About rats

Are rats suitable for all ages?Rat

We are always careful to match you to the right rat if there are children under seven. Male rats (bucks) are usually laid-back and once out of their juvenile stage will happily curl up on your lap or sit on your shoulder. Female rats (does) in contrast are always on the go, they are sociable and love attention but are naturally curious and need to explore.

How long do rats live?

Usually two to three years.

Are they friendly?

Yes, and very loyal. But you do need to play and interact with them for at least two hours a day. They love companionship. They are also very intelligent and will come to a call, can be taught tricks and quickly learn words of command.

Can rats be let out of their cage?

Yes, its a really good thing to do but watch out if your rat is a female – they are very active and can get into mischief.

Caring for your rats

What you need to know...

Keep the cage clean: rats urinate as they go, so you must keep their cage and bedding clean. Otherwise they may suffer from respiratory problems.

Health checks: A quick check every day is important and a thorough weekly check is essential. ( see Your rat’s health)

Feeding your rat: rats need a good staple diet which a quality rat mix will provide. Avoid sweet things.

Rats will also eat cooked potato, broccoli, chicken or fish, pasta, unsweetened breakfast cereals, rice, bananas, eggs. In fact, a lot of the foods we enjoy!

Fresh water: Rats need a steady supply of fresh water

Rats need company: rats must always be kept in pairs, single sex, or a neutered male with a female. Never on their own.

Rats have poor sight: so always speak to them before picking them up or cleaning their cage.

Housing your rat

Rats need a reasonable amount of space in their cage. A minimum size would be 80cms x 50cms x 79cms for a pair. A wide range of cages are available.

We recommend a ‘Jenny Cage` which comes with shelves and tubes. Rats are highly intelligent and need a lot of physical and mental stimulation to remain healthy. Ask us if you want help to find the right cage.

Did you know?

  • A male and female rat can have 1,000,000 descendants in less than 2 years.
  • Rats often get a bad press. In fact they are loyal, clean and intelligent.
  • Rats have brilliant senses of smell and hearing but poor sight ( especially pink eyed rats)
  • Rats have glands on their feet which leave a trail so they can find their way back.

Healthy tips for rats

Daily health checks are important and should include

Nose: check for redness, listen for noisy breathing ( it could mean a respiratory complaint)

Eyes: check that they are clear with no sign of cloudiness,

Mouth: check that teeth are not overgrown and causing mouth sores

Face and ears: check for scabs or mites

Coat: should be smooth and glossy ( except rex rats)

Need more help and advice?

Call the Small Animal Team at Raystede on 01825 880467 or email smallanimals1@raystede.org


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