Despite being a rodent that dislikes many people, the truth is that more and more people are encouraged to have a rat as a pet. And it is that these little animals, with very bad reputation throughout history, are actually very clean, affectionate, fun and very intelligent.
If you are looking to raise a rat as a pet, you need to consider some very important aspects for its care; Therefore, from this space dedicated to animals, we tell you everything you need to know to take care of this helpless animal.
The raising of rats
Sociable and very active, rats usually live in community when they are in their wild state. Several studies agree that life alone is not going well, so much so that they can feel very lonely and depressed if this happens.
Due to their gregarious nature, the first recommendation for their care is that they be related to others of the same species. Thus, it is ideal that, at least, they are raised in the same sex couple, making sure that it is never a male with a female.
With the right company, the rats will be very cheerful and playful. They are animals that like to live in burrows. They usually climb, run and jump. That is why the ideal for them is to accommodate them in a vertical cage.
It is advisable that the cage is made of bars and not glass and that it is decorated with toys, tunnels and hammocks. The ideal location for the cage is a quiet environment of the house, away from the cold and drafts.
It is usual for the first days to notice some distrust in their behavior; little by little they will be releasing and identifying their owner. To shorten this period, it is convenient to facilitate the process of adaptation gradually.
Hygiene and feeding of rats in the home
Like cats, rats spend much of the day grooming. Therefore, it is not necessary to bathe them very frequently, it will be enough to do it at certain times, when they are very dirty. At the time of bathing, you can use a small container with warm water and neutral soap.
To meet their needs, rats tend to choose areas far from where they play, eat and sleep. It is advisable to use a corner with special substrate in order to facilitate hygiene.
It is necessary to keep the area they inhabit in good hygiene. Therefore, remove the remains of feces and food every day and perform a deep cleaning of your cage at least once a week.
You should know that the digestion of rats is very short, which is why they eat few amounts of food many times a day. In that sense, it is advisable to have small doses of food at your disposal at all times.
Their diet is based on vegetables and fruits. You can prepare homemade portions of chard, cooked artichoke, raw rice, squash, coconut, asparagus, spinach, strawberry, green beans, carrot, apple, melon, papaya, cucumber and pear.
Other fruits such as pineapple, banana, watermelon, tomato and grape are also well assimilated. Occasionally, they can consume nuts, beets, coriander, celery or hazelnut.
You should keep in mind that rats do not tolerate certain foods such as raw artichoke, sugar, sweet potatoes, eggplant, coffee, onions, plums, parsley, radishes, cabbage, figs, mango, kiwi , cassava and citrus fruits.
In the market there are some feed for rodents that could well be used to feed rats. However, it is necessary to consult with the veterinarian about which of them is the most recommended for them.
Although rats love cheese, it is advisable to limit their consumption because it can cause obesity. You should also take care that they do not consume trash remains as they can affect their health.
They should always have clean, fresh water available.
Common health problems in rats
There are some symptoms that can alert you to health problems in rats, so we recommend that you pay attention to their behavior. Some of the most common symptoms are:
Lumps or other bumps on the skin.
Irritation, inflammation, redness or peeling.
Constant itching, do not stop scratching.
In case you notice some of these symptoms in rats, you should take them to the veterinary clinic for a thorough review. Some species of these animals are more likely than others to get lethal diseases, with cancer being one of the most common diseases they suffer.
Issues to consider when raising rats
There are some aspects to consider to get these rodents quality of life at home:
Make sure they have a cage wide enough so that they can circulate freely; at least 50cm long, although this depends on the number of rats to breed.
It is advisable to place special toys for rodents in their cage, in order to keep them active and entertaining.
The wood chip is ideal to place at the bottom of the cage, however, there are some types of wood such as pine or cedar that, when in contact with the animal’s urine, give off toxic substances for rats.
Taking these considerations into account, you can easily raise a rat as a pet, guaranteeing its good health and happiness.
Do not hesitate to take it to the specialized veterinarian when you suspect the presence of a disease or pathology, remember that these small animals are very sensitive and can develop health problems at any time.