I've Received A Lot Of Pms About Rats... So Here!
first of all, please do not get only one rat!!
rats are social pack animals and must be kept in same-sex pairs (or more, and best if from the same litter). one rat will be depressed alone. this usually worries rat n00bs as they believe the rats will bond with each other and not with you. not true at all! two rats will feel more confident together and are more likely to bond with you much faster than a lone, scared ratty. before you know it they'll be trying to outdo each other for your attention.
imagine nobody to snuggle with?!
i did a full month of research before i got my first two rats. please do the same. don't get them from a pet store but from a reputable breeder that breeds for health and temperment. pet store rats are usually bred by mills for snake food (no human contact) and therefore are probably ill and very badly tempered (not an ideal pet). baby rats from breeders are pedigreed and hand raised from day 1 and will have excellent health and sweet temperments.
breeder's list by state: http://www.ratster.com/breederlinks.html
second, rats are cheap to buy but not cheap to care for. here is a run down on costs, and these are just
Rats (each) - $15-$40
Cage - $60-$100
Accessories (water bottle, toys, food bowl, etc.) - $40-$60
Bedding - $11-$15 a month
Food & Treats - $15-$30 a month
First vet check-up - $30-$50
At least a $250 vet stash, $500 is better. A single vet visit is going to cost approx. $50-$60 and treatment for illnesses can run in the hundreds. Ratties are expensive buggers, but they are worth it! just because they are pocket pets does not mean they don't deserve the same care a cat or dog would have.
thirdly, they are hard work to care for. are you prepared for that? dogs and cats require 1/10th the work of rats. seriously lol. rats have sensitive lungs so their cages need to be very clean, as in odorless (i deep clean their cage weekly and change towel beddings every other day) to avoid ammonia build up from their pee. they shouldn't be kept in tanks because they have restricted air flow, are too small, plus rats love to climb climb climb. my spoiled bRATS sleep on fleece hammocks and floors. towels for nesting and litterboxes on each floor with yesterday's news
i have a Martin's The Rat Skyscraper (R-695) cage, $99.00. they are excellent and just the right size for 4-6 rats. if you are going to get a pair i highly recommend the The Rat Retreat (R-685) powder-coated black cage which is $90.00 and is the perfect size for 2-3 rats. don't get the galvanized (bare wire) because it absorbs pee and rusts.
those cages here: http://martinscages.com/products/cages/rat/
here is a beginner's guide to start you off with.http://www.ratsrule.com/ratcare.pdfalso visit these sites and read up:http://ratguide.com/http://www.fancy-rats.co.uk/information/http://www.petratscanada.com/ratcare.htmhttp://www.ratfanclub.org/helpinfo.htmland join these wonderful forums:http://www.goosemoose.com/rfchttp://www.ratpalace.com
: two or morecage
: 2 cubic feet per rat minimumbedding
: no pine shavings (toxic), safe beddings/litters here
: no crappy petstore mixes (unhealthy). instead i feed them suebee's diet, which is a mix of low protein dog food and cereal grain mix. recipe here
after you're done with all your research and you still believe you are worthy of ratty ownership the first rule all ratty owners learn is: YOU DON'T OWN THE RATS, THE RATS OWN YOU! feel free to email me anytime... email@example.com