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Schrödinger's Pussy
Observing a box has never been this much fun
I'll hug him, and squeeze him, and call him George 
24th-Feb-2007 02:35 pm
peacocks
The new Pet Supplies Plus just opened up down the street. Finally, we can get the parrot food we like best locally again. It's nice having a clean, reliable pet store within 10 minutes of the house. NoNaMe is happy too, but a little sad because he digs the creativity we employ when his normal food runs low.

On the topic of pets...

Who wants to tell me all about owning a rat?
Comments 
24th-Feb-2007 07:40 pm (UTC)
What would you like to know?

They're lovely intelligent critters. I just wish they were a bit bigger so I could hug them without hurting them.
24th-Feb-2007 07:46 pm (UTC)
What would you like to know?
Mostly everything.

I am looking for an intelligent, furry pet and it's been suggested that I might enjoy the company of rats. *looks around* That didn't come out exactly right...

I've had dogs, birds, ferrets, rabbits, and fish. This would be a new endeavor for me.

I'd like to know more about suggestions for housing, food, treats, toys, interaction and concerns.
24th-Feb-2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
Get a big cage. (Such an ugly word.) Maybe get 2 rats to keep each other company, rather than a single spoiled brat rat. I'm a firm believer in letting them loose to run around on a daily basis. This might pose a problem if you keep windows open or have little nooks & crannies where she could disappear in.

Treats are easy. They love interesting new foods. They're very smell/taste oriented.

I doubt you'd have much of a problem figuring out the toys. You wouldn't want to offer him any yarn toys unless you want them eaten. I'm not even sure they need toys, so much as something to keep them busy, which is why I let them roam free often.

I'm personally not overly fond of inbred albino rats.

A very interesting name is of key importance. Something like "Nebudchanezzer" or "King Ozymandius" or "Wojtek."
27th-Feb-2007 12:12 am (UTC)
One of my best friends in high school had two and they were surprisingly non-smelly. She let them out just about everyday and they were quite content to sit on your shoulder. She had to keep her two separated though, I think they would get snippy with each other from time to time, and one outweighed the other by a significant amount.

I remember her having issues with them trying to escape - she had them in a large aquarium with a screened lid and she had to keep heavy stuff on it to keep them out. They were quite smart about finding ways to defeat her and escape anyway. They also were good at making heroic jumps from one person's head to another.

Her's lived a lot longer than the average life expectancy, I don't if they were just really well cared for, or if the data on pet rats isn't that accurate because they aren't that popular of a pet.

>I am looking for an intelligent, furry pet
I'd get a tortoise and put a wig on it. :P
24th-Feb-2007 07:53 pm (UTC) - RATS!
http://www.sushi4craig.com/life/rats/index.html

We had six rats in the past years (two batches of three). They are smart and very social creatures. You really want to find someone who breeds them instead of pet store variety (they can be nippy). Hand raised tend to be more comfortable around people and don't mind being handled. As a rule, the male rats can be quite stinky and oily (just like boys)...females are pretty scent free and clean(although ours smelled like grape soda).

now the downside, you can usually expect them to only live for a couple of years. That's why we don't keep them anymore...to heartbreaking to lose a pet that were social and friendly.
24th-Feb-2007 08:04 pm (UTC) - Re: RATS!
All good points! That's also the reason I don't still have rat pets.

Do you know I still have nightmares where I worry that my rats cages aren't cleaned? And it's been years since they've been dead?
24th-Feb-2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
*SQUEEEE!* WEASELS! <3

Craig's right about the short life spans though. It hurts.

But if you can deal, they're *fabulous* pets!!! ... and we want to come play with 'em!!!
24th-Feb-2007 09:43 pm (UTC)
I've had a few. Let's see. Definitely buy from a breeder and not a pet store. Find rats that are used to being picked up and hand fed, and aren't going to bite. It's possible to train a store rat to be friendly, but it takes a lot of patience, and sometimes they never come around. I had one rat that never let me pick him up. I had to get all creative to get him out of his cage at cleaning time.

White rats tend to be overbred, but hooded rats (white butts and dark heads) tend to be more friendly. Also blue rats (?) are fun. My favorite rats were those, from a breeder. They're a bluish gray, and really soft.

If you get a really friendly one, you can train him to sit on your shoulder. I had a pair of them that would ride around and then I could fill the sink or bathtub and they'd run down my arms and jump in the water for a swim.

They need chewy toys to wear down their front teeth so they don't get overgrown. Store bought rat food is a mix of kibble and seeds, but they also love fresh fruits and veggies.

You can keep them in a big fish tank with a lid, but make sure the lid is weighted, or screwed on very tight because they are smart and will try to escape. You can go from fish to rats, but not rats to fish in a tank, because the rat urine can kill the fish even if you clean the tank super well. They also make big rat cages that are sort of like those fancy hamster cages or like big ferret cages.

There's a Rat & Mouse Club of America (rmca.org) that seems to have some info, including some stuff about proper cage sizing.

I tend to like having rodents in pairs of 2 or more, as they seem to get lonely by themselves. Also I've found males to be friendlier. Female rats can be more aggressive, just like with dogs. Not bad. You can find super sweet girls. Just be sure to do some reading about the traits of the different sexes and decide which you want. Obviously no boys and girls together unless you WANT babies, but even then they can fight.

It's been awhile, so that's all I can think of off the top of my head. Post questions if you have something more specific and I'll help if I can. :)
24th-Feb-2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
Rats are fun little critters, but I managed to pickup an allergy to rats/rodents/rabbits due to daily exposure to them. If allergies are an issue in your household, I'd reconsider getting one. I got to the point that I couldn't even be in the buildings where they were housed, which included the office areas.

If you can find an "exotic pet" vet in your area, I'd suggest getting them fixed, due to things like mammary tumors in the females. That is what eventually killed the female gerbil that I had when I was in jr. high.
24th-Feb-2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
You would have to one Nicodemus

Its the only rat name I know.
24th-Feb-2007 10:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know the names of plenty of rats, but none that I want to burden a sweet little rodent with *wink*
25th-Feb-2007 07:56 am (UTC) - Ew.
All about owning rats, eh?

Here ya go.
25th-Feb-2007 06:18 pm (UTC)
I loved owning a rat, when I had one. I was required to get one for a high school biology class, and he lived an extraordinarily long life.
25th-Feb-2007 07:41 pm (UTC)
diamond_pick might be able to help! His girlfriend, who was me roommate in college (the girl who taught me to crochet) has been raising rats since, well, since we were roommates. But diamond_pick probably knows more about it than I remember..
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