Female Fancy Rat
Most precious things ever <3
I have now been owning rats for four years, and I don't regret a single minute of it!
I have had about 8 rats in those four years, all Standard eared girls.
Please don't mistake Fancy rats and Dumbo rats as two different breeds, because all domesticated rats are Fancy rats, and there is no such thing as a different breed of Fancy rat, only varieties. Dumbo rats have larger, lowest ears, and STANDARDS have normal ears.
All of my girls are totally sweet, and I have had so much joy in owning them. You can easily teach them their names, teach them to Fetch, Spin, Play dead Etc.
Most rats don't bite, and if on the off chance that they do bite, it's usually a misunderstanding!
Rats do not require baths, as they clean themselves Very, Very often each day! I currently have a rat who feels the need to "Brush" her fur every time I mess it up by Petting her or Scritching her! (Scritching is a word that refers to the play technique of taking your fingers and lightly scratching their backs/Tummy Etc.)
You should ALWAYS get two rats (Same gender).
Rats that are kept alone often seem fine to their owners, but they really aren't. Imagine someone who LOVES interaction with other people, being kept alone for most hours of the day, trying to entertain themselves in a limited space, and the only living creature they could see was some weird creature that they couldn't talk to. That's usually what it's like to rats. You would need to become their size, and LIVE with them if it would ever match a rat companion.
Cages need to be large, and have at least two square Ft. per rat. No tanks or aquariums, because they can, and will cause respiratory problems, and rats really need climbing space, which a tank can't provide.
Please don't use hamster cages either.
I would recommend something similar to the All Living Things Rat pet Home. Personally I prefer the CN, easily the best Rat cage (Also used for Ferrets, Chinchilla's, Birds Etc.) on the market. It comes in two versions, A Single unit, and a Doubled unit. The single will hold up two five males and six females, whereas the Double will hold up to 12 rats (Not really recommended though).
They also have a Ferret nation, which is the same cage only with larger bar spacing. Please make sure you get a CN, and most rats will get out of a FN.
As for bedding, it really depends on what cage you have.
There are certain types of bedding that should not be used. Period.
Any Scented bedding.
Aspen bedding that is too Fine.
Aspen (My personal favorite, however right now I only use it for my mice)
Kaytee Paper bedding (Non-Scented)
Carefresh Paper bedding (Non-Scented)
Pellet cat litter, Either aspen or paper
Hides are important, and hammocks just as much so.
You cane make hidies out of lots of things. Cardboard boxes, storage boxes, paper mache, flowerpots or you can buy many varieties of hidies at a pet store.
My favorite are Igloos (Also know as "Pigloos") and Cardboard boxes.
Hammocks are just as important - If not more - as hidie houses are.
You can buy hammocks at a pet store, but I wouldn't recommend it because they are usually chewed to pieces within the weeks, plus they're expensive (All hammocks will be chewed, mind you, but not as quickly.)
For those who are handy with sewing machines or sewing in general, you can make very nice fleece hammocks, and there are many No-sew hammock tutorials around the internet for those who can't/don't want too.
You can also use old clothes, Towels Etc.
Remember that rats NEED to chew, so provide a wide variety of chews for them to play and munch on.
You can buy wood chews at most pet stores, and they're pretty cheap. Rats love chewing on cardboard and Loofa too!
For cage accessories you can use wooden bird laters, tunnels, PVC piping, and my girls have always loved hanging storage baskets!
For food, I recommend Either Reggie Rat, Oxbow or Vitasmart Rat and Mouse food, or you can make your own mix. (Remember to give them fresh fruits and veggies often too!)
Oxbow is difficult for me because my petsmart doesn't always have it, and for rats younger than one year old, it can actually cause cancer. I know many people who have rats that are all different ages so it's hard for them.
For other things you will need food bowls (Heavy ceramic ones.), water bottles and I recommend a silent spinner wheel (Get the largest one).
Rats won't disappoint you. My girls are sweet, loving, affectionate, bouncy, charming and my favorite thing is that each one comes with their own personalities!
September 1, 2014
I bought my female fancy rats back in Feb. of 2013. My two girls, Sarsaparilla & Sassafras, are just too much. They are precocious girls. Sarsaparilla thinks she can do anything, jump any distance, climb onto anything. Sassafras is a little more laid back, she loves her baths though. Rats don't need baths unless they get beyond dirty, but she loves the water. She's my chunk and loves to sit and eat. So treats have to be sparingly with them. When I got them, like any pet from pet stores, they were very shy and timid. Within about two weeks they were allowing me to pick them up. And now, I handle them as if it's something I've always done. My dumbo rat, Hannibal, isn't a fan of being handled but she loves to crawl all over me and lick me when it's time to get out and play. So I consider that a win.
When taking care of a rat you have to have money set aside for vet bills, there will be vet trips. Have a big, at least three story, cage. Ventilated. They love to have hammocks. Cardboard boxes to sleep in, toilet paper rolls to chew on, and yummy treats sparingly. Let them out at the minimum an hour a day. Clean their cage at least once a week, I change it twice a week. Rats need companions, so you must have two at the very least. If you can't have two, then choose a hamster.
Rats are great, loving, wonderful pets. With patience and time they will warm up to you and get excited when you come around the cage. Also, on the flip side, they are little lazy guys who love to sleep.
April 11, 2014