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Pet Rats

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by nhsvs, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. nhsvs

    2+ Year Member

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    Anybody have any experience with these guys . . . and girls? A friend of mine has 5 females and they are gentle, adorable, hilarious with their antics and really smart. Never knew that they made such great pets.
     
  2. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers stabby cat
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    A good friend has two females. They've peed on me before, but that's about the only complaint I could have! They come running when she says, "Ratratratratratty!" and they really like spaghetti. I think they're awesome.

    My cats do, too, which is why I have none myself. ;)
     
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  3. 237397

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    Rats are awesome! I haven't had one, but I've been wanting to get one. I had guinea pigs as a kid, and they were really great pets. It's surprising how much personality they have. If you're thinking about adopting a rat, keep in mind that they usually end up getting a tumor at 1.5 - 2 years of age... and dying shortly thereafter. But they're great while they last!
     
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  4. StayingHopeful

    StayingHopeful UC Davis Class of 2013
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    Our clinic sees rats (among other things) and they seem to make very good pets. :)
    The only problems are:
    1) people getting a male and female and not wanting to pay to have them spayed or neutered
    2) people getting 2 males which fight sometimes (I haven't seen many females that have that problem), or
    3) the fact that many of them get tumors by age 1 1/2 or 2 and typically only live 2 to 2 1/2 years max.
     
  5. Bcrunner1313

    Bcrunner1313 UFCVM Class of 2013
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    I've had 5 pet rats, all of them during middle and high school. I think they make great pets. In fact, I'd almost describe them as "small dogs." All of mine knew their names, came when called, played rat tug-of-war, and were trained to use litter boxes. My dogs (all smaller than 45 pounds) actually got along with them. The oldest rat that I had lived until she was about 3.5 years old (I actually had her PTS). When she was about 1-2, she was spayed and a benign mammary gland tumor was removed.

    All of my rats were females (much more active vs. males) and all but one were all meant to be feeders. The one I got was bred by a rat breeder (there are actually a fair number of them) and she was a dumbo-rex (ears offset and curly coat). Before you truly entertain the idea of getting one, make sure that you read up on them. They require a lot of social interaction/mental stimulation as well as more space when compared with your typical pocket pet.
     
  6. Malhi

    Malhi UW-Madison SVM 2013
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    I miss my rats. They are adorable, smart and very friendly. I taught mine to do tricks.

    Pet rats may live upto 5 years. Male rats stink btw (their urine does).

    I definitely recommend them as pets! :D
     
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  7. TractorKid

    TractorKid UPenn Vet 2012
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    I had two pet rats (girls) and my only complaint is that it broke my heart when I had to put them to sleep. They only made it to 2 years old and was devastated by losing them.

    But they make great pets! Mine would come when I called them and they never peed or pooed outside their cage; never bit anyone (can't say the same for the hamster I had as a kid). And they were so smart and fun!

    If you're interested check out this site: http://www.rattyrat.com
    lots of great info about rats as pets and how to care for them, games to play with them etc.

    Be prepared: They need alot of stimulation as compared to other pocket pets - at least an hour outside their cage everyday so they won't be bored.
     
  8. Jeterfan1

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    I used to work with them in a lab and i LOVED my rats!! Much better than mice - I would always buddy them up. They are very social - boys have to be put together really young or they will beat the crap out of each other
     
  9. Angelo84

    Angelo84 Tufts Class of 2011
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    I also had two rats-both females which got along great. I would turn them loose in my room when I was home and they never peed/pooped outside their cage and they would come when called. Watch out for phone cords though (but the rabbit protectors work for rats too)! I lost one of my rats to a mammary tumor around a year and a half and the other one around two years (just faded away no known cancer). They have great little personalities.
     
  10. Electrophile

    Electrophile Working Dog Doc
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    I've had rats for about 5 years...I think I've had like 13? They are really cool. If you are trying to "go green," they make about the best garbage disposals ever. They eat many of our (healthy) food scraps, from salad fixings and bread heels to chicken bones and the inside of dog food cans (which is super helpful for recycling). I've had a few not great ones (mostly ones from shelters or bad situations that were too shy/aggressive), but that's not generally the rule. One was really an unpredictable biter (was from the shelter) and I couldn't handle her much, but in general, a well socialized rat will generally not bite. They are more likely to grind their molars and start grooming you if you start giving them scritches. I prefer the lazy boys, especially if they are neutered (they are less smelly and their fur gets real soft like the girls), though I've had more girls. I've got a black eyed white rex with dark grey spots named Mithrandir and a black Berkshire named Steve McQueen (named after House's rat) right now. :cool:
     
  11. Groominator

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    I had two female albino rats once. They were a birthday present :p I was quite attached to them, but they are just not my ideal pet. Lovely animals, i can see why people love them but they're just not for me. They are such frail creatures. At just over a year the sweeter one of the two developed a huge mammary tumor. She was the first animal i had to put to sleep. Her sister died of myco/pneumonia a few months later.
     
  12. IHeartGoldens

    IHeartGoldens TUSVM c/o 2014
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    I would love to get them as pets but I work with them in a lab setting doing research. I'm not sure I could continue research if I had pet rats,KWIM?
     
  13. DVMorBust

    DVMorBust UW SVM Class of 2013
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    I've had quite a few over the years...they're great pets. Just like little dogs.

    The last pair we had were two females, one of which will always be the best rat I have met in my life. Needed to take a break from rats after Muffin passed.
     
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  14. Electrophile

    Electrophile Working Dog Doc
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    I worked with mice in a lab for 4 years and I have to feed my snakes mice and rats and I don't mind the rats as pets. Mice are too stinky for me. And we've got plenty in the garage. :rolleyes: However, in some labs, they actually prohibit lab workers from having mice or rats or whatever else as pets at home because research stock is typically cleaner than pet store stock and passing something from the pets to the research animals is bad news. But I suppose it may not matter if you have a pet or two from culled research animals.
     
  15. IHeartGoldens

    IHeartGoldens TUSVM c/o 2014
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    I too had pet snakes that were fed mice. I think that the ultimate judge will be a mouse or rat, therefore I think I will be partying with a large portion of the science community in a very hot environment:laugh:
     
  16. Mangause

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    It'll be awwesome if you could get your hands on one of the research rats b/c they are screened for all kinds of genetic disease and usually are super healthy and clean.

    I really want one, and think I will get one when I am more settled down one day.
     
  17. philomycus

    philomycus The Tree Rat
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    Of course I prefer the rats with big bushy tails, but in general, they do not make good pets. Rats I hear are fantastic!
     
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    #17 philomycus, Jan 12, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  18. xenobart

    xenobart MSW 2010
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    My partner (who is applying to vet school this year) and I have had pet rats for the last couple years or so.

    I have to say that I love rats - they're quite possibly my favorite pets, over cats and dogs. They are extremely intelligent, clean, and bond to people just like dogs. However, they're much lower maintainance (just clean the cage one a week and give them food / water as needed), and it's easier to find apartments who will take caged pets. Since their typical lifespan is 1.5 - 3 years they also don't require the commitment of a dog or cat. The main thing to remember is to get at least a pair of rats (same-sex or neutered) because they're highly social animals who get lonely alone.

    There are some key differences between male and female rats. Females are generally much more active / hyper, are cleaner, and are more prone to tumors. Most of the tumors can be prevented if you spay females. Male rats are bigger, much more laid back (they cuddle with you rather than run around), smellier, and more prone to aggression. The last two can be cured by neutering.

    The hardest thing about rats is how soon and young they die and how traumatic their deaths can be. I just lost the last of my original pair at only 21 months from chronic respiratory issues. Her sister died a few months earlier from massive cancerous tumors. Rats are very prone to respiratory infections, tumors (especially intact females), and cancer. Because you bond so much with these animals it's hard to lose them so young. It can also be more difficult to find a vet who treats rats than cats and dogs, and surgeries can be expensive.

    I suggest getting rats from a breeder or rescue rather than a pet store. Good breeder rats are less prone to illness and dying young, and buying from a pet store supports mass-breeding rats for the purposes of snake food.
     
  19. LadyHitokiri

    LadyHitokiri UIUC CVM Class of 2013!
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    I want ratties badly. But I have fish and hamster, so I probably won't get them until next year, when my sis and I "split" the pets. She's staying home to attend Physical Therapy school and I'll be further away (hopefully) for Vet School. I love their intelligence and personalities. My mom is more weary of them, but I think once she gets over the fact that they are rats, she'll see how awesome they really are!
     
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