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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi ya -
I'm new here and thought I'd join as I wanted to ask some questions about rats. My daughter is now 6 (7 in march) and keeps asking for a pet.
Now I've had most things going in my life dogs/mice/hamsters/cats /horses etc but never rats.
I've been thinking of getting a hamster but I'm not sure it's the right choice? Rats it seems are far better natured, are awake in the day and far smarter and dare I say it more fun?
I don't know a lot about them other than they can get health probs, they live 2-3 yrs and they need to be in pairs or more in a nice big cage.
I was considering getting 2 girls as babies so we can get them used to us handling them from a young age.
I'm throwing this open for any advice on what you think is best and also where would be best to get the babies from - we're in Dereham in Norfolk??
I look forward to hearing your advice!!

Sophie
 

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Hi and welcome.Def get rats,hamsters are evil but there are a few things to consider.Firstly i would go with boys instead of girls as there are more cuddly so would be easier for your wee girl to handle,also do you have up to two hours everyday to take them out and handle them?Finally they only live about 18-24mths,i've been keeping them for 14yrs now and only had two that made it to three.As to where to get them i confess that i usually get mines from Pets At Home and not had any problems with them.Cage size the bigger the better,i keep mines in a Jenny rat cage and there's tons of room.Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thats great thankyou.
My partner is not keen on rats - thinkn they're horrible in fact but I think they're far nicer than hamsters - as have heard aswell!
I was thinking girls as the boys tend to mrk their territory!?
2 hrs a day should be fine as I work from home and my daughter will want them out as soon as she gets back from school.
we'll have to have 2 right?
SOphie
 

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I've owned both boys and girls and can honestly say there is no diff in smell,i'm baised i pref boys as they more cuddly- girls are always wanting to explore and have fun.But whichever sex you go for they will be loads of fun!
 

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Rats are awesome! Way better than hamsters. Females are bouncy and more skittish than boys, who are happy to just amble about and steal toast off your plate :lol: :lol: There's also a variety of different colourations, don't think they all look the same, there are some very pretty rats out there. As long as you keep the cage regularly cleaned out (think weekly), they won't smell. They don't need jabs from the vet, just keep an eye on their teeth and claws (their claws can get quite sharp, certainly I have been accidentally scratched before, but they can easily be trimmed at home with a steady hand an a bit of patience!)

They are awake in the day but also at night, and can be very noisy running around a metal cage. Also make sure you have enough space for them; think 2 cubic feet per rat; here's a calculator I find helpful:
http://www.rattycorner.com/odds/calc.shtml
I have seen many peple keeping rats in petshop hamster cages, and these are always the rats that have a bad attitude!

They can be a bit defensive at first, and may leave trails of wee to mark their territory, but this behaviour should tame down over time. Very young rats are quicker and smaller (read: more breakable) than older rats; personally I would recommend going for a trio or quartet of boys aged about 3 months, big enough to handle but still playful.

Rats are very clever and with the use of rewards can be taught their name, to play tug of war, to run obstacle courses and to play fetch, always a good party piece!

With a young child I would be sure that the novelty factor won't wear off; and be prepred that you may end up being the one looking after it, two years is a long time to a 7 year old!

But, if you need any more persuasion:

 

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They make lovely pets Sophie, both my kids have one. We keep ours seperate as Rodney came to us and had been on his own for a while & I didn't want to introduce another one just incase it caused him distress

he was a big fat boy when we had him

my daughter Lu has a Dumbo Rat which is soooooo sweet she's a little cutie and we are thinking of getting her a playmate
here's her cage & baby sitter :shock:

Have fun with your new baby/babies
Lesley
 

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soph said:
Hi ya -
I'm new here and thought I'd join as I wanted to ask some questions about rats. My daughter is now 6 (7 in march) and keeps asking for a pet.
Now I've had most things going in my life dogs/mice/hamsters/cats /horses etc but never rats.
I've been thinking of getting a hamster but I'm not sure it's the right choice? Rats it seems are far better natured, are awake in the day and far smarter and dare I say it more fun?
I don't know a lot about them other than they can get health probs, they live 2-3 yrs and they need to be in pairs or more in a nice big cage.
I was considering getting 2 girls as babies so we can get them used to us handling them from a young age.
I'm throwing this open for any advice on what you think is best and also where would be best to get the babies from - we're in Dereham in Norfolk??
I look forward to hearing your advice!!

Sophie
rats are pretty easy to care for as long s you spot clean for a few mins a day and change their water and food, clean the cage every week and disinfect the whole cage and furniture every 3 months or so. female rats tend to be a lot more playful than male rats, the males prefer to sit on your lap and be cuddled. rats a a lot smarter than hamsters, some can learn their name. the more common health problems are tumours and respiratory problems i find. the bigger the cage the better, but cyberfae is right about at least 2 square foot of floor space per rat.

hope this helps! :D
 

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i managed to pick up a cheap parrot cage one year; and managed to also source some old oven-type grids.

whack two of them in using wood as supports and you have a 3 story cage:D you will need some thick perspex in it tho on the grids - not good for little ratty feet.

best pets ive ever owned; used to let them run around the room, and mostly up and down the stairs to get their exercise.

they always took food back to their cages; always went back to go to the loo; and had branflakes/muesli/milk for breakfast with me!
 

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for everyone on here that likes rats so muchy, i was reading recently that the RSPCA have alot of rats in there care that need good homes desperately so rather than by them from pet shops it'd be probably a good idea to check out RSPCA first.
 

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WARNING rats are addictive. there character and personality will steal your heart and the feeling of pride you get first time they bring a toy back to you can only be capped by the slightly embarresed feeling as you whoop with joy (yes i did very loudly :oops: ) enjoy :lol: :lol: .
 
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