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Pet Rat Blog

The 10 biggest myths about pet rats, debunked

23.07.2023 0 Comments

House rats, also known as fancy rats, are often the center of various misunderstandings. Even though they are wonderful companions, they frequently face false perceptions that can discourage potential pet owners. It's high time to debunk these myths and illuminate the wonderful world of house rats.

Rat in hammock photo

1. Myth: Rats are dirty and carry diseases

Contrary to this widespread belief, house rats are incredibly clean animals. They constantly groom themselves and each other, almost as much as cats! This grooming behavior ensures that their fur and skin remain clean and shiny. Pet rats differ from their wild relatives; they are bred in captivity and are disease-free if they come from a reputable breeder.

2. Myth: Rats are aggressive and bite

Fancy rats are known for their gentle and friendly behavior. They rarely bite unless they feel threatened or scared. Rats are social creatures and enjoy human company. With consistent, gentle handling, your house rat will feel comfortable and develop a close bond with you.

3. Myth: Rats are nocturnal animals

While rats are more active during twilight (crepuscular), they can adjust their sleeping habits to their owners' schedules and interact with you throughout the day.

4. Myth: Rats are not intelligent

On the contrary, house rats are highly intelligent animals. They can learn tricks, recognize their names, and even respond to calls. Pet rats are also excellent problem solvers, often solving mazes and puzzles with ease.

5. Myth: Rats don't need much space

Even though rats are small, they need plenty of space to roam, play, and explore. A small cage is not sufficient for these curious and active animals. Pet rats feel comfortable in an environment where they have plenty of space for exercise and lots of toys for mental stimulation.

Rat myths debunked teaser image

6. Myth: Rats don't need companions

Rats are incredibly social animals. In the wild, rats live in large colonies, so it's beneficial for a house rat to have at least one cage mate, but two friends of the same sex are better. A single rat can become lonely and depressed, negatively impacting their health and causing great suffering.

7. Myth: Rats only eat cheese

Rats can eat cheese, but it shouldn't make up the largest part of their diet. Pet rats thrive on a balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, and high-quality rat pellets. A varied diet ensures your rat gets all the necessary nutrients for a healthy life.

8. Myth: Rats don't live very long

The lifespan of a house rat is typically 2 to 3 years, but there are pet rats that, with good care, can live up to 4 years. Although this may seem short compared to other pets, this time is packed with affection, intelligence, and lively personality that rats bring into their owners' lives.

9. Myth: All rats are the same

There are many different rat breeds, each with unique characteristics and traits. Some of the most well-known rat breeds are the Norwegian rat, the Dumbo rat, the Rex rat, and the Hairless rat. Norwegian rats, often referred to as standard or fancy rats in English, are the most commonly kept pet rats. Dumbo rats are known for their large, cute ears that sit on the sides of their heads. Rex rats have curly fur and often curly whiskers. Hairless rats, as the name suggests, have no fur and are particularly suitable for people with allergies.

Rat breeds differ in color, size, fur type, and personality. Each rat has its own personality, making it unique and special.

10. Myth: Rats are not affectionate

Pet rat in hand photo

Rats are in fact very affectionate pets. They love spending time with their owners and can form deep bonds with people. Many rat owners report that their rats love to cuddle

Understanding and debunking these myths about rats as pets is the first step to appreciate these lovable creatures for what they really are: intelligent, affectionate, and clean pets. Pet rats are wonderful companions and deserve to be known for their true nature, not for the myths surrounding them.

Whether you're already an experienced rat owner or considering welcoming a rat into your home, you can celebrate your love for these wonderful creatures in many ways. From proudly sipping coffee from your favorite rat-themed mug to wearing a stylish t-shirt that declares your affection for rats, rat ownership is more than just a hobby - it's a lifestyle. Don't let the myths about rats stop you from experiencing the joy of living as a rat owner. Embrace it, and you'll find that a pet rat can be one of the best companions you could wish for.

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