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Lifestar 01-29-2003 05:19 AM

Considering a new small pet....
 
My daughter has been asking me for a hairless rat. I have been saying "NOOOOOO!!!!":-O

But while at the store buying fish food yesterday, I stopped in to see the varmint, and oh my gosh, I fell in love. :heart:

He really looks a lot like my father, ( minus the glasses and the newspaper) LOL!! :-D

Really, the cutest little creature I have ever seen. I can even learn to ignore the tail...well almost. :(

Does anyone have any advice about aquiring a rat for a pet? I know they are SUPER intelligent. I'm wondering if one alone would be too bored and get into mischief?

Or if two males would become too agressive together, or if you can neuter a female rat... ( No rat-lings, thank you!)

I'm not sure where to go for honest answers. I fear the pet store will paint too "rosy" a picture of rat ownership ...


Val

Crazytrkr 02-01-2003 01:33 PM

Don't know anything about the hairless rats specifically, but I can tell you a little about rats in general. You should not have a boredom issue with just one, as long as your daughter is willing to handle and spend quality playtime with the one.

Never underestimate the intelligence of these creatures. If you have issues about them getting out, make sure and get a secure cage. They are very crafty, and will use both their intelligence, superior to ours in some ways, and their wonderful teeth and nails to get out any way they can.

As far as cleaning goes, their environment can be relatively oderless with upkeep...and food is simple, they sell rat food at places like Agway...bet you never thought anyone WANTED to feed them, eh??? It is a nuggetlike dry food designed to meet their nutritional needs...

They like to burrrow, so sawdust type bedding is good. Plan for toys and such to occupy their everactive little minds when no-one is able to play.

They are easy to train, will learn tricks, and can be quite domestic. I was breeding them for another purpose, which I won't go into as some might object, and had a few who became "pets" and loved to be handled on a regular basis.

timronka 02-01-2003 02:52 PM

rats
 
I have 3 rats (all females). One, named Tilly, we got a little over a year ago. About 6 months ago, I decided that she needed a "little sister" and we went to the pet store to get one. She hated it! She kept latching on with her teeth until the poor little thing screeched and bled :o( We finally decided to get another little girl rat to put in with the new one and doomed Tilly to life in solitary. We have had no problems since. Know that when you clip their little toenails (and they WILL need it *smile*), they are prone to bleeding and there are lots of little blood vessels in their toes. Always keep styptic powder or pads handy to stop the blood. The two babies just love each other and sleep in a little pile. You will need a little nesting box for privacy and we found that an aquarium with a lid works better than the wire cages because of the "urine factor". The urine smell can be quite acrid and it is difficult to remove from a wire cage. They have different personalities that are delightful! Tilly loves to be held and is soooo jealous if you have been holding either of the other two. She shows this by grabbing your shirt in her little paws and holding it to her nose while breathing in very deeply. Also with little ones, be sure that they wash sticky hands before handling the rats as they have poor eyesight and can bite if they mistake a finger for the food that it smells like :o) Good luck!

nmwildcat 02-01-2003 07:00 PM

:-O oooooo I loved our rat, till someone forgot to close the cage! they are smart....loving AND lovable. Smell is not an issue as long as you change the cage every 5-7 days. YOu might also try that great Kitty litter made with the pine pellets that dissolve? its a miracle worker. Rats can be trained to watch TV with you, sit on your shoulder, look in your pockets for snacks.....etc. The like standard pellets, LVOE apple bits, lettuce bits, carrot sticks...etc. You just have to be sure not to give them too much salad. We had our rat in a terrarium built for a tarantula, and it worked out just fine. Overall, they are much smarter and gentler than hamsters and gerbils. Having had a rat, i would never go back to small rodents. Good luck!(())

barbturner 02-02-2003 05:33 AM

re: pet rats
 
Hi! I have 6 male rats...:-P:: Rats really need another rat for companionship, even if your daughter plays with him a lot. Male rats are cuddly, but smell a little more than females. Females are more active and explore more. Male rats can be neutered, but like all small animals, have trouble with anesthetics, and your vet must be familiar with rats for best results. Don't EVER use pine or cedar beddings!! They can cause fatal respiratory allergies in rats...I use Yesterday's News pelleted newspaper bedding; I also found a pelleted aspen bedding at Petco that's cheaper than YN. Aspen shredded bedding can be used, but can have mites in it that make rats itchy, unless you freeze the bedding for a week or so first. Most commercial rat foods have too much corn in them which can cause tumors in rats; best is the Nutro Natural Lite dog food, some sunflower seeds, some bran cereal, some carrot chips, and even a little of whatever you have for dinner...rats can eat everything we do, except for the corn, chocolate, onions, garlic. They especially love pork chop or beef or chicken bones they can gnaw the meat off of. I keep mine in wire cages for better air circulation for the little fuzzbutts. they are easily cleaned with squirt bottles of diluted vinegar and another of baking soda solution every few days. Rats are like little dogs in personality...I love mine to death!
Barb T.(())

jns131 02-02-2003 09:33 AM

Rats and Guinea Pigs
 
Rats and Guinea Pigs are familiar in design. My daughter wants a GP really badly. I'm really hesitant. But from what I am told they need space. I was told to get one of those cubes that attach together, looks like netting? Plus some coroplast to line it with. I was also told no wheel for excercise. It can break their back. I have priced the cubes and KMart has them cheap. The coroplast can be gotten at any art or sign design store. Plus I was also told to stay away from cedar and pine. The stuff isn't good for their little bodies. But I did see organic liner that is about as good as the wood shavings. As for the animal itself? You need to buy one from a reputable dealer. I don't trust Pet Smart or any of those fly by nite businesses. I call them puppy mills. We have a local pet shop where people drop off unwanted pets, the humane society and health inspectors come in and check the animals out. So I trust these people a little more highly then anything else. Good luck. I have links if you need them.
I did finally get ours off the GP kick. We have a neurotic dog and two neurotic fish. I am not sure I want to see what the GP turns out to be. Good luck.

Lifestar 02-02-2003 11:46 AM

Thank you all for your replies. I had a Guinea pig that lived with me all through four years of high school and three years of college. I loved him very much. I think rats would be somewhat different... smarter.

I know that my guinea pig was very smart, and knew when to expect me home, etc. He needed a lot of physical contact, not exercise equipment... he exercised by running up and down my person and around my room. :p

My daughter is still hoping for the rat, but I have told her she needs to show me she can keep her living space "picked up" for a consistant month beore I will consider it.

We shall see.....


Val

susanna 02-02-2003 12:34 PM

Hi
If you can stand another rat reply - my daughter had two female rats a few years ago. We got them together at a pet store when they were "teenagers" I think. They got along well and were great company for each other. My daughter loved them, and handled them, fed them, kept them clean (glass aquarium worked fine, with pine shavings for bedding), built toys and exercise lots for them, used them in a maze-running experiment for school, and just generally had a ball with them. They were smart and loving and docile. They lived about three years and I still miss them.
We are vegetarians, so the rats were too. We fed them table food in addition to the rat chow, and probably shortened their lives with constant gourmet dining.

Rats are clever escape artists, and our darlings soon figured out the way to freedom. They would run around the playroom where their cage was, but the horrible thing was, they made a nest in the loveseat, then proceeded to stock it with food from their cage.
By the time we busted them, the couch was a disgusting mess, fit only to be hauled to the curb, and the carpet had carpet beetles. I nearly died. Ginger and Kimberlee were beloved pets, only doing what they were programmed to do, but do not let your rats have the run of the house !

Lifestar 02-02-2003 03:02 PM

Thank YOu Susanna... Invaluable advice :angel:

sandychamp 02-02-2003 03:29 PM

My son has had 4 pet rats over the past several years. They were delightful little pets we grew very fond of. He had one male rat, then 3 female rats, the last two were a set of sisters. They fought with each other and needed seperate cages! (Normal siblings? :) ) Our first rat lived in a large aquariam which hubby built a "loft" in. We had him only a year or so when he died. Our female friends lived in cages with the plastic bottoms (large hamster cages) and they lived longer. I'm not sure if the better ventilation of the cages had anything to do with the amount of time we had them!

Our rats dined on hamster seed, with occasional "treats" like a small bit of bread, dog kibble, piece of fruit, etc. One single "Fruit Loop was the favorite treat of all! I think rats are probably like hamsters in the diet department...too much fresh produce could cause diarrhea.

Needless to say...we recommend these smart, affectionate little creatures! All four of ours even learned their names! (And they seldom bite)


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