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piggy lover101
08-05-09, 11:18 am
I was reading about small pets and rats caught my eye. I was wondering if anyone here have had any experiences with them?

Ash-Ro060708
08-05-09, 11:37 am
I had rats when I was younger and I LOVED them!! They were so smart and each had their own personality. I really enjoyed building them play structures out of popsicle sticks. I spent hours just watching them interact with each other. I told my husband that when we have more space I want to get rats again.

Fudgenrolo
08-05-09, 11:59 am
I have kept rats for a number of years.

They are wonderful animals - intelligent, cheeky, active, playful and friendly. They show real affection towards you and bond with you.

However - they do suffer from a number of illnesses such as tumours and respiratory infections which often seem to cut their lives short. The average age for a rat is two years and it's just not long enough! You get so attached to them and then they go and leave you broken hearted. :sad:

When my current three have passed on (they are all two years old) I won't be getting any more for this reason.

As pets - they need a large cage to live in. In the US Critter Nations are popular cages as they are so easy to clean out and unlike the Ferret Nation you can put does or bucks in them as the bar spacing is that bit smaller. Here in the UK similar style cages have come on to the market which are very popular. They are active and so need lots to do in their cage and lots of free range time. Food needs to be varied with fresh stuff as well as dry mix. (I make up my own dry mix as shop bought mixes are often filled with rubbish.)

There are usually lots of rats in rescue as they breed so easily and have large litters - pet shop mistakes with sexing often result in a lot of unwanted rats unfortunately together with the other 'got fed up them' 'children got bored of them' etc cases.

Rats have given me an awful lot of joy and happiness.

I can heartily recommend Fancy Rats (http://www.fancy-rats.co.uk/community/index.php?sid=f4885b00d558002597a2f8fb031512fc) as a forum to have a nosey on or to join and learn more about rats. It's UK based but has many members from all over the world. :)

Ash-Ro060708
08-05-09, 02:32 pm
I think my oldest passed away when he was around 4 years old(Snip/father/white with black eyes), my females however passed away at almost 2(Peanut/daughter/light brown hooded), around 3(Maggie/mother/white with black eyes) and around 3.5(Flame/daughter/white with red eyes).

I can't remember for sure their age, but the order(and cause) they passed away in was Peanut(had blood coming from her nose for a few days), Maggie(kept falling over and swaying side to side) Flame(I think she just died during the night), Snip(he was a old man!).

Rats do have TONS of babies. My first litter was a accident, my mom bought 2 baby rats from the pet store(our hamster recently passed away) and they were male and female. One day I got home from school and Maggie had 9 babies and we kept 2 females and sold the rest to a pet store.
And this is where the madness starts!! Maybe 6 months later, Maggie had 9 more babies and less then a week before the babies were old enough to be sold to the store, both Peanut and Flame gave birth on the same day. Peanut had 13 babies and Flame had 14... that's 27 newborn babies plus the 9 older babies and the 4 adults = 40 rats!
When the babies started growing fur I picked 6 babies for each mom rat and my mother drowned the others, there was no way we could afford to feed and house 27 babies till weaning and the mom rats were having trouble feeding and caring for all the babies. When the babies were older there was 3 boys and 3 girls each(you can't tell when the sex is till they're older), Peanut had 3 hooded babies and Flame had 3 red eyed babies, I thought it was strange how it happened like that!
Less then 6 months after that mess, Flame somehow got pregnant again(even though we made new lids for all the cages so they couldn't open them), and had approximately 10 babies, all were still born and she ate some of them. It was sad.

But I would still get rats again(but only ONE sex!) lol

Fudgenrolo
08-05-09, 02:54 pm
:sad: - Litters are very preventable. There is (in my opinion) no excuse for an 'accidental' litter. Male rats (bucks) are extremely obvious! Does are obviously does too - only does have nipples and they are very easy to see. It's fairly straight forward to make a cage escape-proof. I've never had any escapes of any kind and I have kept entire bucks and does at the same time before (in entirely separate cages, of course.)

You sold the babies to a petstore?! :ohmy: How do you know they weren't housed in a hamster cage on woodshavings or ended up neglected and unloved? The only litter I've ever had the pleasure of raising was a foster mum with her babies - the babies were one day old when they came here. There were 14 babies. I rehomed them all privately and checked out the people that rehomed them from me. Even then I have kept track of them throughout their lives and one of them has come back to me for her 'retirement' as her cage-mates had died and the owner did not want to get any more rats.

I find your post very upsetting and I just wanted to reply to it so that people reading this don't think this is a responsible way to keep rats because it isn't . Nor is this a 'typical' case of rat-keeping.

Oh and the red 'blood' you describe isn't blood at all. It's porphyin.

All the same principles apply to rats as they do to guinea pigs. Irresponsible breeding isn't excusable.

Poelitstudent
08-05-09, 02:55 pm
Ash what? Drowned rats? You ok with this it is very irresponsable what is wrong with you letting them bred like that then killing them.

Fudgenrolo
08-05-09, 03:00 pm
Ash what? Drowned rats? You ok with this it is very irresponsable what is wrong with you letting them bred like that then killing them.

I hadn't noticed that part. :weepy:

That's awful. Mollie's babies (the mum of my foster litter) were so dear to me from the minute I saw them and held them. They were precious to me and I knew from the moment I heard their 'squeaks' that I would do anything to protect them and nurture them. I spent a fair fortune raising them and feeding them as I wanted them to have the very best start in life. To coldly remove them and kill them would have been utterly unthinkable.

Paula
08-05-09, 03:34 pm
I can't remember for sure their age, but the order(and cause) they passed away in was Peanut(had blood coming from her nose for a few days), Maggie(kept falling over and swaying side to side) Flame(I think she just died during the night), Snip(he was a old man!).Did any of them receive any kind of veterinary care over the course of their lives?

Rats are indeed endearing little creatures and can make great pets but they are not for everyone and as much, if not more, than any other animal, they NEED veterinary care throughout their lifetimes.


Rats do have TONS of babies. My first litter was a accident, my mom bought 2 baby rats from the pet store(our hamster recently passed away) and they were male and female. One day I got home from school and Maggie had 9 babies and we kept 2 females and sold the rest to a pet store. Saying that your first litter was "by accident" indicates that later litters were not.


And this is where the madness starts!! Maybe 6 months later, Maggie had 9 more babies and less then a week before the babies were old enough to be sold to the store, both Peanut and Flame gave birth on the same day. Peanut had 13 babies and Flame had 14... that's 27 newborn babies plus the 9 older babies and the 4 adults = 40 rats!So you were intentionally breeding. Wonderful. You "sold" them back to the pet store? Is breeding rats so profitable that it justifies the risks?


When the babies started growing fur I picked 6 babies for each mom rat and my mother drowned the others, there was no way we could afford to feed and house 27 babies till weaning and the mom rats were having trouble feeding and caring for all the babies. When the babies were older there was 3 boys and 3 girls each(you can't tell when the sex is till they're older), Peanut had 3 hooded babies and Flame had 3 red eyed babies, I thought it was strange how it happened like that! May I ask at what point drowning sweet little innocent creatures that exist only because of you seems like a good idea? Furthermore, at what point does it seem like a good idea to post about it here? And what value do you think this vile story adds to this thread? What questions are you answering by explaining that you cruelly and systematically snuffed out the lives of innocent little creatures.


Less then 6 months after that mess, Flame somehow got pregnant again(even though we made new lids for all the cages so they couldn't open them), and had approximately 10 babies, all were still born and she ate some of them. It was sad.Somehow? Are you kidding me? Again, what does this do to help the OP decide whether or not rats are the right pet for him/her?


But I would still get rats again(but only ONE sex!)That you may want to is one thing, but if your past history with breeding and drowning these animals is any indication of your ability to care for them, I'd strongly suggest you not get any more.

Now, onto the original question. Rats are endearing little creatures with great personalities and lots of love. But they are not for everyone and they can get quite expensive (like any other animal). They also face certain illnesses and health risks so proper medical care and a well researched diet is a must.

Ash-Ro060708
08-05-09, 05:59 pm
I never meant to breed them, ALL my litters were accidents. We did not know the two from the store were male and female, they were small when we got them. When I got them I was only 12 and didn't know much about rats.
They were in a homemade glass cage with wood and metal lid, so sometimes they chewed out of the cage. It was one big cage with a divide in it to separate the male and the females and sometimes the glass divide fell so the rats could get together, I never ever meant to breed them, EVER.

In the case of drowning the babies, my parents made me do it because we had too many. I never drowned them my mother did. I begged them not to do it but "it had to be done".
Selling them to a pet store for store credit(to buy more rat food) was the only thing we could do and this was 10 years ago.

We lived on a farm... not even the dogs went to the vet cuz my parents thought it was a "waste of money", never mind a rat.

I have pets now and I take very good care of them.

The original poster asked "if anyone here have had any experiences with them?" I was giving my (terrible) experience, what happens when you don't care for them right!

I would never let that happen again. May I remind you again that it happened 10 years ago, when I was 12!! Besides the baby mess, they were awesome pets.

Ok, Is that good enough for you? Can you stop attacking me for something that happened when I was a kid??

pigsmakemesmile
08-05-09, 07:36 pm
We have one rat, her name is Suzy. She lives in a huge Ferret nation pen with toys and and hideys on all levels. Suzy is a wonderful lil' animal. She is sweet and quiet, enjoys being with people and craves attention. She is considered a "Blue" rat and has a little white soft belly. She's very clean, doesn't smell. We've had for a year now. One day, my daughter said something was wrong, she wasn't being her usual Suzy self. She wasn't coming out of her hidey and was keeping to herself. We noticed she pee'd and it was blood. Immediately, we called the emergency animal clinic...this happened Sunday afternoon, they had us bring right in. Poor baby had a urinary track infection. She was given antibiotics and pain medication. We were diligent with her medication and pain meds. It cost 160.00 dollars. My husband went through the roof, I was the one who paid. Yes money was tight like it is now, but I couldn't bring myself to let her suffer, she didn't ask to be taken in and, because we elected to adopt her, we new what responsibility meant to take in an animal. She was better immediately and back to her old self of playfulness. Sadly, we discovered a tumor/growth on her underbelly. My daughter and I learned this is common in rats. After our rabbit...Oscar, gets neutered as he is next, Suzy will be getting a check up at the vet. I've never had a rat as a pet-friend, she's nothing like the sterotype rats have. I just love her. The notion of ever killing an animal...I couldn't phathom the idea, it's just not a part of my nature, I don't even kill bugs. I've always wanted to get Suzy a friend, we prefer to just have one to avoid any unwanted babies.

Paula
08-05-09, 07:38 pm
The original poster asked "if anyone here have had any experiences with them?"Experience with them as PETS. Not experience breeding and subsequently drowning the unwanted animals.

In any case, rats are very sweet little critters and if you have the time, energy and resources, they are great! They need daily one-on-one interaction and exercise time. They are really sweethearts!

Ly&Pigs
08-05-09, 10:18 pm
I have quite a bit of experience with ratties. I still have a pair of boys. If you would like good info on rats, please don't hesitate to private message me.

Deb's4Pigs
08-05-09, 10:32 pm
I have 3 baby boys and I love them dearly. Within the next week or so I will be getting them a Ferret Nation so that they will have a lot of room to play.

piggy lover101
08-06-09, 06:39 am
Can you make C&C cages for rats?

Paula
08-06-09, 09:21 am
You could, but they'd need to be wrapped with some kind of metal mesh or something. The spaces on the grids are too wide for ratties, especially babies.

There are actually several commercially made cages that are quite appropriate for rats.

gooberific
08-06-09, 09:34 am
You could, but they'd need to be wrapped with some kind of metal mesh or something. The spaces on the grids are too wide for ratties, especially babies.

There are actually several commercially made cages that are quite appropriate for rats.

So would hardware cloth work? Like the kind you use on the lid of a hamster bin cage? I suppose the hardware cloth would have to be on the inside so the rats wouldn't get caught between the grid and the mesh...

I've wanted pet rats since I was a kid. My only hesitation when I was looking for pets when I got my piggies was that I wouldn't have anyone willing to take care of them when I was away. My mom is deathly scared of rats.

suzilovespiggie
08-08-09, 12:21 am
My daughter has had rats most of her childhood and some of her adult life. They make wonderful pets. Most of the time she had same sex rats. They like GP's are social animals. Never did we breed them. To sell them to a petstore to us was unthinkable. Many rats go for snake food. I know snakes must eat but.... The cons of them, is the short life span, resperitory infections and the tendency toward tumors. The last rats she had were skinnys, that were given to her. We found they had an even greater problem with sickness and were delicate due to no fur. A rat savoy vet is a must with rats. We are very lucky to have a great exotic vet. She also had ferrets.)
Martin cages are great for rats. I still have the 4 story Martin condo she had for her rats. A great website for rats. Ratsrule.com

Anaira
11-05-09, 12:20 am
I've always wanted to get Suzy a friend, we prefer to just have one to avoid any unwanted babies.
Rats are very social creatures, I would *really* reccommend you find a little girl somewhere for her. :) You said she craves attention, but obviously you cant be there 24/7 for her, and they are nocturnal creatures, and she'd really love a friend, I bet. I have rescued several rats, who were kept alone, and it was really touching to see how they responded to other rats. :) Sexing adults is really easy. There's a video on youtube, look for it, about why rats should have friends.

Bamysmum
11-25-09, 09:42 pm
I am a first time rat owner and I have two brothers. They are absolutely wonderful. Medical issues are a con to think hard about. Within a month of welcoming my new boys home they had to go to the vet for constant sneezing and the red poly... goo round thier noses costing $100 Aussie bucks. However, if you have the money, the time and inclination to spend on rat friends they are a wonderful addition to the family. My black boy waits for me every morning at the front cage door so I can give him breakfast and a cuddle before I'm off to work.