If you just want one, then get a mouse, since rats need the company of other rats in order to live longer, happier lives. I've owned both, and I much prefer rats, myself, because they are easier to interact with, and you can train them to do all sorts of tricks. They are a lot like dogs in the sense that they are quite loyal, personable and easily trained, but they are also clean like cats (they are easily litterbox trained, and they clean themselves throughout the day like cats do by licking their fur).
Mice are a bit harder to handle, since they can be quite fast, though if you work with them they are also fun little pets. In my experience, mice smell much stronger than rats, especially males. Do not EVER put more than one male in a cage, because they will likely fight to the death. Females may live together peacefully. Mice are a bit more of a pet that is fun to watch in their environment, and less interactive with the owner.
Hi! I have a mouse and two rats at the moment. For me, both animals are awesome pets. My mouse, Pretzel, is sweet and has never bitten me or tried to run away..he walks over my shoulders and walks around mydesk while i study! My rats are a special case because mine have always been extremely shy and skittish. When i first got my two boys they were very afraid of pretty much everything. They would jump if i moved on the other side of the room! Ive worked with them a lot and have tried to make them comfortable in their home..but for some reason, after about 5 months..they are still scared Mostly of hands and suddon noises and movements..Anyway..sorry getting away from the point..even Though my rats are scared they are the sweetest and have never bit me or tried to..they are sweet espescially when they eat spaghetti They do take up a lot more room then a mouse and need more daily attention. They are all very sweet and lovable!
Rats tend to be more friendly, I find. I have loved my rats. My friend's mice tend to play on and around her, but my rats play with me. Rats need lots more space and they need a cage mate to be happy and healthy. They also need more attention. However, rats are very rewarding. Either way, both make wonderful pets.
Mice and rats are both great pets but like Breyer said, you MUST have at least two rats if you decide to go with rats. If you cannot devote a lot of time (and money, for things like small animal veterinary care) spacious housing, and attention to all the various details of learning how to properly care for rodent pets of any type, then, that is something you need to think about.
The worst thing a person can do is to decide off the top of their head that they want a certain type of pet, without thinking it through, or researching that type of pet thoroughly and considering all the pros and cons, or whether you have a living situation that may change suddenly, a roommate or spouse who might be allergic, landlord policies, etc, and after impulse buying, several months down the road, you end up having to give up your pet to a shelter, etc, and the pet ends up getting the short end of the stick because the person did not plan or learn enough before running off to get a new pet on impulse.
So, I would research, read and learn TONS about mice, and rats, and make a decision on it after you have learned more about them, so you can make a good choice for yourself and especially, for the welfare of the pet and their happiness. :thumbsup:
Mice - females need to be in little groups especially with a wheel, a male should live on his own (they fight other males) but they have a more pungent smel. Male mice are generally more rat-like and sociable than the girls.
Rats - always get a pair of same-sex rats (really learn how to tell the difference so you don't come home with a male and a female), Rats are my choice, but they are not easy. Cheap to buy, but they need good cages, good food, and its a real investment for that just in the beginning. They need mental stimulation and will need to come out with you for an hour minimum a day, and it would be best to rat-proof an area or room fo rthem to run free in.
Big downfall of rats (and mice)? their short lifespans (mice are often shorter overall) and their health. Rats will NEED a rat savvy vet and they can be expensive to treat. Rats are very prone to respiratory infections which can sometimes need a combo of antitiobics to cure. Some rats have weaker immune systems than others and will get sick off and on all their lives. Female rats are prone to large tumours that most of us have surgically removed (or have the females spayed when younger)...males can sometimes become hormonally aggressive once they reach 6-8 months of age, and might require a neuter to become the sweet rats they were before. So a vet fund is paramount.
I would say that if you want an animal you can hold more, I would suggest a pet rat. If you are considering rats, you need to keep AT LEAST two, and you need to have a decent sized cage. Mine are in the bottom half of a Ferret Nation. Lonely rats or rats in cramped cages are not happy rats. Mice should not be in cramped quarters either, but they require far less space than rats, and mice will probably end up being cheaper in the long run. Mice can be trained to be held, but they are a lot harder to keep a hold of than rats.
I agree with breyer08, mice are more for watching and entertainment, while rats are more physically demanding and want time out of their cage. Mine beg me about every few hours to come out.
And as many people said before, you CANNOT get two male mice. They will not get along.
I would say that I recommend a rat. Rats are much more personable then mice, and are more affectionate and easier to teach tricks to
About mice, I've heard this thing about mice over and over again, and I am telling you its a myth.
Fiction: Male mice are better off alone because they will fight
Fiction: You can't introduce 2 males that have never known each other
I owned 3 female mice in the past. R.I.P. to Snowball, Cinnamon, and Shadow. When they passed away I decided to get 2 males to observe the difference between the two sex's. So I purchased my buddies Atlas and Houdini.
Females: Frequently pee'd and defecated on me when held
Males: Rarely pee'd or defecated on me when held
I was saddened when Houdini came down with a respiratory infection that killed him and I was left with the decision to have Atlas live by himself or to try to get him a companion. I did some research on mice and after reading how social they are I decided it would be mean to force him to live a life of solitude. I decided to get another male mouse and introduce the two of them.
I read up on introducing male mice and was surprised how many people warned against it. But Atlas was my buddy and I wanted him to be happy. So I went to the pet store and bought Speedy. I put them both into a neutral cage and watched the interactions between them. No problems there. I washed out Atlas's cage making sure NOT to wash his wheel or his dwelling (so it would smell like him). Then I held my breath as a put both of them into there cage.
No problems at all, Atlas to date has shown no signs of aggression towards Speedy. They co-exist peacefully and have since I put them together they even cuddle up and sleep together. Atlas and Houdini never fought, Atlas and Speedy have never fought.
Please STOP telling people that Male mice need to live solitary lives in order to live peacefully.
Please STOP telling people that two male mice will always fight. This is just not true.....and may subject a social animal to a life sentence of solitary confinement