I've had many rats before but never more than 3. For the first time, I'm buying a large rat cage, 32"L x 20.75"W x 45.5"H
And obviously I'm getting at least 2 but how many SHOULD I get with the extra space? Will 2 rats be too lonely in a big cage?
Our rats free range the house, so there's pretty much no space limit to how many rats I could have, but we only keep two at a time. We're training a new pup right now and she is taking up most of my time... our big girl really can't be exposed to the pup yet so she's being neglected. So for right now, two rats is technically too many.
Yes it's nice to have a sweet little pup sleeping on my neck, but I keep thinking about the big pudgy one curled up by herself in her cold metal cabinet. I can't wait until they can be together and I can share my time with both of them.
I think the max I would get is 4 but according to the rat calculator, I can have 8 rats comfortable in my new cage but I can't free roam much.
When I'm in the room I can wheel the cage right up to my bed and they can play with me there... I also have stairs leading up to my bed for my chihuahua, so they COULD get down but having rats on the floor of my room is scary to me. There are wires and I don't know if they can fit under the doors keeping them in a safe room... Plus I'm a bookworm so plenty of books that I'm sure they'd love to chew... Is that considered free ranging?
Other than that, I'm a daycare provider so I do have to work but I work at home. (The kids aren't allowed in my room) The rest of the time I'm free.
Oh! New question! What should I do about long rat nails? I'm not entirely trusting of my hands being steady but I don't want to drive across town to have their nails trimmed... Can regular petstores clip their nails? Or can I file them down without getting too far? I have sensitive skin and when my babies ride on my shoulders it tears my skin apart to the point that I have to keep them off. And Scarf/ turtle neck shirts and whatnot aren't an option because they burrow into them.
2 rats won't feel lonely or lost in a large cage. They will enjoy all the room to explore. I don't have an answer for the nails, but I am going to replace a ladder with lava ledges and see if that works.
I once had a mischief that grew to 13 rats in a DCN with extra shelves. Was 13 rats too many? Yes, because I didn't manage to have the one on one time with each that I would have preferred to have. It was especially unfair in my view to Xena who was my first rat and the one that I had a unique bond with, but didn't spend the time I would have liked with, to Gabrielle who was uniquely bonded to me but didn't get the amount of my time she should have been entitled to, and to Apollo who was one rat from an "incidental" litter (my sister adopted a rat and litter) that bonded to me but had to be adopted out because I was unable to keep "just one more". Was 13 rats too many? No, because each was a rescue, they all knew they were loved, and I did make them as happy as I was able for the time I had them. Would I do it again? No, I want to have a smaller number of rats probably not more than 3, certainly no more than 5, so that I can give each as much of my time as possible for all our well being.
Not to start a debate... but "as many as you want" might be tempered just a tad with as many as you can reasonably care for and as many as you can socialize and interact with...
I really do enjoy and even love our rats... and I suppose I always 'want' more, but I have to consider the point when I'm neglecting one for the other.
There's no hard set limit... some folks are home all day and they multi-task brilliantly. They set up huge play rooms and spend hours each day playing with their groups and everyone is more than happy, entertained and perfectly well socialized, and up to some point, rats in a larger group entertain each other.
But I've been around a long time... and I've also seen where things have gone very wrong... someone gets a new job or has to move or runs into financial problems and then things can go very wrong, very quickly.
I suppose what I'm saying is that I like to read that you are asking the question now and making a plan. This is an excellent indication that you are going to adopt the perfect number of rats for you. Usually a good plan is a good indicator of future success. I tend to worry more about the folks that don't have a plan, then they have more rats than they know what to do with and finally we see them looking to tearfully re-home their former best furry friends when they can't keep up with the costs, housing or time requirements. Rats are such wonderful animals, it's natural to always 'want' more...
So while there are definitely no hard and fast limits 'as many as you want' might be just a little optimistic. Maybe as many as you want, to the point that you can handle through the foreseeable future, might be a bit safer to say?
Honestly I would start with 2 and go on from there. IMO it is much better to vary ages so that you *hopefully* do not run into health issues in one large swoop. Also so that you don't end up losing many rats at once. You can always get more rats later.
Secondly, I would not trust cage calculators. IMO that is like the very most but it should really be less rats then that. I think it can work if they get ALOT of outside cage time. But remember the more rats in a single cage = more cleaning. IMO if you go to the max you will probably need to be cleaning several times a week.
Every single person is different on what they can give to their pets. I have 9 rats currently, run a rattery, have a dog, 2 guinea pigs, 5 cats and also foster kittens & volunteer at a shelter. I would probably have far more pets if my husband would allow it lol! But always go slow and get more as u have time/space.
rat daddy I see you are very sensitive on this issue which is fine for a balanced set of advice on the forum however I thought it was quite clear..
He already stated his cage size as the limit so it quite clear hes not asking if he should fill his place with rats. Also I clearly intended it to mean he shouldn't ask people how many to get, he should ask himself how many he can care for because only he knows the answer. I will in future add "that you can adequately care for" to calm your nerves. I even gave a limit of 6 in my response and suggested that should start to consider extra requirements of a larger mischief. I didn't feel the need to list them all since hes on a rat forum to do research and I would have to write an essay for each reply if I did that. ;D
I wasn't disagreeing with your advise at all, it was actually very much appropriate and well reasoned out. I was only commenting to your choice of words not their meaning.
I've been posting online for a long time... some folks might say too long. And sometimes I find people who want to read something into my words that I don't intend. It's happened to me several times.
I was just picturing the lurker with 100 rats who's intentionally misreading your comment and thinking about adopting or breeding 100 more, thinking "I should be able to have as many rats as I want!" And I know for absolute certainty that's not what you meant. Just like I know there's someone lurking out there who's looking for any excuse to buy another half dozen Tupperware containers to expand their menagerie.
I know it's a pain, and I've written my fair share of essays... but I try never to give irresponsible people more ammunition to act irrationally than I absolutely need to when commenting... And when I see something that someone else wrote that can be taken the wrong way, I'll add a bit to it... even when I agree and don't intend to contradict otherwise good advise. Most likely someone is at home depot right now buying lumber and Tupperwares... and I know they don't need our encouragement... but if someone is still on the fence I'd rather our suggestions (which they are selectively reading) don't tip them over the edge, if that makes sense.
This went from being an argument founded on maybe minutely reasonable offenses to absolute childishness from both parties. People come here with legitimate concerns and shouldn't have to worry about having their posts hijacked by people getting trigger happy with the refresh key because they think they need the last word. Take it to private message if you can't quietly live with your differences in opinion.