Strokes, vision problems, arthritis and other conditions don't just affect people. Pets also develop serious health problems that change their lives. Fortunately, you can help your handicapped pet ...View Article
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Posted on 04-27-2012
If you are looking for a pet but are unable to have a larger animal, rats are a great alternative. They do not have to be walked and are small enough for an apartment. They are quick to learn, affectionate and social animals.
Most people have a negative reaction when you talk to them about rats. Most commonly people say that they are dirty, mean and will bite, or " I just don't like those red eyes, and eww those hairless tails." What most people don't know is that rats are some of the cleanest animals. They are often seen grooming both themselves and each other. They will also pick a corner of the cage as their "bathroom" and stick to it. Because of this, some rats are able to be litter trained and most will at least be cage trained (meaning they will not potty on you but only in their cage). Surprisingly most rats, if socialized, love people. They love to be handled, scratched on the ears, and even enjoy cuddling with you. Many rats will enjoy riding on your shoulder or in a pocket. If the red eyes or tail are what bother you just remember you can't judge a book by it's cover. Rats do come in all kinds of coat colors, patterns, and can even be hairless. Rats can have the red/pink eyes or they can be dark as well.
Caring for rats is easy, too. Use a cage that is meant for a larger pet, such as a ferret, guinea pig or rabbit and they will do well. Keep in mind that they are clean animals and will need their cage cleaned on a regular basis. Scooping the potty corner daily and at least once a week, cleaning all bedding and washing the cage is all! Rats are very social animals and should be kept in pairs. As for their diet, there are many manufactured foods out there but they love "people" food, as well. Fruits, vegetables, and even cooked meats and pasta are a welcomed treat.
The only down side to owning a rat is they are prone to tumors at a young age. This shortens ther life span to about 2-3 years. However, as you can see, the positives far out weigh the negative. So, the next time you see a cute little rat, think twice before you crinkle your nose!
Written by Harriet Band, rececptionist
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