Friday, June 07, 2013 – Right now, the Animal Rescue League is overwhelmed with rats. No, not the wild rodents that pick through the garbage. We have about six adults domesticated rats and twenty (!) babies. Yes, two rats came in here pregnant. Imagine our surprise to find little ones in the cage one morning?
Baby rats grow very quickly. We are giving them lots of love and socialization to be sure that they become great pets. Did you know that in just a couple of weeks, they look mature and they can begin to reproduce? If you keep rats and don’t want any more babies, remember to separate them as soon as possible! We certainly have!
They make good pets! Rats are intelligent, social and a lot of fun. They love to be out of their cages and held. Some love to just hang out on your shoulder as you go about your daily activities. Of the domesticated rodents, rats most like to be with humans. Because they are so intelligent, they are easy to train. They also like to have a friend. If you would consider getting a pet rat, make that two (of the same sex, unless you want LOTS more rats!). They really are clean animals and frequently groom themselves like cats, and they will groom one another.
Rats are relatively easy to care for, no different than hamsters, gerbils or guinea pigs. They need a large cage or even an aquarium. Their bedding needs to be cleaned daily to remove excrement and old food. They also need lots of things to play with – toys and fun objects. Like any other animal, they can get bored if not provided with enough stimulation.
They eat rat chow – yes, there is such a thing – and enjoy fruits and vegetables but cannot tolerate corn and onions. They really need something to chew on too. Untreated wood blocks, rawhide and even dog biscuits work well.
As for health care, rats are no different than other pets. They need regular yearly wellness checkups. Rats are very susceptible to mites which can cause itchiness and hair loss.
They are a fun, loving and low maintenance pet for someone on a budget and on the go! Please consider giving a homeless rat a home.