Pet Rats – Why They Make Great Pets

By Scott McHenry

Anyone looking for a new pet wants a pet that is clean, socialized and well trained. Most people don’t know that these are all qualities of pet rats!

There are many misconceptions about rats. People think that rats are unclean and carry disease. In fact, rats are quite clean and groom themselves several times a day. These aren’t sewer rats we’re talking about. These pet rats, or fancy rats as they’re called, have been domesticated and bred in captivity for at least 150 years. Pet rats are quite tame after living with humans for so many generations and you’ll find that they are nothing like their stereotypes.

Rats are very intelligent animals. Some consider rats to have intelligence close or equal to that of dogs. Rats are capable of learning to come when their names are called. They can even be litter trained just as easily as training a cat.

If you have any experience with other rodents such as hamsters, mice or gerbils you may be afraid of biting. Although biting is common with other rodents, it is almost unheard of with domesticated rats. Unlike their rodent cousins, rats are generally docile creatures. Most of the time rats just like to lay around, especially males. Rats can easily be trained to be good lap or shoulder pets.

In the wild, rats live together in colonies and have a complex social structure. These social instincts carry over to pet rats. Pet rats tend to develop strong bonds with humans and with their cage mates. So much so that it is common for rats to become very depressed when a cage mate passes away.

There are many apartments that won’t allow dogs or cats, and it may simply not be practical to have larger pets in some houses. In those situations a pet rat is the perfect solution. Cages for pet rats usually don’t consume much room at all, usually just a two foot by two foot space, which makes pet rats great for small apartments.

Rats are friendly and intelligent animals and make great first pets for children. Being clean and easy to care for makes them great companions for the elderly. Go out and get your pet rat today!

Scott McHenry and his wife have had a large number of pets of many different species. They have several years experience with rats and together run a rat informational web site.

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2 Responses

  1. Nick
    | Reply

    This is so true– rats are definatly the best pets you can have besides dogs. I have owned hamsters and all they did was stink up the house and sleep all day and make noise at night with their exercise wheels. And when I went to pick them up they would always bite me. I now own 3 rats and they are the sweetest, best pets I have ever had. Never once did I get bit and they have a very low odor unlike hamsters. They sleep in the day but they take little naps instead of sleeping all day. So I highly recommend rats as first pets for children or for the elderly. RATS RULE!!

  2. leigh
    | Reply

    To Rats Rule
    I agree with you. I had 2 pet rats, both male. Unfortunately i lost the elder last week to lung disease. Cried for days. I would not trade my fellas for anything. Better than my cats,hampsters, birds and fish. Over the weekends when i am not working my rat accompanies me where ever i go – usually in my shirt on on my shoulder. On week days he spends 4 hours with us in the evenings and when we go to bed he shares our bed.
    Wacky mom

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