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-   -   Some questions about pet rats. (http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=76327)

Dracen April 7th, 2011 10:22 PM

Some questions about pet rats.
 
I've been considering getting some pet rats. Before I do, I've got a couple of questions. I've done some research and read a really good article on them, but it raised a few questions, so I'm gonna ask some rat owners.

I've read that rats need to be out of their cage for an hour per day. Well, before I did that, I'd have to rat-proof my room, but I'm worried they'd chew on the books that are currently being used to ferret-proof the room (don't worry - the ferrets and rats would never be out at the same time!). I was wondering - would letting them out in a plastic ball be fine? If so, what size ball?

The page also said that a clean rock or brick is good for rats to wear their claws down on. Something like this would be ideal for me - my mom doesn't like rats and would not hold one to help me clip its nails like she does with my ferrets. Would a rock on its own be enough for rats to clean their nails on?

Would a rat bite, especially a young one? My ferrets are still biting, but they're young as well. I imagine there would be some biting in the first couple of days as they adjust, but how long can I expect this to last? Can rats be litter-trained, or no? Thanks! =)

kathryn April 7th, 2011 10:39 PM

[QUOTE=Dracen;1001518]

I've read that rats need to be out of their cage for an hour per day. Well, before I did that, I'd have to rat-proof my room, but I'm worried they'd chew on the books that are currently being used to ferret-proof the room (don't worry - the ferrets and rats would never be out at the same time!). I was wondering - would letting them out in a plastic ball be fine? If so, what size ball?

[/QUOTE]

No, rats do not appreciate being in a plastic ball at all. It is very awkward for them due to their long and not very flexible tails. There are a few here and there that will do okay with it, but the majority of rats just hate it. Rats are meant to be held and played with. There is hardly any reason to "rat proof" because if you are properly supervising them you shouldn't be worrying about them going anywhere to chew anything up. They will like to hide in your shirt/hair/blankets etc.

[QUOTE=Dracen;1001518]
The page also said that a clean rock or brick is good for rats to wear their claws down on. Something like this would be ideal for me - my mom doesn't like rats and would not hold one to help me clip its nails like she does with my ferrets. Would a rock on its own be enough for rats to clean their nails on?

[/QUOTE]

I've never heard this before and it sounds pretty unnecessary. Rat nails really don't get very long and a brick isn't going to do much at all. I don't really know of anyone who clips their nails. I always clip all my pets nails because I'm weird.. with a rat you can just use tiny little nail clippers and snip the points off. You should be able to do this yourself.

[QUOTE=Dracen;1001518]
Would a rat bite, especially a young one? My ferrets are still biting, but they're young as well. I imagine there would be some biting in the first couple of days as they adjust, but how long can I expect this to last? Can rats be litter-trained, or no? Thanks! =)[/QUOTE]

Depends on the rat. I've never been bitten by a rat or mouse, but have been attacked by PLENTY of hamsters. (Hamsters are snake food to me :evil:) I would suggest if possible to check out [url]www.petfinder.com[/url] and see about possibly adopting a rat offline because they are often more socialized compared to some random pet store. I work at a pet store and we have feeder rats (for snakes etc) and they generally aren't socialized, but occasionally people will purchase them for pets. Even the unsocialized feeder ones don't really bite, they just don't like to be handled. I've never been bothered by them... I have to feed and water them and clean their cages every so often when I am in the back and I'm more afraid to stick my hand in a tank with a tiny hamster vs. a dozen rats.

Usually rats are "nippy" at most. They don't really bite...

Oh, and you can find some really unusual rats too! :thumbs up I love 'em! They come in all shapes and colors. They have hairless, dumbo, rex etc. All kinds of neato breeds. I wish I could have rats again, but I am so allergic :( And my cats will probably freak out.

Marty11 April 7th, 2011 10:44 PM

PET RATS ARE SOOOO COOL. :thumbs up First of all get more than one, and get the same sex. Rats do not bite however don't get in the habit of sticking food through the cage, they will grab fingers. They need exercise for sure, you can put together a pen with objects to run through or rat proof a room, but supervise they get in small places. Didn't know about the bricks I used to cut their nails. The only thing that you need to know is that they pee on you when they are young and the males will pee on you as adults too, it's like a marking dog. But the male is very very friendly. Let me know what you get? My daughter and I have raised a few. Oh and try and find a breeder, the pet shop rats are feeder rats and not bred properly.

Melinda April 8th, 2011 05:58 AM

my daughter has a few rescue rats, if they are handled enough, they won't bite, she has balls for them to run in and they love it, two of them when she opens their doors hop onto the floor and right into the balls, she also gives each of them time out of the ball, usually one or two are on the couch playing while she watches tv. we buy the largest one there is, same size for my chinchilla

We placed a brick (much better than a rock) under their water bottle to file their nails when they drink, we also watch them wipe their faces on it after they've had a sticky treat and their little paws just can't clean enough.

rats are very clean inside their cages, usually pick one corner to go on and my daughter has had great success in litter training them. She uses the corner "beds" that attach to the bars on the cage and puts a wee bit of litter in there to start.

Dracen April 8th, 2011 08:59 PM

Thanks everyone! :)

Kathryn - Thanks for that adoption website! I'm definitely checking it out. I looked up animal shelters in my area, but Google is no help at all most of the time. The rats will have to wait until I have my own apartment, but I can at least start preparing in the meantime!

Marty11 - I keep trying to convince people they're cool, but I think they got a bad rep after the Black Death and people haven't quite changed their minds yet ^^; I'll have to see about rat-proofing things - they'll be able to get into a few places my ferrets haven't! Hopefully they'll be more co-operative as well about not moving the books I use to block holes out of the way...I'll definitely let you know what I end up getting! I promise I'll show you pictures when I do :)

Melinda - All of that's good to know, thanks!

I thought up a few more questions. The ferret food I have has added protein, and is made with chicken and egg - would this be good to supplement a rat's diet with? How would rats feel about being carried around in a pocket? When my ferret Draco was smaller I put him in my pockets, and he bit at first while I was putting him in because he was nervous.

On a side note, I went to the pet store today to look at leashes for my ferrets and took a quick look at their rat section. I couldn't believe it! About a dozen types of hamster, maybe sixty hamsters in total, but only two hooded rats in the entire store, and low down in a corner where they're overshadowed by hamsters and not very noticeable! I'm definitely going somewhere with more selection. For all I know, one of those rats (or both) doesn't have a very good personality...it would certainly be nice to look at the rats available and pick which ones I like best!

kathryn April 8th, 2011 10:31 PM

[QUOTE=Dracen;1001716]

I thought up a few more questions. The ferret food I have has added protein, and is made with chicken and egg - would this be good to supplement a rat's diet with? How would rats feel about being carried around in a pocket? When my ferret Draco was smaller I put him in my pockets, and he bit at first while I was putting him in because he was nervous.

On a side note, I went to the pet store today to look at leashes for my ferrets and took a quick look at their rat section. I couldn't believe it! About a dozen types of hamster, maybe sixty hamsters in total, but only two hooded rats in the entire store, and low down in a corner where they're overshadowed by hamsters and not very noticeable! I'm definitely going somewhere with more selection. For all I know, one of those rats (or both) doesn't have a very good personality...it would certainly be nice to look at the rats available and pick which ones I like best![/QUOTE]

Rats will eat mostly anything, you should really just stick to a nice commercial rat diet for a good base, look for one with no artificial dyes and chemicals and such. They also enjoy fruits and veggies as a snack.. my old rat loved banana chips. Dried fruits are good too but be careful as they are high in sugar. There are many good commercial chews available as well, ones that will help file down the teeth.

I wouldn't put a rat in your pocket unless you are prepared for it to possibly freak out and take a nose dive into the floor. Again, it all depends on the rat, some like things others don't, but I wouldn't personally think of a pocket as a good place to keep a critter. Safe handling is very important for little critters.

Sixty hamsters in ONE store?! :eek: To have 10 hamsters combined of all the different types we carry at the store I worked at would be extreme! I hope they weren't being over crowded. Hamsters will be cannibals, same with mice and rats... overcrowding is never good for them. We usually only keep 2-3 same sexed hamsters TOPS per large 10-20 gallon tank..

Marty11 April 8th, 2011 11:35 PM

My rats ate anything. I used to feed them fresh meat and cooked veggies and esp cooked rice and pasta. Anything goes, I watched the spices and salt of course. I fed commercial pellets although they barely ate them. Dried fruits and nuts too.

Melinda April 9th, 2011 06:46 AM

cornwalls spca has 4 young rats right now

[url]http://sdg.ontariospca.ca/2-adoptions-sml-animals.shtml[/url]

fleolicious April 10th, 2011 10:43 AM

Mine eat regular commercial pellet-stuff, but I'll give pretty much anything as treats - fruit, nuts, bits of meat, even cat treats, and they like it all. Make sure you don't give anything citrus-y to the males, though, those are carcinogenic.

As for pocket-transport, you'll have to (carefully!) try and see. Turnip loves being in my bathrobe pocket; he'll peek outside if I'm doing something fun like cooking, the rest of the time he just naps curled up at the bottom. Plumcot on the other hand freaks out if I so much as put him near a pocket; his vehicle of choice are shoulders :)

Dracen April 10th, 2011 05:08 PM

Kathryn: They're all in several cages of three or so each, don't worry :) Still...there are tonnes of hamsters! And only two rats!

Melinda: Aw, they're so cute! But I may not be able to get any for a while :( Waa.

Thanks for all the food advice ^^


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