If you are thinking of getting a pet rat or have just got one then you might be wondering just how difficult they are to take care of.
Providing that you meet their needs and provide them with the things that they like, you’ll find that they are not so difficult to look after. Basics such as food, water, a good cage, exercise and somewhere safe to sleep are all that pet rats require to enjoy good, healthy lives.
Rat care is easy
Rats are not as hard to take care of as you might think.
They actually make great pets and can be trained like any other animal.
The first thing you need is a cage, and the bigger the better. Rats love to climb and explore so it’s best if they have plenty of space to do this in their enclosure.
You’ll also want bedding for them- there are several options such as paper towels, old t-shirts or even toilet paper rolls covered with fabric.
It’s important that your rat has a place where he or she feels safe at night, which is why hammocks are perfect for rats because they can climb into them on their own without too much effort.
Things that you will need for a pet rat
- Your rat will need a good cage with plenty of room to explore
- He will also need a place to sleep – rats love hammocks such as these that are on Amazon
- Good quality bedding for the cage is also essential
- Your rat will need a good quality rat food
- A source of fresh water such as a water bottle
- Rats love toys so a good supply of these is a great idea
- You will also need a travel case for transporting your rat
It’s a good idea to spend some time getting your rat’s gear sorted out before you go out and get your pet.
It will make so much easier for you and your pet if you plan ahead and get everything that he needs before he arrives at his new home.
Popular cages for pet rats
Other things that you should know before getting a pet rat
- Where is the nearest vets? Make sure you know where the nearest vets are before getting your pet rat just in case he falls ill. Rats can get sick so it’s important to be prepared for this and to make sure that your vet can take care of your rat if he does become unwell.
- Rats need company. It is best to get a pair of rats so that they can enjoy each other’s company. Rats are social animals that don’t do well when they are on their own, they need someone to play with and sleep with and, if they are on their own then they can become depressed and unwell. Always get at least two rats.
- Pet rats like to have lots of room. Rats need plenty of space to explore, climb and areas where they can hide. You should always use a cage ( as opposed to an enclosed container ) and you should aim to buy the largest that you can afford and accommodate. Avoid the small cages sold by pet shops as these are totally unsuitable and almost cruel to rats. The cage will need to be large enough to accommodate toys, hammocks and other things that rats love to play with too.
- You will need to let your rats ‘play out’. This means that your rats will need to spend regular amounts of time outside their cage. Rats need time to run around and explore so it is important that you provide them with a safe, rat-proofed area where they can do this. Make sure that there are no small holes or gaps where your rat could get stuck. Avoid rooms with carpets if possible because these can be difficult to clean up after if your rats have an accident.
- Rats are clean animals. Rats are generally very clean animals that can be litter trained. You should find that your rat will learn to come when he is called and then you can teach him to go into his tray at certain times which means that you won’t need to clean out the cage everyday – however it’s always a good idea to do this anyway, just in case.
Rats need love
Make sure that you spend plenty of time with your rats every day because they will need lots of cuddles and attention.
Rats are really sociable animals so be prepared to have them not just as pets but as part of the family too.
It’s also important that you take care when it comes to letting other people see your rats.
Just as you would with any other animal, it’s important not to let just anyone handle your rat because they could carry an infection that could be dangerous for your pet.
Rats make great pets and, although you will need to put in a lot of time and effort in the early days in order to get your pet rat set up and used to his new home, in the long run they are really rewarding animals.
Make sure that you do plenty of research before getting your rats so that you know what to expect and can be sure that you are properly prepared for getting a pet rat.
Pet rats really are ‘rats with benefits’ and they make great pets for kids and adults alike.