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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it true that rats only live 2-4 years?? :(
Thats what the tag at the pet store said...and i really hope it isnt true.

I just got my rat, Dolly at Superpetz a few weeks ago and ive already grown attatched to her.

Do different kinds of rats have different lifespans? If so, mine is a standard blue berkshire. She's not full grown yet i'de say she's about medium size...I have her in a 10 gallon aquarium but i really think she needs a bigger cage. am i right? Andddd i feed her these things called yogurt bites and hamster food.

Do you think anyone could predict about how long she will live under these circumstances??
Thanks and i hope someone can help me :D
 

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I'm afraid I have some bad news for you then. The longest I've ever heard of a rat living is 3.5 years.

A 10 gallon aquarium is far too small for any rat. Generally, most of us don't even recommend using aquariums at all but a real cage. In the Rat Homes section, there is a sticky about a rat calculator in the Rat Homes forum. When considering a new cage, please make sure it'll be big enough for rats.

Though your aquarium is too small, Dolly really needs a companion. Rats are very social creatures and do much better having a companion at all times.

Yogurt bites are fine as treats but not as regular food. Hamster food is not good for rats as it is not made for them. In the Rat Health forum, please look at my "A (Hopefully) Comprehensive Guide to Rat Diet" to see what you should and should not feed your rat. The section on Suebee's mix should be very helpful to you, or you could try out something different.

Please take some time to look around this forum and around the internet and learn more about rat care. It appears to me that you may have dived into it with little or no research, and though we can't do anything about that fact now, you can learn from your mistakes and make sure Dolly (and her future companion) have a long and healthy life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks so much :) I really hope i can figure something out...i REALLY need to get a job haha so ill have money to buy stuff for her...and hopefully her future companion.

thanks for the help! Do you think i should try to get a new cage as fast as possible? Will she pass away if she stays in the small one for a little longer?
 

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I think we should go through the basics with you. What kind of bedding are you using?

While you have her in the aquarium, try to get her out and play with her as much as possible. She'll get really bored in there. Also, clean it as often as possible. The problem with aquariums is they don't really let air circulate, and so ammonia from the rat's urine builds up quickly. Since rats have sensitive respiratory systems, this can damage them.

If/When you do get a new rat, be sure to go through proper quarantine and introductions. But we can cross that bridge when we come to it.
 

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When you do have some money for a cage, Martin's has some really well priced ones, and their shipping fees are quite reasonable. (They just got a new shipping rate, so it'll be less than quoted.) On top of that, they're great cages.

http://www.martinscages.com/products/cages/rat/

For now, however: what type of top do you have on the aquarium?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I kindof cant leave my room right now but ill definetely check what kind of bedding i have and ill post it later...

Uhmm my topper is just a regular flat aquarium topper. its black with i think wire mesh?? so yeah. this aquarium definetely isnt that big. =/

yes, i try to play with her as much as possible and i take her out quite often...i bring her outside, let her explore my room, hold her a lot..
 

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With those conditions, that cage and that food I would say she would be lucky to hit 1.5 years ): Aquariums are REALLY horrible for rat respitory systems even on a short term basis. And a 10 gallon is too small even for one rat. You could clean it out daily until you get a new cage. Be sure your useing the right bedding not pine or cedar. It should be carefresh, Yesterdays News, aspen, or a fleece blanket. Also hamster food is not formulated for rats so she's probably not getting adequate nutrition. Yogies are just junk food and really should be a occasional treat.

And not having a cage mate can cause depression, boredom, and therefor more susceptibility to disease. But I wouldn't get another rat into there until you have everything fixed (large enough WIRE cage for 2 or more rats, good nutritious food, good bedding etc.)
She's got a lot going against her now. Hopefully you can remedy that before it becomes deterimental to her health.
 

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It's good you let her out as much as you can. In my opinion, right now it's most important that you get her a good wire cage ASAP, and to change her diet. A 10 gallon tank with no topper and just a cover is way too small. If the pet store said she's "medium" it means she's probably about 3 months old (a "small" rat is a baby, and "large" just means fully grown) so she'll still get bigger. And hamster food should only be fed to hamsters.

If you don't have much money, a good place to check for cheap cages is Craigslist. Ebay sometimes has good deals, but then you also have to pay for shipping, so watch out for that. To find out if a cage is big enough (you'll want one at least big enough for two rats, since you'll have to get Dolly a friend), go down the "Homes" forum and read the sticky about "rat calculators" - the links will let you put in the dimensions of a cage and then calculate how many rats it's big enough for.

For food, you may be able to find Mazuri lab blocks in pet stores (some people can find it, some can't). If you can order online, Harlan Teklad lab blocks are the best thing you can feed your rat. You can order it here. Definitely stay away from Kaytee food and any seed mixes.

Unfortunately, rats just don't live very long :( Rats can live to be 4, but that's very rare. Even 3 is rare. I think around 2 - 2.5 years is average, if rats are kept in good conditions and get veterinary care when needed. But if you make all the necessary changes (a good cage, good food, and a friend - since she's already getting lots of love :D) she'll live a longer, better, happier life ^_^
 

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I just wanna say: good for you for asking for, and politely listening to advice from people who have kept these wonderful animals for years. If all new rat owners did as you're doing, there'd be a lot more happy/healthy pet rats out there!
 

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I have that cage, it's a pretty descent small cage. You will have to take out the wire bottom.

Shipping is $43, so it would be $50+ all together, just so you know.
 

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I wanted to add that when I first got my first rat I had the same conditions and money was tight. I ended up getting a large used bird cage for $15 and converting it to a rat cage.

The cheapest healthy food combination in my area when compared everything was Mazuri lab blocks and subees mix. I was able to get the irtems for suebees mix at discount stores and with coupons and put in tupperwear containers.

My first rat has now been with me 6 months and is ina ferrett tower cage with two others, rats are awesome. Templeton had gottena little crazy at 3 months with no cage mate but he changed as soon as we bought rat number 2 and they are now both super cuddly.

Even in an aquarium for the time being give your rat lots of things to play with, jingle balls, a hanging bird toy and a home made hammock are good things to start with, most can be made out of dollar store things
 

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Definately! I'm haappppyyy you came here and asked.

Heh, the thought of not doing a bit of 'research' before hand is alien to me. I'm a plan-a-holic that hardly ever goes through with the millions of plans she makes XD
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Haha
well i guess i wont be able to get that cage...lol geeze! Why is shipping so expensive ? =/

cinderella, wherede you get a large cage for 15 dollars??
 

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Shipping is so expensive because of the size of the cage. What is your price range? What city in Ohio are you in?

Edit: Or, I should say, what is the closest major city?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
haha, actually i really cant spend that much at all...
so im trying to work with what i got. maybe like 10-15 dollars?? LOl see...when i say not that much i mean not that much X]

Uhmm is Troy a major city?
 

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Nope, apparently not! I was going to do some searching on Craig's List for you. The cities you have available you can find at this list:

http://geo.craigslist.org/iso/us/oh

10-15 really isn't much. It totally eliminates online cages as an option for you, as shipping alone would probably be that much. You might even be hard pressed to find something at craig's list for that price. Even building one would probably cost more unless you happen to already have the materials.

Do you have any other means of getting money?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
well, actually i have this idea after searching in our basement...
We have a bunch of old screen that they use in screen doors that is just laying down there. and we have these 22 inch wooden beams. i was thinking i could find a way to attatch the beams to make a box and put the screen on it??
 
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