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Young Dumbo Fancy Rat

Domesticated pet rat

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Rats: The perfect pet!

  • Aug 4, 2009
  • by

They poop and pee all over the place, mess up your furniture, chew things up, and carry fleas and worms.   You think I’m talking about rats?  Wrong, I’m talking about dogs and cats, the much more common house pet whereas rats are vilified as being vile, disgusting, and disease ridden creatures.

I still love dogs and cats and think they are wonderful companions, but if one were to logically think about it, rats are too.  In fact, domestic rats are a whole lot cleaner than the average domestic dog or cat.  Rats are obsessive about their cleanliness and groom themselves and each other frequently much like cats.  They carry no diseases that are known to be dangerous to humans.  Unlike a cat, their bite doesn’t contain millions of bacteria that could kill a human being.  Parasites such as mites do occur with rats, but they also pose no real threat to humans and can be easily treated and exterminated.

A loose/wild rat can do lots of property damage such as chewing through insulation and wiring and that is why most rats are kept in cages.  And in cages they are happy.  Rats are generally creatures of habit and don’t like new things so they feel safe when in their cages.  Cages serve as much to keep them in as they do to keep what rats considers being dangers out.  On the occasions that you do take your rat out to play, he/she may poop a little bit, but their feces are nowhere near the stink and mess that a dog or cat can make.

The most common fears about rats are that they carry diseases like the plague and their tails are creepy.  As for the plague part, that is untrue.  The plague was carried by fleas that got onto rats and humans.  The reality is that rats were victims of the plague as much as humans were.  Just watch the supplemental material on the Ratatouille DVD...

As for their tails, okay, I’ll give you that.  They are a little creepy because of the hairlessness but they are harmless.  There are no stingers or poison that comes out of them.

Rats can be very affectionate and are always extremely intelligent creatures.  We also have a lot of genetic commonality with rats and that’s why they are chosen as medical test subjects so often.  If you look at a rat in disgust, you should be looking at the person next to you in the same way.  Rats make wonderful pets for young children and adults because they do not need as much attention as a dog or a cat.  You should always try to keep at least two of the same gender together though because they are social pack animals.  It is very easy to tell male versus female rats.  PLEASE do not purposely breed your rats just because you want baby rats.

The only downside of rats is that they only live for about 3 years, but in those 3 years, they are absolutely wonderful pets.  They can be litter trained like a cat, but they won’t throw up in your shoes like a cat because they don’t have the physical ability to do so.  So the next time you are considering a small pet, consider rats.  Stop looking at them in disgust.  Even if you see a wild rat, don’t panic.  They are much less dangerous than a wild dog or a feral cat.  Rats are cleaner and friendlier than most people.

My rex rat Colby My Dumbo rat Oreo Nacho, Provolone, Cheddar, and Roquefort

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October 24, 2009
My son had rats and he loved the little buggars. He'd carry them around in his shirt pocket, in his sleeve, on his shoulder. He trained them and really enjoyed them. The life span is what kept him from replacing them when they died. Too sad.
October 24, 2009
Yes. Their lives are way too short. =(
September 29, 2009
I've loved rats since I had a pair for a class pet in elementary school and got to take them home for the summer. I love how they like to sit on your shoulder and sneak into your hair. I LOVE THOSE PHOTOS. I can't get over how cute and round they are!!!!!!!!!!!!!
September 29, 2009
LOL!! Thanks!!! I'm glad you understand where I'm coming from. People just need to give rats a chance! =D
September 03, 2009
It really is a mental thing, but knowing you has definitely made me see rats in a whole new light. Thanks for sharing!
August 04, 2009
You make some really good arguments for owning a rat, but that one downside is one of the reasons why I'll probably never have one as a pet -- their short lifespan.  I absolutely dread pets dying on me, even goldfish!  This is probably why my White's tree frog, Ferdinand, is the perfect pet for me :)

And are those your babies in the pictures?  They look so grab-able and cute!
August 04, 2009
The short lifespan is definitely the worst thing about pet rats. =( Yes! The photos in my review are of my babies! Going to read about Ferdinand now!
August 04, 2009
Awwww, I love their names!  I might be a little biased though, because I'm a huge cheese-addict :D
More Fancy Rat reviews
Quick Tip by . August 27, 2009
The tail scares me a bit, but every time I go to a pet store, I can't help but stare at the cuteness!
About the reviewer
Rebecca Low ()
Ranked #138
I'm a mommy to 6 rats, 1 beta fish, and a dozen freshwater fish and married to my college sweetheart. I attend anime & comic book conventions, collect toys & figures, and own a popular Sailor … more
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The fancy rat is a domesticated brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), which is the most common type of pet rat. The name fancy rat derives from the idea of animal fancy or the phrase, "to fancy" (to like, or appreciate).

Fancy rats have their origins as the targets for blood sport in 18th and 19th century Europe. Specially bred as pets since then, fancy rats now come in a wide variety of colours and coat types and there exists several rat fancy groups worldwide. Fancy rats are commonly sold as pets in stores and by breeders. In fiction, pet brown rats tend to be depicted as tamed rather than domesticated, akin to when a character befriends a wolf. As tamed pets, they have played roles that vary from evil, to ambiguous, to "lovable".

Domesticated rats are physiologically and psychologically different from their wild relatives, and—when acquired from reliable sources—they pose no more of a health risk than other common pets. While fancy rats are subject to different health risks than their wild counterparts, they are consequently less likely to succumb to other illnesses prevalent in the wild.

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