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So.. I'm trying to decide whether or not to get a pair of boys or girls and wanted to get some opinions. Here are a couple of my concerns. Thanks in advance for any advice!

1. In the past I had boys. I remember them being super cuddly and happy to spend time on my shoulders. I'm interested in getting a pair of girls, but have read that they are less interested in staying in one place/being cuddled. I know each rat personality is different, but I would like a rat that would like to hang out with me

2. Smell. My husband is new to rodent pets and I don't want to completely disturb him. I have been reading that males are more smelly than females. Is there really a huge difference?

3. Neutering. I would obviously like them to be has healthy as possible. Any idea how much a spay/neuter generally runs? And what age they normally have this done?

4. Adding new rats to the group. Being a vet student... I'm sure I will come across opportunities to adopt more animals.. If I have limited space/won't be able to have multiple cages.. would it be beneficial to have a group of girls rather than boys?

5. Other animals. I currently have a cat.. and I'm wondering if males or females tend t do better with cats/dogs in the home. Since males tend to be more laid back, does that make a difference with the stress that they experience from a busy household with other animals?
 

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Hi a welcome to the forum. I'm not a really well established rat owner, nor have expert knowledge, But I will answer best I can and I am sure others will add to it.

1) I have read on many forum topics and on websites that females tend t be more active, skittish and adventurous than boys. Whereas the boys, once they reach adulthood are quite lazy. My tw boys I use to own were proper lap rats. Sat on your shoulder, lap and had a cuddle. Whereas my uncles females did prefer exploring and were far more wary of humans. However, My new adult male Burty is not a la rat. He crawls all over you, the furniture and the floor. Anywhere, but your knee. So yes in some respects males can be more of a lap rat than females. But it does depend on the personality aswell and no matter what rat you get. I am sure you will enjoy its company.

2) Boys are definitely smellier than the females. My boys have always smelt worse than my uncles females. However, not by much and I wouldn't let that put you off. With regular clean outs and a daily poop check, they don't bother me and I have my rat cage in the living room with 3 males in. No guests complain either (well at least not to my face).

3) No idea on this one as I have never had mine neutered as I have heard it isn't exactly a nice op for them and I have never needed to as they have never fought.

4) Neutered female t male are the easiest to introduce, then female t female and finally male. However, if they are all litter mates it wont make much difference. I have two litter mate boys with one new male. Introduced them gradually vis separate cages. Then locked off my top from my bottom and eventually they met in the bath. They are now living happily together. Either way you cant just introduce a rat into a cage of existing rats so will need a spare cage for introductions.

5) I have a cat. I have one male that's confident, another that doesn't care and the other is terrified. I think its based on personality, but I don't have females.

Hope this helps (but remember I'm only a rat owner myself with little experience) and hope whatever you decide you enjoy your new companion.

Have fun and keep us posted.
 

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I've had a total of 7 rats myself and I'll just give you my second opinion!

1) While males are often lazier, it depends on the personality, and I wouldn't really bet on getting lap rats just because you picked males. I have 5 females right now and three are lap rats at least some of the time, one of them is a lap rat ALL the time. Once my Luna hit around the year old mark she chilled out a lot, just like male rats do.

2) I'm afraid I haven't been around male rats long enough to tell you the difference for sure. :( I've only visited my friend's a couple of times and once I'd say they were smellier, but the other time I'd say not.

3) I haven't heard of anyone spaying/neutering their rats for their health, I imagine it's not really done that often. I think spaying is pretty expensive because it's difficult in such a small animal.

4) Females are generally easier to introduce to each other than males, if you're not neutering the males. I have 5 now, but I have had 7 altogether, and I started out with 2-basically, I've done A LOT of introducing. It's easier young but I've found my oldest girls ALWAYS accept a new rat eventually, and they were fully grown when I got them their first new cagemate (it's much easier to introduce a new rat to younger rats). I've heard that some male rats just won't tolerate new male rats, and eventually some of them fight so much they just have to keep separated. It's not all rats, but just as male rats probably have the advantage in #1, females probably have the advantage in #4. My girls have scuffled sometimes when I've introduced a new rat despite my best efforts, but they've never hurt each other, and within a week end up being peas in a pod.

5) I don't think this relates to gender, I think this is 100% a personality question. My girls have only briefly met other animals (both dogs, and they were curious and unafraid), but my friend had just one rat (because her partner died) that spent A LOT of time with the family cat and dog. I got pictures of her female rat sleeping with her male cat all the time, it was precious. Separated by the cage, I don't think it would be a problem in any scenario, but it probably depends on the rat.

Personally, I decided to get females just because the male genitalia kind of weirded me out. Now that I know more about rats, I'm glad I picked them because of how often I've ended up introducing more rats. Good luck with your decision :)
 
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