I posted this article about 2 years ago. It went down however by my new start and me the topic is very close to the heart. Therefore it goes online revised again. Rats are a big part of my life and are often misunderstood. Also in the future there will be one or the other contribution about rats.
The classic. As a rat owner you want to defend your noses right away. How can you find the sweeties disgusting? But after so many years, you don’t accept that all people like rats. However, in terms of hygiene you have to distinguish the rats that live outside from those that are kept as pets. Rats that live outdoors naturally come into contact with more dirt and bacteria. Pet rats are also not free of it (like all of us are not!), but they do not come into contact with much that is said about them. In general rats are very clean and clean animals. An extensive wash can take up to 10-15 minutes. In addition there is the time when rats have to clean their owner’s hand again. Pooh what a job.
If only it weren’t for the naked tail
A rat’s tail is not naked! There are short but thick hairs on it. The color of the hairs is usually quite bright, can vary however depending upon fur color. Whether this is also the case with naked rats (Sphynx rats), I am not quite sure. There are also rats (Manx rats) which are born without a tail. The tail has very important functions for rats. Rats regulate a large part of their body temperature via their tail and use it to keep their balance when climbing or balancing.
But rats only live so short and often die of cancer
A point I must agree with in part. Compared to many other pets, rats have a short lifespan of 2 years on average. In the meantime there are rats that can live 3-4 years. My manni has become e.g. 2 1/2 years old, exactly the same as Hubert. My Remy became even 3 years old. The problem with tumors still exists. I am not a veterinarian myself, but my veterinarian explained to me that not all tumours are cancer. 20 years ago when rats were even more associated with laboratory rats, this was a much bigger issue. With my rats, however, I have been lucky for the past 6 years. The last tumor patient was Flo. Unfortunately he was already too old and the growth progressed too fast, so that he had to be put down in the end. It is important that you go to a vet as soon as possible if you notice an unusual curvature in your rat. In many cases you can then still operate and the rat can continue to live normally. Therefore it is also important to palpate rats regularly. This is best combined with crawling or during playtime.
Who keeps rats?
Meanwhile more and more and that’s great. Instagram offers a great platform to interact with other rat owners from all over the world as well as forums or Facebook groups. If you’re looking for absolutely cute rat pictures at Instagram, you can try out these hashtags.
#rat #rats #ratgram #ratagram #petsofinstagram #petsoninstagram #petrat #pets #instapet #ratten #ratte #cuterat #ratcommunity #rattieheart #rodent #rodentofinstagram #ratty #ratsofinstagram #crazyratlady #crazyratpeople
There are lots of accounts about and by rats. My 3 noses also have their own account: @ratslittlepaws
You can teach other animals a few tricks.
Rats are super intelligent. They learn tricks as fast as dogs and they care about other rats as well. Teaching tricks to rats is very helpful. They must be busy otherwise they atrophy and become depressed. Mine are in the process of learning a few, but they may not feel like it. And if rats don’t feel like doing something, then they don’t participate either. Rats can be really thick skulls. That one gets to feel also if rats e.g. with the run something may not and it tries again and again. But pay attention, only because it looks as if she would give up, she doesn’t necessarily do it. She just waits for an inattentive moment of her guards and suddenly Rattchen jumped over the barrier. If you don’t have much experience teaching rats tricks yourself, you can also use intelligence toys like this Trixie Intelligenzspielzeug Dog Activity Flip Board . It’s actually meant for dogs, but I’ve seen a lot of rats having fun with it (see instagram). Also mine are just about to explore it, with first successes.
Rats are laboratory animals after all
Rats still haven’t disappeared from the lab. According to the EU Cosmetics Directive, since March 2013 no cosmetics whose ingredients have been tested on animals anywhere in the world may be sold in the EU. However, companies often turn to other countries to circumvent these directives. Also in the medicine rat and other rodents are not to be excluded. As a rat owner, we hope that other possibilities will finally be found so that animals no longer have to suffer. But there are also studies about and for rats and therefore about their behaviour. Researchers found out that rats can laugh and help other rats when they are in an emergency. Also research for the veterinary medicine is carried always further priority. Anesthesia was for a rat 20 years ago still a much larger risk compared to today. Unfortunately I had to experience this myself with my first rat Sunny. Grisu (2012) and Manni (2014) survived their anaesthesia without any consequences. I link you here a few press reports to different studies.
Rats are cheap pets.
Rats cost like any other pet. It is also important to keep at least 2 rats, as rats are herd animals, need other species and man is not a substitute! Of course both must live in a sufficiently large cage which should be at least 100cm x 60cm x 180cm. On these websites you can calculate how big the cage has to be or/and how many rats you can keep in one cage: cagecalc.de & myratfriends.com. The latter is my absolute favorite and a great site with lots of information about and from rats. As you can see, this website is in English and the unit of measurement is in inches. On Google you can easily convert cm to inch for the Cage Calculator.
Other costs are food, toys, beds, cottages, bowls, water bottles, etc. If you buy rats first, you should provide at least as many cottages or places to sleep as rats and of course have bowls and one or two water bottles. It is normal that something is added or replaced bit by bit. As for the bedding, you have to find out for yourself what you like best. If you have a tight budget, you can of course use the conventional litter which you also get at DM or Rossmann. In the meantime I switched to a combination of Carefresh Ultra 10l, MultiFit Nagerteppich & Petlife SafeBed Wolle Papiereinstreu. The reason was mainly an allergic reaction from Coco. For the mezzanine floor I’m still searching, but will probably test this method (Alternative Bedding: Underpads). Of course there is a lot to consider when it comes to food and it would go beyond the scope of this article, but it is important that rats always have access to dry as well as fresh food and water. Another cost that can explode is visits to the vet. A visit with 2 rats can easily cost 25 Euro and an operation around 100 Euro or more. Of course you can be lucky and rats never get sick, but you should put something back every month. There can always be an emergency and you don’t want to experience that you can’t help the little worm because the money is missing. I also advise that even if everything is ok with the rat, to go with her to the doctor when she is 2 years old. To check through and possibly there are then also times a few vitamin and Co. Rats vaccinate against it is not necessary. At least I haven’t experienced this in 20 years and mine are not outside except for short transports in the box. Rats cost therefore nevertheless more than one thinks. However one has in one month times more or less costs. It is often cheaper to order litter and food on the internet and sometimes you can buy fresh food from your own food. Rats love vegetables and fruit but sometimes a few mealworms (dried) are also not bad. Rats are not vegetarians, but you shouldn’t put a steak in front of them.
So you see that rats are not as dark animals as they are often portrayed. Rats don’t beep all the time, as they are often shown in movies. They only beep if you hurt them, if they are involved in a rat fight or if they just bitch and don’t want to. Maybe I will post another post on the subject of prejudices against rats if I can think of more points.
P.S.: The rats are also on their way on Pinterest. Here you can have a look at my board.
This post is also available in: Deutsch