Keeping Rats As Pets: What You Should Know

February 19, 2016  

The keeping of rats as pets is not a new practice. In fact, this practice can be traced back to the 20th century. Owning a pet rat can be fun and rewarding as they are innately curious, affectionate, clever, and love to have fun. Rat care and upkeep costs aren’t generally substantial. Most of the time, it will cost less than $400 annually for a cage, pet toys and treats, litter and bedding material and food. Although relatively inexpensive to own, they still require a great deal of responsibility.

How should rats be housed?

Rats do well in wire cages because they take pleasure in climbing. Wire cages also offer great ventilation. The floor has to be solid, and a bedding composed of aspen or pelleted recycled paper should be provided. Some rats like to make nests, so when you observe this behavior in your pets, add shredded paper towels in the cage. A bored rat is an unhappy one, so offer things where they can run or play around. Rats need a quiet area to which they can retire, so offer little boxes or pots where they are able to hide. Rats don’t thrive in cold temperature and also direct sunlight. A place kept at 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is suitable. Keep in mind that rats are quite social to other members of their species, and for that reason should be kept in pairs. It is usually better to obtain same-sex pairs. That way, you will not end up with many rat pups.

Pet food for rats

Pet rats have to be given with a fresh, healthy diet that will meet all their nutritional requirements. This is most easily done by providing them with pelleted diet made especially for rodents. You can also supplement their diet by offering them small amounts of fruits and veggies, cooked eggs, grains or seeds. They should be given constant access to fresh, clean drinking water, as well. Water must be given through drinkers instead of bowls to avoid contamination. Pet rats are usually fed two times a day. They should never be given chocolate, candy, onions, sticky food, junk food, as well as carbonated and caffeinated drinks.

Keeping your rats healthy

Droppings, uneaten food and dirty areas of bedding should be removed every single day. The cage should be cleaned once weekly with warm soapy water. To avoid dental problems, offer unpainted, untreated bits of wood for your rats to chew on. Once they are tame enough, pet rats should be allowed to play outside their cages since this will offer them with stimulation to ensure that they’re mentally and physically fit.