats are loving pets, and if you handle it often from a baby will always love your attention. I've had 15 mice over the years, and have only had the same relationship as she did with her rat with one of them! I've always owned a corn snake called sweetcorn, but unfortunately he passed away a year ago. Anyway I used to feed him baby rats, not because i don't want the rat to live a healthy life, but because it's a food chain. 'rescuing' feeder rats will not stop the pet shop from using them, they will only get more.
I wonder if rats could save the cows, pigs, chickens, fish and lamb from us. It's life. anon112615 September 21, 2010
My dd (10) has a rat. It wasn't my first choice when my dh and she brought it home, but I admit she's really a good rat. She never bites, even when licking something off your finger.
She will pee on you if you have her out awhile, but keep your eye on the time and put her back in the cage and she'll do her business and you can take her out again. She's never pooped on anyone unless she was feeling very stressed. It's happened only a few times in the last year.
She will pee and poop if she's wandering around on the floor, so I always have my dd keep her on hard floors that will clean easily. Carpets and blankets, etc. are a big no-no. I think if it weren't for this fact, I'd enjoy her much more. I'm just glad my house wasn't full of carpeting.
They are very curious creatures. Put her down and she's off smelling everything. She also sleeps on my dd quite a bit and grooms her, which is cute. She keeps herself very clean.
We tried a companion but she didn't take too well so she's got the big cage to herself, but my dd spends much time with her. anon107264 August 29, 2010
My two female rats, cinnamon and nutmeg, don't like to be cuddled much. i allow them lots of free time with me and they visit me often and interfere with everything I'm doing.
One of the females (nutmeg) is becoming very independent and when i try to pick her up she tries to make a run for it and gives a little angry shriek. also they are very hyperactive and run frantically around my room. I've bought them some probiotic vitamins, restrict their free time and starting back to basics with treats when they come to me. Any advice is welcome! anon106832 August 27, 2010
Rats are the most adorable buggers ever! I have had gerbils and mice, but nothing compares to a rat. They absolutely love to be around you and hang out. One of my rats grooms me like crazy whenever my hand is near his face it's adorable.
To any kid whose parents won't let them have them, bring them to a pet store where they sell rats, and ask to hold one. Seeing how adorable they are may warm them up to the idea! anon103460 August 12, 2010
Anyone know how I can convince my mum to let me get a rat?
I've had hamsters a few times but she's just funny about rats, she doesn't see the cute side. anon103021 yesterday
i love rodents. my first pet was a teddy bear hamster and he would climb all over you and play with you from week one! sadly, he died at one year old. gerbils are a bad idea! next time I'll get small rats. anon97782 July 21, 2010
A few things rat-lovers won't tell you but I found out the hard way:
1) Male rats pee to mark territory. They pee on you, on each other, and just about everywhere else. It makes them stinky and their fur feels sticky.
2) Unless from a reputable breeder, rats are full of health problems. They are very prone to cancer, and as they age they gradually become paralyzed so if they live long enough they have to drag their back legs around.
3) They also are frequent carriers of mycoplasma infections. These can cause pneumonia or chronic disease in humans, even though there is no evidence of humans catching mycoplasma from their rats.
We cured our rats' mycoplasma by putting an iodine supplement in their water bottles.
I've owned lots of kinds of animals and the pet store rats we have owned (including two from a breeder) have been some of the most unhealthy animals I've had. We lost one to cancer, two to some wasting disease (may have been thyroid cancer), one to paralysis as part of old age and only one to an accident. anon95478 July 12, 2010
I have a few questions about rats: 1. About how long do they grow? 2. Do they take kindly to strangers? 3. What kind of rat is the best one to get? Thanks! anon95067 18 hours ago
My mom won't let me have a rat!
I'm 15 years old and I want one. I've promised to pay for it and put them in my room and take responsibility for them.
I have shown that I'm responsible. I have been doing all my homework, getting awesome grades, doing my chores, and even trying to get along with my brothers. She still won't let me have one!
I emailed her this article but i highly doubt it will change her mind.
Her excuse for why i can't have one is they bite and she said so. Any advice? anon93052 July 1, 2010
we've just got two girl rats and they're great. Both have totally different characters. Nuttie Nutmeg is very bold and runs around at 100 mph and loves to jump and hide in your clothes. The other (Cinnamon) is much calmer, loves to play gentle hand wrestling but insists on peeing on my mum's hand when she plays with her. Neither one like to be handled much but climb on me and visit me every few minutes when out. Best pets ever. anon91768 June 23, 2010
My boys started of with one male and one female rat for breeding purposes so they could make money over the summertime. Their names are mama and pops.
Mama had 9 babies her first batch, 12 the second, 13 the third and 14 the fourth! None of them died and we didn't have to remove pops like the pet store advised. Pops loves the babies just as much as mama does! He takes care of them just as much, if not more, than mama. We took pops out of the cage between the 3rd and 4th batch just to give mama a rest from having babies for awhile and neither rat appreciated that, so he went back in. You could tell they were not happy being apart.
I believe before I left for work this morning my son yelled to his brother as he was going out the door to the bus, "Mama had her babies!" I didn't go look but I am curious to know how many she had this time.
Female rats should only be allowed two litters in her life unless you want her to become a baby factory with no quality of life! also the more rats you have, more chances of problems with baby rats due to inbreeding. anon89090 June 8, 2010
Well, i agree with most of the posts, but my female rats have never peed on me, and my male regularly scents and ejaculates. Gorgeous creatures, get one. anon84364 May 15, 2010
Rats do not pee in their food! They can also be litter trained by putting a small container in their cage. Just do not use cat litter. Some old newspaper, or rabbit food (rats won't eat rabbit food and it makes a good litter) works great.
Rats also clean themselves much like cats do. It was also said that rats walk in their own feces and urine. What do you think cats do when they use the litter box? Or dogs when they go outside?
Also male cats spray horrible smelling urine on furniture and even their owners' legs.
Rats are clean! If you ever owned one you would know all that. anon83518 21 hours ago
I just turned 12 in April and I really want to get a pet rat (probably two). I haven't asked the parents yet but they are not what's holding me back, my sister is. She hates the idea of rats and thinks they're like wild rats. How can I convince her there great pets? anon83014 May 8, 2010
Yes, rats make excellent pets i think! my friend has 12 and i have four and they have great personalities. they eat anything and you only have to change the cage once every week. we have feeder rats because they get fed to snakes and people think they are nasty but people need to understand everything and everyone is different they know nothing about them! give them a chance! anon79124 April 21, 2010
I own a rat currently. His name is cecil and he's the best. Everyday I get home from work, I'll put him on my shoulder and give him a yogurt treat. He'll hold it with both hands and look at me while he eats it. He's very loving as well as curious.
I give him baths once a week with small pet shampoo. I change his bedding once a week as well. Easy to maintain and easy to fall in love with. Rats make great pets. anon78314 April 18, 2010
I can't decide because when i got my first hamster (Syrian Hamster), she died of an illness within two months of me having her and i was in floods. I just couldn't forget her so I'm scared I'll become all emotional again! anon75520 April 6, 2010
I have four female rats. well rats can have 25,000 droppings a year, but I know that the females will never poop on you. i think that it is the same for males but I am not sure. Oh and rats will rarely if ever, bite you. Get rats they are amazing. anon73568 March 28, 2010
I'm thinking about getting two female rats for my birthday but i want them today. Rats can fit through tiny spaces because, like all other rodents, they have collapsible spines.
Learn your facts, people. Rats make excellent pets. anon73534 March 27, 2010
I am deciding whether or not to get a rat. I have a hamster and i used to have a mouse but when i got it home and tried to pick it up, it attacked (jumping up and biting my arm). i had to return it. then i got a gerbil it did the same thing! so i don't know if the rat will do the same thing and I'm also scared of the rat biting because it has bigger teeth than hamsters and mice. also it is hard finding a baby (or young) rat in my local pet stores. anon71535 March 18, 2010
i really want a rattie badly! please someone answer! how often do they poo? i'm scared of it pooing on me. anon68705 March 3, 2010
I really want a rat but I can't have one just because my mom gets all nervous about their tails. I mean come on. anon66551 February 20, 2010
OK, I'm back. I am astounded with all the comments I've read so far and would like to respond to #56073.
Dear #56073--if you don't know what you are talking about, don't post.
I personally would not hesitate to get another rat. Like I tell my neighbors it's kind of like having a very small cat. Smarter by far than hamsters, they don't bite (unless there's a reason), and are really interesting pets.
I currently have two Jack Russells. Only one of them was raised with my rat. I chose not to replace my last rat for the best reason.
My rat loved to roam around and the house, and my uneducated "Jack" would have made a pie out of her.
For the last part: Rats will come when you call.
Rats are not dirty. Rats have that creepy prehensile tail.
They will empty their bladders when you keep them out on your shoulder for more than an hour.
They will chew through your pocket if you have dog treats there.
They are just as lovable as any dog, you just can't squeeze them too hard.
They cannot retrieve a frisbee.
They will bounce in the Rat ball when they go downstairs.
Like I said, I'd get another one in a minute if it weren't for the "Jacks."
For all you rat owners: shred a couple newspapers for bedding. My Vet said it was OK and would not hurt the rat. anon63704 February 3, 2010
Do not use cedar or pine chips! They contain phenols which are toxic to small animals. There are many healthy bedding alternatives. anon62817 January 28, 2010
I am a full grown adult woman. I, like most of you, adore rats. The neighbors think I'm "funny" but I would never hesitate to get another rat. Clever, funny, smart. Not me, the rats. I've only owned females and only one at a time.
I would have a rat today but I currently share my life with two Jack Russells. Rats and Rat Terriers don't mix very well unless they are introduced as pups.
My last rat took her last gasp at three years, curled in my hand, too weak to claw into her litter. She died warm and loved. She is buried above 8000 feet in the mountains of SW Utah. Her feet point East. anon60861 January 16, 2010
I wish I could have a rat. anon60437 January 13, 2010
Get a feeder rat from your local pet store! Not a breeder!
Rescue a feeder rat at a pet store. The feeder rats are sold to be snake food. But everyone should rescue a feeder rat, because they are just as nice and you are saving an innocent life. If more people did this more rats would lead wonderful lives than being ended quickly. anon60435 January 13, 2010
To anon56073: it is very untrue that rats pee and ejaculate all over you. Over the years I have owned a male rat and seven females, and during that time not once did the male do that.
Also, females may occasionally dabble little pee droplets when they walk on you, but that is only natural scent marking, and they cannot help it. It's extremely small droplets and does not stink -- and they sometimes clean it up themselves! :)
Rats are extremely loving. Just look at all the comments. That just shows you how many rats touched so many people's hearts. My chihuahua recently passed away and he was 14 years old. I took care of him every day because he was so old, and now that he's gone it's been so hard. But I recently got a rat and now it's helped me heal the hurt a little more.
Rats are wonderful animals. I don't know what I'd do without them.
Rats get attached to the owner just as much as the owner gets attached to the rat. They will sleep on your shoulder and in your blanket. They will play with you and snuggle you. And give you lots of love!
Rats are very clean and easy to take care of. They eat almost all human food, the only exception is soda pop (that I know of, there could be more). My rule is: whatever you're eating at the moment give them a little chunk, too.
They aren't stinky and aren't messy.
They love to be handled so take them out a lot! That will make the nicest rat.
If you're thinking about getting a rat, do it! They make great pets and companions! anon59215 January 7, 2010
I'm not the only 12 year old who loves rats.
i am so getting one. They're so sweet. anon57346 December 22, 2009
We have a pet mouse and a pet rat. By far the rat is the cleaner of the two.
Peanut (the rat) is very curious and sweet. She loves hanging out with her family and goes from person to person saying hi. We have her out and about the house most of the time. She does not pee on everything! Her cage is not smelly either.
The mouse on the other hand, is very smelly and my daughter has to change her cage every three days and has to wash her exercise wheel daily due to her peeing on it all night every night.
We will not be getting another mouse but will definitely have more rats. anon56073 16 hours ago
Clean? They pee everywhere and they pee on each other. They even pee on their food.
So, how can they be clean, when they constantly lie in their own pee and pee on everything? Except if you clean the cage five times a day or every time they peed somewhere.
Male rats even ejaculate on other rats and even on you. So disgusting.
wow cool i am to get a rat this coming winter -- for x-mas actually! i can't wait because they are like my whole world. I've never had one before though. i hope i do well. I probably will. I've been doing research for months! love, the rat lover anon48017 October 8, 2009
So you all know. I am a 20 year old female, and I love my rat. I got him less than a year ago. He is the sweetest, most intelligent cuddly little guy ever. I suggest you all get rats! It was surprising to me at first, when my rat would sneak out of his cage at night and into bed with me! They are amongst the most loving creatures. This rat really loves me! anon47878 October 7, 2009
Hey i'm a twelve year old kid who *loves* ratties! i don't have any but i really want some and neither my mom or dad will let me have one. i told them what great pets they are and how smart they are but they don't believe me! i even got them to read some stuff online but they still won't say yes. how do you think i could get them to say yes? THNX anon46553 September 26, 2009
today, i went to the pet store, just for fun, and was looking at the rats. the petco lady told me that in the back, was a very sweet pet rat for adoption. the adoption fee was only two dollars! (only because they had had it for a long time) it was perfectly healthy, and very loving, and she crawled up on my shoulder and gave me a rattie kiss! How can i convince my dad to let me have this rat. anon46552 September 26, 2009
I have my third rat, she's called Peanut, she's beige and white. She's about 10 weeks old and totally nosey. I brought her a tank but it was not to her liking as she adores climbing, so now she has the world's largest cage (Well it looks it). She is totally different than my last two rats, both being hooded. My first was called Domino, and after he passed away I got Clover. Peanut is my first baby rat the other two were older, so I am a tad worried handling her. She has sped up since I got her and would give "The Fast and The Furious" a run for their money! Anyway, sorry for going on, Peanut is too cute. Rats are the way forward, not just for me, but kiddies too. :-) anon45346 September 16, 2009
My mum won't let me have a rat because they smell but this sort of proves her wrong. Woo-hoo! i'm getting a pet rat :) anon45076 September 13, 2009
This was a great article, very informative. Thanks, Mike anon43459 August 28, 2009
hi this is taylor. i like rats and i like to search them on the Internet. -taylor anon42672 August 23, 2009
Hi, just a memo to the person who said to get cages with widely-spaced bars and those considering taking that advice: don't. Rats can squeeze through unbelievably tiny spaces a good rule of thumb to follow is that if their head can fit through a space, so can they, and a determined rat can get over almost any barrier. Something that was not mentioned in this article that is important for people to know is that rats have a tendency to urine mark, (leave little drops of pee behind them everywhere they go) especially males. This can be reduced by neutering, but will still continue and is a factor that has put many people off of getting rats. Females are also very prone to tumors and, while smaller than males, are much more active. Rats still make wonderful pets but require a lot of interaction and a responsible home. anon41408 August 14, 2009
Hi I'm Taylor and I really want a pet that i can cuddle with and love on and that loves to be held. I thought that a rat might be a good pet to get so i looked up info on them and found this. I'm really glad i did and I'm trying to talk my grandma into letting me get one. I want to get a boy and name him Ben like Michael Jackson's rat that he wrote that song "Ben" for. that way i can sing it to him. My grandma keeps saying no but hopefully i can change her mind. I tried telling her about how easy they can be trained and that they clean themselves but she only wants me to have water animals like fish and stuff and i already have a pet turtle named Cutey-Pie. But I can't cuddle her! I just really, really, really want a rat! --Taylor anon38329 July 25, 2009
i am getting a rat in two days. it is a baby and i really want it to live for more than two years. anon37045 July 16, 2009
Hi, I do have rats and this is totally true. My rats names are Penny and Nickel, before those, were Scitter and Tag. So I have some expierience with rat buddies. Rescue First! (Ps. pet store rats are basically rescue rats because they're doomed to be fed to a snake.) anon36442 July 12, 2009
Hi!! I don't have a rat and I really want to, but my mom says no 'cause I already have a hamster. Yogi just Sleeps! Sooo boring! I can't wait to get mom to read this! maybe she'll let me get one!! EQoverIQ October 23, 2008
so, what are you doing with all the rat babies? that's 48 and counting according to my calculations! anon19994 October 23, 2008
My boys started of with one male and one female rat for breeding purposes so they could make money over the summertime. Their names are mama and pops. Mama had 9 babies her first batch, 12 the second, 13 the third and 14 the fourth! None of them died and we didn't have to remove pops like the pet store advised. Pops loves the babies just as much as mama does! He takes care of them just as much, if not more, than mama. We took pops out of the cage between the 3rd and 4th batch just to give mama a rest from having babies for awhile and neither rat appreciated that, so he went back in. You could tell they were not happy being apart. I believe before I left for work this morning my son yelled to his brother as he was going out the door to the bus, "MAMA HAD HER BABIES!!" I didn't go look but I am curious to know how many she had this time. anon13111 May 19, 2008
I Don't Have Rats Yet, But im getting two Girls this week! I love rats SOOO much and anyone who thinks they're gross, is missing out. :) Love, Sam the Rattie Freak anon11801 April 23, 2008
I think that I have the best rat that has ever lived. I got her three months ago, and already she has won my heart. She comes when she is called, chases after me, and wrestles with my hand. She has even figured out when she can get away with things, and when I am about to put her back in her cage for doing something I don't approve of, like jumping into a wastebasket. I moved into an apartment where I could not take my dog and needed an animal to care for. I am very much an animal person and need them around. While Foxy, my dog, is with my parents, LaLa, the rat, is here with me and is a wonderful companion. Lala even gets along with Foxy. My friends and family made fun of me for getting her, with all the stigmas attached to owning a rat, but I have found her to be quite special, and not at all expected. anon6199 December 19, 2007
Hi my rat's name is Mr. Jiggs, He is just over 2 years old now. He is a Hooded boy. has beige head and spots down the back, and white. He is extremely affectionate and fun to watch.
Whatever you do, if you get a pet rat, get a cage which has wide spaces between the bars. The younger rats love to climb up on their cages for exercise. Unfortunately, many catch their feet between small spaces, and the result is nasty. My guy had a severely swollen foot as the result. The condition cost us a lot of money. He will always be worth it for us, as he is delightful.
Also, no pine wood shavings in the cage it makes rats very sick. Ours got crumbled corn cob and it is going much further than anything else. It also seems to absorb odors.
Love your rat, and it will be amazing to everyone who sees it. Mr. Jiggs has visited a nursing home, and the residents there, as well as a group center.
I am a 12 year old kid,and I loooove rats,even though I don't have any.I really,really,really want to get rats,but my mom resents the idea.I think she's scared of them or something.I think it's to bad,because they are really cute! From a rattie lover anon3843 September 19, 2007
I had a male domesticated rat for over 3 years he was about 6 months when i got him depending on how well you care for them they will live longer than 2 years. Bambi yesterday
I love my rats, and it sucks that they can live up 2 years? i have a girl ruby and a boy rocky, they had 11 babys. yikes. but i love them ALL. yes i kept all of them, they're my babys =)
They are so loving and playful, they know when mommy is in the room, they know my voice and sent.
As soon as im in the room i say to them "hello babys" and they run in circles and play fight with each other because they want to be the first one in line to get picked up and smooched all over.
And because i have all of them, i have to take my time to make sure they ALL get attention.