This is part 4 of a 4 part series on rats. This article will focus on how to best insure their health & well being. Be sure to read part 1 (Click Here) 2 (Click Here) and 3 (Click Here) already published.
Here are some things to think about when choosing pet rats:
There are many factors that you should consider when choosing a pet to add to your family. Some of the same issues can be common in all types of pets. For example, a shy rat displays some of the same behaviors a shy dog or cat would. Cowering, trembling, backing away, etc. A good way to tell if they were well socialized or not is to hold your hand out, and if they approach and sniff your fingers that is a good indicator of a social rat.
Can I get just one rat or should they stay in pairs?
No. They will be alone for good portions of the day and there is no GOOD reason for them to be solitary. It can affect their health, behavior, etc if they don’t have a friend. They still bond well with humans but they also have a cohort in crime for the time you can’t be with them.
Should I have males or females?
As a general rule, the males are much more loving and affectionate than the females. That’s not to say that there are not some REALLY nice females out there. Just in general the females are more active while the males are more content to cuddle with their humans. Females are generally more ready to explore and get into things. Males seem to be more docile, willing to sit and cuddle, slightly more dependent than the females.
Can I get 1 male and 1 female rat?
Only if they are not brother and sister (unless one of them is spayed or neutered) because a female rat can become pregnant as early as 5 weeks old. Nothing like being an overachiever huh? Choose veterinarians wisely, not all vets are familiar with rats and their potential ailments.
When I go to pick out my rat, what things are obvious that I should look for?
Skin should not be too dry or oily. Also should not have any open wounds or dry, patchy places. A red secretion, called Porphyrin, generally found around their eyes or nose, can be a sign of an upper respiratory infection. Unless you are already familiar with rats, it may be a good idea to let someone a bit more experienced take on that potential scenario.
Should I adopt babies or adult rats?
Adult rats have already started to show what their personality will be if not already fully developed. They are also much more relaxed about being held, etc. Baby rats just bounce all over the place, much like a new puppy does.You may have to be a firmer pet parent to have a baby in the house, if you are up for the challenge, babies may be the way to go for you.
What breed of rat should I get?
What do you like? Furry, Hairless, solid colored, large, small? They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The sky is the limit! For researching the different breeds of rats, the link is posted here.
Helping people get better connected to the world of pets around them, one story at a time. Happy adventures with your new furry friends!!
Be sure and read parts 1, 2 and 3 for a more comprehensive understanding of how to properly care for pet rats.
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