most people think of rats, they think of those menacing
wild rats. Domestic rats are as different from wild
rats are as dogs from wolves! They are affectionate,
intelligent, loving, and playful. They are also very
smart. You can train a rat almost anything that you
can train your dog to do and chances are the rat will
learn quicker. Rats are very social animals and bond
to people quickly. That is why they make good pets for
children as well as adults.
very rarely bite. They only bite out of fear and not
anger. Occasionally a mother will bite protecting her
babies or fingers that smell like food poked through
the cage. That is why it is important to wash your hands
before handling your pet.
are in the rodent family. Their teeth grow continuously
throughout their lives. Therefore, they need to gnaw
them to keep them worn down. Because of this rats and
mice should not be left to roam around the house.
or Hairless Rats
The hairless, or sphinx, rat has a recessive gene that
makes it almost devoid of any hair. Because they are
hairless, they have special needs compared to it's haired
Housing should be free of any sharp edges or splintering
materials. The hairless rat has no fur to protect it
from getting cuts or scratches.
hairless rat is extremely sensitive to temperature.
They can get cold and get hypothermia and being cold
can cause their immune system to weaken. Be sure to
keep them in a warm place in your home. I provide mine
with cutup blankets that I purchase from Goodwill and
clean up for them. Don't put their cage near any drafts
or near windows where cool air can chill them. In the
winter, I also provide my hairless with a
Zoo Med pad that can be placed under their cage (if
using an aquarium) to keep them warm. I also use it
on especially hot days when I'm running the air conditioner
to keep them warm. You can buy Zoo Med's at any petstore
in the reptile section. Be sure your hairless has a
nesting area. You can use boxes, pvc pipes, oatmeal
rats require a diet higher in protein and fat. This
is because they burn much more off making body heat
than standard rats. Added fat can be added by providing
your hairless with premium dog food, cat food, cooked
chicken, fish, and eggs.
Hairless rats can easily acquire cuts and scratches
and they can easily become infected. Always keep fresh
bedding ( I suggest Carefresh which has no splintering
materials in it),avoid anything in their cage that can
cause cuts and scratches. If your pet does get a cut,
wipe him down with a wet, warm wash cloth and apply
peroxide immediately to avoid infection. Keep a watchful
eye when you hairless is playing with their haired friends.
They don't know to be gentle and may unintentionally
injure your rat. A good cage mate for your hairless
would be another hairless or a really laid back haired
rat. Keep your hairless rat's nails trimmed regularly.
This will avoid them scratching each other. Always keep
a watchful eye as sometimes play can become rough and
injuries can occur.
have found that my hairless are more playful and inquisitive
than other rats. They need special care but with all
the love and kisses you'll receive and stories you could
tell, its well worth it!