Complete Guide for New Rat Owners

By Small Furries - May 07, 2019








The majority of this information has come from my experience with rats, if there is anything you would like backed up with a reference please don't hesitate to contact me!


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I've kept rats for 7 years now and had ten all together over the years. I've written many assignments on animal husbandry for rats and i'm always receiving messages on Facebook from new time rat owners who would like some real life advice! 

Its amazing how much information and experience with rats i have gained over 6 years and my plan is to share everything i can with you so your ratties have the best start in life with you!

Contents of this Blog:


Brief History of the Fancy Rat

How many should i have?
What do they eat ?
How much do they cost ?
Health Problems
Cage Size
Cage Accessories
Genders
Introducing New Rats to Old
Behavior
Coat Types
What to expect
Things to remember

Background History ( Rattus Norvegicus ) 


Rats, like all rodents, are thought to have originated in Asia, with the first rat fossils being found 54 MILLION Years ago! At some point in the 18th and 19th Century, people started eating them because of poverty and lack of food.


Most wild rats are Brown or Black in colour depending on whether they are a Roof Rat (Black) or a Norway Rat (Brown) but some wild rats had colour mutations, usually white, and people started keeping them as pets! This is why the majority of rat colours are either black, white or brown. But now a days there are so many different colour patterns, it took me a few years to learn them all!



My First 2 Rats Kumho and Maxxis 2013



Can i keep ONE Rat? Short answer is no.

I guess i should start by saying you can't just have ONE rat, its not a suggestion its a fact. My first rat was 'ordered' from a pet shop and when i got there they refused to give me just one, clearly i should have done more research before buying a pet and that's exactly why i'm writing this for you!


The only situations you will find a lone rat :

-The other rats of the mischief have passed away and the owner doesn't wish to get anymore
-The rat is very ill and needs to be away from other rats to prevent the spread of disease
- The rat has an open wound and you need to keep him away from the other animals so they don't interrupt the healing process
-The rat is aggressive and you have tried every possible way to introduce him to other rats
-The rat is new and he is in quarantine for 2 weeks before introductions

Lone rats from the above circumstances should always be interacted with as much as possible to prevent stress and depression.


Rats need social interaction, and its fine to say you'll be at home every evening but unless your rat has a friend with him during the day, he will get very lonely and depressed. Just put yourself in their shoes and imagine being stuck inside a cage for the majority of the day and night with no physical interaction. Plus the more rats the better right?


So rats need to be together in at least pairs, but if you can afford to pay for and care for more than two that's even better! But be warned, with more rats comes more responsibility ( Sort of ). I've had 7 rats at one stage and you can easily compare the amount of money spent compared to two or three rats but the difference between 1 and 2 isn't noticeable. I would probably say 4 rats is the perfect amount, when i had almost double that i felt like i couldn't give enough time they each needed.



What do they eat? Well almost anything, but there are some things that are toxic!


Rats are good eaters, if they aren't sleeping or grooming, they are eating. They are grazing animals, they need to continuously eat to keep their digestive system going. They are omnivores, meaning they eat vegetables, meat and insects. Rats can eat anything from a wild flower to a piece of your burger but that doesn't mean you shouldn't watch their weight. Rats can get very obese very quickly and its too hard to put them on a diet because of their short lifespan and adorableness. So its easier to monitor what they are eating from the start.




Always check first because something simple and yummy like mango can kill a rat. Some foods aren't recommend to feed rats because of the choking hazard, but the main reason is because rats cant throw up, if they eat something poisonous they can't recover from it, making it very serious when choosing what to feed them!


Recently rat owners are opting to feed their rats a home made rat mix which includes foods such as grains, herbs, vegetables, seeds and supplements. This diet ensures that your rat is getting all the needed nutrients and you have complete control over what they are consuming!

Mixes and Muesli can be purchased already assembled from most pet shops but seeing as all rats have different nutritional requirements depending on their age, health and their exercise level, it can be hard to ensure they are getting exactly what they need. 

Some mixes, although they claim to be a complete diet, do not contain everything they should so its always best to research the exact nutritional requirements and compare this to the ingredients on the bag.

Rat Pellets are a generic animal food, also called lab blocks, they are plain chunks of food which contain all the nutrients a rat needs. These pellets can be very plain for your rats to eat over time but can help selective feeding if you are finding they only eat certain parts of a shop bought or home made rat mix.

Food can be weighed out to suit your rats weight and age, but it can also be left for your rats to access 24/7. If you have a rat with a high metabolism, you can leave them food out all the time, however, if you find your rat is quickly putting on weight you may want to start weighing your food.

Along with the main Rat Food you will feed them, you should also give them some fresh food everyday, this should include non toxic fruit and vegetables with the occasional dried insect ( some people choose to feed their rats live insects! ) but always remember how fattening insects and human food can be and whilst its OK to feed them a small amount of your sandwich, try refraining from giving them too much.


There are now companies such as https://ratrations.co.uk/ who personally assemble rat mixes and sell them online. This is fast becoming the most popular way of purchasing food and feeding rats (2019).


How much do they cost? Maybe a little more than you'd think.


Now this is just an estimate, but I've tried to give you the most accurate information i can so you can truly figure out if you'll be able to keep them properly.


Initial Purchase - £8 - £40 ($10 - $52) Per Pair (UK purchase usually about £20 each)


Cage Purchase - Anywhere between £100-300 for a decent cage.



MONTHLY ( Per 2 Rats ) Not including Vet Bills


Food - £16 ( $21) per bag of Burgess Rat Nuggets ( 2/3 of a bag a month )

Bedding - £15 ($20) per bag of Eco-Nest Shredded Cardboard ( 1 bag per month )
Water - Free
Socialization - Free
Exercise - Free

If you live in the UK you will know we have a law in place to prevent the sale of live animals as food ( Thank god ). But for some reason, in the US, they still sell live animals as reptile food. So i don't end up in a rant about this i'll be quick! These rats that are sold for food are called ' Feeder' Rats, they are kept in big barrels around the back of pet shops and you can buy them for about $4 each. They are bred so badly they are unlikely to make it past 2 years ( although some cases have been known!) However if you are in the UK, the only way of getting your hands on a rat is to purchase from a reputable breeder, buy from a pet shop or adopt.


Of course we all know adopting is always the BEST choice with any animal but its not always an option. Rats aren't a popular pet choice in most of the world which means they wont be popping up in your local animal shelter as frequently as you'd like. So don't feel awful if you don't have any up for adoption, or there isn't a breeder anywhere remotely close to where you live. Buying a rat from a pet shop, whether its a feeder or a pet is still an amazing thing to do, you are securing the future of this animals life regardless of where you found him!


Just remember buying from a shop means you are taking on the full responsibility of the many health problems these rats come with.


Vet Bills


Vet bills obviously differentiate depending on the health of the animal and the amount of rats you are keeping. Last year i lost 3 rats, with the average consultation about £35 including medication and the average operation costing about £150. 


However, i had a very poorly rat ( Pyra ) and managed to spend nearly £400 on vet bills in a week, this wasn't as simple as sneezing though, she had surgery and then had to be rushed to emergency surgery in the middle of the night, fought off infection for 2 weeks, endured an abscess that burst, made it through two anesthesia's in one day and was also completely riddled with tumours.


Pyra Christmas 2018


However, she is the most expensive rat i've kept, and i've currently got a beautiful 2 year old girl who has never visited the vets in her entire life ( touch wood ).


Most people presume the majority of their money will be spent on the initial purchase of the rat, or the food and bedding but its not. Its the vet bills ( and a decent cage price is pretty hefty ). I don't want to put you off by saying anything in this blog that may change your mind but i do want to be really really honest with you and the truth is that rats are very poorly bred animals.


Just like bulldogs, they have been interbred for their looks which has left them with some serious health issues and a short lifespan if you don't step in! The best way to conquer this problem is for rat owners to buy rats from BREEDERS. Rat breeders are (usually) very dedicated to breeding healthier rats for all rat owners. They've made it their sole mission to only breed their best litters and create some rats that have truly exceeded their life span.


Of course, buying from a breeder can be a lot more expensive and complicated than just grabbing one from a pet store but by making the active decision to buy from a breeder you will be giving less money to pet shops and more money to the work these amazing breeders are trying to do.


Not only that, you will be saving yourself a lot of money from vet bills in the long run. 



Health Problems - A domestic rat will live, an average, of 2-3 years.


In the wild, rats will rarely live past 1 year old, but domesticated rats, with no predators and unlimited supply of food and water will live almost 3 times that length!


Rats can pass away from almost everything, with the some causes including cancer, tumors and respiratory problems. In fact a lot of rats pass away from pneumonia, caused by damaging substances in the air. I've lost 3 to tumors, 2 to seizures, and 2 to respiratory problems. Most of them around the age of 2 although i lost my naked rat at 8 months to secondary lung cancer.


The worst to use around rats are perfumes, scented candles, incense, tobacco smoke, air fresheners, the list goes on but you get the jist - They need constant uncontaminated fresh air and they cant be in a draft or direct sunlight either!


 They are very complex animals, every time i write anything about rats i'm always astonished by how much there is to know to ensure they have the BEST Life possible!

Not regularly cleaning the cage can lead to a build up of ammonia and this is just as bad for your respiratory system as theirs. Ensure the cage is completely cleaned and disinfected at least once a week and try to spot clean everyday, spot cleaning is when you quickly pick up any feces or urine in the cage to save it from building up.


 Many people complain about their rats smelling, but the rats themselves literally don't smell ( i may be nose blind to their smell ) so you likely need to be cleaning them out more frequently if you are struggling with the smell.

Whilst the best way to combat smell is by frequent cleaning, air purifiers do a great job of keeping the air clean for you and your rats and also keeping that ratty smell at bay with out letting out any harmful substances.



A common indication that your rat may be having some respiratory problems is the formation of a red mucus around their nose and eyes which resembles blood. Although it's not blood it is still a worrying sign. 


Most domesticated (especially shop bought) rats are born with something called mycoplasmosis, a very common disease which can be triggered by any of the above substances.

Once mycoplasmosis sets in, if you continue to use your scented candle anyway, their lungs will not be able to regenerate and heal fast enough and they will contract pneumonia which will cause permanent damage or death.

Remember that not all rats are affected as badly, some breeders are getting close to breeding it out all together but in the mean time its still there, this doesn't mean your rat will definitely show symptoms. 


They may live their life never affected by it or they may spend their entire life suffering from it. In this case you may be in and out the vets trying different antibiotics and using a nebuliser which can help relieve the symptoms for your rat.

Luckily there are many ways we know of that can help our babies breath, starting with dark chocolate! Although rats should never be given chocolate, small amounts of dark chocolate has been proven to relieve mycoplasmosis and aid in breathing! 


Purchase any device that calculates the humidity and keep it around 55%, if the air is too wet or too dry it can cause a respiratory flare up! The temperature of their environment should be between 18 - 25 Degrees Celsius ( 65-80 F ) Try to stay down the colder end as rats can use blankets and each other to keep warm, but can very easily overheat.



What cage do they deserve? A big tall cage!


Our rats need tall cages with lots of burrowing and hiding spaces and, of course, tons of bedding to throw out the cage all over your floor! They also require different levels, things to climb, ropes, ladders and many hammocks!

Savic Royale Suite


The most popular cage ( in the USA ) is called the Critter Nation, it is expensive but brilliant quality and design. Unfortunately i don't live in the US and couldn't get one anywhere near where i live, so i settled for the UK version which is called the Savic Royale. Personally, any cage similar to this, very easy to find cheap knock offs, is perfect for rats! You can buy multiple cages and attach them above and to the side, making huge indoor cages for animals.


I currently have the Savic Royale Suite , which is is the same size as TWO Critter Nations, also known as a Double Critter Nation. 






My favorite part about the Savic is that it comes with high sides to prevent bedding being kicked out ( works to an extent ) and the ladder that connect both halves, folds up and can be used to turn the cage into 2 sections! It also comes with plastic shelves and floors and can be wheeled around.


This cage cost me about £300 once it had been shipped to me ( i live in a very isolated place ) but you can definitely source similar cages for much less. Of course if you are only getting two rats to start you may opt for the single critter nation , or another brand like Ferret Nation. The absolute minimum, per rat is 2 cubic feet, but if like me, you find that ridiculously small, just double it per rat and you should have a happy group of rats!


When getting babies, you' ll need something a lot smaller to start off with, like a hamster cage (with bars, no plastic) . The main reason is so the bar spacing isn't too big, because rats are master escapees! The bars should be no bigger than 1 inch for babies, and 2 inches per adult. I've had some small female rats, and i would say just stick to 1 inch to be safe :) I also keep a guinea pig cage, because they are all on one level and make the perfect cage for old or ill rats!


Rats should never be kept in aquariums or plastic box cages as the lack of ventilation can cause serious health issues. Its much easier to just buy a cage!


Never leave an open wire floor in any animals cage, it can cause serious health issues, injure their feet, and just imagine having to balance on those wires all day? Always ensure a plastic tray is down and then fill with things that will make their feet cozy.


Of course, like any caged animal, rats should have free roam time every. single. day. Depending on your living situation you may be able to free roam them around your house! Rats can be taught re call, meaning they will learn their name ( we like to think! ) and come back to you when you call them. If your house is childproof or cat proof, chances are its rat proof too !


Just remember rats can climb into very small spaces and can chew through wires in seconds and this should only be done if you have had your rats for while, trust them and have checked your house is rat proof. Many people buy open floor pens but your'e lucky if they can't escape that either! The floor pens i have purchased or made have been defeated within seconds.


I have a home made ramp that attaches to the front of the cage and ends on my bed and at the moment the only time i close it up is when i go to bed! This allows the rats to choose when they come in and out and allows them to have free roam time with access to their food and water. I also have some ledges on the cage door which, when open, allows them to climb up onto the top of the cage where they have lots of blankets and a box to hide in.


When i first got rats i had previously kept hamsters, and i bought them a running ball. The main problem wasn't the fact i couldn't even fit them in , it was that they would squeal when ever i placed them near it, they absolutely hated it and i quickly learnt online that the balls are also really bad for their spine and respiratory health.



What can i fill a huge cage like this with? Everything and Anything.

You can literally give most things to rats and they will find a way to use it, whether it be as a bed, as a platform to sit and watch you or as a weapon to fling around the cage when they get hyped up! Like all animals, its best not to give them plastics but cardboard, paper and anything organic is perfect!


 Rats allow you to recycle many everyday items and turn them into your rats new favorite toy! For example, my three girls currently have a castle I've built out of old wine boxes! Every week i clean them out, i replace the wine boxes with new ones!




This cage is a bit extreme, but this is the kind of layout you are looking for. This cage supposedly houses 18 Rats comfortably ! It has all the essentials, hammocks, levels, bedding, fleece, litter trays, food and water.






Other things to include in your cage are feeding dispensers, or trays, water bottles ( are best source of water due to water contamination in bowls ) and of course their little potties!


Some people have the whole bottom level with litter and the top half just fleece. Many people use running wheels, but every time i have tried all they do is poop in them! If you plan on getting a wheel for your rat, ensure its large enough so that when they are running, their tails aren't bending up and causing them long term damage.






I use an Eco Friendly Recycled Dust Extracted Shredded Cardboard Bedding! ( Bit of a mouthful! ) The main thing to remember when purchasing bedding is that there is as little dust as possible - so wood shavings are normally not a good idea - as this can also cause respiratory problems in rats and also to avoid pine and cedar bedding as it can cause complications with the liver. Recommended bedding includes shredded paper, pellets and fleece. 


Many people cover their cages in fleece, its nice for the rats toes and its so aesthetic for us to look at but i'm not lucky enough to have been blessed with a rat that does not chew. I actually think its a myth, and these guys take the fleece down after the photo! My fleece literally lasts 24 hours and its demolished, ready for little legs to get trapped in it! So i just used bedding, everywhere. But that's not to say don't try fleece, everyone's rats are different and you'll find something that works for both you and the rats, but is it worth all that extra washing?!



Male or Female? You definitely have to experience both to choose!


Both genders, like most animals have different character and biological traits that the other doesn't. For example, males can be twice the size of females and females can be twice as active as males.





Females tend to be a lot more active than males, they are more playful and require a lot more enrichment due to the fact they are always awake. 


In my experience i've found that females will adapt their sleep pattern to yours, they will learn when its dinner time, and what time you will wake up and will do their absolute best to be out of their beds ready to come out or have a cuddles! 

Males will sleep through it all! Especially when they get older, they tend to keep to themselves but wont turn down a quick cuddle from you and if your'e lucky they may fall asleep on you.

As far as health problems go with genders, females are much more likely to get ill than males. Obviously getting your animal neutered or spayed can seriously reduce the risk of health issues but its a fairly invasive surgery and sometimes cause even more problems. 


Because of this its always better to keep the genders separate and different cages to ensure they don't breed! The concept of little baby rats is adorable, but realistically unless you become a registered breeder and that's your job, its best not to breed for no reason.

The pros of getting neutered - The likelihood of infection or disease in females is reduced dramatically with the most common type of tumors in females being mammary. The risk is also reduced in neutered males. 


Neutering a male reduces aggression, making them feel calmer for the duration of their life too. For us humans, the plus side is that we can keep males and females together with no risk of pregnancy.

The cons of getting neutered - As i said before its a very invasive surgery, rats are not great under anesthetic and its best to avoid it all together if possible. Male rats have been known to develop abscesses which can become life threatening if not treated properly.


My second pair of rats were male and by the time i got them i only had one of my first girls left and she was almost 3 years old and had been living alone for a couple of months. When they were old enough i got them neutered so Maxxis could finally have the company of her species again.


Bailey turned out to be quite aggressive and in turn Blue became very shy and scared of almost everything. Getting them neutered calmed Bailey down, but also gave them both abscesses, which luckily they recovered perfectly from.



Maxxis with babies Bailey and Blue 2016


Introducing Babies into your Mischief


If you already have rats and you're only reading this further expand your knowledge, maybe its time for two new babies?! I've heard so many stories of bad introductions and how they've drawn blood, but i mine have always run smoothly. That is not to say that it couldn't happen!


Because of the social ladder within a rat mischief, and so many different personalities it can be very hard working out who is boss! Now i personally don't use an introduction method they call the carrier method. Two rats who have never met before are put into a cat carrier and locked in. It reminds me of a fight to the death, and whilst many people have success stories i would never trap two unfamiliar animals inside a box. So, my method consists of using a bed or a sofa!







At first i find an area which is neutral, meaning no rats hang out here, its nobody's land! And i allow both rats to run around the space and mark it ( at separate times ) I also ensure i've been in the space too and use myself as the link in between them. Eventually both rats ( with me ) will be allowed out onto the neutral open space to run around and explore and every single time i've used this method they have had a sniff, sometimes a quick squabble and its over. They've crowned their new king! Usually you'll have a more dominant rat until they get too old and it passes down to the next generation ( if you keep adding new generations to your mischief every year ).

By using an open neutral ground, i can monitor their behavior, keep an eye out for any unfamiliar behavior and break up a fight if one starts! Although this is an amazing moment, watching your mischief grow, you can't do it straight away! All animals should go through a 2 week quarantine period, where they have no contact with the other rats. This is especially essential if the source of your new pet is unknown. Rats can carry many diseases ( Don't worry, you're not a rat so you cant catch them :) ) And its always best to keep them away from others until they have had a vet check up and show no signs of illness or disease.




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Frequent Q and A
Can you catch anything from Rats? 

* The risk of catching a disease from a Fancy Rat is highly UNLIKELY *

Fancy Rats usually do not carry any dangerous zoonotic diseases but any animal that has been captured from the wild or is housed outside is at risk of disease. Wild Rats can carry many diseases, from Rat Bite Fever and Hantavirus to Ringworm and E. Coli Infections.
 Always check where your rat has come from, get a health check when you first get them, ensure they do not go outside or come in contact with wild animals and go straight to the doctor if you or your rats have any symptoms you are worried about.
 As I mentioned before, I have kept rats for 6 years and I have never contracted any type of disease from my rats. I did have a girl who came to me with ringworm and passed it  on to me, but it was not life threatening and I recovered fine from it.
  

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Once your new babies have been isolated and introduced into your mischief, you'll need to potty train them, if they aren't already potty trained. This is SO easy to do , if you have a little patience and are consistent. Fill up a tray, a bowl, whatever you want to use, i use an old dog food bowl, with small mammal potty litter ( I use Kaytee Critter Litter ) and place it where they have been going. Make sure to put a few pieces of their feces in the new potty and wait! If your one of the lucky ones this can happen over night, but sometimes they need a bit more of a push! 




Try using a clean stone in the tray, different litter and bowls and always move the bowl to the location they are going. Many people give up because they don't want to keep moving the potty every hour! But it really pays to persevere. Once your rats are potty trained, there is less to clean up, they shouldn't smell ( baring in mind males are supposed to smell but i got both of my neutered so i wouldn't know! ) and best of all, they can run free on your furniture and guests and they wont get covered in feces and urine! Its a win win :)


New babies can be very scared of you and everything that moves or makes a noise. This is completely normal, many people expect a rat to be doing tricks and cuddling on their lap the day they get them but in reality it can take months, up to a year before some rats will even go near you. It also depends on the condition of the rat, poorly bred rats tend to be more aggressive or timid, where as well bred rats are tame and get themselves into trouble with their curiosity.



I've seen people get rid of their rats because they are aggressive or don't want to be touched and it breaks my heart to think they don't have the patience to love this rat and give him a good life regardless. Any animal is a responsibility you take on, just like a child or a dog, they are yours from the day you take them home <3


How do i read their Behavior? Its very easy to communicate with rats when you learn how





Rats communicate with us and other rats with body language! They actually communicate with other rats via noises but they are so high pitched the only way to hear them is with a bat detector! So all we can do is read their emotions via their body language!




For example, if you find your rat laying very flat, head down and not reacting to any noise, you'd probably be worried something is wrong but this is just an indicator your rat is super calm and you must have done an excellent job with their environment!


 Saying this, a flat pancake rat can also mean the environment is too warm, you usually find them like this out in the open instead of in their beds. The same goes for when its too cold, they will curl up like little potatoes and tuck their heads underneath them! This is how they ask us to turn the heating up or down!

The main warning signs of pain or discomfort that i look for are fluffed up fur, squinting eyes (although this can also be tiredness) and curled up posture.


 If you have had a rat for a while and they suddenly start chewing things inside the cage ( it could be lack of enrichment ) but if he is also showing other signs, it could also indicate pain. I'm making it sound like you just have to guess! But over time you learn your animals habits and behavior and can tell if something is wrong.

Rats also communicate by grinding and chattering their teeth, problem is, this can be an indicator of extreme happiness, or severe pain. But by reading all the other parts of their bodies and the situation they're in you can quickly figure out which one it is! The muscles in their jaw are attached to their eyes, and when they make a chattering noise their eyes pop in and out! Terrifying.



Coat Types 


Now you understand the basics of rat care and are ready to get a rat, you get to choose the coat color, type and pattern and the type of rat itself! Of course, i must say this because i really do mean it, if you can adopt rather than buy please do!! If you have to buy babies then you are likely going to be able to choose their pattern :)






Although all domestic rats are called Fancy Rats, there are two different types! The only difference is in their ear placement, one is called a top eared rat, and funnily enough their ears are atop there head, and the other is called a dumbo rat and they have much larger, rounder ears on the side of their head.


Although scientifically the only difference between the two is their ear placement, many people say their personalities are different too and i agree! 


 I find Dumbos can definitely gain weight more easily and they are slightly more affectionate but they do tend to be slightly dafter! Falling off things and doing stupid stuff compared to a top eared, who give off a more sensible vibe.


Note: This is just in my experience with my 10 ten rats, all rats are different and there is no actual proof dumbo rats are any different to top eared rats :)



Rats also have different coat types, including naked rats! A smooth coated rat has short straight hair, and probably the only type you've seen if you are new to rats! A rex rat has very curly hair and a double rex has such curly hair it starts to fall out and leaves them very patchy! And of course a hairless rat usually has no hair or a small layer of 'fuzz'.


Last is the coat pattern and color. As mentioned at the beginning of this blog the common colors are browns, whites and blacks but there are some odd colors out there for instance the Russian Blue, its technically a grey but it literally makes the rat look a baby blue color! If you remember the two boys i mentioned earlier, Blue was quite obviously a blue!




Lilith 2016


Lilith was a very special rat to me, from the photo you can see she was dumbo eared and smooth coated and her coat pattern is known as Berkshire because of the white socks on all 4 legs and the white patch down her abdomen . So all together she was a Smooth Black Berskhire Dumbo Fancy Rat!


What can i expect from owning rats?

Rats will bring you laughter, they will bring you amazement and they will bring you extreme sadness. Their strong caring personalities shine through other small mammals, they overwrite any small mammals i have kept as the smartest, kindest small animals you'll ever own. Rats are so smart they can do tricks! Check it out Here. And its not a special skill you need to master, you just need their respect and friendship and they will frolic around making you laugh for their entire lives.


Rats will make you realize how special YOU are yourself, for being able to love a 'rodent ' in a way like you would love a dog or a cat. Size really doesn't matter when it comes to rats! Their personalities are bigger than you can imagine and rat owners together with rats create a very special bond.




Things to remember



- Keeping healthy rats is cheap, keep poorly bred rats is expensive on vet bills




-The initial set up of a rat cage can be fairly expensive if you're looking to buy good quality.




- You need to be able to give them at least two hours of your time everyday, not including cleaning them out.




- Rats only live, on average, 2 years. Many rats live a lot less.




-There respiratory systems are so sensitive, they should always come first, even when you think its just a quick spray.




-Rats are highly intelligent animals, they need enrichment when they are out, and enrichment inside their cage at all times.




-Rats are relatively easy animals to keep, as are any caged animal.




-You may get addicted, like 99% of rat owners, and keep buying rats uncontrollably until you die.




Maxxis  2014



If you would like to know where i got any of the products mentioned above, please email me and i'll find the link for you. If you have any questions please email info@smallfurries.org





Websites 

http://www.ratfanclub.org - The rat fan club was the first Facebook page i joined and then i found the website and bought a few of Debbie Ducommuns books. Unfortunately she passed away last year (2018) This fan club has so many members and is always active and willing to help. They are a good website to refer back to if you need to look something up or if you are looking for husbandry advice. This website is mainly USA Members.



http://www.ratbehavior.org - This website is great for the behavior, biology and history of rats. Its accurate information you can use to ensure you have the best understanding of how rats function.




Real rat lovers want to know - A Facebook page where all the admins are veterinary nurses or surgeons. For extreme emergencies but good to have. Of course, seek the advice of a vet before asking anyone online.




Rat Owners UK - Another Facebook Group for lovers in the UK. Also very busy and active with some great advice.



Thank you for Reading!
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Small Furries 2019 Extended Diploma in Animal Management

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References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/
http://www.ratbehavior.org
http://www.ratfanclub.org/

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