How to Hold a Rat | Pet Rats

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So holding your pet rat is going to be very important. It’s part of the reason that you want to have a pet rat. They’re soft, they’re fuzzy, they love to be handled, they love to be held. Oftentimes they want to be picked up. And you can see in the nature that I just picked this rat up. Generally picking them up is not a complex science as long as the rat is used to it.

Most often I will use my hands to scoop them up, supporting their body weight. This way it allows them to stand in your hands and be held freely. In some instances rats need to be picked up by putting your hand completely around them and supporting their rear end to lift them into a holding position. What often is very possible, as you can see here, is sometimes rats will just approach you and they’re willing to climb up on you as well, and they’ll approach you and climb into your hands or on your arm, and this provides a means for handling or holding them as well.

Some rats very commonly are what we call ‘shoulder rats’ as you can see here. They have a preference to climb up your arm, climb and sit on your shoulder, which, being very careful, is a popular thing that rats do and it’s something that a lot of pet owners like to have from their pet rats. It allows them to have some quality time. It allows them to have some interaction with the rat, and also rats become pretty adept at their ability to climb up and down the arm when they need to be held.

Now restraining your rat is very different than holding them. Generally you can pick them up in any way you’re comfortable. You can pet them. You can touch them. You can scoop them up. The one thing you never want to do is pick them up by the tail. Don’t be confused and think that it’s ever okay to pick them up by their tail. Even if people say by the base of the tail, this is something that should never be done.

If you need to restrain your rat or keep it still for any time, sometimes the recommendation is to learn how to use a washcloth or a hand towel. Wrap that around them, place it gently around them so that they can’t move their arms and legs and it helps provide what we call a ‘mini rat burrito’, where they’re restrained and held still for a short time.

Sometimes if your rat needs to have procedures done, like a nail trim, or you think they’ve hurt themselves, and you want to look at a lesion, a lot of times it requires a second person to be able to reach in, to pick them up, grab most of their body, lift them up under the forearms, and then quickly get them to a seating position, or at least allow them to land where they can be on a large flat surface where they feel really comfortable.

Restraint may involve holding them pretty tightly around the body, restraining the head and, in some instances, a two-hand hold, which allows you to hold them in this manner to support them, but also keep them still.

Most rats are used to being handled. It is rare that rats will generally bite, and they often like the time and interaction being picked up and handled, so any means that allows the rat to be safely picked up and held is usually fine for restraint and handling.

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24 Responses

  1. Jenna Scrip
    | Reply

    Your Parrot looks really strange, you should take him to the vet

  2. C4mel Boiii
    | Reply

    what if its got the bubonic plague and already bit you,

  3. Treka Double
    | Reply

    If a wild rat has entered your house of if your pet rat is running around and you need to pick it up fast, the safest way to do it is to thrown a towel on him and then pick up the towel with the rat in it. You can then transport it where you want to release him. The method prevents biting and any risk that the rat fall off and injure himself

  4. Treka Double
    | Reply

    I loved your video but I think it is important to say exactly why it is dangerous to take a rat by the tails, because we're here talking about risks of severe tails injuries and risks of amputation of the tail.
    1. Skin ripped off: the skin at the tip of the tail is fragile and it can break if it has to support the weight of your rat. Basically the skin break and get ripped off, and you have to amputate the tail of your rat
    2. Broken bones, problems with the joins of the vertebra…
    3. Your rat will certainly get agitated because they really don't like being taken by the tail. If it moves to much it increases the risk of ripped off skin and broken bones, but it also means that your rat can fall off and get injured even more.

  5. Treka Double
    | Reply

    Some rats freeze if you pinch the skin of their neck, like cats do. It's useful to know that when you have to take it to the vet and you need it to be still for as few seconds. But you definitely should not carry your rats by the neck only (put a hand under their feet) and you shouldn't do it for more than a few seconds

  6. DigitalBubbles
    | Reply

    Did he make all of these videos in one day?? He is wearing the same shirt in every videooo

  7. Queenie Tan Tan
    | Reply

    I have 8 👧 rat and 9 👦 rat but now I have 6 👧 rat and 1 👦 rat.

    I have 2 🐱 but 1 die.

    I have 3 🐢 but 1 🐢 when missing.

    I have 1 🐱 bag it is so cute .

  8. Castiel_ Winchester_
    | Reply

    I just recently got two rats and they are living in an 18" by 18" cage that has two levels is this sufficient enough?

  9. SolAngelicaa
    | Reply

    Rewelacyjny poradnik

  10. Mia Silva
    | Reply

    I have a rat to and I'm 10

  11. Seamus Botsford
    | Reply

    My sister got a snake and it refused to eat the rat we put in it's cage and now I have my best friend mr.ratburn

  12. Nihilanth Non Serviam
    | Reply

    I got bitten by a rat I bought from a pet store, she just had a litter, unaware of the litter I went to pick the rat up and was seriously bitten, just disinfected the wound, anything I should be worried about? How can I test my rat for diseases?

  13. Emi McCall
    | Reply

    the coloring of those two rats are exactly like mine

  14. kaloo Anderson
    | Reply

    I'm hold ing my rat right now!!

  15. myla judd
    | Reply

    so cute ahah, rat burrito

    | Reply

    That will come in handy when i give my rat his eyedrops

  17. abyss watcher
    | Reply

    who hates rats

  18. Erik Dalgaard
    | Reply

    0:28 THE CARPET IS ALIVE RUN!!!!!!

  19. anzaeria
    | Reply

    Ive never handled a domestic rat before. That would be cool to have. Of course, I wouldn't pick up a domestic by the tail.

  20. anzaeria
    | Reply

    I confess that I have picked up a rat by the tail twice. I had no choice because it was a wild rat. If I didn't pick it up by the tail, it likely would have bitten me. It was inside the house (the cat had probably chased it inside.) I was in the process of removing it and relocating outside. Actually, it came back inside the house again about a day later.

  21. Peter bill
    | Reply

    are they act and carried desease like the pest rat?

  22. jennjenntheunknown
    | Reply

    i adopted 4 pet rats off this lady recently, they are always biting me when i let them out of the cage, I can't tell if there playing? Or maybe it was the previous home environment or getting to know me? Im just worried i made a mistake

  23. Jodie Brown
    | Reply

    rats look like mice but only alot! bigger lol

  24. sarah scheper
    | Reply

    my rat's love sitting on shoulders i literally have three girls that will get up on my shoulders and fight over it and I have to end up just making two share one shoulder and the other one get her own shoulder

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