I'm too susceptible to children begging.
July 18, 2011 5:20 PM Subscribe
In a moment of weakness, I agreed to adopt 2 baby rats. What do I need to know that a google search doesn't tell me?
posted by malibustacey9999 to Pets & Animals (33 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
They'll be ready to leave their mother in about 4 weeks apparently (born a week ago). A friend adopted a lonely female rat when they already had a male rat. Now they have 17 baby rats. I don't want 17 baby rats so we'll probably adopt a pair of males.
The male rat has lived with the family for over a year and is still alive, so I'm also following her advice. This is what google and my friend tell me (feel free to tell me google and my friend are wrong):
- I need to get a decent-sized cage (how big?), preferably with different levels and climbing options to keep them entertained, no wire flooring as it can damage their little ratty feet;
- males tend to be more affectionate and mellow than females, and they have less chance of developing health problems like tumours (although spaying also decreases the chance of tumours in both sexes);
- bare minimum of 1 hour playtime/interaction with humans every day;
- eat mostly human-type food within reason (not lots of sugar or fat or artificial junk obviously, but they need protein - meat, rice and vegies are good) and pet-store-bought rat food, and a plentiful supply of fresh water which needs to be changed often because they either paddle or pee in it;
- they like to be in a clean cage, and newspaper can be used as a 'litter box' (a small pile in a corner, or spread all over the base of the cage?)
- they need a very shallow bath or a wipedown with a rat shampoo occasionally to keep them non-stinky.
We don't really have room inside the house for a large cage. Can the cage be kept on the front veranda when they're not interacting with humans (central NSW, Australia, winter right now, temps can drop to -4 Celsius overnight but usually are closer to 0 degrees, in summer we occasionally get 40 Celsius days but probably average low 30's)? If absolutely necessary, I'll find somewhere to keep the cage inside.
And we have a kitty visitor once every day. The neighbours cat meows at the door, comes in and chats with every human, and then leaves. Obviously we won't be letting the cat roam the house when the rats are out of their cage in the house, but are we risking their lives letting the cat near the cage, particularly if the cage is kept outside? Do they get terrified and die of shock, or something equally awful?
Our friend keeps her cage on her veranda, but she lives out of town and has a different climate to us.
Feel free to add anything else I need to know to keep Andy and Ratticus (yes, the kids have already named them) happy and healthy.