Misunderstood

Rats are perhaps the most misunderstood pets in the U.S. Many people think that rats are disgusting, mean and that they all carry the plague. Except for with sewer rats, none of that is true. Tame rats are actually the best rodent pet you can get.

In this post, I am going to tell you why.

~Friendly

Pet rats are very friendly! The only time that this is not correct is if the rat has been abandoned, or previously abused. Or if the current owner is abusing it.

Pet rats love their people, and when a person they know enters the room, they will jump up to the side of their cage and get very excited! They’re almost the only rodents who will do that. They love affection and they love to give it!

One of the main things about rats that differs from other rodent pets, is… they hardly ever bite! If a pet rat gently scrapes it’s teeth over your skin, don’t jerk away. Even if it really tickles. The rat is not trying to harm you, it is grooming you. If you pull away from it, you will hurt it’s feelings. Grooming will bond you and the rat in a way nothing else can. To groom a rat in the way that will make a bond, just pet it and gently scratch it. If a rat gives you a little chomp that doesn’t draw blood, then you will know that it is grumpy or is tired of what you are doing with it and you won’t stop. Just give it some alone time, or time with it’s rat pal, and you can know that it’s safe to play with it again when it comes up to you and looks at you expectantly. When a rat bites you and draws blood, then it is letting you know that it is scared or really doesn’t like what you are doing to it.

Rats are the most intelligent rodent pets. Rats love interacting with their people, and one of their favorite things to do with you is just sit in your arms (Or in your shirt), and relax.

~Social

Rats are very social, so make sure you don’t get only one rat. The minimum amount is two. Some people think that if they get two rats, then the animals will bond with each other and as a result, they will not like people as much. In fact, it is quite the opposite. If the rat doesn’t have another rat for companionship, then it won’t have anyone else who can do the natural things a rat does. No matter how much affection a rat is given, a person can never be a substitute for another rat. Think about it. If you have to go on a rather long trip, then how bored and sad will a rat be without companionship? And when you’re asleep in the night, a rat will need someone else to keep it company, or it will be alone all 24 hours of the night. (By the way, rats aren’t all nocturnal. They can get used to being up most of the day.) Two rats minimum for each household with any rats at all. In the same cage.

~Funny!

Rats can be hilarious! They will climb down your shirt, or steal little bits from your dinner (if they have the privilege of coming to the table with you). Rats do countless things that make you laugh. I have even seen a video of rats stealing the mail and stashing it in their cage!

~Tricks

You can teach rats tricks! They can learn to:

  • Play fetch
  • Play tunnel fetch
  • Walk on their hind legs
  • Spin in circles ( on command!)
  • Bowl!
  • Sit on your shoulder
  • Run from one shoulder, around your arms, (with your hands touching) and to the other shoulder
  • Play basketball!!!
  • And quite a good deal more.

~Comparisons:

Here’s a comparison chart that will show you the disadvantages of every pet rodent:

Rabbits– Kick a lot. Bite a good deal. Jump high, so you’ll have to make a pretty tall hutch so they can move around comfortably.

Mice– Bite a lot. Very reclusive, and don’t usually like being around people. Really small, so cannot tolerate much hand-V.S.-mouse play-fighting.

Hamsters– I would advise to steer clear of hamsters. Bite a WHOLE lot, don’t really like people, and almost NEVER tolerate being picked up.

Guinea Pigs: Quite fat. Not all that smart.

Gerbils: Dig a whole lot. Believe it or not, these little guys can be cannibalistic!

Chinchillas: I have to confess, I don’t know much about Chinchillas.  But I just read a little about them on the web. They’re actually not that bad as pets, but they need a lot of room in their cages, they like dust baths, and they hate changes in their routines. Any changes get them stressed-out.

Rats!: Stash stuff a lot. That’s it. That’s all I can think of right now. They make very good pets.

~Videos!!!

Here are some fun videos of pet rats!

Here’s a good series in pet rat care, though you might have to go to YouTube to see them;

You can find lots of other good rat videos on YouTube.

~Good Rat Websites

Here are some very good rat sites.

http://www.joinrats.com/

http://www.theagilerat.com/?id=36

http://www.rattyrat.com/

http://www.ratz.co.uk/index.html

http://www.fancypetrats.com/index.php

http://www.discover-pet-rats.com/

http://www.ratcare.org/

http://www.nfrs.org/index.html

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=18+1804&aid=1616

I hope that this article has taught you about rats, and that you will spread the word that these animals are not the evil, vile creatures many people think they are.

I’m glad you know about the real pet rats, and I hope you see them in a new way (if you didn’t already like them. If you did, then just keep on thinking that way!). Rats are not disgusting.

Rats are just misunderstood.

–Sparkplug

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