My 6 Year Old Wakes Up Multiple Times A Night Rats as Pets – 5 Myths Busted

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Rats as Pets – 5 Myths Busted

History has depicted them as filthy creatures that brought about the Black Plague of the Middle Ages. Hollywood has portrayed them as vicious killers ready to attack people at the slightest provocation. Is it any wonder that most people are afraid to mention their name?

How can such a small animal cause such a big reaction? But more importantly, do they deserve their fame?

Before judging rats, it might help to understand a little about them. Everyone knows that rats are rodents, but did you know that a male rat is called a buck, a female is a tom, and the babies are called puppies or kittens ? Rats give birth at a young age, between 6 and 8 weeks. Their bodies are between 9 and 11 inches long, with tails up to 9 inches and they come in many colors and types. Rats have an average lifespan of 2 to 3 years and are most active at night.

Now that you know more about them, let’s look at some of the myths that people believe about rats as pets. You might see them in a whole new light.

Myth #1

Rats are mindless creatures.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Domestic rats are intelligent with a natural curiosity that makes them very trainable. They can be taught simple tricks easily and love learning interactions. My son has a three year old Blue Fancy rat named Samantha. She learned his name quickly and comes when called. She also learned to play fetch, chasing a small plastic ball when it is rolled away from her on the floor, and then rolling it back.

Myth #2

Rats are vicious, dangerous creatures.

Rats are very friendly, social animals. They are easily treatable just by treating them from a young age. Rats love to spend time with their owners; connecting with them much like a dog connects with a person. They love to be petted and be close to their family. Our rat likes to sit on my shoulder while I’m typing at my computer, sometimes falling asleep while she’s up there.

Myth #3

Rats are dirty, disease bringing rodents.

In reality, rats are very clean creatures, grooming themselves daily. The sign of a healthy rat is a clean, well-groomed coat. They are not a low maintenance pet, but they are much easier to care for than a hamster or a larger pet. Changing the bedding in their cage every week, and making sure they have fresh food and water every day will go a long way to keeping your little furry friend happy. I have found that rats are orderly animals. Every time Samantha’s cage is cleaned she rearranges it according to her needs. She likes to have her house, bowls, and toys where she wants them.

Myth #4

Rats are not fun.

Rats enjoy interacting with their human owners, requiring daily playtime. They need at least an hour outside the cage every day to play and interact with their family, as well as toys to play with when you can’t be there. The best toys I have found are ones designed for cats. Choose ones that your rat can’t suffocate, because they will chew. Samantha has two plastic balls with bells inside that she plays with. You can hear her at night, throwing these balls around to ring the bells.

Myth #5

Rats are only nocturnal creatures.

While this is mostly true, it is not set in stone. Rats up when they think you are. Yes, they are up at night, but they are up during the day too. They will wake up if they feel you are ready to play. Taking them out during the day is a good way to train them that the day is a good time to play. Samantha sleeps during the night and during the day, but she is always willing to come out during the day and spend some time with me or my son.

Rats can be a good first pet. They are easier to maintain than a dog or cat, and are friendlier than a hamster. With a little understanding your family can benefit from rat ownership too. Give rats a chance. You’ll be glad you did.

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