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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I read through this and other rat forums, I see a lot of people mention that boys are cuddlier than girls. Is that always true?

From your own experience, what are the differences between males and females (eg., behaviour, smell, etc.?). Have you every had "exceptions" (i.e., ones that did not behave like most of the same gender)? If you've had your rat spayed or neutered, did their behaviours change/are their behaviours different non-altered rats? Your insights would be greatly appreciated!
 

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I had a girl and she was full of energy but at the same time she knew when it was time to chill out and just snuggle.. Like when I was doing homework the other day she was running all around my stuff and I just sat her In my lap and said just sit here and I was petting her and she just sat there... Or sometimes Id let her run around my room and shed climb onto my bed just to cuddle under my neck for a snooze.. She was the best little snuggle bug ever.. But there were times she shed just want to run run run and get into everything possible, her favorite thing to do was dumpster dive in our bathroom trash can which was mostly full of tissues and toilet paper lol.
 

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I have had 7 boys so far and they have all definitely been more chilled out than my one girl, I realised and had a gut feeling she was a girl as soon as I got her out of the cage. She is just GO GO GO all the time! Not particularly keen on being held for long periods of time, but she'll happily come over and climb up onto me when she's ready. I find boys are definitely cuddlier, as for the smell my 5 current boys definitely outweigh the individual smell of my girl so I don't really know if girls are generally less smelly, although she doesn't seem to enjoy vegetating in urine as often as the boys!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your replies! I've had my heart set on getting girls, mainly due to the smell of boys, but now I don't know. I'd like to have a couple of rats who likes to cuddle. Moreover, the girls seem to get snatched much faster than boys from the breeders I want to adopt from. Wonder why?... Anyway, I've had hamsters and I can't stand the smell of the females. I've had mice and can't stand the stink of the male mice. I've never smelled a male rat before, though, but from what I've read, they do have a smell. I've only worked with female lab rats and they were pretty calm. I've also played with a friend's female rats and they would not hold still. :p So, I'm really on the fence right now. ??? I hope more of you will chime in and enlighten me with your own personal experiences. :)
 

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I've never had boy rats but my girls do like to snuggle if they're sleepy but the rest of the time they are hyper!
 

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I own a pair of females myself. I will say that they love to run around and explore, so I would suggest a smaller space if you're looking for some real one x one/ play time. I adore my little ones though. They do tend to get into mischief though, since they just love to explore where they shouldn't. They aren't extremely cuddly and Neera is actually a bit hand shy (For being picked up and petted) but I will tell you there is nothing better than putting your hand in and having Neera lick you to death because she's so sweet. Dela doesn't mind a petting but she's not one to sit and let you hug her for a long period of time.

That being said, I don't think I've ever had more fun with them (And they with me) than when two of my friends came over and we sat in my bathroom with Dela. (Neera was sick right then and I didn't want to stress her out, so she didn't play with us DX). That was the first and so far the only time I have ever seen Dela boggle. We would make bridges with our arms and she would just run and run between us, onto our shoulders, climb to the ground, back on us, it was hectic. And she couldn't get enough. We would snatch her back up from the ground and snuggle her and pet her for as long a she would let us and then the running would start again. It was so much fun with her racing around on us and climbing around us and playing. That's definitely one of my best memories with her and I sincerely hope I can get my friends to come over again to play with Neera too now that she's feeling better.
 

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My boys do not smell different from my girls other than a lazy tendency to marinate in pee.
 

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When I was getting my rats I really wanted a girl too. In fact I had the names picked out and everything and then the pet store only sold boys. i was heartbroken but the worker explained to me that boys are better because they bond with their owner better, I'm assuming since they are less hyper. They are more chilled out, less health problems in old age, I don't remember the rest but I think she had a few more reasons for me so i was like ok well I'll get boys then since none of the other stores sold girls either. But i was like I'm not giving up my cute names I picked out though, so here you have it my boys are named Daisy and Lily...yup lol. But since I did originally want a girl I didn't feel complete until I added a girl to my mischief to see what it was like and my boys were neutered so I could house them together no problem. Well...I probably should've just stuck with my boys cuz man it's true that girls are crazier. My boy Daisy is pretty hyper for a boy and gets bored easily so he has caused me some grief but Rose gives me a run for my money that's for sure. She can literally climb walls. And she's so fast I can never catch her lol. She has much more energy than my boy Lily. He is very typical of a boy. He plays for about a half hour and then finds a favorite cozy spot to take a nap in for the rest of the time. Daisy is very loving. He is my baby and needs lots of cuddles and attention from me everyday. he grooms me a lot during playtime. My boys are both very sweet. They are also very clean and always have been. Right from the get go they picked a corner of the cage to do their business in and that's the only place they would do it in. When I got my big dcn cage the litter box was on the bottom level and they spend all their time on the top level. They were never lazy and took to litter training within the first week and walked all the way down to the bottom floor to do their business with no problem. Some are lazy and don't want to walk that far though. i am lucky they are very clean. They also do not poop on my floor when they are out to play and my girl Rose does. She also is having a hard time litter training. So idk if that's a girl thing or just her specifically. She is very destructive because of her hyperness. She gets bored easily and wants to explore beyond my bedroom and so she destroys the carpet to get out of my room. It's also part of being a baby I think that she is so crazy and it will probably calm down somewhat but I do see a definite difference that will stay so i almost wish I had just stuck with boys. She is cute as can be though cuz she's so little. I don't notice much of a smell with either of them, but I do bathe them every 3-4 weeks because their fur will start to smell by then. They do keep well groomed though and also groom each other everyday. Also one thing to note about girls is that they go into heat every 3-5 days and they can get moody and withdrawn. That was one thing the store worker told me too. Also my boys try to mate with her when she's in heat and won't leave her alone and it's really annoying lol

If I were to make a recommendation on which you should buy, I would definitely buy a boy rather than a girl. They are just way easier in my opinion. And it's not like boys are so lazy they just sleep 24/7 and don't play with you at all or anything. It's not like that. To me it's just like, boys are normal, and girls are way super duper hyper. The only thing to keep in mind though that I didn't think of when buying boys instead of girls was the potential to have to get them neutered, whereas that wouldn't have to happen with girls. I'm a college student and really couldn't afford vet bills, but I was having issues (not major. no fighting or anything) with my boys with marking, daisy was starting dominance fights nonstop cuz he was overly hormonal, he was also being a little aggressive and nippy with me, and some other things that i just didn't want to deal with anymore. it wasn't a complete necessity but I decided to get them neutered and I didn't even think of that when I bought them. It was an expense I couldn't really afford. So just keep in mind that possibility if buying a boy but it was totally worth it for me and getting them neutered took care of every single problem I had. And to answer your question from the beginning, getting them neutered didn't change their personality. they are still the same rats. It just made Lily stop marking (he didn't really have any other issues, i neutered him to get a girl later). Daisy was the problem, and it made him stop marking everywhere and also he quit showing aggression towards me, and stopped picking fights with his brother and stuff. Even though daisy had these hormonal alpha issues he was still a sweetheart. He's the sweetest rat i have and is my baby. So his personality didn't change in that regard, he was still sweet to me if not more so. It just chills out an overly hormonal rat so they aren't so focused on being dominant and aggressive.
 

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With girls as well it's worth mentioning that they are more prone to health problems later on life, tumours etc. So spaying a girl can have a lot of health benefits, however it's more expensive than neutering boys. Although I'm not suggesting all females should be spayed, but there is a higher chance of her developing more serious health problems that will need treating. Males can also suffer from tumours and health issues, but its just more common in girls. Boys are playful as well just girls really seem to be over the top crazy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've never had boy rats but my girls do like to snuggle if they're sleepy but the rest of the time they are hyper!
AHA! Sleepy time = opportunity to snuggle. That sounds pretty cool. :cool:


I own a pair of females myself. I will say that they love to run around and explore, so I would suggest a smaller space if you're looking for some real one x one/ play time. I adore my little ones though. They do tend to get into mischief though, since they just love to explore where they shouldn't. They aren't extremely cuddly and Neera is actually a bit hand shy (For being picked up and petted) but I will tell you there is nothing better than putting your hand in and having Neera lick you to death because she's so sweet. Dela doesn't mind a petting but she's not one to sit and let you hug her for a long period of time.

That being said, I don't think I've ever had more fun with them (And they with me) than when two of my friends came over and we sat in my bathroom with Dela. (Neera was sick right then and I didn't want to stress her out, so she didn't play with us DX). That was the first and so far the only time I have ever seen Dela boggle. We would make bridges with our arms and she would just run and run between us, onto our shoulders, climb to the ground, back on us, it was hectic. And she couldn't get enough. We would snatch her back up from the ground and snuggle her and pet her for as long a she would let us and then the running would start again. It was so much fun with her racing around on us and climbing around us and playing. That's definitely one of my best memories with her and I sincerely hope I can get my friends to come over again to play with Neera too now that she's feeling better.
Dela sounds like a hyper young dog. LOL So cute! ;D

My boys do not smell different from my girls other than a lazy tendency to marinate in pee.
"marinate" LOL!!!;D


But i was like I'm not giving up my cute names I picked out though, so here you have it my boys are named Daisy and Lily...yup lol.
Ohhhhhh.... Daisy is a boy! LOL!! I thought she was a girl from your other thread. :p


Also one thing to note about girls is that they go into heat every 3-5 days and they can get moody and withdrawn.
Really?? That, I haven't read yet. Very interesting!... Every 3-5 days is a lot of cranky time. :eek:


And to answer your question from the beginning, getting them neutered didn't change their personality. they are still the same rats. It just made Lily stop marking (he didn't really have any other issues, i neutered him to get a girl later). Daisy was the problem, and it made him stop marking everywhere and also he quit showing aggression towards me, and stopped picking fights with his brother and stuff. Even though daisy had these hormonal alpha issues he was still a sweetheart. He's the sweetest rat i have and is my baby. So his personality didn't change in that regard, he was still sweet to me if not more so. It just chills out an overly hormonal rat so they aren't so focused on being dominant and aggressive.
That's good to know that they don't mark as much and become more calm!


With girls as well it's worth mentioning that they are more prone to health problems later on life, tumours etc. So spaying a girl can have a lot of health benefits, however it's more expensive than neutering boys. Although I'm not suggesting all females should be spayed, but there is a higher chance of her developing more serious health problems that will need treating. Males can also suffer from tumours and health issues, but its just more common in girls. Boys are playful as well just girls really seem to be over the top crazy!
Someone else mentioned the tumor thing. That's good to know! And good to know that spaying costs more. Much like with dogs, I guess. Will they still go in heat if they were spayed?


Thanks for all your replies! They were very insightful. And I LOVE reading about all your rat stories! ;D;D;D
 

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No, females who've had a full spay do not go into heat.

My girls aren't "cranky" at all, when in estrus--in fact, they are a bit more apt to want more affection and attention at that time.

Before I got my first rats, I'd pictured getting dumbo ear boys and I ended up with top ear girls, as that's who needed saved from the pound.

Maybe it's because I started out with the girls, but I feel closer to mine than I do to my boys.

My boys have their own charm, but they aren't as full of quirks and fun and trouble and personality as my girls are.

To be fair, they are younger and still coming out of their shells, but, eh, I've enjoyed my girl rats waaaaaay more than I ever anticipated.

I think my best advice to you would be to keep an open mind, and see which individual rat sort of "speaks" to you, and then get a same-sex friend for them.
 

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The first girl I ever had was my old Nippy, who's behavior was largely shaped at first by the fact that she was about to have babies. Her daughters and I have always been especially close, although I love her sons too. Then the time came for them to start crossing the rainbow bridge, and I found two young females in need of a home. One, Stitch, had half her tail chewed off when we met. I also bought her sister Nibbler as company for her. I'd expected the sweet calm friendly babies Nippy's daughters are. Wrong. Two little energy balls. I've since come to love the two newbies just as I do the others, but I've come to believe girl energy is the norm and Nippy's daughters are different because I handled them every day since birth and helped shape their personalities.
 

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No she won't go into heat if she is spayed :) it doesn't change their personality either, my girl is still a lunatic!!!
 

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Our boys are almost 12wks and the girls are between almost 12wks and somewhere over a year. The girls are very hyper, active, want to explore. The boys are more people focused, they are more interested in climbing onto you then trying to climb out the door and up the cage. Now this isn't true for everyone, Cricket and Darjeeling for example are very people focused rats, and while they love to explore, they also love to be on and around people. But out of 10 girls, they are the exception. Now the boys, they overall seem easier to handle, less jumpy and quick then the girls. And more likely to come up to you faster. It's easier to hold the boys, or handle them at all, then it is any of the girls (excluding the exceptions). Overall, I prefer the boys and would like to stick to them once the girls go. The girls are fun and fantastic and perfect for someone who is looking for a more high energy pet. Like, if I were to compare breeds of dog to rat genders, girls are more like labs or golden retrievers. Boys are more like great danes. Our boys are active, they are still young as well, and they love to play chase the hand.

Now we have four tiny babies too, two girls and two boys. They are much more similar to each other then the older ones. The boys are a bit more curious, less shy then their girly counterparts. But it seems time really is the big factor in any personality differences between boys and girls.
 

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Currently we have 7 girls. 4 around 9 weeks and then two that are around 7-8 months and buttercup is anywhere from a little over a year to closer to 2. The girls are crazy and all over the place at once. They seem to adapt to changes readily. They are my climbing jumping pushing the boundaries group. However once they tire out they all like to sleep by my leg. Buttercup has always liked a lot of pets, and all of them check in often and get some scritches. Opening the cage will get you a bunch of girls on your shoulders. They will be taking any opportunity to jump to something interesting from your shoulders.

The 8 boys are all around 9 weeks. They are much more needy. Any new place and they are likely to cling to me, trying to stay on my shoulders under my hair. They take their time in checking out a new place. When playing they are not much into climbing-they are more of the bounding, running wrestling with their bro's sorts. The boys will almost always choose to stick to a human if given the option. Opening the cage door will get you shoulders and sleeves full of rats. They don't seem to ever bore of this, so you can spend hours with them on your shoulders and they are happy.

Though both sexes in my group are playful, while fully awake the girls energy you can almost visibly see, picking them up I can see they are a million miles away and wanting to go do important things. Whereas the boys it seems just some rompy, bouncy wrestling and if picked up just go mellow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No, females who've had a full spay do not go into heat.

My girls aren't "cranky" at all, when in estrus--in fact, they are a bit more apt to want more affection and attention at that time.

Before I got my first rats, I'd pictured getting dumbo ear boys and I ended up with top ear girls, as that's who needed saved from the pound.

Maybe it's because I started out with the girls, but I feel closer to mine than I do to my boys.

My boys have their own charm, but they aren't as full of quirks and fun and trouble and personality as my girls are.

To be fair, they are younger and still coming out of their shells, but, eh, I've enjoyed my girl rats waaaaaay more than I ever anticipated.

I think my best advice to you would be to keep an open mind, and see which individual rat sort of "speaks" to you, and then get a same-sex friend for them.
I think one rat baby spoke to me when I last held one at PetSmart. She was so calm and alert! I just fell in love. :rolleyes: Unfortunately, I had nothing ready at the time and I wasn't going to impulse buy her.




The first girl I ever had was my old Nippy, who's behavior was largely shaped at first by the fact that she was about to have babies. Her daughters and I have always been especially close, although I love her sons too. Then the time came for them to start crossing the rainbow bridge, and I found two young females in need of a home. One, Stitch, had half her tail chewed off when we met. I also bought her sister Nibbler as company for her. I'd expected the sweet calm friendly babies Nippy's daughters are. Wrong. Two little energy balls. I've since come to love the two newbies just as I do the others, but I've come to believe girl energy is the norm and Nippy's daughters are different because I handled them every day since birth and helped shape their personalities.
That's interesting! Think maybe pups from breeders who handle them a lot from birth will be calmer?




No she won't go into heat if she is spayed :) it doesn't change their personality either, my girl is still a lunatic!!!
LOL But a cute lunatic, I bet? ;)




Our boys are almost 12wks and the girls are between almost 12wks and somewhere over a year. The girls are very hyper, active, want to explore. The boys are more people focused, they are more interested in climbing onto you then trying to climb out the door and up the cage. Now this isn't true for everyone, Cricket and Darjeeling for example are very people focused rats, and while they love to explore, they also love to be on and around people. But out of 10 girls, they are the exception. Now the boys, they overall seem easier to handle, less jumpy and quick then the girls. And more likely to come up to you faster. It's easier to hold the boys, or handle them at all, then it is any of the girls (excluding the exceptions). Overall, I prefer the boys and would like to stick to them once the girls go. The girls are fun and fantastic and perfect for someone who is looking for a more high energy pet. Like, if I were to compare breeds of dog to rat genders, girls are more like labs or golden retrievers. Boys are more like great danes. Our boys are active, they are still young as well, and they love to play chase the hand.

Now we have four tiny babies too, two girls and two boys. They are much more similar to each other then the older ones. The boys are a bit more curious, less shy then their girly counterparts. But it seems time really is the big factor in any personality differences between boys and girls.
Are Cricket and Darjeeling related to the other girls? Where did you adopt them from - same or similar place as the others? What about the boys? Do the girls settle down a bit as they grow older?




Currently we have 7 girls. 4 around 9 weeks and then two that are around 7-8 months and buttercup is anywhere from a little over a year to closer to 2. The girls are crazy and all over the place at once. They seem to adapt to changes readily. They are my climbing jumping pushing the boundaries group. However once they tire out they all like to sleep by my leg. Buttercup has always liked a lot of pets, and all of them check in often and get some scritches. Opening the cage will get you a bunch of girls on your shoulders.
Awwww!!!... ;D;D;D


The 8 boys are all around 9 weeks. They are much more needy. Any new place and they are likely to cling to me, trying to stay on my shoulders under my hair.
Wuss!! ;D


They take their time in checking out a new place. When playing they are not much into climbing-they are more of the bounding, running wrestling with their bro's sorts. The boys will almost always choose to stick to a human if given the option. Opening the cage door will get you shoulders and sleeves full of rats. They don't seem to ever bore of this, so you can spend hours with them on your shoulders and they are happy.

Though both sexes in my group are playful, while fully awake the girls energy you can almost visibly see, picking them up I can see they are a million miles away and wanting to go do important things. Whereas the boys it seems just some rompy, bouncy wrestling and if picked up just go mellow.
Thanks for the comparison! It's good to know that, while high in energy, the girls are still social and like to spend time with humans though not as much as the boys.


Thanks for sharing your experiences, everyone! I'm getting a better idea of what female vs male rats are like now. Thanks for all your insights and stories! I thoroughly enjoy reading them! ;D;D;D
 

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Of my 2 girls one is very hyper and constantly on the move, the other is more shy but just likes to sit under a blanket and sleep, she is the exception to the norm
 

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Cricket and Darjeeling were feeder bin finds at a tiny junk of a pet store. All the 12wk girls and boys are Darjeeling's babies. (Like I said, junk of a pet store) The girls do seem to settle down a bit, but young rats are like young kids, hyper just for the sake of hyper. Getting an older rat allows you to see their personality ahead of time. Babies you get an idea but they are still morphing and molding. Also, and this could be just out lot or because we have a lot, the girls are loud! Squeeking and squalking. The boys barely make a sound, but they are bigger and wrestle harder so they bang around a bit. (Our boy cage is also very shaky, so that doesn't help.) and I agree, boys are much more needy. The girls usually don't mind if we're there or not, unless we have food. The boys alwys want us if they see us.
 

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If you can possibly find a way to either help a homeless rat(s) or else find an ethical breeder, that would sure be icing on the cake.

Finding out you've supported miserable conditions at a rat mill (by buying from a pet store) is not really the most fun thing ever.

There are lots of bybs violating the rules on Craigslist, but there are also individuals listing rats there, and following the CL rules, just trying to find new homes for their pet rats.

Also, shelters, rescues, and sometimes exotics vet offices will be able to help you find rats in need of some good care and love ;)
 

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I have had both genders for a little over a year now. A couple points to consider.
1. Males have a slight body odor (grape soda / fritos... it actually smells like that) and their pee is a little stinkier than girls, but both genders scent mark / pee all over their cages, so there will be pee odor to contend with either way.

2. Girls stay smaller and more active. Boys are larger (so require larger spaces) but are less active. If you think you'd like to watch them doing a lot of activity on their own in their cage, girls might be a better bet... My boys sleep most of the time.

3. "cuddliness" and "affection" depend on the rat more than the gender. I have a super friendly female and male rat, whereas the others (of both genders) aren't as friendly.

4. Females are more active and (in my experience) also more destructive of their cage furnishings. My girls chew their fleece, hammocks, and pick at their cage more. If you do get girls, I would highly recommend only putting them in an all metal cage (my boys are in a cage with a plastic bottom and are fine, but the girls would chew through that in a heartbeat.

5. Males have coarser hair as adults... If you're wanting a very soft and sleek rat to pet, a female might be a better bet.


Other than those points above, both genders have good points and I am happy to have kept both. They are both fun to keep, but all in all, I prefer my girls. I like how active they are and I enjoy petting them more due to their softer coats.

As others have noted, I would advise buying from a breeder (someone that socializes their rats / handles them and breeds for health and temperament) over buying from a pet store. I would even buy from a hobby or casual breeder over a pet store IF they take good care of their rats and handle them. Rescue is an option too if there is one in your area. The main reason is that the rats at petsmart, etc. haven't been socialized from a young age and probably won't be as human-oriented as pups raised with people handling them. If you have a petco in your town, check with them because sometimes they have pups for adoption if someone has brought in a pregnant female (that's where I got some of mine). You can also check with shelters, etc. I would be leery of adopting an adult rat unless you can handle it quite a bit first and be sure that it is friendly.. An adult, scared, unfriendly rat would be a bad first rat owning experience. Rat bites can be painful, so you want to get a friendly young rat if possible. My rescue pups (raised with people handling them) have never bitten hard (just the occasional taste nip) but the ones I got from petco from their feeder bin have bitten (not broken the skin). You can tell a big difference in how they were raised.

If you can't find a rat via other means and must buy from the petstore (this happened to me my first time around), then pick the youngest, friendliest rats you can find. Be wary of shyness and any animals that appear sickly (skinny, with missing hair, sneezing, etc.).
 
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