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Hey guys so I've been doing alot of research into ratty care and differences between males and females. But I wanted to hear directly from real rat owners. It would also be great if you could mention things like differences in males when they're neutered. thanks :)
 

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Well I keep females and I know they're quite energetic I have one that's about 2 now and up until a couple months ago she ran on her wheel practically non stop...she still runs on it now but alot less she's getting to be such a grumpy old lady.....as far as boys....I don't currently have adult boys but I can tell you at 3 and a half weeks the genders pretty much act the same from what I've seen in the babies
 

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I've had 6 females (5 currently) but i've never owned males.

My females all have different personalities. But generally, they tend to be more active and outgoing than males. I'll go through each of the rats I have had (all 6 of them) and tell you a bit about their personalities. Might help you make your decision after hearing more about male rats :)

Roxi-
She's my heartrat (favourite! shhhh) and she's very loving. She's laid back and loves to come for cuddles and fuss. She will sit against my leg when I sit on the sofa and sit quietly, or curl up and sleep. She's very clingy to me, but is interested in other people and wont stop saying hello to everyone. You walk past the cage, she'll run up to greet you, you call her name, she'll come to you. She's just perfect and I love her. She's never really been super hyper, but when she was younger she was slightly more active than she is currently.

Rosie-
She's shy, but wont bite. She doesnt like being picked up, but when you have her she'll sit still for about 10 seconds before wanting to go back down. She'll happily climb all over me, on her own terms.

Rhona (RIP)
Rhona was a different rat. Different to any rat i've ever owned. I never really worked her out. She'd let me pet her, happily, but she would bite if you went to pet her at the wrong time (when she woke up, when she was in her hammock, when she's eating, or if she had her back to you) she hated being picked up and would panic. She got better over time, but I only had her for about 10 months (she was 10 months when I got her, and clearly hadnt had much handling or attention. (Word of advice, don't pick up a lone adult rat off of gumtree or anywhere where they can post ads for free! Never know what your gonna get >.<)) she wouldn't snatch her food, which I thought was strange seeing as she'd bite, nip and struggle a lot. She didn't like other rats and was a total nightmare to introduce to other rats. Safe to say, she was interesting to own, certainly had character!

Echo-
She's active. Very sweet, but she does bully roxi and rosie quite a bit, which is annoying. She's a drama queen and will squeal for no reason at all, so if roxi sniffs her, she will squeak and make stupid noises. But she's 100% healthy, she's just... odd XD She's a follower and tends to copy the other rats. She copied Rhona-a lot, which probably explains why she picks on the others. She never used to do it before introducing her to Rhona! She's very loving, easy to hold and she often licks people :p

Evie-
She's very much like Rosie. Quite shy-but not as shy. She lives for her food and is a bit of a pig. For this reason, she's huge compared to her sisters Echo and Ebby. She prefers to be out exploring, rather than being cuddled or petted. She is a bit of an outsider when all the rats are out, she tends to wonder around on her own. Yet when they are all in the cage, she'll cuddle up with the others and sleep.

Ebby-
She behaves how most websites say female rats typically would behave. She's so hyper. Like, super super hyper. She's small, lean and agile. Always running, never stopping. She'll run laps around my room, jump on my bed, jump off my bed, run some more, jump on my sofa, off my sofa, run again, jump up my leg, climb a bit, jump off my hip onto the floor and run again. Then she'll go and explore and get stuck in a boot or something. She'll also climb up places where she shouldn't (like my bookcase) and knock everything down, scaring herself, then she'll run again. She will not stop. If you sit on the floor, she'll run over to you, climb all over you, lick your hand, climb on your head, onto your shoulder, jump off, run away, come back again, lick you for ages, then run away again.
Never stopping! She's super funny, bless her :')
 

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I don't have neutered males, but do keep intact males and females. Males are a lot larger, have coarser hair, generally scent-mark more, and are typically lazier. Females are smaller, scent-mark less, have softer hair, and tend to be more active. In my personal experience, my females are much more destructive (chewing and tearing things up) and I would absolutely not keep them in a cage with a plastic bottom tray or one they could possibly chew out of (so an all metal cage). My boys don't seem to destroy or chew much and tend to lay around most of the time. My males seem to be more food motivated.

Both genders smell, and the males have slightly more body odor. Although both genders can also scent mark (pee on things) the males seem to do it more often.

IMO, I enjoy my females more, but they are more work. I would say that you could be happy with either gender, depending on the exact rats you get. Where are you planning on getting your rats from? If a store, check with them because many stores will only order males or females, so you may not have an option. If you are going with rescue or a breeder, I'd handle all of theirs and pick the group that you "click" best with verses sticking with a gender in particular. If you are planning on getting any males neutered, you could do a mixed mischief and have some of both genders.
 

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Over the years I've kept a lot of males and females though currently i just have boys. I also am fairly heavily involved in the rat fancy over here so know a lot of both sex rats and regularly judge the pet class at shows, so i get my hands on a lot of different bucks and does.

I think the first thing to say is whilst there are things you can say on average, individuals can easily behave in ways outside the norms. I sometimes joke i have "d'ucks" thats boys that behave more like peoples impression of does, the same goes for health and temprement issues too. Theres also a massive effect on this of how the rats are raised and there genetics, when i breed i breed for lively active rats be they male or female, most of my boys are a lot closer to doe temprement than peoples preconception of bucks. Thats part me selecting for it and part the way i raise them and expect them to behave.

Anyway disclaimer over heres a bit on some of the trends i've seen

Temprement: I wouldnt say all bucks are lap rats or even tend towards that, instead i would say bucks (once they get there hormones through, before that they are pretty identical to there sisters) tend towards a more considered slower pace. They can be as active but arent quite as frenetic and tend to spend more time studying the area whereas a doe will be pinging off the walls or destroying something. Bucks also tend to be more needful of there humans, this isnt to say they are clingy or spend all there time with their human, however they often check in on there people more often and look for a bit more reassurance. This is most likley down to the way heirachy is so important to bucks (much more formal than for does, see later). Does meanwhile are often more playful, or more accuratly they play for longer, a buck kitten will happily play wrestle and popcorn but many bucks get to the stage in there lives where their hormones start to influence there behaviour. This makes simple play fights more serious, and playing in some ways can wind them up or they are just not interested in it anymore as theres more improtant things in life (attempting to get the best position in the pack so should a female come along you get the first turn). Does are also generally busier, think of it as being more easily distracted or interested in everything, you can get studious does that focus on one thing (or more likley a contrary madam who wants something they arent allowed) but often they are very curious and want to be involved in everything. Does are also definitily more stubborn than bucks. Bucks can get stubborn but tend to eventually give up or loose interest. A doe can get this single minded focus on doing something shes not allowed and it becomes a long running battle of wills. Becuase of this they are more likley to be destructive or escape from rat proofing, if they set there mind to it they will useually win in the end.

Heirachy and group behavioural issues: in a buck group (and they do do better in small groups around 4-7) the heirachical structure is very important, the top rat (alpha) also often looks up to their human as the boss too. Disruption in a buck heirachy can cause a seriously unsettled group for a period of time. Useual sources of disruption are introductions, an alpha dieing or falling ill, a hormonal surge in one of the younger rats or even something as simple as moving house or a new pet. This isnt the end of the world but having a good understanding of your buck groups heirachy is important as they sometimes need help settling things down again after a disruption. Its also important to have a strong rat alpha (and in turn with many groups be a strong handler, so dont let them push you around) as a weak alpha leads to a group thats shaken up by pretty much anything, a strong alpha who is calm in most situations keeps the group calm and happy and generally doesnt have to do much to do that. In a doe group this heirachy is much less formal, often you get multiple does with seniority over different things depending what matters most to them. One might rule over the food, another get the best sleeping spots, another get all the grooming she wants and so on. Sometimes its the same girl, sometimes not, its not unuseual for a pair to act as almost alphas together cooperatively. This means that the kind of issues you get with heirachy breakdown or disruption is a lot less common in girls, but aslo a lot harder to get to the bottom of and fix. It also means that whilst introductions with boys can take longer, a doe introduction is a lot less predictable and harder to get right.

Hormonalness: Bucks tend to be associated with this, when they hit there "teenage" phase where there hormones race in and they arent really mature enough to deal with it they can get grumpy and in extreme cases take it out on there cagemates or humans. However with a good heirachy in place, a strong alpha and firm handling this is pretty rare (i've had 2 bucks in my 28 years of rat keeping that i've chosen to neuter and these werent extreme cases, just to help settle the gorup) as it kind of surpresses the hormone surge a little. You still get the in group tension but it rarely gets to wounding and the rat is unlikly to bite you. Later on in life should something happen to majorly disrupt the heirachy (useually loosing an alpha to illness or them dieing) it can cause an artificial hormone surge as that supressant is gone, this can mean a hormonally grumpy period later on in life. In many cases strong handling and time will settle these down but in extreme cases (where major injuries occur) or if it doesnt settle in a few weeks then neutering is a straightforward way of fixing it and is generally pretty low risk.

With does its not as well known but they can get hormonal. This is usueally either related to there heats (every 5 days roughly) at which point they may become jumpy or even a little bit narky, it tends to settle with age, there worst is their first at about 6 weeks as it kind of scares them. Later on in life you may get a rat getting grumpy and displaying hormonal characteristics, often being mean to newcomers or pushing a particular rat or you around. This is useually some sort of health issue in there womb or ovaries (though you may see no other symptoms) and spaying fixes or improves it. You do have to be careful with some of the more opinionated does out there, they can get very cheeky and try and push pople around, often nipping firmly but not aggressively, then running to jsut out of reach. This is useually fixable with training, firm handling and telling them off firmly

Health: Does tend to have more specific health issues that they are prone to. Probably the most annoying is mammary tumours, whilst they are easily removed via a lumpectomy and are rarely ever cancerous they do tend to pop up repeatably on does that are prone to them. Good diet, keeping them slim and spaying after the first lump reduces the change of this happening. They are also prone to PT's and strokes, neurological conditions which are probably my most dreaded rat illness (maybe excluding cancer as thats also a horrible illness that gets worse and theres no cure for). Boys in turn tend to get HLD earlier and are more prone to kidney and heart issues. Because of this girls are generally more expensive to own (due to surgery costs) however boys dont live as long (as there issues are not so much fixable and more about long term management)
 
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