Also, when you look for a pet rat, try not to get one that sways back and forth as it stands in one spot. I find that it's a sign of timidness and that doesn't make for a cuddly friend.
Just to clear this up, this is not a sign of timidness in rats. Rats do this because they have poor vision and are tying to focus on something. If youare decideing to get a rat as a pet there are a bunch of things you must consider first. Rats are very social creatures and thrive on human attention. You need to spend a lot of time with your pet to make sure he is happy, although no amount of human attention can replace the attention of another rat. Rats needs to be kept together. It it recommended that they be kept in same sex pairs. They need a big cage. A ten gallon aquarium is just too small. I have my rats in Martins cages. You can do a search for these cages online. Just type in Martins cages. Most breeders use and recommend them. If this will be your first rat you ned to do research first. I would suggest getting your rats from a breeder. THis way you know the background your rat came from. Whether it has ever had a respiratory infection or carries Myco, has family that has had tumors etc. Also rats that come from breeders are well socialized. They pick them up the first day they are born.
Contrary to what petshops say you must not keep you rats on cedar or pine! These are known to cause respiratory infectins, allergies and someimes death! ANother reason you should not buy from the petstore is because most of the rats there are bred in inhumane cnditions for snake food. These animals are not socialized and are usually very malnutritioned and infested with mites, lice and often carry viral illnesses such as SDA and Myco. Most petshop rats die within a few days after going to their new homes. If you do go to the petstore to purchase you rat here ae some things to watch out for. First look for a rat who is interested in you, onw who comes up to the cage to investigate. These are usually social rats. However sometimes you ill get a rat who will act interested but as soon as you open the cage will run away. Try to hold the rat if possible. If it is jumpy and trys to run choose another. If the rat lets you hold him close to your ear ans listen for any clicking or rasping sounds, which is a sign of illness. If you see any red discharge from the eyes or nose this is also a sign of illness. This is also caused by stress but I would not take any chances.
Rats need a balanced diet. Most commercial rat food is just not exceptible. Rats need to be fed either lab blocks or a well balanced dog kibble such as Innova light or Nutros Natural Choice light. Too much protein in the diet can cause scabs on the skin. Pregnant lactating and growin kittens need more protein though. I also feed my rats a grain mix as a supplement to the lab blocks or kibble. It has spiral vegetable past, puffed wheat or Kashi, puffed rice, otameal, split peas, dried fruits such as banana, mango and cranberries. I also add sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to the mix. I also give them fresh fruits such as watermelon, pears, grapes and fresh veggies like cucumber, broccli, carrots and squash. If it is hot out I fill a bowl of water with frozen peas and let them play a ratty version of "Bobbing for apples'. I also give the following treats: dog biscutes, chicken bones, porkshop bones, leftover salad fixings, cereal, and other htings. Do not feed sticky things like taffy, peanut butter etc as rats have a porr gag reflex and can easily choke. They also do not vomit. This is why poisons work so well. Well I am going on and on so I will stop now, hope this helps. If you have any more ?s just email me at [email protected]