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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Pocket Pets: Rats!


It seems many people think rats are great pets. Why is that ? Well, they're clean (and that is VERY important in a pet), they seem to be extremely smart (ever wonder where the cheese on the trap went ?) and they are social towards humans (that'a a must since they'd have to interact with us all the time). One last thing i forgot to mention: they're small -> pocket pets.

Oh, don't go thinking these are your ordinary sewer rats, because that would be a mistake. In fact, they're the closest thing to a dog when it comes to small mammals.

If you ever decide on getting a rat, don't forget that rats, just like humans, are social animals. Therefore, it is very important to get at least two rats, preferably of the same sex and litter. Also an important social aspect is to familiarize your pet rat with yourself or otherwise humans as fast as possible, even from birth.

Although this may seem funny, rats should be picked up in a certain way. You pick up a rat around its middle and support its feet with your other hand. This is a 2-way winner: 1. the rat feels secure and 2. the chances of dropping it are reduced. When picking up your pet rat never pick it up by its tail because it si very uncomfortable for the rat and in some cases the tails break off or lose skin (the tail won't grow back nor can the skin be reattached).

When it comes to cages, make note that a hamster cage is NOT acceptable for your pet rat. It needs a lot more space and much better ventilation. Ideally you should get wire cages, like rabbit or ferret cages. The larger the cage, the better for your rat. It should offer a minimum space of 2 cubic feet per rat.

The best nutrition for rats is in the form of a Lab Block. It has all of the daily requirements a rat needs. Be sure to choose a block that does not have corn as its first ingredient; soy- or wheat-based blocks are preferred. Do NOT feed your rat cat, hamster or rabbit food. Each of those types of products are harmful in their own way. For example rabbit food contains alfalfa which rats can't digest.


You've just read some of the basic knowledge needed for pet rats. If you ever get a pet rat or own one, remember to send us your priceless pet pictures at YourPetPictures@gmail.com . Looking forward to posting some :)

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