Rats get a bad rep in general, but the Fancy Rat turns that notion on its head.
rats don’t often have a good name in our books. People often assume that these rodents are dirty, and may even be shocked or disgusted when they find out that they can be kept as pets. Despite all the misconceptions about this rodent, the Fancy Rat is certainly an amazing pet to have.
Fancy Rats—or domesticated rats—were first domesticated in the 18th century. At that time, rats were caught for rat-baiting which was a popular blood sport where a pit was filled with rats and people would place bets on how long it would take a Terrier to kill them all. These catchers began to keep oddly coloured rats and eventually bred them and sold them off as pets. The name ‘Fancy Rat’ comes from admiring or appreciating the rat, rather than from the rodent being special in any way.
These rodents are highly intelligent and social critters. They can be taught to perform tricks and even how to use a litter box. Being as social as they are, they are unsuitable to be kept alone and will do well with a companion of the same sex. Female rats go into heat every four to five days, therefore, to prevent any unwanted pregnancies it would be better to keep two rats of the same sex together. Male rats will often fight in the first few weeks but once an alpha has been established, will quickly settle down.
Fancy Rats are perfectly suited for families with children. They are highly affectionate and loving. Fancy
Rats can even learn and respond to their names. They are tame when held and are not aggressive, making them great pets for kids.
It is a common misconception that all rats are filthy—and this is definitely untrue for the Fancy Rat. These critters clean themselves constantly and also clean each other. Since they do such a great job in keeping themselves clean, bathing them is only necessary when there is a need to. Bathing Fancy Rats too frequently will strip them of their natural oils and lead to an overproduction of oils, causing stronger smells. Therefore, only bathe your rats if they really require it. Rats even allocate certain sections of their habitats to relieve themselves
Highly active, they need at least an hour of supervised exercise outside their cage.
Wire cages are perfect for rats. Fit them with hammocks, pipes and rest boxes. The bottom of the cage should be lined with litter to absorb ammonia. Keep the cage away from extreme temperatures, as rats are susceptible to extreme cold and heat dehydration which is fatal.