How to pick a pet rat: The Complete Guide

All there is to know to get a pet rat

Once you’ve decided on getting a few pet rats, make sure to prepare ahead of time before heading to your local pet store. Getting a new pet should never be a hasty decision. Therefore, you are better off exploring the various aspects of becoming a rat owner while making sure that you have all the necessary knowledge to pet your little fella. Keep reading our article to find out what you need to know before buying a rat.

How many pet rats should I get?

Naturally, rats enjoy being in groups, they usually nurture one another, play together, and even sleep in the same place. Since most of us can’t be with our rats all of the time, having at least two rats is quite important. However, the only exceptions are when your rat is unable to live with other rats due to aggression, sickness, or advanced age.

Some rat lovers suggest that a good starting amount is around 2- 4 rats. Moreover, adopting two at a time is always a good thing to do for amateurs. Once you are accustomed to petting a few of them, then it will become easier to pet some more. Getting more than two rats, on the other hand, can be fun if you have a big enough cage and the time and resources to properly care for them.

Is it better to get adult or baby rats?

Most people usually like to get babies rather than adult rats due to their cuteness. That said, here are the differences between adult and baby rats:

  • Baby rats are obviously adorable and full of energy. They are often referred to as “popcorn” because they like to hop around like kernels popping and cannot sit still for long. Furthermore, It will take some time for the babies to become loveable and caring companions.
  • Adult rats will build a fast bond with you since they already have a developed personality. Also, It’s exciting to get to know them, find out what they want, and identify places where you can make their trust and personality develop even further. However, if they come from a farm with little human interaction, it will take them some time to bond with you. Besides, any rat that is at least 9 months old will not usually run around like a baby. However, if it’s your first time, it may be better for your first rats to be young since adult rats may need specialized care, particularly if they have behavioral or medical problems.

What are the popular types of pet rats?

According to the American Fancy Rat; Mouse Association, there are seven popular different types of pet rats, and each one comes with its own set of colors and markings. They are as follows:

  • Standard
  • Rex
  • Tailless
  • Hairless
  • Satin
  • Dumbo
  • and Bristle Coat

As you may already know, Dumbo and Burmese rats are quite popular, they are very friendly and affectionate. Some people say Dumbo is kinder than other rats and Burmese are known for their friendliness. Yet, if you choose hairless rats, keep in mind that they are vulnerable to skin and eye problems due to their lack of hair and eyelashes.

Do male or female rats make better pets?

All males and females make excellent pets. Female rats are smaller and more enthusiastic than male rats, chasing each other and stealing paper pieces to use in their nests. Whereas, males are likely to make better lap pets than females. In fact, rats aren’t just for keeping in cages. Every day, they need time outside their cage to play, explore, and communicate with their owners. It’s also best to have at least two same-sex rats live together as rats are very sociable.

Actually, a single rat could be depressed, lonely, and anxious when it doesn’t receive multiple hours of human care on a daily basis. Therefore, if you don’t have much time for your rats, raising only two would be better for you and them. Moreover, if rats of the same sex are raised together or properly introduced, they can get along perfectly. Lastly, male rats can be very aggressive if they have a lot of testosterone. In this case, having them neutered can help reduce the aggression within 8 weeks.

Where should you buy a pet rat?

We suggest beginning your search at a local animal shelter, as many pet rats are looking for a permanent home. Also, you can consider purchasing your rats from a pet store if you don’t bond with any rats at the shelter. Choosing a pet rat from a pet store may or may not be the best option. It all depends on their wellbeing and how well-socialized they are. When the pet shop does not keep their cages clean, then medical and behavioral issues may occur.

That said, people should pick a decent pet shop where rats are imported from reliable, responsible breeders. A good breeder, on the other hand, will ensure that you get a happy, safe rat. To put your mind at ease, some breeders will also have a health certificate that you can require seeing.

If you’re willing to pet a rat soon, it’s best to start with getting healthy rats from a reliable pet shop. On that note, we wish you a lot of fun with your future rodent friends and hope this guide was helpful.

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