You’ve got to admit that when you were at the pet store those rats were sort of cute. But one as a pet? Can I really do this and is this really a good pet for my child?
Often times small, cute pets are an impulse buy, but they shouldn’t be. Just because something is cuddly and cute is not a very good reason to get it as a pet.
Let’s look at what it means for a rat to be a pet and maybe we can come with a good decision as to what kind of pet a rat would make. You need to take into consideration the safety of the child, the health and safety of the rat, how much care the rat will need and so forth.
Does your child respect animals? Before you bring any pet into the family you need to make sure you children respect animals.
In order to see how your child will do with animals, you should visit family and friends who have pets so that you can see how your child will react around them.
You could also visit a pet shelter and visit with animals there. If for some reason you have already brought the pet home and haven’t done this you might want to consider having your child take some classes with their new pet. Many adoption agencies offer these for free or for a small fee.
Because rats are so social they often come in pairs. Buying just one often leads to the pet rat being extremely lonely and not doing very well.
Although some rats do OK alone, more often than not they don’t. You can buy one to start with but you need to ask yourself if you will be willing to buy another one if the lonely one does not do well. You also need to see whether your child will be able to take care of two rats. If you do get two rats make sure you get two of the same sex so there are no surprises.
Rats prefer to have the company of another rat, however, they are also very active, curious animals that crave human companionship. If your child will not be around enough to give it attention, or if they are afraid to hold one you should not get one them one for a pet.
Rats are highly intelligent creatures and enjoy being held for long periods of time. Their social nature coupled with their intelligence make them exceptionally good pets if your child will spend the time taking care of them.
They will become very attached to their owner if take care of properly and are given the right amount of attention. Once a rat gets used to their owner, they will start crawling out of the cage right onto their owner’s arm.
If your child is not ready to do this, then this is another reason not to get a pet rat. They love to spend time outside of the cage and your child should be able to provide this time.
There are plenty of ways to learn about pet rats. There are plenty of books on the subject as well as plenty of information online on how to take care of them.
You will need to take them to a vet as soon as possible to set up a routine and a base line. At a minimum, you should know that rats are approximately 9-11 inches in length and their tails and another 7-9 inches. Although they are nocturnal by nature the can often adjust their schedule to coincide with yours once they get to know you.
They live for about 2-3 years, something you will want to take into consideration when getting one. Supplies you will needs include a cage, bedding, a nest box, toys and accessories.
All in all rats make very good pets because they are very docile and very sociable; they are easy to train and if your child is willing to pick them up and put the time in, they will become pals in no time.