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Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 6:05 am
We have someone who has asked us to take in rats, I do not know a lot about them we have gerbils, I just want to know some of the basics about them and if they are safe to bring in the house I have always heard they carry deadly diseases, I hate for her to just let them free when they have always been in a cage or to kill them because she wants to get a new pet, we have gerbils but that is the only type of small animal like that we have, we have other pets but never have had anything like this please let know I have done a lot of research on them but would like someone who has experience. thanks so much.
Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 6:29 am
I don't have any experience with fancy rats (Aly does though, and I could ask her to PM you some information, if you like) but I do believe that fancy rats bred to be pets are as clean as other pet rodents. They're also really smart and have been trained to do a lot. That's all I can really help with.
Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:50 am
I don't know much about rats, but it's not true that they can carry deadly diseases. I'm sure wild rats can, but domesticated fancy rats are(well, they should be) disease-free
Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:58 am
My husband had a wonderful brown rat named Mae Belle before we were married. She was really devoted to him, and even trained him to fill her water bottle on command (he's not good with the daily pet routines, so he needed a pet that could "help" him). You could put her tank on a table and she'd run around, then get back in by herself, which was handy for when he would go visit me and needed someone to take care of her. She died of cancer after three years. Probably because my husband fed her cat food -- he didn't know better, and this was before you could look this stuff up on the Internet. So I can't contribute any care info, only one person's positive rat ownership experience.
Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 6:19 pm
The cat food was not the right food, but probably not the cause of her death - three years is quite an age for a rat and cancer is unfortunately very common with them.Rats are great. I have planned to keep some for ages but can't at the moment because I'm unemployed. While I can care for all my other animals (including vet bills), rats can cause huge vet bills and I wouldn't be able to pay those, too. But I've read a lot about them and spend a lot of time with my friend's three rats.You should keep at least two, they are very, very social and you just cannot be with them all the time. Taking them with you is not an alternative since they can catch colds so fast and might run away or get attacked by people who are scared of rats (I've heard about this happening a few times). They need a huge cage, often people build one out of an old cupboard. Rats love climbing and running and even with a big cage you should let them out to run in a rat-safe room (if there is such a thing) for as long as possible in the evening. Here are some pictures of rat cages:http://www.rattentreffpunkt.de/kaefig/galerie/sb/1.html
(Käfige means cages (bought), Selbstbauten means homemade cage).Apart from the normal rat food (which should contain some animal protein), they need fresh fruits and vegetables. Rats can be picky. The rats of my friend for example hate all carrots except cooked baby carrots. You need to clean the cage about once a week, but if you use for example newspaper for the upper storeys and substrate only for the basement, this is not that much work. Rats can be toilet-trained.That's all I can think of right now. They are great pets and immensely entertaining, but need a bit of your time and they are addicting. So don't say I didn't warn you.
Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:32 am
Rats make awesome pets! Unless they've had some really nasty experiences with people or they are really sick, they will not bite. Mine sometimes would nibble my fingers, or try to pull me into their cage by a finger, which was always a fun experience. They are prone to respiratory issues though, so bedding choices and cleaniness are very important. Also, as already said here, the disease issue hasn't even been an issue for decades now, so no worries there. Some great sites with info and even some homemade diets include: Rats Rule, Rat Fan Club, Rat Palace, and there are bunches more that I can't remember right now, but these should get you started. Enjoy the new houseguests!
Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 8:00 am
Rats make wonderful pets if you are willing to spend time with them and keep their cages very clean! My daughter had a pet rat,Mortimer and he was so precious. She would carry him around on her neck(he liked to be under her long hair). He was extremely smart and didn't smell at all! He was about 3 or 4 years old when he died of old age. We miss him!
Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 11:52 am
I have 3 rats right now,they make great pets. One of mine is 2 and 1/4 years old (i keep track lol), and she is rather hyper but fun. Mine are all females and live in a big 5 story cage,made of powdercoated wire. They eat a lot of dry cereal and the Brisky dried fruits and veggies, as well as some hamster mix (seeds) and lab blocks. They will get a little wild if not played with frequently though,so make sure they get lots of attention! A good forum for them is ratsauce.com There's a link down on the sidebar that says "Ratsauce messageboard". The people are a little...obsessive, but very helpful if you have questions. One of the mods is a pain though I think you'll enjoy having them around, and make sure to clean their cage about once a week so they don't get respiratory problems. Also,if you've had gerbils,the care is kind of the same, but the cages are different. Rats seem to have a little more personality as well,from what i've seen...You can't keep rats in aquariums without cleaning their cage every few days,since the ammonia builds up faster in there. If you have guests or kids,don't let them feed the ratties through the cage bars,they'll get to expect food and will start biting at everything by the bars.Keep shreddable stuff like plastic away. If you don't like the tails...well i can't help you there lol But they DO have hair on their tails,just not covered totally. And make sure they have something hard to chew on,or you'll need to get their teeth trimmed at the vets. One more thing, a common issue is respiratory problems (that's the 3rd time i've said it XD). Symptoms are a bloody nose,sneezing,and taking frequent "rest stops". If they do get it and they're not having too much trouble breathing,you can treat it yourself (as long as it seems mild,my rats get 'colds' all the time,and this always cures them). Tetracycline powder,sold for fish, can be mixed with their drinking water. Just spoon a little bit at a time until the water is a nice light to medium yellow. Replace the water everyday, and in a few days they should be better. Amoxicillin also works,but there's no way to tell how much you've put in since it's colorless*glances at post* Wow,i just gave you a mini-seminar on rat care. 0_o I hope I covered most of it,PM me if you have any questions,I've had rats for about 4 years now. Enjoy your new pets!
Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 8:18 pm
Oh, I just thought of something. You might want to tell other people you have Long-Tailed Turkmenian Hamsters. A friend of mine had the following conversation with an old lady at the vet:Old lady (staring at my friend's two rats in their cage): Eeeew! Those are rats, aren't they?my friend: Nooo! That are Asian Hamster Squirrels.Old lady: Oh. Well, you're right, rats look different. How cute they are!I don't make this up. Often people will stand before a rat cage and go aaaawww and they you tell them there are rats in there. Instant eeewwww.