• New Classifieds - Open Beta

    The New Classifieds have entered Open Beta status and are now viewable to all registered users.

    Our New Classifieds can be reached by clicking "Classifieds" in the forum toolbar or menu. Any ads posted in the New Classifieds should be considered "real ads" and must follow our updated Classifieds Terms and Rules. Ads that do not meet our updated Classifieds Terms and Rules will be deleted, and warnings, without points, will be issued. While our current Classifieds forums will remain viewable during the Open Beta period, and current ads posted there can be bumped, new ads must be posted in our New Classifieds so you can familiarize yourself with the new format. The Classifieds forums will be closed once the Open Beta period ends.

    A tutorial on how to use the New Classifieds has been created and can be found here.

Rat keeping

Scorp guy

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
900
Hi,

Im thinking about getting into rats :D

I've had MUCH help from you guys here on AB, from roaches, to my first pede, etc. I thought this would be my best bet to start for this, too.

I'd like all the info i need. I'm planning on starting with 2-4 Small sized rats, and plan on allowing them to grow up, and have babies. I'd like a cage large enough for about 10 (since they are going to multiply most likely) and i'll feed the extras to my snakes, too :)

So, what kind of cage will i need for all this? should i get one of those huge ferret/chinchilla cages from petco? i cant really build my own, since i basically suck at building stuff....

Any links, places to get cages at, care, feeding, water, etc. is greatly appreciated.
 

LeilaNami

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 8, 2006
Messages
2,164
Actually those multilevel ferret cages are nice for them. It's good that you're getting more than one since they are social animals. If you wanted to, you could mix furred and hairless rats together. I change my ratties' cage bedding ever week and a half. They love popcorn as treats every once and a while. Keep them off the floor and away from drafts as they are prone to respiratory problems. Try not to feed them seed or anything that has meat because you want to keep them at a good weight (seeds are fattening) and not meat so cannibalism isn't a risk.
 

Scorp guy

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
900
Actually those multilevel ferret cages are nice for them. It's good that you're getting more than one since they are social animals. If you wanted to, you could mix furred and hairless rats together. I change my ratties' cage bedding ever week and a half. They love popcorn as treats every once and a while. Keep them off the floor and away from drafts as they are prone to respiratory problems. Try not to feed them seed or anything that has meat because you want to keep them at a good weight (seeds are fattening) and not meat so cannibalism isn't a risk.
Ok, they cant chew through it or anything, right? also, should i start with 4 adults, or 4 medium-small ones?
 

Cirith Ungol

Ministry of Fluffy Bunnies
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 22, 2004
Messages
3,889
Would also recommend you don't keep them too close to your snakes (opposite side of the house/flat preferable) and hope you have good ventilation where you live. Otherwise the smell could drive the snakes crazy (depending on what kind I guess).
 

edventurous77

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 6, 2006
Messages
200
i will give you one warning you may get so attached that feeding extras will become difficult
 

ChrisNCT

ChrisinTennessee
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Messages
1,602
Welcome to my world of rats if you choose to do so. I have been been breeding rats for some time now. I enjoy seeing the babies born and raising them till get the of feeder size for many of my different sized snakes. Every once and while you get really neat colors or hairless rats! Thats right hairless! I built this rack to house them in which costs me about 80.00 to build. They are not chewing out of it, they can eat their food right through the wire mesh and drink from 2 liter bottles with the ball valves at the end. This system works very well and offer the best ventilation.

Here's some pics of mine.

My rack!

Litters and new momma's!


Hairless rat!
 

LeilaNami

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 8, 2006
Messages
2,164
I love those hairless! I want one to house with my other two. As for the size to start with it really just matters if you want them to grow up with you or ripe for breeding right away.
 

Heather

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
179
i will give you one warning you may get so attached that feeding extras will become difficult

I soo know how that goes! I started with one mouse and now have a total of 4 little lady mice.... I just coudn't let them become food! (All of them were rescued from the feeder bins.)

Our snake gets thawed frozen mice, I can't stand to look them in the eyes and then offer them as food. :)

Give it a try, Rats wonderful little squishies too! {D
 

Alice

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
976
but mind that rats will reproduce all the time if you do not keep the males seperately. this really wears out the females and they die early. also, rats are really very active and should have large cages. i do no longer keep them myself, but mine loved their toys and cardboard tubes. most of all, they loved roaming my room. :D
 

Alice

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
976
i forgot - if you want to keep them as pets, you'll have to spend a lot of time playing with them. many 'breeder rats' are quite shy and/or agressive towards humans and will bite or pee on you. it's no fun getting that stench out of your clothes... plus, some will eat their young if stressed out by humans.

they also start eating their young or getting ill if you don't give them any animal protein (as someone suggested above). to minimize the possibility that they start biting (some do if offered meat) you can give them dead crickets or a bit of dry cat food instead. they love it and they certainly need it - rats are not vegetarians but omnivorous!

and another important thing: be prepared for your rats to die horribly of cancer. sorry to make such a discouraging statement befor you even got them, but i just think that you should be aware of the fact that the last weeks or even months of a rat's life usually are not pretty to watch.

this is due to a genetic weakness breeded into them, as they were first used for cancer research. there are some breeds that do not suffer from cancer as often as the regular decendants of laboratory rats that we keep as pets today. but even with those, it is very likely that they will not die of old age alone.

chrisntc: not to critisize your setup, but that is a breeder setup if i ever saw one. rats only live life to the max in much bigger cages that offer much more things to do and to play with. they can be very droll and very inventive if given the right environment. this, however, entails much more work on the keeper's part.

a friend of mine has a cross between a house rat and a wild rat (her last girl kind of got raped by an intruder :eek:), and 'big daddy' is really intelligent. he lives in a large cage and has lots to do. so far, he has learned 14 commandos - that's more than her dog understands:clap:. so you see, rats need time, stimulus and room to develop into the wonderful pets they can be.
 
Last edited:

Scorp guy

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
900
i forgot - if you want to keep them as pets, you'll have to spend a lot of time playing with them. many 'breeder rats' are quite shy and/or agressive towards humans and will bite or pee on you. it's no fun getting that stench out of your clothes... plus, some will eat their young if stressed out by humans.

they also start eating their young or getting ill if you don't give them any animal protein (as someone suggested above). to minimize the possibility that they start biting (some do if offered meat) you can give them dead crickets or a bit of dry cat food instead. they love it and they certainly need it - rats are not vegetarians but omnivorous!

and another important thing: be prepared for your rats to die horribly of cancer. sorry to make such a discouraging statement befor you even got them, but i just think that you should be aware of the fact that the last weeks or even months of a rat's life usually are not pretty to watch.

this is due to a genetic weakness breeded into them, as they were first used for cancer research. there are some breeds that do not suffer from cancer as often as the regular decendants of laboratory rats that we keep as pets today. but even with those, it is very likely that they will not die of old age alone.

chrisntc: not to critisize your setup, but that is a breeder setup if i ever saw one. rats only live life to the max in much bigger cages that offer much more things to do and to play with. they can be very droll and very inventive if given the right environment. this, however, entails much more work on the keeper's part.

a friend of mine has a cross between a house rat and a wild rat (her last girl kind of got raped by an intruder :eek:), and 'big daddy' is really intelligent. he lives in a large cage and has lots to do. so far, he has learned 14 commandos - that's more than her dog understands:clap:. so you see, rats need time, stimulus and room to develop into the wonderful pets they can be.
thanks for all that.

So, do i sperate the male and female when my rat has babies?
 

Alice

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
976
no problem. i just have seen too many rats live in bad conditions. they are highly intelligent and i feel very sorry for those who lead a miserable life. so i do all i can to help people to take proper care of them. i really loved my rats.

honestly the best setup for rats if you want occasional babies is two (or more) females in one cage and another cage with two males (this might only work if they grow up with each other, mature males thrown in together will usually fight).

the problem is, a rat moma can conceive her next litter as early as 24 hours! after having given birth. you'll have another litter every few weeks if you don't keep the sexes apart, and the females can't do that for long. i only put the males in for breeding. i wouldn't keep the sexes together and only seperate them when the female has babies, because every change in the group stresses rats out (and remember, stress often means eating the pups). they do pretty well if the male is only introduced for a mating or two (even easier: put them together in a small cage to mate there, out of everones territory), but a constant changing of the group every few weeks will probably not work. rats need time to fully integrate a new member. i don't say it's impossible, but sooner or later at least one of them will get hurt, they are very territorial and fight pretty dirty.

still, you should get at least two of every sex as rats are very social and no amount of care by a human can make up for having no rat buddy. they need their own species to cuddle with when they sleep ;)
 
Last edited:

ChrisNCT

ChrisinTennessee
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Messages
1,602
chrisntc: not to critisize your setup, but that is a breeder setup if i ever saw one.

I think I clarified that in my posting
"I enjoy seeing the babies born and raising them till get the of feeder size for many of my different sized snakes"

Even though I have a breeder setup, I like my rats even though most turn out to be feeders. I get to see all kids of colors....watching the little fuzzies grow up to juvies. My fav. ones are when they eyes first open.
 

Joe

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2003
Messages
192
honestly the best setup for rats if you want occasional babies is two (or more) females in one cage and another cage with two males (this might only work if they grow up with each other, mature males thrown in together will usually fight).
I've never had a problem with adult males fighting. The key is how you introduce them. A new or freshly cleaned/rearranged cage helps a lot, as neither has their scent all over everything or established territory. Food works well, too. If you give them goodies when they're being introduced, they'll forget about each other and concentrate on the goodies.
 

Scorp guy

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
900
OK, i think ive made up my mind.

I found this website http://www.qualitycage.com/rat.html

Which cage in here could house two adults? i think ill get two cages, one to house two adult females, and one to house two adult males. And hwn i want to breed. just put in a male, or both of them, with my females for about a day, and allow them to breed? i'd only like to breed the females(s) once or twice, for babies, and maybe some for my snakes.

Also, will i need a seprate cage if i end up keeping one or two babies? do you think one of those would be too small for more than two?

Sorry for all the questions....i want to get all the info i need.
 

Alice

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
976
the rat town home or the deluxe home are fine, even if you want to keep one or two of the babies. but mind: rats get sexually active at about six weeks, so make sure you determine the babies' sex as early as possible and sort them into the appropriate cages. plus, rats need to be let out of the cage, if at all possible every or every other day. they love exploring!

as joe said, clean everything thoroughly and redecorate before introducing a new rat into the community. so, none's territory is being violated. goodies and play also help.

i know that adult males CAN get used to each other, but we had cases in which no amount of goodies, play, and cleaning did it - they just continued fighting. maybe because the females' cage was in the same room.

another tip: when you introduce rats to each other, put baby powder or any other non-toxic substance with a smell of its own on all of the rats. thus, their own smell won't be so prominent and they will all somewhat smell the same. this makes getting used to each other easier, as rats establish a 'group smell' by sleeping snuggled together. thus, evers member of a social group can instantly recognise all other group members by smell.

as for mating: when we wanted to mate the rats, we just put them in my room together. this minimises the chance that the females will feel the male is an intruder. rats reproduce quickly and usually withour problems, so if you want babies you just let them have stroll and maybe a snack together ;).
 

Scorp guy

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
900
Well i got them today :)

I got a brown and white female, and black and white male (or vise versa)

i have them in a 2x2x 1 1/2ft tall cage. its only 1 story, but very spacy. i gave them a bug food dish, some rat food i bought, a huge igloo they both sleep in, and a big cardboard tunnel...like thing lol, and water bottle. the people at petco (i know, petco sucks) said exercise wheels arent good because they hurt their backs...or something like that. so i waited on that.

it kinda ticked me of that i had to be 18 to buy them, AND i couldnt let them find out i was going to breed them, or they cant sell them. very luckily, i met up with a freind of mine on the bus who happened to be 18, and helped me out a bit....:D :D :D

Also, the cage they are in has green bars to keep them in. they are right at about 1" apart....the rats are near adult size, about 7" and F-A-T....will they be able to slip through?

Thanks for everyones help....so far everythigns ok, ill get some pcis tomorow.
 

Joe

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2003
Messages
192
Well i got them today :)

I got a brown and white female, and black and white male (or vise versa)

i have them in a 2x2x 1 1/2ft tall cage. its only 1 story, but very spacy. i gave them a bug food dish, some rat food i bought, a huge igloo they both sleep in, and a big cardboard tunnel...like thing lol, and water bottle. the people at petco (i know, petco sucks) said exercise wheels arent good because they hurt their backs...or something like that. so i waited on that.

it kinda ticked me of that i had to be 18 to buy them, AND i couldnt let them find out i was going to breed them, or they cant sell them. very luckily, i met up with a freind of mine on the bus who happened to be 18, and helped me out a bit....:D :D :D

Also, the cage they are in has green bars to keep them in. they are right at about 1" apart....the rats are near adult size, about 7" and F-A-T....will they be able to slip through?

Thanks for everyones help....so far everythigns ok, ill get some pcis tomorow.

I have a multi-story cage for my rats, but I very rarely see them use anything but the ground floor. As far as exercise wheels go, I never heard about it being bad for their back, as long as you get one big enough. Also, make sure it's a solid plastic wheel, as opposed to wire. Their feet can get caught between the wires. It's also a better idea to keep males and females separate most of the time, unless you want them breeding constantly, which as someone posted above, isn't very healthy for the female.
 
Top