Why do rats make good pets-They are so creepy!
I have heard this so many times! Rats are nasty! They have scary tails! They are dirty! None of that is true! Rats are very misunderstood in our society. Rats are actually very clean little animals. They groom themselves constantly and if you give them a clean cage to live in, they will keep their sleeping area clean, choosing to eliminate their waste in another corner of the cage.
From movies to history (black plague) to the vermin problem in all of our cities, people have gotten a bad impression of these amazing little pets. If you have taken the time to ask yourself, “Why do rats make good pets?” Then you have already conquered half the battle. To even consider a rat to be a pet instead of merely vermin is more then most people will ever do in their lifetime.
Rats are the easiest rodent to tame.
Did you know that those cute and fluffy hamsters that most people choose over a rat are ten times more likely to bite you then a rat? It is true! Hamsters can be vicious! They are far more afraid of you then rats are. Actually, rats are the easiest rodent to tame. Rats actually become affectionate with their owners. And rats are smart! They can learn tricks. Well, so can hamsters, but it will take much longer to tame a hamster then a rat. So yeah,
hamsters are fluffy and cute and they do not have “ugly” tails, but having a pet is all about the relationship that you build with your pet. If you are constantly afraid of being bitten, your pet will sense that. If you don’t trust him, he will not trust you. It only takes one bite to start you on that downward road of mistrust. That is where rats are better pets, because they are very curious little fur-persons and their natural curiosity will draw them to you. They will want to get to know you, whereas a hamster (or gerbil, for that matter) will only be thinking about ways to escape from you. And using his teeth will be his first instinct.
Let me tell you about Sassy…
I was in the same frame of mind as most of you at first. I thought hamsters were cute and rats were nasty, until one day my husband brought a rat home from a pet store! I was mortified! He named her Sassy, and boy did she teach me a thing or two about rats! She became so tame, she was kissing my husband on the mouth (yuck) and she road on his shoulder everywhere. She sat on his shoulder while he watched TV.
Her tail bothered me at first, but as I grew to trust her more, and then let her sit on my shoulder, I found myself stroking her tail lovingly. I even grew to love the feel of it as I ran my fingers along it. No, I never let her kiss me, but I grew very attached to our furry little friend.
Here is the thing that will amaze you, she was so smart that eventually we started trusting her out of her cage! She would roam freely around our house. She always snuggled into her cage at night and went to it for food and water, but we never bothered to close the cage door because she loved her cage. It was her home when we were not paying attention to her, but if we walked into the room where her cage was, she would come out to say “Hi.” She always nibbled around, looking for treats, but she NEVER even ONCE bit one of us! I grew to love her. My only regret is that she didn’t live longer.
Rats have short life spans.
Rats only live between 3-4 years. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. In our case, it was sad. I still miss Sassy to this day. She was a wonderful pet. But if you are just starting out with a new pet and don’t want to make a life long commitment to it, a rat is a good choice. If you can’t make a 3-4 year commitment to ANY pet, then maybe a stuffed animal is a better idea!
The good news is, there is a lot of time to love new rats. After Sassy, we adopted Rattagin, Sir-squeeks-a-lot, and Reep-a-cheek into our lives, all of whom became beloved pets.
This brings me to another word of advice. When you are adopting new pets, especially timid ones, it is best to adopt one at a time. This way, the new pet will attach itself to YOU and not to its cage mate. Actually, this applies to almost any animal that you adopt (except maybe dogs, who love humans more that HUMANS love humans!) they will bond better with you if they don’t have anything else to bond to.
Don’t fall into this trap…
This is a mistake that many new owners fall into. They love their pet so much that they want them to have an awesome home. The trouble with this is ALL THE PLACES TO HIDE! You will never tame a pet who lives in THIS home. Just the time alone of finding him, then taking apart the cage to catch him. As he is hiding from you and you are searching for him, he is getting more and more terrified of you.
Also you might care to know that these habbitrails are a nightmare to keep clean! rodents are hoarders and they will hoard their food in these tunnels and it will ferment. then the whole thing needs to be taken apart and cleaned.
Your best bet is to keep the cage simple until you and your new friend has bonded, then you can add new toys and layers to his environment as you grow together.
Rats come in all different colors and varieties.
They are not all gray or black! Domesticated rats come in a multitude of colors and varieties, such as: silky, hooded, and even hairless!
So, think about it a little further…
My point is, domesticated rats are not what their reputation would have you to believe. I suggest that you go to a pet store and ask to hold a rat. You will see that the rats are far more curious and able to be tamed then any other small rodent that they will have for sale. Even the sales rep. will willingly tell you that rats are the best choice if you are starting out with a new small pet.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.