Rats make excellent pets. They rarely bite. Rats are very clean. Rats have acute senses that help them to survive. They are nocturnal animals, most active at night. They have poor eyesight, being able only to see in shades of gray and up close. They have a special night vision though, enabling them to recognize motion up to 30 feet away. Rats whiskers help them sense their environment. They have an acute sense of hearing. They can pinpoint a noise to within half a foot. Their excellent sense of smell helps find food. Their highly developed sense of taste can detect minute amounts of poisonous or unpleasant tastes.
Rats teeth never stop growing, but are worn down by constant gnawing and chewing.
Did you know
- Rats are excellent swimmers
- Rats can run at a top speed of 6 mph
- Rats can jump upward 3 feet
A 20 in. x 10 in. x 12 in. cage is suitable for one rat. As with any pet, bigger is better, if the pocketbook will allow. Glass aquariums (10 gallon and up) are suitable. Make sure you have a well ventilated wire top. Ladders and wheels can be added for exercise. Make sure the wheel is at least 10 inches. A water bottle with a metal spout is best. Any wooden toys for a parrot are suitable for a rat.
Corn cob, aspen and dust free wood shavings are appropriate beddings. Do not use cedar shavings. The essential oils can lead to respiratory disease.
Rats are omnivorous. Feed only fresh foods. Store the seeds or Nutri Blocks in an air tight container. If you add a vitamin supplement to the drinking water, make sure you scrub the bottle out every day. Pre-mixed foods for hamsters and gerbils are suitable for rats. They contain seeds, grains, nuts and alfalfa pellets. In addition to this, you should feed fresh fruits and vegetables. Feed only what your pet will eat in a day. Remove any leftovers. Honey sticks are a nice treat, helping to keep the teeth trim. Dog biscuits are okay too. Fresh water daily!!
Diseases and Health Issues
A bacterial infection of the inner ear which causes tilting of the head. Your pet may move in circles and have problems getting up. This can be treated with antibiotics.
Infections, irritations and inflammation from within the eye can cause red excretions or red circles around the eye.
Murine Respiratory Mycoplasmosis
A relatively common chronic disease characterized by inflammation of the respiratory tract and middle ear. Signs include nasal discharge, sneezing, head tilt and circling. The condition can be prevented by keeping a well sanitized environment. Outbreaks can be controlled to an extent with antibiotics.