Did you know that pet rats make such wonderful companions that they even have their own holiday? World Rat Day occurs every year in April, and we want to take this moment today to introduce to you one of the best kept secrets in the world of exotic companion mammals – rats!
Rats have gotten a bad reputation in the past over fear and misunderstanding, but we want to assure you – these little guys make wonderful pets! The first thing most people think about when we say the word “rat” is pests and sewer rats. However, we hope that this introduction can change that connotation in your mind!
Rats are very human oriented and love being around people, young and old alike. I have owned rats for decades and ran a rat rescue, and I highly recommend them as one of the best pets for younger children because of how much pet rats enjoy interaction with people. Rats eagerly wait for you by the cage door each day, and they will rush to play! Studies have shown that rats even laugh when you tickle them!
Rats have been kept as pets since the 19th century. They enjoy large cages with multiple levels, hammocks, tubes, and toys to engage their minds. They should be kept in same sex pairs since they also are extremely dependent upon companionship.
If you wish to have males and females, Belle Mead Animal Hospital recommends spaying your females before the age of 6 months, which also helps to prevent mammary tumors, one of the most common ailments rats can get. Rats can be very prolific reproducers – we have spayed and neutered hundreds of rats, and they do wonderfully after surgery!
Rats are easily trained and enjoy working for rewards. Check out this video of rats performing tricks! Watch now ► Awesome Amazing Rat Tricks
They are incredibly smart. Remember all the mazes rats and mice would work through to get to the cheese? There’s really something to this!
Rats are simply wonderful animals! If you are interested in bringing some into your household, please contact us at Belle Mead Animal Hospital. We can recommend some great local rescues where you can find the perfect rat – but we have to say, we think all rats are pretty perfect!
Happy World Rat Day!
Kim Somjen, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital