This is a page about fancy rats, the kind used as pets. The scientific name for the fancy rat Rattus norvegicus, and fancy rats DO NOT spread the plague. They generally live about two years, but my first rat lived for thirty-seven months before she died of an inoperable tumor. Rats are social animals, so it's best (and easiest,) two get them in pairs if possible. They often play fight with each other, which is fine as long as they don't seem to be causing pain. It also gives them exercise.
Getting A Rat
You can buy rats at most pet stores, and there are a fare amount of rat breeders most places, but there are tons of unwanted rats who need homes. You can get these from rescues, or from an individual who needs to get rid of their rat(s) for some reason. Also if you get them from an individual, you'll end up knowing a whole lot more about your rat then if you get your rat(s) from a pet store. My two rats came fromOne at a Time Rescue, and they're really sweet, so please consider getting your rat(s) from an individual or rescue!
Buying a cage
When you buy a cage, it's important that you make sure that the doors are big enough, and positioned so that you can reach anywhere in the cage. Also, make sure that the cage is big enough for all your ratties. There's a cage size calculator at Ratty Corner so you can check.
Ferret cages can work well, but make sure your rats can't squeeze out the bars. This is especially a problem with girls. Some other things to be careful of are: Make sure the cage doesn't have a wire bottom, as this is hard on rat feet, and make sure the cage is easy to clean.
I wrote a section on rat care, and their are many books on it, as well as some good websites. Here's a link to the one I wrote.
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