Ferret vs Rat ownership
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Thread: Ferret vs Rat ownership

  1. #1

    Default Ferret vs Rat ownership

    I've been thinking hard about which of these animals I want as a pet, however I would like some clarification on rats as I read so much conflicting information.

    I'm a bit of a germaphobe, I keep things tidy and I can deal with the nature of an animal. However, I've been told by people who have supposedly owned rats for years that they will continually defecate anywhere and everywhere, on you, your floor, bed, anything. Then I read information on the internet, many rat care sites say rats will eventually stop pooing on you once they're used to you and they will learn to go in their cage, the websites also say they will start peeing on you less frequently over time, but it will never really cease.

    Is that how it works?

    Another thing I'm curious of, people who claim to have rats litter trained then post pictures on the internet of their cages. Their rats still have poop several places and pee spots everywhere in the cage, then there's conflicting information on the internet saying rats will start using a specific area to poop in their cage but peeing is hit or miss.

    I've owned four ferrets, over a 14 year span, I pretty much know all ferret habits. All of them passed away from cancer, and I must say even though I cleaned their cages thoroughly and frequently I don't care much for the remaining cage smell, ferret poop is quite distinct. And God knows, I loved the little buggers but mischievousness can get the better of me.

    I'm really looking for a calmer pet, one of my ferrets was a bit if a lazy bones but would still never just chill out. Rats seem like they can definitely be cuddlers, which is what I'm looking now.

    Would a rat even be right for me? Someone who doesn't want to always be pooped and peed on? Like I said, I can deal with it for awhile and I don't mind cleaning up accidents, but I don't really want careless defecation. My ferrets would use their litter box 7.5/10, are rats pretty consistent once trained?

    And now I'm in an even bigger dilemma, which gender of rat would be for me? Are male rats as bad as peeing on you as I read?

    I want a playful but mellow lap animal, male rats fit the bill.
    I want an animal that will be less likely to pee on me, females fit the bill.

    Then I get information saying male and females mark almost the same amount, then I get information that gender personalities are vastly different, then I read they aren't.

    I mean it's getting confusing, I'm looking for a good general education here without vastly differing opinions and experiences.

    Sorry for rambling, but if I'm going to make a commitment to an animal, I want to feel a bond between it and no friction.

    Also, does anyone know of any reputable breeders in south east PA? I would rather buy from a breeder rather pet store if possible.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Ferret vs Rat ownership

    My rats are pretty clean. I might get one poo on me when I hold mine. Now for stink and pooing, thats rabbits! Each rat is different from the next. I had a pair of boys once that were brothers. One was messy as all get out and the other was extra clean. The real odd couple, lol. Maynard would never think of peeing or pooing outside of his litter box. He would even clean up Charelston's poop and put carry it to the litter box. I swear Charelston would poop on you on purpose.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Ferret vs Rat ownership

    I have female rats, and I have never had males rats, so I can't help you decide the gender. For what I've heard, males are calmer and are more of lap animals. My girls are very curious, and run around a lot during play time, but they do come and sit on me for a couple of minutes, and are very affectionate.

    My female rats are extremely clean. I let them play on my bed and I've never had them poop on the bed. They do pee occassionally, especially my older girl, but it doesn't smell at all. I also have them litter trained, and they poop in the box probably 95% of the time, but it is true that the peeing is hit or miss. I think, though, that if you keep the cage clean, you will be very surprised at how little rats smell and how clean they are.

    As for the misheviousness, rats are very curious, so you can't get away from that, but its part of their charm. And from what I've heard, rats smell a whole lot better than ferrets. Hope this helps a little bit!
    Rat mommy to Penny Lane, Camy and Lily<br />Gone Over the Rainbow Bridge and still loved dearly: Lucy and Elly

  5. #4

    Default Re: Ferret vs Rat ownership

    Number one: Rats are not that messy!! Most people even litter train their rats and they do really well. Mine will keep running toward thewir cage if I ahve them out adn they need to go. Once in a while if they get excited they might leave a few droplets or urine on you. In the cage once in a while mine will ahve a pee accident but overall they are really good. They are really smart adn easily trained.

    As far as calm pets....some rats are calmer then others. Dont quote me on this becasue it depends on the individual really but I believe dumbo rats are usaully pretty calm, ive never owned one myself. Personalities are genetic it rats so maybe you can meet the parents if you buy from a breeder. In general though the more time you spend with them the more lovable they are toward you.

    As far as males versus females peeing on people. Like I said earlier either sex will dribble here and there when they get excited, its just how it is. In my experience one doesnt seem to be worse then the other.

    My suggestion again is if you buy from a breeder try to meet the parents and get a feel for them. Rats make really good pets. I havent owned a ferret so i cant compare but I wouldnt trade mine in for anything.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Ferret vs Rat ownership

    Quote Originally Posted by AIBO

    I mean it's getting confusing, I'm looking for a good general education here without vastly differing opinions and experiences.


    The problem with this comment is you're asking the impossible. All rats have their own unique personalities so depending on who you speak to and what their rats are like you will get different opinions and experiences.

    We can certainly make comments like "in general" you can expect this and that, but it doesnít mean it will actually be the case with the rats you end up with.

    Bearing that in mind I can offer some generalisations.

    Dirt boxes and droppings:

    Some rats can be relied on to use a dirt box 99% of the time.

    Others will refuse to use it and go pretty much wherever they please (including right next to the dirt box!)

    Most are somewhere in between.

    In my experience when they are out of the cage 5 out of my 6 rats use the dirt boxes 99% of the time.

    The sixth rat is around 50/50.

    When they are in the cage they are less reliable. Each morning the majority of their droppings are in the dirt boxes, however I also find some which arenít. In the last 12 months only once did I find all poos in the boxes (I was very impressed with them all that morning!)

    Dirt boxes and pee:

    None of mine use the dirt box for pee except very occasionally.

    Scent marking:

    Some males scent mark, some donít. Some females scent mark, some donít.

    I own males. All of mine (9 in total) have scent marked me at one point. Only one did it regularly (as in every time he ran over my hand). Two do it rarely. The remainder do it occasionally.

    None of my rats have ever pooed on me. When you hear about rats pooing on their owners itís usually a new rat who is scared because when theyíre scared they have a bowel movement.

    Smell issues:

    With my rats their dirt boxes are cleaned and stray poos removed daily. Bedding in their hammocks is changed every day or two and the cage is cleaned thoroughly once a week. None of my rats smell as a result, nor does their cage.


    I have no idea if this is helpful or not and I realise itís probably not giving you the definite answers you want, but thatís just the way it is. You could end up with two dream rats who use their dirt boxes all the time and never scent mark on you. However the reality is you probably wonít.

    If you really have a problem with inconsistent dirt box usage and pee on your clothes then my advise to you is donít get rats. They are amazing animals and make great pets but they donít come with any guarantees regarding toilet habits, and if you canít accept that about them then they probably arenít the pet for you.




  7. #6

    Default Re: Ferret vs Rat ownership

    I agree, i also hinted at the idea they are all uniquely different. I got my first one becsaue I fell in love and didnt want him to be rat food as he would have been. I didnt know what I was getting into but was pleasantly suprised with them.

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