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Rats!

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  • Rats!

    Anyone else on here own/like rats?

    I had the pleasure of working in a lab (rats were used for maze trials only, the only thing they had to do was run to the correct arm and get some treats!) this past year (and again this year) and decided to adopt one of the rats!
    When I first got the news I would be working with them I was definitely a little unsure about it, I used to have hamsters growing up but something about rats bothered me. After a few days with them I quickly realized how sweet they are, they're just like hamsters with a tail lol!

    But I just adore my little rat, she's the sweetest thing.

    Also, anyone have any toy ideas for rats? She hates running wheels (tail friendly) and she won't play with any toys I've bought her (practically sold out all 4 local pet shops trying to find something she liked!). She will chew wood blocks so I keep a few for her to chew on and then she'll get a treat nugget every so often but aside from that I haven't found anything she likes! I feel like it would get boring after a while. Getting a buddy for her isn't an option either, her cagemate died at the end of the school year and she's just not friendly to any other animals/rats.

  • #2
    Rat toys

    We have 3 we adopted from a rescue. They are the sweetest things. They like empty oatmeal boxes, paper towel rolls and they LOVE fleece blankets. We buy them at Goodwill, wash them up, and cover the bottom of their cage with them. They love something soft. We learned lots of this from the organization we adopted them from. Ours love any kind of vegetable and fruit and they like wheat thins. We also purchase cat toys for them because they love to carry their toys from place to place. Best of luck with yours. You will love their sweet nature.

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    • #3
      I absolutely adore rats! Hands down, they are the best pets I've ever had (sorry, dog! ). They really are the sweetest things, huh? Here's a link to some great toy ideas: http://www.dapper.com.au/toys.htm#blanket

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Crazy-Pony View Post
        I absolutely adore rats! Hands down, they are the best pets I've ever had (sorry, dog! ). They really are the sweetest things, huh? Here's a link to some great toy ideas: http://www.dapper.com.au/toys.htm#blanket
        I'd say they're tied with dogs, but they are, in fact, awesome.

        I keep telling people who want a small caged animal for a kid (suitably responsible, of course) that rats are way better than hamsters/mice/gerbils because they're social and will come to you to play games, and I get weird looks. Feh.

        None of mine ever seemed particularly toy oriented - I did let them just free range in one room when I was there to supervise, though, so I think that gave them mental stuff to do so toys were less interesting.

        The exception was one guy who was FASCINATED by this cat toy someone gave me that was a small stuffed animal thing on an elastic string on a stick, like a fishing pole. He LOVED to grab the toy and try to run away with it and then when it got to the end and he let go or it slipped out of his grip, he'd come back and grab it again. It was hilarious. (I think he liked making it ping back - if you just let him have it and didn't hold the stick to resist him taking it away, he'd give up. )

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        • #5
          Oh, I miss my rats! I added it up, and over 14 years (from middle school to grad school) I shared my room/apartment with 11 different pet rats.

          I'm allergic to them now, and I couldn't let 'em run around like I used to what with three cats in the house.

          That said, all of mine had really awesome personalities. Two of them adored road trips - they'd hop on my shoulder at drive thrus and steal my fries. One of my giant male rats (2 lbs and dark brown, he was a beast) loved beer and popcorn - he would sit next to us on the couch and help himself to popcorn from the bowl, then lap up a bit of beer from a bottle cap.

          My favorite rat ever, Tobin, LOVED my boyfriend. She would climb on his shoulder and groom his hair, she would scramble between us if he gave me a hug. My favorite was when she would "share" her treats with us. I was a slob in grad school, so there were plenty of pickings for an occasionally free-roaming rat. I would go in the bedroom, and there, on the bedcover (just like a hotel maid would leave a chocolate on the cover at turn-down) would be a pile of treats. Popcorn, onion skin, candy hearts, whatever she could find. Two piles, and my boyfriend's was always larger. She had good taste - I eventually married the guy.

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          • #6
            We used to build cardboard cities for them-- lots of boxy chambers connected by tubes. A ratty paradise!
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sunsets View Post
              My favorite rat ever, Tobin, LOVED my boyfriend. She would climb on his shoulder and groom his hair, she would scramble between us if he gave me a hug. My favorite was when she would "share" her treats with us. I was a slob in grad school, so there were plenty of pickings for an occasionally free-roaming rat. I would go in the bedroom, and there, on the bedcover (just like a hotel maid would leave a chocolate on the cover at turn-down) would be a pile of treats. Popcorn, onion skin, candy hearts, whatever she could find. Two piles, and my boyfriend's was always larger. She had good taste - I eventually married the guy.
              Okay, that is just adorable. ADORABLE.

              I used to let my rats free range in my bedroom and they could get on to the bed and from there on to a window sill where they liked to hang out behind the curtain and watch the world go by. So they were out one day chilling in their little window hideout and my dad was visiting and wasn't feeling well so he wanted to lie down for a little bit so I told him to just use my bed. (Rather than making up the couch or whatever.)

              So he goes to nap, and he was sleeping, and he doesn't normally wake up much while he's asleep, he just sleeps straight through, but he reports he woke up because it felt like something was weird. He opens his eyes and there is Bill (one of my two rats at the time, Bill and Ted) sitting on the edge of the pillow about six inches from my dad's nose, staring at him like 'who the heck are you? You are not the person who is supposed to be there!'

              Okay, now I'm missing having pet rats. I had to rehome mine when I moved from the UK to the US because they were all too old for the trip to be fair to them. (I had 4 at the time, two from a breeder and two from a rescue. The breeder was awesome and took all four for me so they could stay together.)

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              • #8
                I had pet rats for many years - all friendly & lovable. In fact, growing up I had quite a few rodent pets, starting with hamsters & mice, & I can't tell you how many times those little b*stards drew blood. My rats? Never!

                My favorites were two purebred "Black Irish" rats my then-boyfriend/now-husband bought me for Valentines Day (gotta love a guy like that!!). They lived an amazingly long time for rats.

                As for toys? As previously mentioned, the round Quaker Oats cardboard containers were big favorites. Also pieces of PVC pipe large enough for the rats to fit thru. Any kind of cardboard box with a entryway cut in for climbing on & in.

                Best treat & EXCELLENT for gnawing? Pieces of cooked Prime Rib bone. NOT regular steak bones, which splinter, but pieces of human-grade (not dog grade) Prime Rib bone. Whenever my parents would make a Prime Rib roast, my dad would take a hacksaw & saw the leftover cooked rib bones into 3"-4" pieces, & I'd keep them in the freezer, taking out one at a time for "the guys". First, of course, they'd quickly nibble off any leftover bits of meat/gristle; then they'd periodically gnaw on the rest of the bone, keeping their teeth in good shape, not to mention providing calcium, trace minerals, etc., etc. Good stuff, & lasted a really long time.

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                • #9
                  My ratties LOVED when i got to the end of a jar of peanut butter- i'd put the jar in there with them, and they'd spend hours climbing in and out retrieving little bits of peanut butter that were left on the sides of the jar.
                  They enjoyed shredding ANYTHING i gave to them, and i was also one who let them run free every now and again. my little man rattie loved laundry baskets and backpacks. He'd craw in every nook and crannie searching for treasures.
                  Also, "Yogies" are these little yogurt treats they sell at PetSmart that my rats would do ANYTHING for.

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                  • #10
                    You DO have to think twice about offering your rats plastic or glass jars. They will gnaw/eat plastic - particularly if it contained food - & ingesting the plastic isn't good for them. And if it's a glass jar that previously contained food, they'll try to gnaw on that as well, & can easily chip/break/ingest glass.

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                    • #11
                      we took the jars out after about an hour or so...gave them time to eat the good stuff but not long enough to knaw on the container!

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                      • #12
                        Started out with one pet rat, evolved into breeding feeder rats for our reptiles, then all of a sudden I'm breeding lines of rats and showing them...

                        I was twelve and it was a ton of fun!

                        I still miss my heart rat Socks. No other rat comes even close to taking her place in my heart.
                        K-N-S Farm
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pinkpony321 View Post
                          we took the jars out after about an hour or so...gave them time to eat the good stuff but not long enough to knaw on the container!
                          Though this reminds me of a good trick when it's quite hot, since rats can get overheated - fill glass jars with iced water and close them tightly and then put them in a couple of places in the rat's cage/enclosure. It creates a little localized area that's cooler for them to go and hang out in if they want to. (I always put mine so that the rats could be near one or not depending on what the rat felt like. They seemed to like them, though.)

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                          • #14
                            PLEASE.........do not enable!!!! ......I have a Beta fish thanks to the thread.."chronicles of a Beta fish" lol

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                            • #15
                              They sound like so much fun! Wish I could have one or two but my family is grossed out by them. I know they don't live very long, so what's an average life expectancy? (besides 'not long enough').

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                              • #16
                                They usually live about 3 years. I had one, aptly named "Lucky," that lived to be almost 5, but that is not the norm.

                                I have had four rats. The first, Stormy, was a buff and white hooded rat and super, super smart. We used to make little mazes for her and have her run through them. She would also sit on my shoulder and on top of my head and ride around the house.

                                Next I got Shadow, who we got from a pet store, brought home, and thought "hmm, she looks a little fat." Yep... BABIES! We gave some to friends, sold some back to area pet stores (NOT as feeder rats, mind you), and kept two as pets. Sadly Shadow got cancer and died relatively young.

                                One of the babies, an albino named Riley, was not the greatest. She was smart, but also pretty skittish, and actually bit one of my friends (THAT was an awkward doctor's visit... "She got bit by WHAT?!").

                                The other, Lucky, was black and white hooded like his mom and was amazing. He was IMMENSE, like his body was large in proportion but he was also really fat. He would actually cuddle with me, like instead of just riding around on my shoulder parrot-style like most of my rats did, he would want to snuggle up around my ear or in the crook of my arm. He also would regularly lick me like a dog! I'm not sure if he was "grooming" me or just affectionate, but he would "kiss" by licking my cheek and would lick my hands and check for treats. He would come when called and retrieve small toys that we threw him. What was really great was we had a dog at the time (Rough Collie). Bizarrely, the dog and rat LOVED each other, like full-on, BFFFFFF-style love (this is the same dog that, after capturing a baby bunny in the back yard, decided it was "hers" and began grooming it!). We would also bring the rat outside with us and he would not run away even though he easily could have. I actually still miss him

                                I would love another rat; I think they are a great pet, but sadly my husband has a nearly pathological fear of them so they are verboten.

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                                • #17
                                  Depending on genetics, health, etc., etc., well-cared-for domestic rats have a lifespan that usually ranges between 2-4 years.

                                  All of the pet rats I had lived to between 3-4 years; one of my Black Irish made it to 5-1/2!! But as Vixed said - that's not the norm, & most likely just luck.

                                  They're very susceptible to pretty much anything humans can get (thus their popularity as lab animals), so it's strongly advised that they not be handled if/when you yourself have a cold or virus. From what I understand, most end up ultimately succumbing to respiratory infections (which they're very susceptible to - good ventilation without drafts is a must!) or malignant tumors.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Bacardi1 View Post
                                    Depending on genetics, health, etc., etc., well-cared-for domestic rats have a lifespan that usually ranges between 2-4 years.
                                    Interesting. I'm pretty sure the expected average is shorter in the UK, though I can't remember how long most of mine managed exactly. (I mean, it's not just that mine didn't last for ages and ages, it's that everyone I knew got similar results, even the really good, really experienced folks. And I did everything 'right' with mine - good ventilation, good nutrition, etc.)

                                    If the US gene pool makes that much difference I might feel better about venturing into having rats again.

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