How To Look After Rats
Rats have a very bad reputation for spreading germs and disease. Whilst this is true of wild rats, domesticated rats are the exact opposite. Domesticated rats are very friendly, intelligent and above all, clean. They enjoy human company and love to be held. Caring for rats is very easy and they make an ideal pet. This guide outlines how to go about looking after rats.
Caring For Rats
- Rats are larger than other rodents and will require a cage that measures at least two feet in all directions (W x L x H). Some people use aquariums instead of wire cages, if possible, you should be looking after rats in a wire cage as it is healthier for the animal. Rats are very intelligent so you need to make sure the cage has a latch that can’t be opened by the animal.
- When you are caring for rats, they need to be provided with good bedding, recycled and shredded paper is very good for this, as is straw.
- When it comes to rat food, you need to choose the correct type. Things such as fresh fruits and vegetables are good in small amounts. Things such as grapes, strawberries, apples and carrots make good treats, as does cooked pasta and cheese. When looking after rats, the large majority of their food should consist of specialist rat pellets and the rest should just be treats. It goes without saying that a water bottle with lots of fresh water is a necessity when caring for rats.
- Rats thrive on human attention and you should aim to take the rat out of it’s cage and play with it for at least an hour a day. The cage itself should be cleaned twice a week. Rats should be held in such a way that you support their bottom and their back, letting him walk on your shoulder is a good fun for him.
- Rats are intelligent animals and need to be kept stimulated; putting toys into the rat’s cage will keep it entertained. Things such as cardboard loo roll holders or cardboard boxes are good things for them to chew on. All rodents need to gnaw their teeth down so put some wooden blocks into the cage to allow them to do this.
- Keeping them entertained is a vital part of looking after rats, rotating the toys is a good way of stopping them from getting bored, as is putting more complicated toys such as tunnels, ropes, platforms and swings into the cage.
- Rats love to explore (and chew) their surroundings so bear this in mind if you let it out of the cage. When caring for rats, if you notice any change in the animals’ behaviour, call a vet. The average life expectancy for a rat is between two and four years.
- Females can be kept together at any time with no problems, two males will fight. If you keep males and females together, make sure the female is spayed otherwise you have lots and lots of baby rats to re-home.
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