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Info on rats?

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#1 Genevie


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Posted 29 February 2012 - 02:11 AM

I'm moving at this year, and I'm really keen on possibly getting some rats :) I have loved them for years, and I think I'm ready for the responsibility! However, I obviously need to do a ton of research! That's where you guys come in. I'm wondering what the best resources on rat care are - books, websites, forums etc. I'm looking for anything and everything helpful, so thanks in advance to those who are in the know.

#2 SouthPaw


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Posted 29 February 2012 - 03:13 AM

This is probably the best forum out there...

That's really probably where I got the bulk of my information. Just by reading through as many threads as possible.

Compared to hamsters, rats of course need bigger cages. General guideline is 2 cubic feet per rat - and to make it easier, if you do a quick Google search for "rat cage calculator" you'll get a couple websites where all you have to do is punch in the cage dimensions, and it'll tell you approximately how many rats can fit. Don't take it as gospel though, use your judgment as well. For example I think the cage calc says my cage can hold 3 rats, but I think 2 was the perfect number for it.

You'll also probably notice that many people use fleece/towels to line their cages, instead of using a bedding like aspen. And that cages are filled with hammocks and other comfy things to sleep in. I started out that way. But then I started realizing that that sort of just promotes lazy behavior, so then I started putting in more things to "do" in my cage. Basically I got my inspiration from hamster cages, where you guys provide them things to burrow in and climb up and run across. Which I thought was cooler than making the cage one giant nap area. :)

For diet, there are a few homemade mixes out there. I think Suebees mix is the most closely followed but that diet is meant to be fed in addition to lab blocks. For my guys I fed a senior dog food (low protein--you want it to hover around 18%) and supplemented that with fresh foods. Easy peasy.

Health problems are pretty common, most specifically respiratory infections and sometimes they need to be on long-term antibiotics for it. Tumors are common especially in females, but usually they are benign... one of my girls had two tumors removed, but she was totally healthy otherwise and so having the surgeries extended her life by an entire year. Which is worth it IMO. If you get girls you can reduce the risk of mammary tumors by having them spayed. Tumors do not occur as frequently in males.

That's all I have the time to type for now - if you have any specific questions you want answered, I'd be happy to help!

#3 Genevie


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Posted 29 February 2012 - 03:15 AM

Thank you sooo much, that's a great start for me! :D