Rats have been kept as pets since as far back as the early 1900s and remain a popular choice of pet to the present day, so why are rats as pets so popular? As an experienced rat owner, I can assure you there are countless reasons why rats make brilliant pets.
In America alone it’s estimated that around half a million families now own a pet Rat or Mouse, this huge spike in popularity over a little more than a hundred years is due to several factors that make rats great pets.
1. Great With Children:
Rats are great pets for children, they’re not only affectionate and cuddly, but they’re much more hardy than other rodents. They are thicker built than other rodents such as hamsters and therefore can better withstand a more clumsy handling from younger owners
Rats also make good pets for children because they’re semi-nocturnal, meaning they will be up during the day for the kids to actually be able to enjoy unlike hamsters. In fact rats can quickly adapt to their owners schedule when taken out more in the day.
Children also like rats because they’re little characters with their own personalities, and are less likely to bite than other small pets.
2. Relatively Inexpensive To Look After:
Rats aren’t all that expensive to look after, the initial investment in the cage is the biggest financial incursion and keeping a small amount of money aside for vet trips is a smart choice. Many good brands of rat food can also be bought in bulk for reasonable prices and you can supplement their diet with off-cuts of your own fruits and veggies.
- [Picking the right cage for your rat]
- Common rat illnesses to look out for
3. Highly Intelligent:
Rats are highly intelligent creatures, they can be taught tricks, they respond to positive and negative conditioning quickly.
Due to their intelligence they are more interesting pets to have as opposed to other rodents that can be rather boring. Rats do far more than just sleep, eat and poo! They will happily play with their owners and cage mates making for unlimited entertainment
4. They Show Affection:
Being that rats are intelligent creatures, they also have a higher level of emotional intelligence, their capacity for affection is rather quite high.
Rats will miss each other, and their owners as they’re highly sociable. Many rats will form an unbreakable bond with you, sitting on your shoulder as you walk around the house and hitching a ride in one of your comfy pockets during the day.
5. Rats Are Cute:
Despite what a lot of people think, rats are very cute. If they are well looked after, their tails shouldn’t be scaly, their fur will be soft and sleek and they don’t need to smell at all. Every rat is different and have their own distinct personality making them very hard not to fall in love with!
There are a huge variety of different rats out there, they come in various colors. One of ours is particularly cute!
(Picture of ‘pretty boy’ Stimpy).
One of the great things about rats is that unlike many other small rodents they have a longer lifespan, living on average two and a half to three years. However it is not unusual for a rat to live beyond the three year mark, making them a long lasting, lovely pet.
It’s clear that the popularity of keeping rats as pets has increased hugely over the last century, this is only set to increase as people gain more awareness about what good pets they make for all the family.
If you think we’ve missed any reasons that rats make great pets then let us know in the comment section below!