Having a single male myself who lives free and goes everywhere with me 24/7, I would agree with what ratdaddy says. However I would like to add that what people think they will do while their pet is all new and exciting and what they actually do when the novelty wears off are two very different things. So if it's temporary, fine but if it's going to be longer term really think it though.But if can invest enough time you can make a single rat feel loved and raise him properly yourself... If you can't, he should have a friend.
Oh yeah, I have loads of time on my hands right now and in the near future so I could spend the time for one single rat. My mischief isn't that large. Would it be a good idea to do supervised play time with his dad? I did an introduction yesterday and all went well (is it true rats can tell who's family by scent?).We adopt little girl pups that can't be introduced to their older future friends until they get 10 weeks old... so they have to be alone as they grow up...
We make up for this by spending a lot of time with them, play fighting, napping and just being there for them... Today I took our new little girl to the soccer field and sat there on the astroturf for about an hour as she crawled about on and around me... Basically I'm simulating mom taking her little ones out for a short foraging adventure. And yes, it wasn't easy to explain to a young lady who passed by and asked why I was sitting on a soccer field at night with a rat pup...
But if can invest enough time you can make a single rat feel loved and raise him properly yourself... If you can't, he should have a friend.
Thanks for the advice and concern. I do have older rats he can join when he's a bit bigger.You really do have to consider the commitment level of a young child when thinking about a single rat and I would also say you have to be a rat person not a pet keeper. Otherwise you wont be able to meet the needs of your rat. I was thrown into single rat keeping because I reserved my rat Freddy (my picture) from a so called breeder which turned out not to be one. He was in a awful state. His fur was barely there with big bald patches and he was sneezing constantly like a maniac. He wouldn't eat much and would shake as soon as you touched him. After all that he been through I would never have turned him away. I took him strait to the vet and got him treated for mites and checked for respiratory problems. His fur grew back but it turned out his lungs were so sensitive from the damage done that he is like the kid at school who's allergic to everything. He can't even cope with his own waste or litter let alone a group of rats. In the end I chose to let him live free because he needed to be able to spend as much time away from his waste as possible.
I started to research solo rats because I had always read they go crazy attack you and die which btw is simply not true.. I found research papers mentioning social isolation and its effects on stress hormones and how handling and environmental stimulation was able to remove them. This gave me the hope and drive to do what I could to make his life fulfilled and happy. It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and I have even noticed some benefits from having a single rat. However I will always recommend 2 and I don't like to mention the pros because I know already how many pets in the world are left without care and if I knew a single rat had been left because of someone reading my advice I would feel awful.
Lastly I would just say you also need to take the people around you into consideration. How do they feel about you constantly having a rat on/near you. What about work, family, friends and holidays. It's much more complicated than with a group of rats which you can leave for periods of time. Life becomes a puzzle where you are constantly trying to solve problems that you would never have thought of when you purchased your rat.
I heard male introductions go earlier? I saw something online(perhaps garbage) that males are good for introductions around 6 weeks?Precisely Amph!
When Fuzzy Rat was an only rat she lived and traveled with us 24 by 7 too. So choosing a restaurant meant finding one that was rat friendly or eating in the parking lot and shopping meant finding rat friendly stores... And when she needed to go outside to run before bed time, it meant getting wet at 1:00 Am when it rained...
She became a truly amazing rat, and learned lots of human words and became remarkably able to communicate with us... but if you think it's easy to raise a single rat, and keep him or her truly happy, think again.
In about 5 weeks we start to do intros between Cloud and Misty and my life is going to get a whole lot easier!
Would a three tier cage be too big for three boys? It's technically a "small" ferret cage, but it's not super large. The pan is deep.Having never had to do intros because I always got my groups as babies, I wouldn't like to give you advice on that other than to go read AdequateRat's posts as shes always adding babies to her group of boys. First hand exp is better than any book or website imo.
As for scent, even if they do, I doubt it makes much difference. In the wild male rats will eject all males including their relatives from its territory unless the number of rats in that location is large enough to make it futile. At that point the social structure switches and the territory breaks down. As domestic male rats are kept in groups within limited space (cage) combined with abundance of food and lack of females to compete for they tend to get on fine. So as you see its not really scent based acceptance more environmental. Of cource some rats maintain the high levels of hormones and wont accept another in its territory no matter what but that's rare.
Don't judge me, Amph! XP <3Having never had to do intros because I always got my groups as babies, I wouldn't like to give you advice on that other than to go read AdequateRat's posts as shes always adding babies to her group of boys. First hand exp is better than any book or website imo.
I think the boys are more caring for the pup, Clown. They groom him(not power grooming), cuddle with him, and let him play fight without fighting back. I still keep a very close eye on themIf you have the time and boys to eventually introduce your pup to, I think you will be fine... Our Cloud has become a big fat lazy overstuffed knockwurst of a rat recently, but she's still sneaky and patient enough to have attacked our new pup Misty 3 times since we got her two weeks ago. She's got the calmness, patience and range of a snapping turtle. Thankfully so far she's only mock biting.
But yes, males can usually be introduced younger. Basically, studies show that most males don't attack pups, supposedly because they can't tell which ones are theirs. On the other hand some male rats do kill pups for reasons unknown. I'd stay close and keep hands on as long as your pup can't defend itself, just in case you have one of the oddballs.