Choosing a pet rat is a fun and exciting proposition. But you should do yourself a favor, and make sure that you do some homework before hand, to make sure you’re not getting a sick rat, or a rat that won’t easily adjust to you. I’ll discuss how to choose your rat, signs of a healthy rat, and the ever prominent issue of adoption. Soon, you’ll be able to make a wise decision when it comes to your new babies.
Choosing Your Pet Rats
Yes, that says “rats”. Not rat. Unless you already have rats at home, you must always get rats in pairs. Rats are social creatures, and need companionship from other rats. Never get rats from a pet store that houses males and females together. That way you don’t have a surprise a couple weeks later. Either way, choosing a pet rat is fairly simple. Just put your hand in the rat cage, and let one of them come to you. If one wants to climb on your arm, you’ve got a very friendly rat on your hands, and that’s a very good sign for your socialization prospects. If one just lets you pick them up, you’ve got a good friendly rat that is interested in you, and most likely willing to socialize with you without drastic measures. If you have to chase down the rat with your hand, you’re going to have a bit harder a time socializing the rat, but you can still do it, with some ingenuity. It is just usually best to let the rats choose you, rather than the other way around.
There is one tell-tale sign that a rat is unhealthy. But you need to sit there and observe for a while before you can know if any of the rats in a cage are exhibiting that sign. Healthy rats are always cleaning themselves. If there are rats in a cage that do not clean themselves regularly (rats clean at least five to six times a day, usually much more), those rats are likely not in good health.
If adoption is possible in your area, you should always see if those rats are an option for you. Otherwise, they’re likely to be fed to a snake or something. However, in our area, there were no rats available at all when we went looking for our babies. None at the pet store adoption area, none at the animal hospitals, just none. When you have to get your rats at a pet store, make sure that they have been handled properly and daily at the store. Rats at some pet stores are grown to be fed to snakes, and so, aren’t often socialized from birth properly, and tend to be a bit more fearful of humans. It’s perfectly okay to pick one of those out as your new pet (it’ll certainly save it from being eaten by a snake), but remember that socializing the rat will be a lot more difficult than with a friendly rat.
So now that you have some basic guidelines for how to chose a pet rat, you should be able to make a good choice depending upon your needs and the local supply. Just remember that the best rule is to let the rats chose you. Go on, you won’t regret it, even if it’s not the coloration you’re looking for, a friendly rat in a different color is much nicer to have as a pet than a beautiful rat that is not friendly toward you.