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Pet Rats

DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 8,127
edited September 2016 in The cake stop
Anyone had any ?

My daughter has been on about wanting some for yonks. She'd have to keep them in her bedroom because we have a little terrier who would not take kindly to them.

I've said she can have some - I understand a same sex pair is the way to go - my only real concern is her bedroom will stink like a farmyard - there seem to be mixed opinions on whether they smell too bad and whether males smell more than females ?

Any advice - even if it's tell her you've changed your mind. She's nearly 15 and pretty conscientious about looking after pets - she's had hamsters before - so no worries about a reasonable level of care and cleanliness.
Any other tips or anyone east mids ish have any for sale ? Don't really want to buy from a pet shop as I suspect they'll be buying from people who churn them out and don't handle them much.
[Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]


  • I used to have pet rats when I was a youngster. Fantastic friendly pets, don't bite like hamsters sometimes do. I remember mine used to have free roam and used to come and sit on my shoulder when I called it. I only ever had one at a time which on reflection might have been kinder to have a pair. Definately same sex though or else you will be inundated.
  • Sorry forgot to add I don't remember them being smelly at all.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,846
    Don't get male rats they seriously smell bad and I'm pretty sure the females are not that much better. You will need to constantly change bedding. Need to be handled a lot or expect to get nipped. They can pretty much climb or gnaw out of anything. Lost one of mine to the dog and divorced the other even the poor dog couldn't stomach the female rat I divorced.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • ProssPross Posts: 33,461
    We had two for ages, they were surprisingly clean and really friendly creatures. I found them better than hamsters. We used to walk around the house with them sat on our shoulders. Just done let them run loose or you'll be chasing them for hours and possibly losing them in the wall cavity!
  • Anyone else comment on the smell of male vs female - appreciate oxoman's comment but apparently the males are a bit more placid so other than maybe smelling more are typically a bit better as pets. However for me not smelling trumps being placid imo - my daughter seems to disagree ! Have read some opinion that what you feed them makes a difference to the smell and that some males scent mark more than others.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • ProssPross Posts: 33,461
    Think ours were female, they were placid though and I don't recall any major smell, obviously all caged pets will smell a bit but as long as they are cleaned out daily it shouldn't be a problem. That said, I may have a higher tolerance as my mother had Terrapins fir a few years and they really do stink!
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,846
    As mentioned above certainly more active than hamsters and don't only come out to play once your in bed like hamsters. Need to be kept active as well, i.e play things little tunnels etc.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 9,634
    My flatmate, years ago, had two rats. I don't remember whether they were male or female, but they were placid little things and I genuinely don't recall them smelling at all. I would have known if they did because their cage - a rather large one - was in the front room of the flat.

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
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  • nozzacnozzac Posts: 408
    Rats, like any other animal, smell if you don't clean up their mess. I wouldn't say they are any smellier than any other caged animal like a hamster or whatever. But if you leave the cage for 2 weeks or something, it'll stink obviously. The rat itself is unlikely to smell much and the spend hours cleaning themselves.

    I've had male and female rats. I think the males have a very slightly stronger smell but not worth worrying about. I prefer the females in temperament myself. They are some of the gentlest animals I've encountered. None of mine have even come close to biting anyone even when being injected into an ulcer which must have been very painful. You'd need to bring them up badly for them to nip. If you get them young and handle them daily they will not bite.

    They're super intelligent and trainable. Check this out, it's amazing:
    They seem to like company too and will follow you about or find you. Ours practically live in the kid's clothes as they walk about.

    The downside of rats are: they do let out little drops of wee from time to time, especially when first out of the cage; they will chew stuff if you let them run free - like cables behind the sofa etc and worst of all they all seem to die horribly from either cancers or lung disease which is distressing or a good life lesson for kids depending how you look at it.
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    The ones I get out of the freezer smell a little bit after about 4 hours defrosting.
    They smell a lot more next time they make an appearance though! :shock:

    On a more serious note, don't they urinate almost constantly (drops, not in a stream!!!) as a form of sent marking?
    This may not be true.
    (Edit - mentioned in the above post!)
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