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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-18-2004, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Question I'm new to the rat world, have a few basic Qs

Hello everyone!

I've recently been looking to get a new pet, and my love of ferrets has evolved into a newfound interest in pet rats. I have not bought any yet, but are hoping to do so soon. In the meantime, I was hoping some of you veteran rat owners could answer a few questions for me. Please bear with me if they seem silly or overly basic, but like I said, this is a brand new subject for me...

1)I would like to have strictly females...is there an ideal number of females to have in one home? I was thinking 2-3, but wasn't sure if there were any advantages to any particular number in a group.

2)Is there a variety of rat that makes a better pet? I'm not much for looks, I just want rats that are friendly and sociable by nature.

3)What makes a better home, a wire cage or a glass/acrylic tank? Can you use one of those multi-level ferret type of cages? I want them to have the best home my budget can afford---somewhere in the 40-70 dollar range, if possible.

4)I don't want my rats to have the run of the house when they are out for exercise; so, what is the best way to create a safe space that is large enough for them to exercise? Do the ferret fences (the little strips of fencing that make an enclosed play area) make an appropriately sized play area for rats?

5)I'm scared of buying rats from a pet store---is this a valid fear, or are all of the pet store horror stories true? I've started to contact breeders in my area because I think I'd find better quality rats from them, but haven't gotten any responses yet. Generally speaking, how much does a rat cost from a breeder? I know it depends on breed/area/reputation, but I was just wondering on average how much they run.


Thanks so much for any help you can offer. I am really excited about becoming a rat owner, as well as getting to know you all better!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-19-2004, 10:18 AM
Romping Ratties
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1)I would like to have strictly females...is there an ideal number of females to have in one home? I was thinking 2-3, but wasn't sure if there were any advantages to any particular number in a group.

I currently have 6 females housed together with no problem, although they do need a lot more space such as a Martins cage if you plan to keep that many. I actually recommend the biggest cage possible even if you only have two or three. That is a perfect group in my opinion, as if one gets old and dies you still have another there to keep the other company. Congrats on chosing a same sex pair! 3 rats is not much more work than having 2, so that should be fine.


2)Is there a variety of rat that makes a better pet? I'm not much for looks, I just want rats that are friendly and sociable by nature.

All rats, no matter if dumbo eared, or standard eared, agouti or Russian blue if raised in the right environment will all make great pets. Males tend to be more laid back, whereas does are more hyper and like to explore more. Some people think Dumbo's are more friendly but it's just a misconception. I think some of it might have to do with people thinking they are cuter, therefor they spend time with the animal making it friendlier etc. But all ratties are the same. There can be agressive dumbos as well as agressive standards. It's all on how the individual animal was bred and how stable the line was.

3)What makes a better home, a wire cage or a glass/acrylic tank? Can you use one of those multi-level ferret type of cages? I want them to have the best home my budget can afford---somewhere in the 40-70 dollar range, if possible.

I do not prefer to house rats in tanks as they get dirty fairly easy and amonia buildup can scar the lungs making it harder to breath and causing complications with Myco. You would also need a very large tank if you plan on getting three girls. I like and prefer wire cages as you can add more toys to the cage, such as parrot toys and hammocks, which you cannot add to a tank. You can check out www.qualitycage.com as well as www.Martinscages.com Martins cages while they are not cages I prefer (I like things sturdier) they are great cages for rats. For 70 dollars you can get a nice small setup perfect for three ratties. I don't recommend the ferret cages sold in stores as the bar spacing is too wide and can set your rat up for possible injury down the road. The bar spacing should be no more than 1/2 inch, preferably 1/4 if at all possible. Whatever you do make sure they have lots of toys. Hammocks, igloos, safe parrot toys, manzania perches and ferret/cat toys all make excellent toys for rats and helps keep their mind stimulated. They also like cheap toys too, so don't throw out your used cardboard boxes. They also like larger birds nests too. If you want to get an idea of how my rats are housed you can visit my thread in this section of Paw Talk entitled "Tons of new pics of my girls" or something like that. You can also visit my websites About Page, and if you scroll down to the bottom you can see pictures of the cages I use or have used in the past so you can get some sort of idea how to set them up.

http://www15.brinkster.com/luckies4me/About_Us.html


4)I don't want my rats to have the run of the house when they are out for exercise; so, what is the best way to create a safe space that is large enough for them to exercise? Do the ferret fences (the little strips of fencing that make an enclosed play area) make an appropriately sized play area for rats?


Well rats need at least an hour worths of play time each day, which can be done in the bathroom or your own bed. I have one free roam rat here who has free roam of my bedroom and crawls back into the cage when he has to go to the bathroom or wants food/water. If you want to create a room for them to play, such as your bedroom I suggest unplugging all cords and winding them around the appliance and keeping them out of the reach of the rat. Close all dressers and closets. If they are social you can let them run around and usually with just a little call they will come running back to you. You may want to start out playing with them on your bed though. Some people prefer the bathroom as they know where their rats are at all times, just make sure there is nothing harmful they can get into and keep all drawers shut to avoid accidents, as well as the toilet. Rats do knaw so you will have to check on them very frequently. They are notorious for stealing articles of clothing, much like ferrets, except they like to chew it. Anything that gets too close to a ratties cage is a gonner. I've lost tons of clothes to them, pillow cages, sheets etc. While those play areas are great, they don't work for rats because rats can jump out of them and they can easily climb up the sides of the play area and escape.

5)I'm scared of buying rats from a pet store---is this a valid fear, or are all of the pet store horror stories true? I've started to contact breeders in my area because I think I'd find better quality rats from them, but haven't gotten any responses yet. Generally speaking, how much does a rat cost from a breeder? I know it depends on breed/area/reputation, but I was just wondering on average how much they run.


Yes, it's a very valid fear. While pet store rats can be social and loving most are not bred with the rats interest in mind, therefor creating rats more prone to tumours, Myco flareups and viruses such as SDA, Sendai etc. Most are not handled from an early age so can be very skittish as well. I would suggest going to a well known breeder in your area or aquiring a rat from a rescue. Have you looked into Kim's Ark Rescue? I believe they are fairly close to you and they also have ratty trains. Rat prices can vary depending on the type of rat you want. Certain colors or traits are going to cost more. Dumbos will be more than standards etc. I sell all my dumbo babies for $25, and my standards for about $15.

Last edited by Romping Ratties; 04-19-2004 at 10:31 AM.
 
post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-19-2004, 10:39 AM
Romping Ratties
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Also if they are housed in a wire cage make sure it has a solid bottom. I also throw in baby blankets as well and corner litter pans for ferrets which they love to sleep in. You may want to offer them a solid running wheel as well. My girls love their wheel and it gives them something to do during the day while you are at work etc.

Make sure they are housed on a safe bedding such as aspen shavings, Carefresh, or hemp. Avoid things such as pine or cedar as they contain toxic phenols which can cause liver cancer as well as respiratory distress.

Food: See here:

http://www15.brinkster.com/luckies4me/feeding.html

Also some rat links they I always find handy:
http://ratguide.com/ - GREAT information on diseases, ailments etc.

Rats Rule Forum- A great place for questions regarding everything ratty.
http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc/index.php

Things to ask BEFORE adopting a rat- As in questions to ask the breeder
http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc/index....;threadid=5732

Kim's Ark Rodent Rescue
http://www.kimsarkrescue.org/

Any other questions just ask away.
 
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aspen shavings, cardboard box, cardboard boxes, litter pan, pet rats, pet store, pet store rats, wire cage, wire cages


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