rats

cute blue rat

Quick Facts:

  • Average Life Span: 2 – 4 years

  • Size: 38-50cm (including tail)

  • Minimum cage size (for 2): 120cm x 60cm x 60cmH

  • Diet: Omnivorous - Predominantly fresh fruit and veg but also Pellets

  • Special requirements: Wooden chews, tall cage, lots of stimulation

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Unfortunately for these critters the media has given them an awful reputation. While some people cringe at the thought of a rat, what these people don't know is just how fantastic domestic rats can make as pets. Not only are they clean, intelligent and fun, but they are extremely social and can be trained to perform tricks. You can toilet train and even play with a rat. The bond between a pet rat and their owner is usually very strong as a rat can individually recognise their owner from a stranger! Is that awesome or what?

 

Behaviour

Rats are very intelligent creatures, when they are not sleeping, they are playing in their enclosures, discovering new things and exercising. Being extremely social pets they thrive better with another rat companion, however the more rats you have the more space is required. 

 

Diet

Predominantly rats should be fed fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Premium pellets and nuts can be an addition to use occasionally between meals to ensure they get a balanced nutritional diet.

 

Health

Rats are prone to developing respiratory infections and growths. Growths can be hereditory; the best way to keep your rat healthy is to ensure they are active and receive a good diet every day.  We at Pet City recommend using non-dusty pelleted bedding and keeping your rat's enclosure in an area with good ventilation. 

 

Enrichment

As rats are so intelligent they can get a little stir crazy! Ensure you have a large, comfortable cage for your rat to run around in and exercise. It is important that you always make a rat's enclosure exciting and fun - this is best done by changing their cage around and providing new toys every week. 

Providing your rat with challenges is the best way to keep them occupied and happy. For example, make certain areas of the enclosure hard to get to, or use hanging ladders or ropes to play on.

Utilise feeding equipment like wood kebabs and treat balls every couple of days to challenge your rat and encourage mental engagement. Food is the best way to give a rat motivation - use a small amount of their favourite tasty fruit inside a treat ball for longer play time!

 

Handling

When handled frequently from a young age, rats love coming out of their enclosure to play with their owner. Climbing up onto your shoulder is one way to really bond and spend time with your ratty! Try not to grab a rat by their tail as this can damage their back and spine.