Why do rats make good pets?

Rats make fantastic pets, becoming so tame that they form a bond with their owners similar to that of a cat or dog. They are very intelligent and inquisitive little animals, rarely biting, and requiring lots of attention and playtime – so make sure you have lots of time to give!

What are rats like in their natural habitat?

With an average lifespan of three to four years, rats are naturally very sociable animals. As a general rule, it is best to keep them in same sex groups or pairs and if you intend to keep two or more together, its best to keep litter mates or two that have been introduced from an early age.

How do I keep my rat?

Rats should be housed in either a large glass tank or cage, with a deep layer of woodshavings for the floor, as well as various levels or branches for climbing, and they will use most kinds of bedding but their favourite is paper wool.

How do I look after my rat?

All small mammals need regular care and attention, daily feeding (we recommend specialist rat food which provides a good balanced diet and contains essential vitamins and minerals), fresh water, and cleaning at least once a week.

How do I handle my rat?

When you take your rat home you should allow it to settle into its new environment, so it’s best to leave it alone for the first two days before trying to handle it. When you do start to handle your rat, always bear in mind that he or she may be frightened, so keep the noise to a minimum and handle carefully. Never pick a rat up by the tip of its tail, handle carefully using cupped hands to support them or you can pick the rat up at the base of its tail then transfer its weight to the palm of your hand – and it’s always best to start handling whilst sitting on the floor to prevent dropping or jumping injuries.

What equipment and supplies will I need?

For accommodation you’ll need a cage or tank with woodshavings for the floor, a ‘house’ and suitable bedding material.

You’ll need a ceramic dish for food (we recommend specialist rat food which contains essential vitamins and minerals) and a water bottle for fresh water.  Your rat also needs essential minerals so you’ll need to provide a salt lick and mineral stone for them, and wood gnaws are a good idea to give them something to chew on that isn’t your favourite jumper!  Like children, rats love toys, so make sure they have some entertainment, and it’s always a good idea to have some treats handy.

Don’t forget your disinfectant for weekly cleaning of the cage or tank and food dish, and a bottle brush for the water bottle.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to have a reference book handy to make sure you’re providing everything your rat needs.