Getting your first pet rat can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it's important to ensure that you're well-prepared to provide a loving and healthy environment for your new furry friend.
Research is an important first step in providing the best care for your new pet rat. As you start your journey into rat ownership, here are a few things to consider before getting a pet rat, that we have discovered in our own research.
Starting with the basics of providing a habitat: Don’t use wood chips or sawdust as bedding. Rats noses are sensitive, instead use paper bedding or washable fleece instead.
Go for a bigger habitat; rats love to jump and climb around. A good rule to remember is 2.5 cubic feet per rat on the small side, a larger environment makes a happier furry friend.
Cages with wire flooring can cause rats to get this thing called bumble foot (a common bacterial infection and inflammatory reaction). Ouchie!
Not having a free roam area. These little friends need to have play time outside of their cages to live full and happy ready lives.
Rats are social animals; they get depressed and develop abnormal behavior if they live on their own. They strive in groups so always make sure to get at least two friends.
Smart friends need more toys; not having enough enrichment toys if rats don't have enough things to keep them entertained will create a destructive habit where they will chew on most everything they come across.
Picking a rat up by their tail, Is NOT ok! No matter the circumstance picking them up by their tail is painful and stressful for them.
"If you don't like rats, perhaps it's because you haven't gotten to know one." - Rachel Toor
Adopting a rat as a fur baby can be incredibly rewarding. Rats are very intelligent, highly social animals. They can form close bonds with you, but have complex needs and aren't easy to look after well. They have an excellent sense of touch, and a wonderful sense of smell, normally active at night and at dawn and dusk. They have relatively short lifespans (typically 2-3 years) compared to some other pets, so providing them with a loving and enriched life is crucial. I hope these beginning tips help you start you on your way to being a responsible and happy rat parent.