Instructables
Picture of How to: Pet Rats
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 Because rats are looked at so negatively by a lot of people I wanted to make an instructable on how to have rats as pets.

 Rats are considered an exotic pet and "gross" to some people and honestly, I would say the same thing about tarantula's. It's just not for me. However, they really make great pets. Rats are very intelligent, they love to learn tricks, and they can be super cuddly! Keep in mind though that every rat has a different personality just like your dog or cat, or whatever animal you might have. You can't expect each one to do the same thing or like the same things.

 The Perks:

 1. Smart
 2. Small
 3. Furry
 4. Litter Trained

The Cons:

 1. Short life spam
 2. Negative view

 Now let's get started.
 
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Step 1: Research!

 
 It is very important to do a lot of research on what it means to have a rat as a pet. Because they are no common pets you probably won't know instinctively how to take care of one compared to say... a dog or a cat.

 Prior to getting my rats I did research on WHERE TO BUY, How big of a cage they need, what they eat, health conditions and life length, and how many to have.

 There are some good websites to check out VIA Google.

 
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garysan68 2 months ago

rats are great. I stopped feeding the bigger ones to my snake because they are smart and can be very defensive even against a 4 foot python! my rat was "willamina " and she was one of my best and most memorable pets.

coralskye4 months ago

I don't know if anyone said this but always have at least two rats.

This is so awesome. I want to be a rat!
Skye21711 year ago
Sharmie is right you can't feed them that kind of food
kauaileslie4 years ago
 Had a pet rat (gave to friend as I was allergic) "Sushi".  Just want to mention to those of you who are thinking of getting one. They are sweet, but are extremely destructive if you let them run around like we did.  Lamps didn't work and when we looked at the cord, chewed... lots of electrical cords destroyed from Sushi.  Just be aware.  Sweet though...
I guess I was extremely lucky with my little guy; he never chewed on anything in my room. The only problem I had with him was that he would climb up my leg to jump up to the desk and pee on whatever I was drawing. He was my toughest critic apparently. :/
komecake (author)  kauaileslie4 years ago
  Of course. You need to keep them in a cage, and IF you let them out, you need to watch them. They don't like wires because of the noise they give off. You ever hear that high pitched noise coming from electrical appliances in the house? It drives them nuts.

 I like the name Sushi btw. Very cute! :)
One of my rats completely severed a telephone cord once. We have to remove all of the live electric cords from their reach before we let them run free; otherwise they will electrocute themselves.
romoshka4 years ago
While this may irritate all of the rat owner/lovers here, as I buy rats to feed my snakes, I have one question for you guys. How do you control the very pungent odor? I transport my feeder rats in aerated 3lb coffee cans and they only spend 10-20 minutes in them but the stench is awful.
Buy from a better breeder would be my guess. While rats, like many animals, have a natural smell, unless you are very, very sensitive, it just shouldn't be an awful stench. If they really smell that bad, chances are your source is treating them poorly.



I don't take offense to your feeding rats to your snakes (I have a snake that eats mice). But if you know they're going to have a short life, and least find a breeder that will make it a pleasant one.
Sharmie3 years ago
I'd just like to point out that rats CANNOT eat 'anything'
chocolate, raw beans, carbonated drinks, sweet potato, blue cheese, raw brussel sprouts, raw artichokes, orange juice, green bananas, green potato skin and eyes, rhubarb, dried corn, cucumber, radishes,collards, turnip greens, beets, poppy seeds, raw onion and apple seeds are just a few off the top of my head.
is this stuff you mentioned like poisen to them?? or it just makes them sick? explain pls.

I have never had a rat as a pet.
raw beans, raw potatoes/sweet/skin and eyes, raw rhubarband apple seeds are highly poisonous for rats AND people. Some fruits and veggies in exes will just give them diarhea: too much cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce and such. And some veggies are too irritating for tiny ratties, like: onions, radish, turnipgreens, collards(and other cabbage like greens), garlic, poppyseeds and other 'spicy' food. Carbonated drinks, chocolate and cany is just bad in general
komecake (author)  Sharmie3 years ago
That's not true. There is a list of things they cannot have, but then there are a few things you should only feed in moderation. For example, dark chocolate can be given to them in moderation, say like once every few months and only a very small amount. Carbonated drinks, however, are a NEVER. Boiled peanuts or uncooked corn are also a no, but roasted peanuts are okay. I mean... chicken bones are supposed to be okay and they really like them, but I'll never give them to them again. I dunno how they're okay if it makes their poo runny and stick horribly. So... I guess it just depends on where you look and research and how much you pay attention to your rats reaction to a particular food you give them. I'd assume if you're going to have rats that you'd research all of this first! Or at least... I'd hope. Thanks for your input. :)
brain_bomb4 years ago
 Did you just say that you can use old rats to make hammocks for your new ones?
That is hilarious!
komecake (author)  brain_bomb4 years ago
  LOL. Omgosh, I did! That's too funny. Haha.
We got our rats from a shelter. They had come from a special rat breeder, and had been given to a family, but it didn't work out for the family so they gave it to the shelter. Then we got it from the shelter. Those rats have been the sweetest little things I have ever seen. And they are humongous.
zebragrrl3 years ago
The basic rules are simple enough, in terms of feeding your rats, and they really will eat just about anything, but they love crispy crunchy things that they can hold in their paws (so make sure the pieces aren't much bigger than a bottle cap). If a garden-raiding squirrel would like it, chances are good that a rat will too, so squirrel food (in your garden center) is a "good cheap base" to start with if you're mixing your own rat food for the first time.

But if you really want to get on your rat's good side, Go to the bulk food section of your local "bag your own groceries" store, and get a little bit of just about every dried fruit, seeds, granola, and nuts, and probably a little bit of dry cat/dog food.. just to balance everything out.. Mix it all up in balanced quantities, then give her some in her dish. See which things disappear quickest. Be sure to mix in extra of those things next time. (for my rat, it was Banana Chips and Pumpkin Seeds). I tried to avoid giving her "sticky" or "candied" dried fruits.. because I was a bit worried about giving her too much sugar too often, but I did occasionally toss in some Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch as a treat.. cause she really liked it.
komecake (author)  zebragrrl3 years ago
I do a lot of crunchy things too, but my rats really LOVE frozen vegetables and cottage cheese in the summer. Also, I bake up some oats with cuts up fruits and they love that, or just cooked oats with cut up veggies or fruits in it. They'll eat just about anything really, but they're all different. One of my old men doesn't like his normal feed and won't eat a lot of it. He's super picky and often will only eat the oats. Haha.
My rats like to drink coffee (I am not kidding!) and they love espresso beans. It makes them a little more energetic. They also LOVE vichyssoise and dried banana chips. We keep the banana chips in a drawer, and whenever the drawer is opened the rats recognize it and run to the door of the cage to await their treats.
TheJenx3 years ago
Great guide! I've had rats for a while and they're my favourite pets. But I've been having a problem with the latest rats-- I don't know who started it, but one of them has decided she needs to pee on EVERYTHING to mark her territory and the others have followed suit. This is ok for shelves and most things which can be wiped down, but the problem has spread to the food dish and their chew logs. Not so good. Any idea how to stop this?
komecake (author)  TheJenx2 years ago
From what I know, you cannot stop this. It's just what they do. I just use pan liners, that I cut to fit from fleece material I buy at the craft store, and wash those once a week when I clean their cage. I don't worry about the chew toys. They really don't need cleaned, but I do wipe everything down and clean their food bowls and litter out. It would be great if they didn't pee everywhere though!
SIRJAMES093 years ago
I have lots of Maple Trees around my house, & was wondering why can I not just cut a piece of Maple for them to chew on???
jany3 years ago
I am VERY impressed with your ideas and condo like home. I must do something fun for my guy. Hugs. Jan
I love rats! They are just simply adorable! I have probably had at one time over 16 rats in my house thanks to Tammy. Tammy was very special to me, she never bit me, not even as a mistake. She was very careful. When she had her babies, 14 at one time mind you. She would let me hold them as pinkies and she would hop up on my shoulder and give me a lick on the cheek. Tammy was very precious and well behaved too she wouldn't go far when I let her on walks out of her cage. I just wish they would live longer.
KoreanPup4 years ago
Rats have a TON more pros to them than just those 4!! RATS A AMAZING PETS!!!
komecake (author)  KoreanPup4 years ago
Oh, I agree! I could go on and on about my babies. :)
Eric954 years ago
 Lol, I have 6 rats. They're loads of work, but I love them!
komecake (author)  Eric954 years ago
  Omgosh, yes. I only have 3 right now, but I want mooooore!
LisaYum4 years ago
I know this isn't really what your 'ible is about, but my dad is thinks rats can eat everything. And well, they can, but it doesn't mean it's healthy for them and he doesn't get it. He keeps feeding them the leftovers of high fat meals he has and he says he's not going to stop. And I can't make him stop either.
He just doesn't get it even after I explain rodent obesity. I don't know what to do with him.

Also, I'm a second time rodent owner, first time rat owner. I have two rats. One is big, (Cecilia)  the other is small (Matilda). Matilda stores her food, and Cecilia steals it. I don't know who's the normal size and if Matilda is eating enough @_@

Sorry to bother you but these issues have been haunting me

komecake (author)  LisaYum4 years ago
  I thought I'd replied to this already, but I guess it never posted.

 I have the same problem at home. My mother's bf likes to give them highly fattening foods. The best thing you can do is to counteract that with healthy foods like carrots and some fruits, etc. When you see the junk food in their cage, take it out. Doing little things like that will help.
qultiq4 years ago
I had 13 at one time. Built a huge cage that took up one of my bedrooms.
I also used SueBees food recipe. If I remember it cost about $25 for a months worth of food.
komecake (author)  qultiq4 years ago
 
 I would love to have a rat room, but I honestly don't need one with only 3 rats. It would be fun to make and decorate though. :)
wow 13 ,a room!!!!!! I WANT TO BE YOU SOOOO BAD!
egadsman4 years ago
hi, im considering having a pet rat in my bedroom because i think they owuld make quite a good pet, my only concern is that ive been told by a few people that they smell bad, and my mother is a bit of a clean frek, so is there any methods in which i can reduce smell or is it just inevitable? also, would you suggest buying a cage from a store or building one yourself?
komecake (author)  egadsman4 years ago
  Male rats have more of an odor than female rats. I really don't have a problem with mine though, but I bathe them every couple of weeks or like before a new person comes over.

 Keeping their cage clean is the trick. Rats are VERY clean animals, and like cats, do not like a dirty environment. You can do this by having a litter bowl for them to poop in, but they will still pee everywhere else. For this I use towels and just change them out every few days. You can also wipe down the levels and spot clean daily. I have really bad allergies myself so I can tell really quickly when the cage needs cleaned. 

 I built this cage, but I actually have a Ferret Nation by Midwest now. It's much bigger and it's all metal, so I don't have to worry about it getting chewed through or smelling bad. With wood and plastic you are out a downfall because these materials soak up the smell of what is around them... meaning pee and poop. It's inevitable that eventually you will have to get a new cage or it will stink a lot.

 Cage Suggestions?: Martin's Cages- www.martinscages.com

 Honestly? You'll spend the same price on one of these cages as you will at Petsmart. You're looking at around $100 for a new cage for at least 2-3 rats (please get at least 2). Rats are very social animals.

 I use Lysol wipes to wipe down the levels on their cage or when they play on top of the dresser. They work great! Just make sure your rats don't lick the Lysol. It's not likely... but you never know. Lol.

 In conclusion: Just like any other pet, you need to keep their cage or play area clean. Rats themselves are NOT dirty animals and rarely smell. In fact, my rat Beemer ALWAYS smells good, Cupcake normally smells like pee, and Williard... well you never know. LOL. They are constantly cleaning themselves though and smell no worse than cats or dogs.
 Males can develop an orange liquid on their skin. Just wipe them down with a damp cloth. If you want to bathe them, you can do so, but expect patience on your part and a freak out on theirs. I have learned methods in which work really well with my rats. I actually want to do an Instuctable on that if I can get someone to take pictures for me. :)
i had 1 when i was like 4 or 5 his name was none   (pronounced: Knoe-knee)
komecake (author)  Zaphod Beeblebrox4 years ago
  Awwww, I love that name. :)
thanks!
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