What To Know Before Buying Rats As Pets

Having pets is already a responsibility in itself. But, if you’re a pet lover, this is a dream way of life. Depending on your personality type, there are different kinds of pets that you may choose to have. While many want to go for the more common kinds – such as a dog, some prefer more unusual options, like a rat.

While rats may not have the best reputation, they’re well-loved by those who have them as their pet of choice. As is the case with other pets, there are pros and cons of keeping rats as pets as well. If you’re going along this line, here’s everything you need to know before buying (or adopting) them as pets:

1. Rats Can’t Be On Their Own

“No man is an island,” and indeed, this saying holds for rats as well. No rat is ever an island. They are one of the most friendly animals in the world. Hence, if you’re looking to buy one as your pet of choice, it’s recommended that you have at least a pair, or even more. They need companionship. And, if you deprive them of this companionship that they need, it might only result in difficult behavioral problems in the future.

2. Rats Need A Lot Of Care

Rats tend to live a very short lifespan – only from around one to two years. But, this doesn’t mean they don’t need to be cared for. The beginning of good rat care also comes from having excellent pet supplies in your house. As you decide to buy a pet rat, you should also be prepared to cover the following expenses:

  • A rat cage
  • Rat food
  • Dust-free bedding for the rat cage
  • Water and food bottle
  • Rat toys

Looking at that list, you would see that the needs are similar to that of a dog’s. It would only differ perhaps in the size – and of the usage of each item.

3. Male And Female Rats Are Different

If you think that both genders of rats are the same and equal, you’re wrong. A female rat has extremely different characteristics to that of a male rat. And, it’s up to you to choose the gender that best works for you, and that of your preferences.

For instance:

  • Female rats are more adventurous and are always on the go. When you put them out of their cage, you can be sure you’re going to be on your toes the whole time. But, an advantage is their more determinative attitude, they tend to be easier to train as well.
  • On the other hand, male rats are lazier. Hence, they tend to get bigger and more overweight. If you like a rat that is just going to stay in one place with you, then the male rat population is the best option for you. Male rats are perfect for lounging around the house – in their own pet lounger, or yours.

4. Rats Need Time To Settle In

When you first bring home your pet rats, it’s better if you first give them at least one to two days to settle in. Just like human beings, they need some time, too, to get used to their new environment. These rats aren’t like dogs that enjoy being cuddled immediately. Give your pet rat a chance to settle in naturally first – before showering them with the love and attention that you wish to give.

5. Rats Are Smart Animals

If you think your four-legged pet dog is smart, rats are even just as intelligent. In their cage, you must keep them entertained by a lot of activities. This is precisely why most rat cages come with activity centers – much like their playground. Especially for smaller and younger rats, they can get very bored when you don’t give them enough stimulation.

Here are some of the other activities that rats can perform successfully:

  • They can solve simple problems
  • They can learn tricks
  • They create bonds and empathy with their fellow rats


Just because rats are often an unpopular choice, this doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from the responsibility of providing them with a little TLC – as you would do with other pets. Having rats as pets would mean that you’re responsible enough to provide for their basic needs and that they have the attention they need. Rats can get a lot of getting used to – but if you want them as pets, then why not! With these tips, you can be a better rodent caretaker.


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Written by Nat Sauteed

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