Originally Posted by Zouave
Rats have somewhat shorter lives, are more prone to cancer, bond with the human more, and some compare them to small dogs in how they act - being social they may look at the human as the Head Rat and food giver.
Actually, from what I've read, rats have the longest life span from the 4 common small rodents (mice, hamsters, gerbils and rats). Average of 5 years, while syrian and gerbil average is 2-3 and mice average 1-1.5 years.
I've never had rats, but I would really like to have some. As Amethystbelle, I doubt that I'll stop having hamsters (or gerbils or mice) cause even many people can't tell the difference, they are all very different, have different personalities, different behaviors and I think they are all cute in their own way (gerbils big almond eyes, mice big round ears and hamsters "fat" squished body are their cutest features IMO).
Are you having problems with your hamster? Feeling dissapointed by it? Why? Is not as tame as you wish? If so, then you need more patience with it. Not all animals (individuals, not species) get confidence in their human at the same time. I have a hamster that is a biter, I've had her for over a year, and she hasn't calmed down. There'n no way of holding her, while the other hamster I got with her, at the same time, in the same place is the sweetest hamster ever and I never had a problem holding him. He even does a dance in the cage when he sees me, to call my attention so I pick him up. If you do not have patience with hamsters, probably would have some problems with rats too, even though, from what I've read, they are more easily tamed than hamsters, still need you to work with them and not all get tame at the same rate, and you'll get the odd rat that is fearfull and give you a hard time.