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So I was contacted a few weeks ago by a woman that found some orphaned R. Rattus babies. She managed to nurse them from 2 weeks old all the way to 7 weeks.
After some lengthy research on the species, I took one female and helped her find wildlife facilities that are now using the males as education animals.
My female is SO tame! She is way too friendly and tame to be released. She feels extremely safe and when she gets nervous she runs across the room and jumps up my shoulder. (That is one thing about these rats...they are AMAZING jumpers!)
I have really been enjoying this experience with her.
After researching others who have "tamed" Roof rats, I introduced her to my ratties. She is currently living with one male Delmus and one female Terra. They are my most accepting and inviting babies. Three of them are great on neutral territory, but get a bit puffy inside the cage, so we are taking it slow. My youngest, Ellie, is being a jerk and I dont know how that will go.
Delmus, Terra, and nameless baby do great together. They cuddle in their hammocks and it is really cool to watch their interactions.
I am really glad to get to experience this and I am glad that I have been able to help this little ratty.




 

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Gorgeous!
Yeah I love their long tails! It's so neat when they are climbing and you can see them using it for balance. I also read somewhere that they always land on their feet, like cats, thanks to that tail (though idk if this is actually true).

My female is also very tame, she has been hand raised since she was 1 week (I wish I had pictures from then, she was so freaking adorable). It is very sweet the way she comes and hides in my clothes when she is startled. Like awww, I must make her feel safe!
And yeah they are insane jumpers. I was using cardboard boxes as a barrier, they came up probably to my hip (I'm 5'8") and she was able to jump and grab hold of the top! She couldn't pull herself up, because it would bend, so she climb on the couch and would make a flying leap and land on the edge of the box! lol all this to get to the ONE area of the house I didn't want her to go. Seriously she had full run of the apartment but NOPE she just had to be where she wasn't supposed to :rolleyes:
 

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Hehe that just sounds like typical rat behavior. One of my girls is right at my heels whenever she thinks i'm going to be leaving the room and tries to sneak out between my feet. I find them in desk drawers, the highest shelves in the closet, anywhere that they shouldn't be I'm likely to find them :p
 

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It's great to see another ship rat represented here. I think this is the first girl we've had so It's going to be great to learn something about the ladies. Last week an old friend stopped by and after seeing my rats she told me she had a girl black rat when she was a child. She said she ate her meals at the table and was a wonderful family rat.

Do be cautious around your brown rats. I had a part wild brown rat that attacked and killed small animals on sight... and in close quarters, black rats can't defend themselves. So mixed groups of brown and black rats either do very well or end very badly. Black rats also have a different diet from brown rats and just in case something goes wrong, you might want to start looking for an exotic vet with black rat experience. As black rats have been out of the mainstream fancy for about 100 years, not may vets have ever actually touched one. My understanding is that black rats are much better at conserving water than brown rats, so medications are likely to work differently on them.

For help with training and care you should touch base with gotchea, she raised her ship rat Wilder to be a true shoulder rat, and now a free range outdoor backyard rat with a family/pack of his own. If you are looking for great first hand info, she might be a good person to talk to.

Congrats on your new baby!
 

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It's actually rather interesting to see how quickly black rats have become accepted around here. It wasn't too long ago that some folks didn't consider them pets, especially because just about all of the ones we have are first generation human companions and can most likely do as well outdoors as indoors. But they have proven they can bond with their humans and don't need to live their lives as caged animals and can actually fit in with their human families about as well as our brown rats.

I suppose after being out of main stream circulation for nearly a century it was easy to forget that they were there at the beginning of the fancy and contributed to it's foundation. As black rats arrived in Europe first, the little old ladies that were burned as witches for having rat familiars in the late middle ages very well may have had black rats rather than brown ones. And if you take into account the Indian rat temple, it's likely that black rat relationships actually go back further than the ones we have with our brown rats.

In certain ways, black rats are actually better suited as family rats for people that live in warmer climates as I understand they can tolerate higher temperatures than brown rats. Air conditioning may not have been the biggest issue in England where the fancy caught hold, but now that it's global a rat that doesn't need as much (if any) air conditioning can be way more practical than those that do.

We are a long way from actually having a "domesticated" black rat in the fancy, but judging from how well the first generation is doing it looks like a real possibility. There is still so much more we have to re-learn about these little tail draggers in terms of their health issues and behavioral habits, but at least there's a community for black rat owners to share their experience and get advise which wasn't there just a few years ago.

It's rather funny to me how in the past few years we've watched so many myths debunked about wild rats and part wild rats, and black rats and there's even work being done with wood rats. I know for some folks change is a little frightening, but I really think it's exciting too.

I've been told by folks that come from other rat sites that Rat Forum is kind of a strange place and maybe having a black rat support group will make it no less strange to the run of the mill rat group members, but I personally believe that the progressive and open minded attitude we have around here is critical to the real progress of the fancy. When someone, someday, really does set about to re-start a domestic strain of black rats there will be a body of knowledge to work from that's being pioneered right here and right now.

Please keep us all updated on your progress.

Now if anybody has a marsh, pond or swimming pool and wants to work with a really big social rat (up to 20 lbs) I'd love to see someone working with one of these....:eek:




I've seen a few youtube vids already with people claiming these giant rats make great pets, but anything is possible on youtube...

If you already have one or know someone who does... please share.
 

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Looks like a nutria ratdaddy. We have them in abundance around here and they are considered a pest because they displace the natural animals. (beavers specifically here in Oregon) They also destroy wetlands.

They live anywhere there is water in the valley. I've never seen them on the other side of the mountains where it's a high dessert climate. My husband and I like to call them the lawn sheep. They like living in little water ways meant to catch rain overflow that a lot of mills and such have in front of their businesses. My husbands place of work has a family living there. They keep the grass eaten down so it looks like it's been neatly manicured. :) They are pretty brave and you can walk up close to them. If we touch them they run...but we can usually get to touch them before they run. I would guess they would make decent pets, but it would be very hard to get the right habitat for them-they need water. They also cause a lot of havoc went they get loose in the wrong places, they really are terrible on the environment when they multiply in places they are not native in.
 

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Absolutely correct. It is a Nutria or a capu. And I've heard rumors of them becoming very friendly and living with humans. I'm quite certain that they are both invasive and destructive as are brown and black rats... But from what I've been given to understand they are also mild tempered and social animals like our brown and black rats. Which might indicate that they can form social bonds with humans.

I can see where their semi-aquatic habits can become a problem. I have to wonder if they need to swim occasionally or if they actually need to live in water. They just installed two brand new tidal salt marshes near my home that would make a good playground for one or a couple if they can deal with brackish water. There are also several fresh water ponds and creeks I could take one to. I don't see one or two doing too much environmental damage to what were actually flooded brown fields, and my yard could use a good trim. But I really wouldn't want one living in my bathtub all winter.

A 10 to 20 lb pet rat that lives up to 6 years strikes me as a fun family furry and I doubt anyone is going to mind a few less rampaging around the wetlands if we were to adopt them as companion animals.

I can see lots of issues with a rodent of this scale, on the other hand a person with a pond in their yard living in a warmer climate would be well suited to finding out more about these big furries as family pets. I think, that several people put bigger and longer lived on their rat wish lists on another thread. It would be kind of funny if they are already out there munching up the wetlands waiting to be adopted.


And yes, before anyone brings it up, this could be a gawd awful idea...

Just a passing thought.
 

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Well, I've seen people keep them as pets and they seem pretty sweet-maybe even a capybarra-if you youtube them, there are quite a few kept as pets. Think nutria on steroids lol. I'd compare them more to an opossum than a brown or black rat in a home situation. More mellow, laid back creature overall-but tamed, definitely not domestic-at least that has been my impression. They have webbed feet and they make their homes so that the burrow starts underwater and then comes up out of water under ground. So that makes me think water is very important. Trying to build a suitable habitat would be like keeping an otter or beaver as a pet. Doable, but probably requires some kind of large outdoor set up to be ideal, and not something the average joe could probably achieve too easily.
 

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I've seen capybarra at our local zoo... the one that wouldn't let me bring my rats... and they are in with Galapagos Tortoises. They have a pond but I've never seen them in it. They are walking or laying about on the grass. They might make good pets too because from what I can tell in their case semi-aquatic means they don't mind getting wet.

A 100 lb rodent might make for an interesting pet too... but to be honest they don't look like rats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So here are the ratties that Kya currently lives with. Things are going great between the three of them and she has really come into her own. She cuddles with all of them and is starting to accept treats and nibble on my finger.
Delmus(neutered male)

Terra(female)

Currently unnamed female pup



I have a new Double Critter Nation in the mail that should come within a week. When that comes I will be introing everyone back together with my other four. (Delmus and Terra were already in that group. Kya and new baby will be newcomers).
Charlie(neutered male)

Bree(female)

Ellie(female)

Ziggy(female)



I will keep everyone posted on how everything goes as soon as I assemble the new cage. I am going to be using brand new fleece and brand new toys at first so everything is neutral.
 
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