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Are you considering a pet rat If you’re looking for an intelligent pet with personality but you don’t have lots of space, then you should definitely are you considering a pet rat. Are you considering a pet rat make great companions especially if they are socialized at a young age. These small cuties are clean, easy to maintain and quiet. They are also social, smart, active, sweet, friendly and very entertaining. In this article, you’ll get to know how you can care for your pet rat and what you can do to keep them healthy.

Pet Rats: Biological Facts

Most pet rat species originated in Central Asia particularly in places with temperate regions. Wild rats, on the other hand, are the colonial type of animals who loves burrowing. They usually breed year-round in captivity once they reached sexual maturity which is around 6 to 8 weeks old. The gestation period for pet rats is around 21 days. Young rats that are raised communally have shared nursing duties. Unfortunately, pet rats can only live up to 2 to 3 years.

Pet Rats: Behavior

Pet rats should preferably be kept in pairs or small groups since they get along with one another. A single rat may develop behavioral problems if it were to live alone. Fighting is not common for adult rats. Remember though that these animals are most active at night, making them suitable for people who are out all day. Pet rats are gentle animals, and they only tend to bite if they feel threatened or in pain. You should never shock them or startle them because pet rats will feel threatened if you do that. They should be awakened before you pick them up. You also would want to spend time with your pet rats because just like any other pets, the more attention you give, the more bonded, active, healthy, and friendly your rat will be. You need to also ensure that you wash your hands after touching meat products otherwise you are exposing yourself to getting bitten by your pet rat.

Pet Rats: Diet

When it comes to nutrition, rats primarily eat at night and they are also omnivorous. However, they are also cautious feeders and could avoid new foods which is why you need to properly introduce new food to them. If you need to change their diet, then you must do it gradually. Your pet rat’s diet should consist of commercial block or chow rodent. Fresh fruits and veggies should also be provided but only in moderation. Make sure to provide only a few raisins, seeds or something similar if you want to offer them as treats. According to various studies, rats tend to live longer if protein and fat are controlled. And because your pet rat is nocturnal, the cage should be located where it’s fairly quiet in the morning but still near the social activity at home. You need to also provide a dimly lit environment.

The cage should have enough space so that your pet for exercise and movement. A big and multi – level cage is preferred. A wire cage with plastic bottom or a solid metal is preferred since it can provide with more ventilation compared to a glass enclosure. Ventilated cage can also prevent respiratory infections. Pet rats will also love privacy and a hide box for security. Cage temperature should be set at 65-70°F (18-27°C); 72°F (22°C) is also ideal while humidity should be at 30 – 70%.

The enrichment of the environment is important. Pet rats love tearing up cardboard or paper materials for nesting, and they also love to burrow if given the opportunity. You may also need to have an exercise wheel with a solid running surface in order to avoid foot injuries. Recycled newspaper or shaving bedding is best to use. Make sure to avoid cedar and pine materials. When it comes to providing hydration, sipper bottle with fresh water should be available at all times. Water should be available 24 hours a day and is usually provided in sipper tubes. Inspect daily for any signs of blockage or food obstructing the opening. Pet rats demonstrate more behavior when housed with other rats.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Pet Rat

Pros

  • Rats as pets are naturally very affectionate. They love to be on the hair, shoulders and sometimes even on his/ her owner’s face.
  • They are very smart. There are activities that works well with hamsters but don’t work well with pet rats. It’s hard to deceive these animals. Who knows their IQ must be higher than yours!
  • They can eat human foods. There’s a caveat though, it might not be nutritious for them. They can eat a cake but if you want your pet rat to be healthy, it’s better if you provide veggies and fruits as treats.
  • Pet rats love playing games. One of the things you can do is to enjoy letting him catch a fake paper version of him. The only materials you need are a paper and thread, then watch as your rat tries to catch it. You can also teach them tricks.
  • You can walk your pet rat! Just make sure that it’s within a safe place where there aren’t any other bigger animals like dogs or cats.
  • You will never get bored. Pet rats provide non – stop entertainment because they always do funny things and move from one place to another.

Cons

Are you considering a pet rat?

  • Pet rats are prone to health problems. The most common health issues of rats include head tilt, respiratory problems, obesity, ectoparasites, chronic renal disease, incisors malocclusion, mammary gland tumors and salivary gland inflammation. Mammary gland tumors particularly occur at a high percentage if the female rat is unspayed.
  • They have a short life expectancy. Even if your pet rat has a good health, they can only live for around 2 to 3 years.
  • Their cage can start to smell foul in just a very short time. You may need to always clean it every day to maintain a good sanitation.
  • They can destroy your wallpaper, curtain and furniture if you don’t lock them up inside their cage.
  • It may be hard to find a vet for your pet rat.

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