Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rat as a pet

Rates are clean, affectionate and intelligent animals. The rat usually kept as a pet is the Norwegian Rat, Rattus norvegicus, not the Black Rat, Rasttus rattus. The average lifespan of a rat is 3 years.

Rats are omnivores; they eat both animal and vegetable foods. Most Human type foods are suitable, but give mainly vegetable type foods and reserve meat for an occasional treat. Most people use a seed based mixture as a basis of the diet, but it should be supplemented with generous amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as fresh green food.
Things to Avoid
Some things are poisonous or undesirable foods for rats. Avoid giving your pet rat:
Alcoholic beverages
Anything known to be poisonous to Humans
Bulbs and the leaves of plants grown from bulbs
Green Bananas
Green Potatoes
Potato Leaves
Raw Dry Beans or Peanuts
Raw Red Cabbage and Brussel Sprouts
Raw Sweet Potato
Rhubarb and especially rhubarb leaves
Tomato Leaves
The same care needs to be taken over the storage of your rat's foods as you should take over your own food.
Rats are social animals, and it is kinder to keep more than one, especially if you cannot be with your rat most of the time. It you have rats of both sexes, you can reasonable expect babies fairly soon. The females tend to be more active while the males are often more cuddly.
Buying your Rat
Unless you are already an expert on keeping rats, the ideal person to buy from is a serious rat breeder. If you buy from a pet shop, make sure that the person who serves you is knowledgeable about rats.
I suggest a minimum length for the cage of 24 inches (60 cm) and a width of at least 12 inches (30 cm). In addition, it is better if you can let the rat out of the cage and play with it. Many rat owners train their pet to sit on their shoulder.
Mostly rats do not bite. If they do it may be from fright, or because they are not used to their owner. In some cases, a male rat becomes aggressive as it becomes sexually mature. If the rat is showing excessive aggression, you may have to consider castration. If you do get your rat castrated, make sure the vet is familiar with the castration of rats.
If you are bitten by a rat, get advice from your doctor. Your doctor may recommend a tetanus injection.
Rats keep themselves clean, but it is necessary to clean their cage frequently.
Although rats only live for about four years on average, our Rat, Tiffany, lived for over four years. To read about her life and afterlife, see:

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