Animal Stories - Pet Rat


Animal-World Information about: Pet Rat

   Active and smart little animals, rats can make great pets especially for children!
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Tessa - 2012-04-29
I just bought two pet rats last night from Petsmart, Tre and Reese. When we first picked up Tre, at the pet store, he was sneezing and then he stopped. When we got Reese out to put him inside his box he did the same thing. Last night and still this morning they are sneezing, is this bad or is it normal? Thanks.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-04-29
    Could be allergic to the bedding. I would try that first.
  • Anonymous - 2012-04-30
    It could be the bedding (don't ever give them pine or cedar shavings), if you see them sneezing out red or pink liquid it would be them reacting to the new cold weather or it could be a respiratory tract Infection but get some advice from a vet if it carries on.
  • Anonymous - 2012-06-12
    Same thing happened to my rats. After a few weeks they stopped because the bedding at the store was pine or cedar but we put different bedding in. (I would recommend carefresh or boxo)
  • Wackadoodle - 2012-09-17
    That happened with me too, we got different bedding but a day later one of them died, it had only been 3 days after we got her, this may be unlikely though so don't listen to me only
  • Christian - 2012-10-24
    Take them to a vet. its seroius mine died and got my other rat sick.
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Daria - 2012-09-18
Does anyone know if you can domesticate the rattus rattus version or are they always high strung-you know, like the difference between parakeets and canaries-look but don't touch! I have been able to catch them with my bare hands and stroke them in a cage but that's about all.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2012-09-19
    The rat species 'Black Rat, Rattus rattus' is a larger and more aggressive species than the Brown Rat (shown here) which has become more common and domesticated. Although I've never reared this wild rat, I have reared wild mice and the biggest difference between them and domestic mice is they are always more nervous and jumpy. Even though they are handled and socialized from infancy, they never outgrow this tendency. I would bet it is similar for the Black Rat.
  • Andrea Sosio - 2012-10-11
    R. rattus is actually smaller (not larger) than R. norvegicus. I wouldn't equate the black rat to 'wild rats' as in fact most wild rats are brown (norvegics) rats. There is not much evidence of people domesticating black rats, but it is difficult to say if this is because black rats are harder to domesticate or, more simply, because they are rare. Rat domestication / rat fancy has started in the XIX Century, when the R. norvegicus had already largely replaced the black rat all over Europe, so breeders didn't have much chance to breed the black ones.
  • Clarice Brough - 2012-10-13
    Great info about the background on these two species. But I did find myself questioning the size so did a bit more research just to make sure. What I've found is that the Black Rat, Rattus rattus, is in fact larger. It has a body length between almost 13 inches (32.4 cm) up to 25 inches (46.4 cm). The Brown Rat, Rattus norvegicus, on the other hand can only reach up to 10 inches (25 cm) in length.
  • Lee Fairclough - 2012-10-22
    Speaking as someone who has kept both, they both adapt superbly to captivity. They are both placid, highly tamable and live happily in soicial groups. While I wouldn't say either was more tamable than the other, I have never been bitten by a black while I have had the occasional nip from a brown (although I've ket more browns). Re: the sizes, the brown rat is considerably bigger. While the black rat may get slightly longer including tail-length, the blacks have a proportionately much longer tail. Additionally, brown rats are much more heavily built and are getting on for twice the adult weight on average as the blacks. In terms of build and appearance blacks are much more like very large mice, with larger ears and more delicate features. I suspect the principle reason you don't see many black rats in captivity is that the brown rat has become an ubiquitous laboratory animal and is bred in large numbers for this and as a food animal for reptiles. I suspect that there is also a stronger stigmatism still attached to the black rat still as harbinger of the plague. Finally, in the UK at least wild black rats were virtually driven to extinction by browns. While black rats aren't encountered in pet shops, many zoological parks and attractions still have colonies on display. As you can imagine with a large mix-sexed colony of rodents, they often have an abundance of surplus animals which end up euthenised as food for other exhibits, but a chat with the appropriate keeper can often secure some in return for beer money. This is how I got mine. One word about blacks for anyone deciding to keep them, tho', they are a lot more fragile than browns and their tails are much more easily damaged, also they can lose toe-nails if you're not careful picking them up from a substrate they don't want to let go of so you need to be gentle with them.
  • pes11 - 2012-10-22
    I have a black and norway rat that live happily in the same cage. My black rat, Lars, is actually much more tame than my norway rat though i think that might just be their personalities. Lars is much smaller than my norway though he is the dominant rat. He also seems to pick up on verbal cues better. He learns tricks faster and is more motivated by human attention than food.
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Dovey - 2012-09-21
Rats need extremely LOW levels of protein in their diets and do best on a high quality lab block containing only 14 to 18 percent protein, along with fresh fruits and veg, whole grains, and OCCASIONAL protein-based treats like tuna or chicken bones to gnaw on. High protein diets have been linked to higher rates of lymphoma, mycoplasmosis, bumblefoot, kidney failure, and pituitary tumors, among other health problems. Rats shouldn't eat the same higher-protein lab block that gerbils and hamsters prefer. For long life and good health, only baby rats and nursing mothers should eat higher protein diets.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2012-09-23
    Great info on more specifics about the rat diet, thanks for sharing it!
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Anonymous - 2012-08-02
My rat looks the same so fluffy and adorable

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Anonymous - 2012-05-05
I decided to introduce my 3 rats 3, 8 and 9 months old.
They got along except for my 8 and 3 month old rats, my 8 month old rat kept pinning the 3 month old rat down on the ground and vice versa and both were struggling when they were pinned down they were also wrestling and tumbling around.

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  • Anonymous - 2012-07-22
    This is completely normal my 3 rats do that all the time but if you start to notice injuries then you must seperate as soon as possible
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Kelly 'Crumpet Juice' Timperley - 2012-06-10
I'd just like to mention it wasn't actual rats whom spread the disease of the plague, it was the rat flea which is easily transmitted through bites. But good information anyways. :)

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Anonymous - 2012-05-19
I am upgrading to a bigger cage and cant quite decide between 2, please take a moment to look at them and please coment.

The first is the kit tom 82 rat cage by Marchioro
The second is a Jenny kd small animal cage with aluminuim support posts by ferplast.(they both have identical dimensions)

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Anonymous - 2012-05-04
My pet rat covey had mites so she got her 3 treatments. I waited 21 days (the mite life cycle) it has been 21 days but she still has a few scabs on her tail. Is it safe to put her in again with my other 2 rats.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-05-04
    Wait until all healed just to play safe.
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stacey - 2012-01-08
Hi I have a 14 week old rat but today I've noticed he has some odd colours on his nose it looks as if it's dirty, really not sure any clues as to what it could be?

Maybe it's just dirt and I'm overreacting....

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Kylie - 2011-09-04
Hey was just wondering how much food a day do rats eat I got my 2 boys max and koby not long ago and I was wondering whats the amount of food rats eat a day my boys eat a lot, and was also wondering coz my lil girl was putting her finger in the cage as she normally does every day but today she was bitten really hard. Will I need to take her to the doctor in case it is infected or will her finger be ok?

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  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2011-09-04
    As long as you are not feeding them a lot of treats high in fat and are only feeding them nutritious foods and/or commercially prepared rat pellets, I would feed them as much as they want as long as it does not appear they are becoming overweight or obese. If so, you may want to then limit how much you are feeding them. As far as getting bit, I would clean out her wound and put antibiotic ointment on it. Keep an eye on it to make sure it is not getting infected - as long as there is no infection and it appears it is healing, you probably do not need to take her to the doctor.
  • Kylie - 2011-09-05
    Thanx heaps for that. There still babies but have noticed since yesterday they have grown heaps, and there not fat :D, and my lil girls cut is better since yesterday morning all healed up properly
  • Mary - 2011-10-16
    My two rats Swift and Demon eat 2/3 of a cup a day. At first I was at a fourth of a cup, but then Swift started biting my brother. So I moved up to a cup, then they became overweight and were less active. So now my little brother plays with Swift and Swift hasn't bitten ever since.
  • Victoria Smith - 2011-12-15
    I've been bitten many times by a rat and never had an infection, but then again I have had all of my tetanus vaccinations , so I would take her to the doctors just to be safe. In my opinion i would stop letting your little girl put her fingers in the cage , as rats have very poor eyes sight and will mistake her hands for food, especially is she has been handling food. Even my dumbo rats who have never bitten anyone will allways snatch food through the bars very aggressivly.
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