5 Things To Know Before Deciding To Keep Rats As Pets
Rats. Just the name alone makes some people cringe. It couldn't be helped though, as wild rats do have some bad reputation. Rats are thought of to be dirty, that they are thieves, they destroy things, and that they carry deadly diseases. But those are the wild ones. Kept as pets, they become these smart and agile animals wowing people with their antics. Keeping rats as pets isn't as simple as putting them in a cage though. Here are some basic things that you need to know.
1. Rats are playful by nature and as such, they need room to play. Take note of this when you go looking for cages for your rats. The rule is, the roomier, the better. The more room they have, the happier they are, and healthier too as they will be regularly exercised while playing. Wide cages offer great space for rats to run around their cage. Tall ones, when equipped with horizontal bars, create opportunities for rats to climb and explore.
2. Rats are social animals. It is important that they spend their time with other rats. If not, they might suffer from behavioral problems that will one day annoy you. So when keeping rats as pets, it is best if you initially take 2 or more to share one cage. This way, their social needs will be adequately met. It is also widely thought of that keeping rats of the same sex is better than having male and female ones in a single cage.
3. Pet rats have this tendency to spray urine over you, and on your possessions. This is called scent-marking. Scent-marking is widely practiced by lots of animals, rats included. These scent markers are likely olfactory signals having territorial implications. In some cases, they are signals of ownership of something. Rat urine however is not really that offensive when it comes to its smell. It's the idea of being urinated over by an animal that turns other people off.
4. Rats have short life spans. A rat's life can last for up to 5 years, but the average figure is a short 2 to 3 years. Compared to cats and dogs and other larger animals who live longer, your pet rats can only be there for you for a few years. Dealing with the loss of a pet can happen often.
5. Like any pet, rats need veterinarian care too, but not often. Rats are relatively healthy creatures so having a veterinary clinic close by is not that important. It would help though to have one just in case.
Choosing rats as pets can be an excellent choice because of their natural playfulness, their diminutive size, and their intelligence. They like to please too, and they love showing off what they can do.
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