Forget cats and dogs, rats make fantastic pets!
Rats are clean, sociable, smart, low maintenance and have great personalities. We really can’t recommend them enough.
But if you want to get a pet rat there are some basic things you’ll need, in order to care for your little buddy and make sure they have a long, happy and healthy life.
You will need a good rat cage.
Rats like a lot of space. They are naturally very active animals that love to run up and down, scabbling and climbing their way over obstacles. The very minimum sized cage you should look for is 50cm cubed for one rat getting bigger the more rats you have.
A wire cage with a solid bottom is perhaps the best. A wire cage provides better ventilation than a glass cage, allowing you rat to breath freely. While a solid floor prevents your furry friend getting trapped and hurting themselves.
The wire should be spaced about 1cm apart, remember that if a rat can fit his read through a space, they can fit their whole body! So make sure the wire is suitably spaced.
You will also need a house for your rats to sleep in.
Rats are very sensitive to light, so a nice safe nest box that blocks out as much light as is possible is very important for a healthy, happy pet.
Some quality dust-free bedding for the cage.
There are a range of bedding options available for pet rats. Paper and straw pellet beddings are very common and work perfectly for rats. Inexpensive and very absorbent, pellets make for the perfect bedding.
Giving rats sheets of cardboard will give them the opportunity to make their own bedding, your rat will have a great time shredding and arranging cardboard and creating a cosy nest.
Paper, straw and cardboard beddings are obviously very absorbent, any spilt water or the rats waste will cause these litters to clump together. Make sure you remove soiled bedding on a regular basis to avoid your rat getting sick.
The only common bedding type that should really be avoided is shredded paper bedding. the ink from newspaper and other waste paper can be poisonous to rats and should be avoided. Even if doesn’t make your rat sick, the ink can rub off on to your rat and stain them.
A good rat food.
Rats are true omnivores which means they need a little more nutritional verity than a lot of pets. Rats can only produce a few of the vitamins and minerals they need to survive, and so have to get everything the need from what, in the wild, would be a varied diet.
The best way to ensure that your rat gets the right nutritional content is to invest in a high-quality rat pellet. The best rat foods are specially formulated with the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to make sure that your pet gets everything they need to stay healthy over the course of their life.
Small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables can be added as a treat, but make sure you include this in your rats total daily food intake rather than as a supplement. We don’t want your rat getting chubby!
A water bottle to let them quench their thirst.
An ad lib supply of fresh clean water is vital to your rat’s health. A water bottle is the best option. An open bowl gives a rat the opportunity to contaminate their water supply or flip the bowl and get their cage wet.
If you still want to go with a bowl, make sure it’s not too big as your rat will have trouble drinking from it.
Some toys and accessories to brighten up their days.
Rats are very intelligent creatures that love challenges, exploration, and puzzles. Every rat is different, so testing out different combinations of toys will help you find out what your rat likes.
So what kind of toys are available? Platforms, ladders, ropes and tunnels will take care of your rats love of exploration, as well as providing new ways to challenge them. Some rats also like a running wheel, but some rats will never touch one.
They really do have unique personalities and getting to know yours is one of the best things about having a rat. Try a combination of these toys and see which ones they like. Mixing it up occasionally and introducing something new, will give you rat more stimulation and help to keep them happy.
Toys made from rope or wood will provide more stimulation to keep your rat happy, as well as giving them something to chew on.
A carry case for emergency vet trips.
You will need a strong, sturdy, well ventilated carry case to transport your rat around.
The first thing to note is that rat carriers should be small enough that your rat feels safe and secure. Rats are likely to get worried and stressed in a large space, they can feel like there is nowhere safe to retreat and hide from any new threat that might come along.
There are generally three main types of pet carrier, plastic, metal and carboard.
A plastic rat carrier is generally better than metal or cardboard.
Rats are born to dig and will easily scratch and bite their way through a carboard carrier when they become scared. Plastic is durable enough that your rat won’t be able to escape but is also superior to metal because plastic is less likely to damage your rats’ teeth.
There is a fourth type of carrier, the soft sided. Soft sided carriers can be more comfortable for long journeys, but make sure to find one sturdy enough four your rat.