Q: Rat a tat tat
I am thinking about getting a pet rat. I'd like to know some pointers on them, and some handling tips. A friend who owns some rats says to lift by the base of their tail... ?? is it?
Mar 12, 2010
though you can safely pick up a rat by their tail, i don't see why you want to handle a pet like that. rats are incredibly social and intelligent animals. they're also very friendly when hand raised. those who aren't use to being around people may be skittish, but they're easy enough to tame. when you buy a rat, look for one who is hand raised - actually, look for two b/c you should never have a single rat. they enjoy the company and get bored and lonely being in a cage alone.
if you happen to get skittish rats, just take it slow w/them. i think they'd be more startled being picked up by their tails. it may not hurt them, but it refuses them any control in the situation, scaring them more. let them get use to being around you first. start putting your hand in their cage, either resting on the side or offering them a treat. let them learn to trust you and your smell before you try to pet them. allowing them to make the first moves w/o you budging will help them ease into being your pet. then slowly start to pet them, first w/one finger as they sniff you, then gradually introduce the rest of your hand. eventually you'll be able to hold them. if they're not skittish, still let them get use to your scent first, but you'll be able to handle them much sooner.
only get rats if you're able to spend enough time w/them. many people think they make for cute animals who don't require much time, but b/c they are social and intelligent, they need a lot of interaction from you as well as time out of the cage. rats make wonderful pets though. go to www.petfinder.com to find one in your area. like dogs and cats, there are also many rats in need of a good, loving home.
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Mar 13, 2010
You can safely pick rats up by the tail but if they are socialized right you really shouldn't have to. Supposedly it does not hurt to be picked up by the tail....but I don't see how it feel good. Rats are very bright (and grossly underestimated as a pet) and they can bond well once a good trust is intact.
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Mar 14, 2010
I had an albino rat-a wonderful pet to have. If you want to make sure you don't get any extras (i.e., babies), make sure you get a male. Don't use cedar shavings (my poor rat ended up getting a tumor & losing some of his fur-we found out, too late, that it was from the cedar) & don't feed them corn (my rat also gained a ton of weight from eating corn in those rodent seed mixes-they can't really lose that weight, especially since they're not wild rats). Of course, if you get an albino rat, make sure he/she isn't exposed to sunlight. We had this rat when I was a teen & we went by what my mom said, since she grew up having all kinds of animals. Unfortunately, none of them were rats or even albino (she really only was right when it came to getting a male instead of a female)...I miss Binky terribly & wish we knew better, so he would've had a healthier, happier life. Please don't make the same mistakes we did...I still feel so guilty that we were so ignorant.
Nancy & Jillian make wonderful points! Just a warning, Binky used to "mark" people if he liked them-meaning he peed on them once (usually while crawling on their neck)...your rat might do the same thing.
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