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Hello,

My dog of 14 years died in February. I wanted to get another dog, but it's too expensive plus my folks wouldn't go for it. I thought rats looked like cool pets, they're small, inexpensive, and they live for a few years from what I've read.

The only thing I'm afraid of in regards to rats is biting. When I was in 5th grade I went to a friends house, he had a hamster and I decided to put my finger in the cage and pet it. Holy sh*t, that thing pierced my finger and bit straight into my nail. Ever since then, I don't fully trust any animal that is smaller than a cat.

Question 1: Do rats bite too? I guess I can't see why they wouldn't like that **** hamster did to me way back when.

Question 2:
if I do get a rat what is a good breed/type to choose? I've always thought the albino ones looked nice.

Question 3: male or female? I've heard female rats are less agressive? Or should I get a rat of each gender so they're not lonesome?

Thanks in advance!
 

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rats don't normally bite (though i have had some biters personally) as far as breed goes that is a personal decision i like blues and agouti's. The albino rats tend to have really poor eye site. And as far as male or female goes it depends on you LoL i like my boys cause they will just sit and chill with me where as girls tend to be explorers and all over the place. The best analogy i have ever heard was that females are astronauts where as males are astronmers. Oh and owning rats can get expensive as far as the vets visits go. Be sure you have a vet lined up first and make sure they are knowledgable about ratties. Also the cage should be set up properly as well which can get pricey depending on how big you get it (the bigger the better) but lots of people will tell you lots of things here and we always try and help out as much as possible welcome to the forum!!



PS> so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog
 

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Rats will only bite when seriously threatened. I've been bitten a few times by one of my males, but he's a very territorial rat that I'm working with to socialize.

I don't think there are any 'breeds', just coat colors and types, and ear types. I think I heard blue rats tend to have lessened immune systems but I haven't found anyhting to back that up. Other than that, this is entirely up to you.

Rats can be extremely different than expected. Females can be just as aggressive as males. Males can be fat, lazy squishballs that just wanna be scratched behind the ears. Age can attribute to that. Although, femlaes are generally more active, love games and toys to play with. Males still love games and challenges, but aren't as up-and-about as females usually are.

If you get a male, get him another male buddy. Always have same sex pairs at the minimum. Unless, of course, you decide to alter the rat. At that point, males and females can be house together.

One thing to consider: rats are prone to tumors. Spaying and Neutering really helps...a lot. But the chance is still there. Depending on availability, an exotics vet can run a bill kinda high. I'd really reccomend talking to a vet and getting price quotes. If you decide on a vet, also it would be good to set an appointment to bring in your rats as soon as you get them.



Hmm....if I've missed anyhting I'm sure someone else will get it. :p
 

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Ive made a myspace with loads of rats links, im still working on it but id love you to look at it as a potential rat owner and tell me what you think. the link is below :)
 

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Let me just back everyone up by saying that rats aren't as cheap as you think they will be. Besides vet bills, the initial cost of the cage, bedding and proper food might be more than the cost to adopt a dog.

At least it was with me.

With that said, though, rats are great pets. Then again, so are dogs.
 

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I think once you've forked out for the cage and initial setup rats are cheaper to keep than most pets. You can also make lots of fun toys for them, so unlike other pets they don't necessarily need expensive specialist toys (though of course it all depends on how much you want to spoil them, i know most of us splash out on our rats more than we probably should ;) ) Apart from vets bills, they're fairly cheap i think.

First off, hamsters are evil!!!! Okay, well maybe not evil but they are very quick to bite, and are very aggressive, especially when they've been woken up. Your friend's hamster was most likely a Syrian, which imo are nasty little buggers, though my girlfriend insists that they were 'the sweetest pets ever'. Hmmmmm. Anyway, rats are nothing like hamsters. They are like....a million times more intelligent and like Vixie and Stephanie already said, they rarely bite and will only do so if frightened or if your hand smells like food and they get a little confused. They are intelligent enough to work out whether you're friend or foe, and are much more likely to ru and hide than bite if they're frightened. I think biting only occurs as self defence, so as long as you do your homework and treat them gently you shouldn't get bitten.

As far as different breeds go there are dumbo, standard, dwarf and manx (though the last 2 are pretty much impossible to get hold of) and also hairless. All types (you don't really get different breeds) will most likely have similar temperaments, though some people say that dumbo's are more laid back than standard rats. Colours don't affect temperament at all, but there have been some health worries with Australian Blue Rats. For more information go here: http://www.ratbehavior.org/AustralianBlue.htm

Only house same-sex pairs unless you get the male neutered or the female spayed. Both males and females can be housed together in groups of 2 or more. Males and females from the same litter (males+males and females+females, not males and females) will get on very well from the beginning, as will young rats introduced at an early age. Females are relatively easy to introduce at a later stage, but adult male introductions are more difficult.

I don't think rats are necessarily more aggressive than females - if anything they're slower and more laid back. But, both male and females go through phases of hormonal influxes that could make them more skittish and highly-strung, but not necessarily more aggressive. You do get some overly-hormonal males that are very terretorial, so most owners decide to get them neutered if their testosterone causes a problem :)
 

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Oh yeah I have like six months of food for only $30-40. Maintaining them is no problem.

I was only pointing out since Shockwave couldn't afford a dog, getting started with rats would be a similar price.

As an early rat owner, I bought everything from pet stores. Now that I usually can make whatever they need (hammocks, some toys, etc.), my rats have become exceedingly cheap.
 

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Like everyone else has said, please make sure you get atleast two same gender rats :). Rats are very social creatures and need a buddy (or two). Initial setup for rats CAn be more than expected, with having to buy the cage and supplies, but it usually gets better from their. Rats will need vet care in their lives, so please keep that in mind. They are very prone to respritory issues and tumors, which can add up to lots of money in vet bills in their short little lives.

Rats aren't prone to biting like hamsters, although there are exceptions. You can lessen your chances of getting a nervous/bitting rat by getting your rats from a breeder or a rescue, where they spend more time with their rats then at a petstore.

Glad to see your doing research and asking questions before getting rats :D.
 

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Hello Shockwave, welcome to the forums :)

I'm a bit late in posting, so I'll just agree with what everyone else says and add that rats are great entertaining and rewarding pets to have. Look forward to hearing if you go ahead.
 

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the more time you spend with your rat the less it will want to bite (if by chance you end up with a biter) just make yourself exciting to the rat and if it gets out of line with you, act like another rat and you are the dominant rat, also dont smell like food, that will lessen the risk of unwanted rat bites. I have had so many rats and ive never been bit. My shoulder rat Buddy, i know he would never bite me, thats the trust you can build with a rat, and hes learning tricks, very wonderful animals.
 
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