Rats like most rodents are relatively short lived, life span averaging 2 to 3 years. Body length is 21-27 cms(9-11 inches) with their tail a further 14-21cm (7-9 inches). They are nocturnal so will be greatly more busy during the night. Curiously, the male is referred to as a buck, the female a doe(just like deer), babies are referred to as either pups, or kittens(as in dogs, and cats). They are very social, and do much better if a group is kept. Best to have a group of females, unless you wish to start a plague. A group of males is also fine, but best if the are littermates, or bought at the same time, very young.

In times of plenty(and life in a cage for a rat mimics this) rats will breed every 2 months or so. Rats reach puberty 6-8 weeks from birth so make sure if your rats do have a litter, that the pups/kitts are sexed and separated before this age. Females are not constantly fertile, but go on heat for around 24 hours every 4-5 days and may appear restless, or agitated during this period. rats come in a wide range of colours and varieties, including standard, smooth – even rex/hairless and sans tail!

Rats make wonderful pets, are intelligent and easily tamed. They are simple to care for, but are not really low maintenance pets. They do best with at least an hour outside their cage daily. Unlike with Hamsters, almost all rats are easy to handle whether they are kept in groups or not. They are very curious, and some owners compare them to a companion animal such as a dog… taking them everywhere with them.

Generally speaking, male rats are like male lions. Larger then the female, more aggressive but lazier and less active. Females are smaller, but busier and more playful.

Sourcing a Pet Rat

Pets Stores – Buying a rat from a pet store is the most common way to acquire a rat, but if you choose this method talk with the sales staff and make sure they understand about rats. Ask if the rats have been handled and ask for a demonstration. If no-one in the pet shop is prepared to pick up a rat for you – this is a sign to about face. Check that the rats are clean and bedding is not urine and poo stained.

Breeders – ratteries: – IN most cases, you can expect a breeder to have taken care of all the issues above. The rats will not be the result of accidental or random couplings, they will have bred for type, health and temperament. they will have been well cared for, and this is also perhaps the only way to get a rat with a pedigree.

Rat Shelters: consider rescuing a rat in need of a home but be careful. Some rats end up in shelters due to aggression. Carefully check a rat rescue rat for both over timidity or aggression. The latter should be avoided, as much as it would be wonderful to take on such an animal, I would recommend only an expert rat handler do this.

In all cases, look for a healthy, alert, curious but not aggressive, well socialised rat. If purchasing an adult rat, try and determine how much it has been handled. Visit the rattery / pet shop in the late afternoon, when rats are more active. Look for a well rounded bodied rat, with clear eyes, nose and rear end. Make sure your potential rat buddy has no skin diseases such as red and flaky skin, an is not panting(rat respiratory disease is fairly common). Look for a wet mouth, or drool, which would indicate their incisors are not properly aligned which will lead to problems later one(rat teeth as with all rodents, continually grow)

Ideally, your new rat will effectively choose YOU by coming up to your hand and showing a desire to be with you.

Agouti Rats


Agouti rats are an interesting variety of rat which look just like your wild rats but in fact, are different. At first look, its coat appears to be similar to a wild rat and as a result, Agouti rats have been quite hard to identify, especially for inexper

Agouti Rats2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Baby Rats


Baby rats, also known as kittens, pups or puppies, are one of the most adorable creatures that you can have as pets. However, they are not so easy to care for as baby rats require a lot of attention & assistance, especially if they are without a mothe

Baby Rats2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Capped Rats


Capped Rats are a variety of rats that are quite popular among hobbyists and breeders alike. With a distinct marking on their faces only, capped rats are quite common in rat shows as you will notice if you?re a regular to one. The best part of owning capp

Capped Rats2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Fancy Rats


Fancy rats are unlike your normal rats that you see in pet stores and with breeders. However, the fancy rat is the most popular type of rat that is kept as a pet. There are a number of characteristics that differentiate a fancy rat from a regular wild rat

Fancy Rats2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Hairless Rats


Hairless rats are a particular breed of rat which do not have hair or a coat on their body. Also known as Sphinx Rats, these hairless rats are genetically nude and therefore, have nothing unnatural about them. Today, hairless rats are extremely popular am

Hairless Rats2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Hooded Rats


Hooded Rats are a distinct breed of marked rats that are immensely popular due to their unique markings. A number of breeders and owners have been known to possess this adorable breed of rat that looks like no other. Hooded rats are quite distinct in that

Hooded Rats2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Irish Rats as Pets


Irish Pet Rats are similar in appearance to the moon bear rats when viewing the markings that they carry on their bodies with some slight differences. The moon bear rat that has a

Irish Rats as Pets2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Masked Rats


Masked rats are a wonderful variation to the normal rat and are a part of the family called fancy rats. They are incredible creatures that have a distinct marking on their face which gives them the appearance of wearing a mask(thus their name), which diff

Masked Rats2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Pet Rat Body Type


Pet rat body types are a small but distinct classification of pet rats. Despite being a very minute differentiating factor for pet rats, the pet rat body type is a significant factor mainly because of the influence the body shape has on the appearance of

Pet Rat Body Type2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Pet Rat Cages


Pet rat cages are the standard type of housing that is available for pet rats. While there isn't much in terms of choice of interiors, pet rat cages come in a number of shapes and sizes and of course, the material from which they are made. To the right pe

Pet Rat Cages2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Pet Rat Care


Pet rat care is a wonderful hobby for those looking for a manageable pet. However, just because they are small creatures, it should not be assumed that pet rat care is easy. As with care for any other pet, pet rat care also requires a bit of learning and

Pet Rat Care2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Pet Rat Coat Types


Pet rat coat types are an interesting way of distinguishing between pet rats varieties. Although it requires you to pick each rat up to see what pet rat coat type they have, there are distinct behavioural patterns that depend on the type of rat it is. Alt

Pet Rat Coat Types2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Pet Rat Colouring


Pet rat colouring is a major distinguishing feature that allows you to differentiate between various species of rats. Many times, when picking a rat from a pet shop or from a breeder, it is the pet rat colouring that sets the first impression on the custo

Pet Rat Colouring2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Pet Rat Food


Pet rat food, as in the case of human food, needs to be nutritional and healthy. The ideal pet rat food is not just tasty for the rat, but also gives it the vital nutrients and energy that it requires to get through eat day of its life. Rats tend to love

Pet Rat Food2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Pet Rat Health


Pet rat health care is extremely important if you are planning on keeping pet rats. Rats are small but sturdy creatures and it is extremely important for them to be in good condition and thus, pet rat health is of utmost importance as these tiny creatures

Pet Rat Health2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Pet Rat Markings


Pet rat markings have been a unique way of distinguishing between various species of rats over the years. These pet rat markings have been the result of selective breeding as well as nature's handiwork. Today, many hobbyists have taken to rearing or breed

Pet Rat Markings2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Pet Rat Risks


Pet rat risk is an issue that needs to be dealt with as people tend to associate a number of diseases and bad things to rats. However to understand the true pet rat risks, we need to know more about rats and understand exactly what they are and how they l

Pet Rat Risks2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Pet Rat Selective Breeding


Pet rat selective breeding is a popular form of breeding followed by a number of breeders who are looking at particular breeds only. Although pet rat selective breeding is a scientific method, there are many positives and negatives to this form of breedin

Pet Rat Selective Breeding2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Pet Rat Varieties


Pet rat varieties have fascinated us over the years and for many, it has been quite a revelation to find out that there are in fact so many pet rat varieties which we did not probably know of. Differentiation of pet rat varieties has been carried out over

Pet Rat Varieties2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00