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Hi,

I don't have a rat yet (just some very spoiled fish and a hamster...not in the same cage :wink:) but I've been doing a lot of research about getting one. I was wondering if y'all could help me by answering a few questions. I'm sorry if these have been asked a million times before- I searched a little but figured I'd just ask directly:

There is a lady that lives near me that says she has a 1 year old male rat that her child no longer wants (she posted this on craigslist). I've read that rats are best kept in pairs and get lonely alone- however, I've also read that males can be very territorial and fight if not introduced very young.

So.....would it be terrible to get this rat and keep him in a cage alone(which he is now I assume)? I realize that you can do the slow introduction/scenting/etc. but A. I'm gone for at least two hours each day(and at least two days am gone 8 ) and I'd be verrrrry nervous that even if these two rats seemed to get along eventually, that one would end up harming or killing another while I was gone. and B. I've read that you should keep them in separate cages until they're introduced, and I really don't want to have to take on the expense of that if not necessary (I want to save as much money as possible for possible future vet bills). I do have a ten gallon aquarium from my hamster (I decided that she needed more space) but that seems like it would be awfully small to keep a rat in, even temporarily. I am pretty noctural and regularly stay up until 3 or so, so I could definitely provide a lot of interaction during their it's awake time, but I understand that this still isn't the same as another rat.

I haven't even written to that lady yet, but I figured this was a pertinent question even if I didn't get a rat from her, because many male rats at pet stores are also kept alone without a litter mate/another male they've been introduced to.

I'd like to get a male because I read that they're less hyper and more 'cuddly'. I think the same thing holds true for hamsters- Sylvia isn't much into quality time, lol :wink:



Also- I've read so much conflicting info and rat spaying/neutering. What's the general consensus here?

Thanks for your help! :)
Brea
 

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with boys, a neuter will reduce smell and umm...atraction... to his cage mates with females a spay might make them less hyper but im not sure, also it prevents tumors and such, lengthens the lifespan by a bit usually my girls arent spayed. you need a large cage, if you go to the section rat homes, you can see some of our cages, and you can check the cage calcuator (im not sure of the link) males dont usually fight, its just a silly thing pet stores say *rolls eyes* yes, rats do well in pairs. good luck, update us soon!

P.S before you get a cage if you do, post a pic so we can help you out
 

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personally, i would just get some baby rats from a breeder or the best pet store i could find. i highly doubt all the male rats in the stores around you are kept alone..wouldn't it make more sense for them to put the rats together to save space? =/
i don't think someone new to rat ownership should start with problems right away..you should get used to rats first. :wink:
but if you really want that rat, i'm sure someone more knowledgeable can help you.

about spaying and neutering..i'd definitely neuter, just to avoid problems down the road, like when the males hit puberty they tend to become aggressive for a while. but there's always a risk with the anesthetic and possible problems after surgery, but the benefits outweigh the risks, in my opinion.
 

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I agree... for the first time going in it would be best to get two at the same time.

It's admirable for you to want to do best for the poor lonely guy but just keep this in mind as you fall deeply-madly head over heels in love with rats...

You can't save them all

If you do go with a pet store I would go to several & really scrutinize as to how well the staff is informed, how clean the cages are, if you see sickly animals, what they feed & so forth.

Once you find a place you feel comfortable with then all you have to do is let the rats pick you. How you do this is watch to see who is interested in you & who doesn't bury his face under his many cagemates. Rats will be shy at first but those bold guys that right away come to you sniff & don't freak when you eventually want to pick them up really deserve consideration. Don't be in a hurry. Walk around with the rat on your shoulder & see how they behave. Put them back in their cage/tank & see if they seek you out again.

Good luck with it
 

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I would suggest meeting this rat first. You can always think of getting him a companion later on and doing introductions or even better, get 2 baby boys and intro them to the older boy...babies are considered no threat to their territory and are introduced pretty easily.

Or even before that you could email them and ask what type of home he had with the boy before he lost interest? Was he handleable? Had he ever bitten or nipped (not counting grabs for food)? Did he get out much from his cage and socialized? How big was his cage? Will they give that to you as well?

I have 2 boys here that are 1.5 years old. I took them in a week ago since they were practically being driven to the reptile store. :( One, was handled alot as a baby and used to be friendly, the other wasn't handled at all (never came out of cage) all his life. A week later, the first boy runs and plays with me, and licks, the 2nd one climbs all over me and once I have in my hands goes limp and doesn't struggle. He is my project, but neither of these boys are remotely aggressive. This boy might be just like that as well.

If you find out he's beyond what you are comfortable with then you can think of a big enough cage for 2 baby boys. I would look more into oops litters then pet stores. Oops litter babies have often been handled and socialized a lot better than a petstore mill rat litter and probably better fed after birth than petstore stock. There are many places you can post saying you are looking to adopt.

One small thing about baby boys...they are baby boys and silly and not cuddly and calm...that starts about 6 months or so. ;)
 

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I agree in thinking you should start out with two younger males instead of an older single rat. Of course after you gain more experience you could better judge if rescuing a single rat and maybe integrating him into your existing 'rat pack' would be a good fit for you. Or, if you don't want to raise the babies yourself, contact a local rescue and see if they have some cuddly males available for adoption.

And NEVER (I stress that!) trust pet store clerks. They're just trying to sell their product. On rare occasions they actually know what they're talking about, but if that's true they should just be telling you things you already know (if you've done your research), or something you can come home and clarify to be true.
 

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can i just say your should NEVER keep a rat alone unless its absoloutly nessacerry! in this case if you were to get him i strongly advise getting him a buddy
 

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I just say, never get one rat regardless as to how many you have at home

there are no guarantees with intros... sometimes a solo rat will remain solo regardless of our good intention to do what is told to us as the right thing to do (get a buddy for your rat)

if you go out to get 1 new rat with hopes to give the original 1 rat a buddy, you will have to go through 2 weeks of quarantining thus putting another rat in a situation of being removed from a social environment & being placed in a situation of being isolated from other rats. Then comes time for intros after the minimum QT. It is possible that they don't get along right away so you decided to give it, lets say another month in order to take time with intros & after having the new solo rat all on its own for 6-7 weeks you could very well find yourself without any success with intros to original solo rat... & now you have just doubled your original concern... 2 solo rats! What do you do now? Do you start over with a third & cross fingers that intro will go well?

Do you see my point?

Do 2 at a time & you at least know that you have a near 100% chance of ensuring that you have 2 well socialized buddies if intros don't go well with the original solo rat... but again, no guarantees. I've heard of same sex litter mates deciding one day that they don't like the other & they have to be separated.

Just thought I would point this out. This very scenario I briefly described has happened to far more than one rat owner.
 
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