Rats are intelligent and industrious animals that are usually considered as pests.
However, of late they are increasingly being accepted as pets. Though rats have always been seen as pests, they are popular as pets because they can be tamed easily and are very easy to care for. They do not need much maintenance, which also makes them a popular choice for people who live in small spaces and do not have the time or money to indulge their pets. However, before you decide to adopt one into your home, it is important to known about pet rats.
The average life span of rat is about 3 years.
It grows about 9-10 inches in length and is mostly active at night. The male rats are called bucks and the female ones are known as does. Rat babies are known as pups or kittens. They are highly social animals and love to be with others of their kind.
Rats grow very rapidly and their biology is such that they breed many times, producing lots of offspring. It is therefore advised that the males and females should be separated as soon as the rats reach puberty, which they do in about 6-8 weeks after being born.
A female rat is in heat every fourth day and may keep agitated. During this period especially, she should be kept away from other male rats. If you are planning to breed rats, do it carefully because rats may breed uncontrollably and then even your pet rat may seem a pest.
There are many different varieties and breeds of rats which can be distinguished from each other by the markings and the skin. Some rats are hairless and there are others that have fur. There are also rats which do not have tails. Rats, though low maintenance, require a fair amount of attention. It is important to care for rats and give them plenty of exercise. If you keep them in a cage, they may need some outside time too.
Rats love to be kept in pairs but to avoid unwanted breeding they should be kept in same sex pairs. Male rats may have a tendency to fight with each other but if they are introduced to each other at a young age or if they are littermates, there may not be much of a problem. They need to be handled from a young age otherwise they may become a little difficult to tame. Pet rat training is not very difficult and they are relatively easier to tame.
Rats are pretty curious and love to explore. If you have let them out of their cages, you should keep an eye on them. For feeding pet rats, you can get rat food or simply give them whole grains. They have sharp teeth and enjoy eating solid food.