How to Teach an Old Pet Rat NEW Tricks!

How to Teach an Old Pet Rat NEW Tricks!

Rats are completely capable of being trained to perform tricks and simple commands. Owners train rats to exercise the rats’ minds and display their intelligence. There are hundreds of tricks, commands, phrases, and games that rats can learn very quickly. The owner must be prepared to spend several hours training the rat to execute particular commands and tricks, much like a dog or any other pet. Rats actually ENJOY learning new things, as they have a need for mental stimulation.

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3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Rat!

3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Rat!

double rex dumbo rat, courtesy of Judi Cox.
double rex dumbo rat, courtesy of Judi Cox.

Our rats are beautiful, complex creatures that we struggle to understand sometimes. However, we still love them to the moon and back! We’ll never understand why it is necessary to stash our keys under the couch, eat all of the buttons off of the remote, or steal an entire chicken leg from the plate only to cover the wood floors in grease. But, it’s all part of being a rat! Anyways, I’ve got three little things that you might not know about your rats!

Rats Can Only See Within 3 Feet of Their Bodies- If That!

history of the pet brown rat Rattus norvegicus
Rattus norvegicus, aka the brown rat or fancy rat. This is where all of our pet rats came from; and while they suffered a dark, grotesque history, they would not be the modern pet rat that they have become without this behind them.

With the speed at which rats fly to the correct top corner of the cage when we enter a room or arrive home, you would think that the rat could see you as clear as day. NOPE! Rats actually have a very limited field of vision. The most they can see is within three feet of them; and even then, it is still blurry and out of focus.

fawn ruby eyed dumbo and top eared ratsRats’ eyes are not the primary sensory organ that they use to survive. Instead, their noses and ears are the ones who lead them to safety and their food. This does not mean that rats do not somewhat rely on their sense of vision too; as it has been proven in many instances that blind rats are more jumpy, caught off guard more easily, and are generally more timid than rats who have their normal sight. This points to only one conclusion: while the vision of a rat may not be very good, it is still well enough that they WILL miss it should they become blind.

Almost All Rats Are Infected with Mycoplasma

rat mouth teeth and incisorsMycoplasma infections can be super nasty, sometimes claiming the lives of the young, the elderly, and the ill. The active infection is called Murine Mycoplasmosis, while the bacteria itself is called Mycoplasma pulmonis. This bacteria is found on (and in) virtually every pet rat. The only way to eliminate it is to birth a litter via c-section in a sterile lab to prevent the mother from passing it to the kits. Like staph and strep, it can become active when the immune system is under great stress.

Rats Can Detect, Understand, and PREDICT Patterns

dumbo rats
Dumbo rats come in a wide variety of colors and coat types. Isn’t Pico the rat adorable? He’s in a brass like tiny vintage bird cage.

Believe it or not, rats are able to detect pat-terns, under-stand them, and predict what the pattern will do next. As a rat owner, you might see this trait subtly in their every day behavior. Your rats have probably picked up on your daily rituals, such as your night time or morning ritual. They know exactly when they will be played with or fed based upon your activities. They also understand voice cues as well. Rats have actually been able to make surprisingly accurate guesses regarding stock market trends. This was one of the most intriguing studies that I have seen yet. I thought it was PERFECT for showing to those who know very little about rats. It demonstrates their intelligence and ability to learn.

Red Eyed Rat Swaying, Weaving Back and Forth?

Owners might walk up to their rats’ cage to find that one might be huddled in the back of the cage, swaying back and forth. The rat might appear drunk, with a “caught in the headlights” type of stare. The rat might also be easily spooked, especially with quick movements or loud noises. This is more common in red eyed rats, but why do rats exhibit this type of odd behavior? Let’s find out! Continue reading Red Eyed Rat Swaying, Weaving Back and Forth?

Is My Rat Depressed? Alone After Friend and Cage Mate Died

If you have a pair of rats and one suddenly dies, you as the owner will not be the only one mourning. Rats are very intelligent, social creatures who build strong lifelong bonds with their cage mates. Once the cage mate dies (especially one of only a pair), the remaining rat or rats will grieve. They might even be seen staying near the sickly rat as death approaches. Depression and grief is a very real thing for pet rats, despite the criticism they face from many humans who lack any knowledge regarding these animals.

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Rat Pee: How Often Do Rats Urinate & What Is Normal?

Rats absolutely love to pee, I’m telling you! Rat pee doesn’t exactly have the friendliest odor, making it important to keep the cage cleaned often. Unlike dogs and cats, rats pee quite often. Their little bodies move through food and water quickly, so frequent urination is to be expected. Continue reading Rat Pee: How Often Do Rats Urinate & What Is Normal?

How Many Babies Can a Rat Have?

How Many Babies Can a Rat Have?

7 day week old rat pups babies
As rats are bred, genetic material is passed down. Those rattie genetics determine how healthy a rat will be and how susceptible they will be to disorders and diseases later in life.

Having a litter of rats can be a very exciting experience; but very nerve wrecking for the first time ratty grandparent who doesn’t know what size litter to expect. Raising baby rats can be rather taxing on the humans, just as it is with mom. We are responsible for socializing them as they grow, while also feeding them, cleaning up after them, and finding them new homes. The bigger the litter is, the more babies there are to take care of. Can you handle it? Continue reading How Many Babies Can a Rat Have?

Pet Rat Eye Infection

Eye infections are no fun to deal with. At all. Rats are much more susceptible to eye infections than we are, as they live in close quarters with their own waste. They don’t have quite as clean of environments as humans do. While a dirty environment can have a lot to do with any infection, an eye infection for a rat does not necessarily mean that the human owner is at fault. They do just happen sometimes, and all we can do is treat them properly! Continue reading Pet Rat Eye Infection

Are Rats Blind? Is My Pet Possibly Blind?

Are Rats Blind? Is My Pet Possibly Blind?

Rats cannot see quite as well as many animals, but they are not blind. Of course, there is always the possibility that they might go blind for various reasons throughout their lives. There are various ways to test for blindness in rats, but it is important to know that rats do not have perfectly clear vision as it is. On occasion owners might become worried that their rats are blind.  If a rat is taken care of properly, it is unlikely that the rat will go blind. However there are several factors at play in this particular situation.

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Why Do People Hate Pet Rats So Much? Tails? Disease?

Why Do People Hate Pet Rats So Much? Tails? Disease?

All rat lovers hear it at some point: “EW! You have RATS as… pets?!” And what do we do? We roll our eyes! *Here we go again. Another person who has no earthly idea what they’re talking about.* Fortunately, these people can be educated, and a MAJORITY of them are won over! Before you can confront these people, you have to understand the multitude of reasons that people “hate” them. I say “hate” because you cannot hate something you know nothing about; hence the amount of people that are won over by the Ratty Casanovas! Continue reading Why Do People Hate Pet Rats So Much? Tails? Disease?

Rattus norvegicus: Brown Rat History

Rattus norvegicus: Brown Rat History

Rats have been kept as pets since the 18th century, when they were originally bred for bloodsport. These rats were domesticated and eventually, the tamest wriggled their way into the hearts of their keepers and caretakers. Thus, the pet fancy rat was born! Rattus norvegicus is the scientific, latin name for the most common species of pet rat, and is better known as the Brown Rat. Continue reading Rattus norvegicus: Brown Rat History