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Hi there....my son is contemplating a rat or a hamster. I lean toward getting a rat. First, what do you guys think based on your experience. Rats are good pets? Also, we can only get one rat and I'm afraid this might be hard for the rat as they are social creatures. What do you think? Thanks ahead of time.
 

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Rats are EXTREMELY good pets. They are much more social that a hamster or gerbil. However, they do require social interaction and so do much better in pairs. Is there a reason you can only get one?
 

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Rats are fantastic pets. I've have dogs, cats, hamsters, fish and recently got my first mouse (though he thinks he's a rat!) and rats are my favorite pets of all. Rats are more hands-on and people-oriented then hamsters. I love hamsters, don't get me wrong... But they live more along side us rather then with us (generally). Rats can be a huge part of your life.

Two rats are just as easy as one, and rats are very social and need other rats. They help each other groom, play with each other when you can't, cuddle up with each other and speak the same language that we can't. Humans can't take the place of another rat.

If you really can't get two rats, I'd suggest a Syrian hamster instead, as they are solitary and need to be kept alone.
 

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I agree with Kimmiekins if you can't get two go for the hammy. If your worried about 2 rats being more work that one, They really aren't. I have 5 boys in one cage together and it's like when I just had two lol, I just get more food & toys. I also must agree I LOVE rats they are awesome pets and are very loving. If you do get two ratties you can learn a lot on here :D. Also the best places to get rats are from breeders or rescues. Some petstores have been ok, I believe the locally owned petstores take better care of their animals. Everyone else can give you their input because I'm lucky and have a faimly ownd petstore which I wouldn't trade for anything.
 

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I would go for 2 rats. Hamsters are more nippy and rat are MUCH better with young children. I always suggest this to family's that come into the pet store i work at. Hamsters tend to sleep, a LOT. Since they're smaller children have a tendency to SQUEEZE them as the hamster's try to get away, resulting in bites. RATS on the other had generally want attention and to be picked up and played with. I agree 2 rats is much better, they are more people social in pairs as well, i've found that when i was looking for company for my Louie he had a tendency to sleep and be more shy with everyone that romped through my house. Rats are like having a small dog, they get very attached and need human attention. How old is your son? how much time are you willing to spend with the animal? I've found that though kids start out always playing with their animals the time spent decreases and the animals are left alone. i would suggest 2 rats if their's much play time and socializing. I think Mice are better then hamsters, less nippy, and they don't need a lot of playtime, infact they much enjoy playing with each other with toys you give them then actual human play. As a child i had hamsters, mice, rabbits, cats and dogs. now that i have rats i realize how much i missed when i was a kid. out of small animals i enjoy rats and mice the most. Hamsters are fun, but just very shy, and in my opinion, boring, they sleep most of the time, when they're woken up, they're NOT happy and will most likely bite if startled. Rats learn and are gentle when trained/social.

sorry for the ramble!! but i'd DEF go with 2 rats if you and your son have the time.
 

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What the others say - 2 rats would be the best option. If you really can't, then go for the hamster. You shouldn't keep a solitary rat; it's not fair to the rat, or healthy for them.
 

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On a related note, be sure you're getting a nice big tank or cage for your rats. Not even one rat should be kept in a standard "hamster tank". There's plenty of posts about rat homes on the forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks so much guys. My son is 11 and this will be his pet. In the past, our pets have all been mine as I didn't expect him to care for them alone. He was great with our hamster and I think that he would prefer a hamster. I'm the one pushing for a rat...I agree with everyone here. They sound like great pets. But, he gets to pick this one. You've convinced me to get 2 rats, though, if we go in that direction. Thanks again.
 

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The main difference between rats and hamsters is that rats will interact with you more. You can take them out of the cage, play with them, let them roam a rat-proofed room, etc. I've never had quite as much fun with my hamsters in the past. :lol: But, if he doesn't want a rat, he may not take care of it.
 

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Hi! I'm kind of the "odd man out" on this board, because I have an unusual schedule that allows me the time I need to have only one rat. I am copying two posts from another thread that I made on the subject, just to share my point of view. It boils down to, if you don't get a best friend for your rat, then you have to have the time and dedication to be his best friend, all the time, or he will get very lonely.

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[Excerpted from another thread.]

In some cases, I believe that it is OK to have just one rat...but then, you have to take your commitment to your rat ~very~ seriously.

Here are some plusses and minuses of having a lone, male rat, from the owner of a lone, male rat. (Before him, I also had a lone, male rat.)

I am in a rather unique position regarding the way I spend my time. Often, I am up at night, as well as certain hours during the day. Sometimes, I catnap a couple of hours on, a couple of hours off. Because of my sleep habits and my "time" situation, I thought one rat would work very well for me.

As a freelance musician and artist, when I work, I do most of it at home. I share my projects with Gus, my rat. My music station is right next to his home, so he can come out and get involved with that, when he wants to. He has his own set of paints, and we have "painted together" as well...me on my canvas, and Gus on his, of course! We also like to take short trips in the car, to smell what other places smell like.

What I was looking for in my pet rat was someone who would be a best friend and nearly constant companion. I've talked this over with several people, including vets and specialists, who are familiar with my situation, and so far, I've been getting a "thumbs up" on one rat working with my lifesstyle.

Of COURSE, if you want to have any kind of life of your own, you should definitely consider two. The fact that it's just Gus and me means that certain things in my life are limited: I can't go out for all day-and-night trips, and I certainly can't take vacations, because I'm crucial to Gus' life and happiness, and it would be irresponsible of me to leave him without me. (Whenever anyone suggests a vacation within driving distance, I tell them that I will go if Gus can go, but they are all afraid of getting caught, and getting kicked out of the hotel. )

Gregor, my first rat, did everything with me too. That was one of the reasons it was so hard to lose him - we were "partners."

Anyway, for anyone hoping to have a fairly regular lifestyle that doesn't revolve around the happiness of the rat, it's probably a wiser choice to have two.

Just wanted to point out that one ~can~ be happy, if you're his "best friend rat" 24 hours a day!

_________________
2 elderly female dogs
1 young male dog
1 middle-aged male cat
An aquarium of Bettas and otos and frogs
Augustus, the teenage hoodie rat
RIP Gregor Samsa
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---------------------------------

Sorry - me again. I thought I'd better emphasize/clarify something, for the original poster of the question, and also for anyone else who is wondering about this.

If you should choose to get only one rat, your life no longer belongs to you. Your life belongs to your rat, who is dependent upon you to have a happy and stable and full emotional life.

Here's a "real life" example. (A VERY "real life" example, in my case.)

I have been having a whole lot of dental trouble in the past months. If I told you that I have had 10 root canals and 1 extraction/implant so far, and that there is more to go, would you believe me? It's true.

You must think that either I live on the street, or come from a family where nobody ever brushes their teeth, but neither one is true. I come from a family that stressed good oral hygeine, and regular dentist visits. As far as I can tell, there are two reasons for all of this unbearable pain in my mouth: 1. I inheirited bad teeth on both my mother's and my father's side, and 2. My former dentist didn't really know what he was doing. We've found a lot of bad dental work that he did, and an example of his advice is, "If you get a toothache, wait and see if it goes away after a couple of days." (With my mouth being so vulnerable, obviously, if I experience any pain, I should see a dentist ~immediately!~)

I don't want to even get started on the price of all this; I could put a down payment on a home.

But to the point of how this relates to rats:

Since March, I've been in tremendous pain from teeth that need work, and also teeth that are recovering from work. Yesterday, I had two root canals.

After two root canals, you pretty much want to just sleep the rest of the day and night.

HOWEVER, since I have Gus and he has me and we love one another, that is not what I did. I took Gus out for his playtime in the evening, as usual. I owe it to him. I'm his whole life.

-----------------------------------------

To wrap it up:

I would advise NOT to get a single rat, unless you really, really, really want a major commitment.

Having said that, there's nothing quite like being your rat's "one and only." I wouldn't trade my relationship with Gus for the world!
 

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I only have one rat, and he does quite well by himself. I've had him for a few days now and he seems to be getting along fine. I suppose the thing is that he is around either me or my boyfriend all day every day, and when we're out, he sleeps. He's a very happy little thing.

We have said that if we think he is lonely or sad we'll introduce a new baby
 

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That sounds like a good plan.

When they say that rats are "social," they mean that they like to do things like groom one another, chase one another, play with one another, and sleep in a big warm pile of rats, among other things.

The more time your rattie spends with you and/or your boyfriend, the happier he will be. I've learned that my rat, Gus, wants me to ~be with him,~ even if he's doing something that has nothing to do with me. He wants my company. We're "hanging out together."

It's always wonderful if you can manage to nap with your rat, because it is a very bonding experience, but be careful not to roll over on top of him! :)

Be sure to let us know what happens...
 

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Addo is getting used to us at the moment! I'm working at the moment and only see him at the weekends, but my boyfriend is home with him every day. We all move in together this month at some point (hopefully)!

He is quite into sitting on my shoulder when I walk around anywhere, but as soon as I go back into the bedroom and he sees his cage, he wants to crawl around on top of it again and can't sit still!
 

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I just don't understand why you wouldn't get two rats if your circumatances were right. Two rats means double the cuteness for you, plus double the fun for your rat. They get a human best-friend, and a rat best-friend. Can you cuddle up in your hammock with your rat? Can you clean his ears? Can you sit on top of him and annoy him, 'talk' to him in a language he can understand? Unless there's been some serious meddling with genetics, i can guess the answer is no. If circumstances allow, i can't understand why anyone would get just one rat. I want 6 or 7, never mind 2!!
 

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I understand the importance of having more than one rat. I have three. Here's my question - Wouldn't a single rat bond better with its human? It seems my rats would much rather spend time with each other.
 

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Well, I think that has something to do with the fact that we cannot communicate with them on their level. If I was taken in by a creature that was much bigger than me and didn't talk my language, I'd like to be with my own kind... no matter how much I loved my 'owner.'
 

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I can provide a good reason to have only one rat:

You live with your mom, who has told you that if you bring "one more animal into this house," you and all of your pets will be out on your own! :)

Nah, I don't think she'd really do that, but if I did bring another pet into the house, whether a rat or a puppy, she'd make me return the animal.

Don't think that, just because I can give the "inside dope" on owning one rat, that it's because I only ~want~ one rat. Heck, I see pictures of people's rats on this board, and hear stories about them, and I think it's only fair to warn you: I want ALL of your ratties! :lol:
 

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My mum won't even let me bring Addo, let alone two.

We don't have enough money to buy a cage big enough for two rats (the pet store guy gave us a deal on a big one, but only big enough for one comfortably), and to be honest, it doesn't matter what you guys say, more than one rat IS going to be more work than one. Spending time with Addo isn't hard for us, he is happy, brux's's's's all the time, runs about, and his eyes are permanently BOGGLY! 8O

So frankly, my Timmy, Addo and I are a happy little family. We'll get another when we have the dollar to buy a bigger cage, more food and more bedding!
 

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Hamsters are nocturnal, meaning they sleep all day and are awake through the night. My hamsters rarely get up before nine p.m., so your kid probably won't see the hammy much, at least not on school nights. Hamsters can be great pets though. My Ava is a lot like a rat in that she has never bitten or shown any aggression and will sit patiently on my hand to receive her petting. But the male hamster i have, arnold, is a little *******. He's very nippy and high strung, so I guess it's the luck of the draw on hamsters.
 

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I know it's different with you from home Holly, and we all know how loved and spoiled Gus is. But i think in other circumstances, it's not fair to get a rat if you know your situation isn't perfect.

If you know you're not allowed 2 pets, or you can't afford a big enough cage to house two in, then maybe a pet rat isn't for you. It seems very selfish to make a rat lead a lonely life just because you want one. I know it sounds harsh, but the animals welfare should be put first. We shouldn't always have what we want. Rats need to live in pairs, no doubt about it. Also, they do not become more attached to you if they are kept alone. In face, two rats are much more outgoing and social. I had a male on his own for almost 5 months before i was able to get him a friend. When they were eventually put together he was a completely different rat. I saw a side of him i hadn't seen before - playing, grooming, showing affection. They fought over food, squabbled, curled up together, cleaned each other’s ears. The amount of happiness a rat can get from another rat is unparalleled.

If you can't give your pet kind of life he/she deserves because of your circumstances, then either wait, or look at a different animal. I live with my parents at the moment, and they weren't exactly thrilled about the idea of rats at first. But, they've come around. Can you not talk to them and get them used to the idea?

As for two rats being more work...they really aren't. Think about how many hours you are out of the house/not interacting with your rat. Your rat is waiting for the moment when you come home and let him out. He lives and breathes just to be let out of his cage. How is that fair? Getting a companion means you are not the center of the universe to him any more, and he doesn't have to spend hours pining for you to come home. You'll alleviate all the guilt you feel for leaving him alone. He'll have someone to interact with when you're not there.

This is a really good UK website Phoebie, it might be worth having a look around on here: fancy-rats.co.uk/community
 
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