Rats actually make very good pets. They are small, easy to care for and feed as well as being eco-friendly and fun.
Rats mostly consume vegetable matter such as grass, seeds or similar but they do need some sort of protein in their diet. Also when it is time to change their bedding you can bury it and in a few weeks and it will have rotted away to fertilize the ground. They can be housed in a simple steel cage that probably will not ever have to be replaced or you can choose to place them in a fish tank with a lid.
Try substituting some of their food with alfalfa pellets from a local feed store. These are usually made locally and there is very little transportation fuel involved. The bag will last for a very long time so no worries about spending gas picking it up. For treats you can give them dried corn or barley from the same store or grass from outside. Be sure to include either a high protein vegetable such as beans or mushrooms or a food sold specially for rats or even eggs to provide them with protein.
During summer, or in warm climates try using grass for bedding. This is very eco-friendly and since rats will pick one spot in the cage to go to the toilet, they can snack on the bedding to. Grass tends to be plentiful in most areas so don’t worry about finding a large enough quantity. This works best if you wait until after mowing the lawn. If there is no grass try using leaves, the smaller the better. Don’t worry about poisonous plants rats like many other animals are hesitant to eat new things and will stop eating if they recognize it as dangerous. Please make sure either grass or leaves are dry before using as bedding. If it is a little damp you can leave it inside overnight spread out over a cover cloth.
If you have a little extra room in your yard or you have room for a few pots, try growing carrots or alfalfa. You can feed these to your rat. They will eat most kinds of vegetables and fruit and it is best to give them a bit of variety so feel free to grow multiple types of vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, corn, etc. They will eat it all.
You can also try saving water by bathing your rat after you get out of the tub. The rats natural oils will deflect any of the dirt you left in the water and since rats can swim quite well they can exercise at the same time.
Also, try taking your rat out every day and letting it run around on the couch rather then having a hamster wheel. This saves on plastic and you have more quality time with your pet. Watch it does not go between the cushions though.
Before buying a rat it is possible to build them a wooden cage rather than going with a steel one. Try modeling it after a birdhouse but leave a bigger door. Buy a few small cabinet hinges and a working lock (rats will escape and wander around on the floor for hours) for the door. Be sure to cut small slits to small for the rat to fit its head through along the top for air.
Brandy Cross, Eco-Friendly Reasons To Own A Pet Rat, Associated Content