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New Rat Owner

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:58 pm
by Bemtotto
I just bought my first rat today, and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice?

Re: New Rat Owner

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:37 am
by Caza66
Hi and welcome to the forum. My first bit of advice would be to get it some company. Rats are social animals and unfortunately we humans cannot provide enough for rats. I would suggest getting 2 new friends. You will find that a group of three is great. There is a lot of advice that people can give you but it would be better if you have specific questions you can ask us. Don't be afraid of asking too many questions, we would rather that than you do things wrong. And there's no such thing as a stupid question.

Good luck.

Re: New Rat Owner

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:27 am
by cyber ratty
I second that, rat companions of the same sex (check using the article here) are vital, and if your rat is young, then get a couple of a similar age.

Next most important thing is a big enough cage with lots of good enrichment - 80 x 50 x 80cm is a good minimum (e.g. a Savic Freddy Max, or join 2 Ferplast Furet Plus cages together), and instead of the shelves that come with them, fill the space with ropes, tubes, perches, baskets, a couple of soft hammocks and some toilet corners. There are some threads in this section (which are a little less useful since photobucket decided to hold the pictures to ransom :evil: ) for layout ideas. A deep layer of loose substrate on the floor is important too.

Thirdly, feed a good quality mix - http://www.RatRations.com sell the best, and scatter a measured amount (roughly 15g per rat per day) over the floor so they have to forage for it.

Lots more of course... especially handling tips which can be gleaned from the many threads in behaviour section, but just ask whatever you want. :D

Re: New Rat Owner

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:52 pm
by Bemtotto
No question is a bad question?
Alright, so I got a recommendation to neuter him, and I've heard a lot of positive things, but what are some cons to all those positives?

Re: New Rat Owner

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:54 am
by Caza66
The biggest con is the fact that he would be having an operation and sometimes they go wrong. Personally, I wouldn't neuter as a matter of course, only if there were behavioural issues or I only had a group of girls that he was joining. How old is he?

Re: New Rat Owner

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:58 am
by cyber ratty
If a buck doesn't have any hormonal issues, then I wouldn't neuter.

The down sides are:
- risk of surgery, you'd need an experienced vet, but even so, some rats don't get through an op, and there could be post op abscesses to deal with.
- likelihood of gaining weight afterwards with all the increased health risks associated with that.
- waiting, neutering shouldn't be done before the rat is well grown, so 4 months at an absolute minimum, and preferably 6 or 8 months.

Re: New Rat Owner

Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:30 am
by Squirrel
I wouldn't neuter a buck either. They aren't like cats and dogs in that respect. If he gets through pubity with no aggression I think he'll be fine keeping his nads. And I also second the recommendation to get two more rats. Three is a great number. We've currently got three and it's really a nice little group, although ours are girls.

Welcome to the wonderful world of rats :hearts:

Re: New Rat Owner

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:13 am
by Bemtotto
Puberty? When does that occur for a rat? Is there anything I should keep an eye out for with him?

Re: New Rat Owner

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:30 am
by Squirrel
Bemtotto wrote:Puberty? When does that occur for a rat? Is there anything I should keep an eye out for with him?
I think with rats it occurs about 3 months. They are adults and full grown at 6 months. Bucks who have too much testosterone can start to exhibit aggressive behaviour (solved by neutering) at 3 months. If they don't by 6 months then chances are they are not going to be 'angry young rats' and won't need neutering.

It should be noted however that rats can get pregnant or make another pregnant much younger, and it is advisable with a litter to split the boys off at 5 weeks, leaving the girls with mum until 6 weeks. (Buck kittens should still not be homed until 6 weeks though, 5 weeks is too young to go to a new home and they will benefit from the extra week still with their sibling litter mates).

Re: New Rat Owner

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:16 pm
by cyber ratty
Did you find him some companions? If not, please look for a pair of buck kittens asap, it's never too late.
Squirrel wrote:They are adults and full grown at 6 months.
Rats can continue growing until they are around a year old.

Re: New Rat Owner

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:30 pm
by Squirrel
cyber ratty wrote:Did you find him some companions? If not, please look for a pair of buck kittens asap, it's never too late.
Squirrel wrote:They are adults and full grown at 6 months.
Rats can continue growing until they are around a year old.

Mine have only ever grown 'rounder' over that age mwahaha! :lol:

Re: New Rat Owner

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:01 am
by cyber ratty
Lol - that'll be middle age spread :P