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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. A friend is considering getting a rat for her kids. A shelter near here has several, one they suggest would probably need to be caged alone, as he is very dominant. She wonders if it would be OK to get just the one? The shelter does not know how he would be around kids. She runs a day care from her home, would she have to house the rat in a different area, due to his usually sleeping during the day? She is concerned that the kids would want to hold and handle the rat a lot. I said I would check here and see what you all thought. If she becomes more serious, she will join the forum here.
 

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Some rats need to be alone. It is rarer but it does happen. They should get lots of human interaction though.

I would suggest she meet the rat with a child. See how he is being handled. Is he confident or fearful? Is he relaxed or tries to run? Without meeting him and holding him herself I wouldnt get him.

Rats can adjust to our schedules. So she could have him in a main room but...some rats can get alittle nippy through the bars and I don't trust children not to open the door when her head is turned.
 

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Like the post said above, some rats do prefer to be alone, but it's rather rare and I would double check that information just to make sure there isn't a misunderstanding about his behavior. I also agree with having the kid meet the rat and handle him and see how he is. If he is even the slightest bit aggressive with them, that is not a rat for a child. Especially considering your friend runs a daycare. If that rat does not like a lot of attention from tons of people, I wouldn't recommend getting that rat as it can lead to someone getting bitten. So if they do end up getting the rat, I would not take the chance with having him out in the open. To be honest, skittish rats should not be in the possession of children as they can get bitten if they do something wrong. But, again, I would meet the rat to further see their behavior with the kid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK thanks. Between you all and me, I am not sure how invested she is in getting this. I know her and her kids well enough to know that would be respectful and careful around the rat. I have seen how they interact with animals, and they are older...about 8 or 9. I, also am concerned because the day care kids are younger.
 

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I've had a few rats that like lots of attention and would have been perfect for kids. But to be honest they were girls who were young and playful. Even the most gregarious rats tend to slow down and prefer more down time when they are older.

My natural instinct would be to recommend a couple of girl pups that the kids could raise as a group. They would become used to the attention and would be energetic and playful for at least a year. Plus two rats might help to split the kids focus and give both a breather.

On the other hand, there are plenty of sweet older rats that enjoy some attention and can be patient with kids up to a point. It's somewhat unfair to say that older rats wouldn't be appropriate as many would be.

I suppose if I met a young enough adult that was really friendly with kids and still had enough energy to be playful, he or she might make a good choice. If I were going from scratch and didn't have a particular rat in mind, I'd be looking for a couple of female pups.

I've adopted older rats and I've found that some come with luggage. Some have been abused or neglected and they have all at least been abandoned by their owners/families. It takes time to build trust and form a relationship with a rat that's had a hard life. I'm not sure if a setting surrounded by a bunch of young kids would be the right fit form some of them. Again, I don't want to be unfair... some rats at rescues were raised in wonderful nurturing homes and have great personalities and just need a chance and would be perfect. So, I suppose if I were considering one, I'd bring a kid or a couple of kids and spend some time with the rat before adopting him or her... Rats are agile and fast and they have very sharp teeth and they can be a liability for a day care provider... I would want to be very certain that I don't put the wrong rat into the wrong situation.
 

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Yeah rats and kids sometimes work and sometimes they don't. I have a younger sister who when we got my first rats was 10. Even she wasn't really comfortable with them because they were squrmiy and she didn't know how to hold them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My friend has decided to hold off for now. She still would like to get something at some point, but would rather do more research rather than have it be an impulse buy, which I think is a smart move on her part.
 

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I agree Marie, that she made the right decision to wait. Especially if what she was doing was a bit impulsive. I hope she can read more info about rats and try either adopting or buying a few later on. :)
 
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