Pet Rats – Myth Buster!

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Busting Some Rat Myths!

Rat “Myths” there are a lot of them out there, So hopefully this page will clear some of them up for you 🙂

Myth 1
If rats eat meat they will become aggressive and will bite you!
This is NOT true at all, Rats are omnivorous this means that they eat both meat and plants. So by feeding your rat meat you are providing a health diet. A pet rat should only bite if they are feeling threatened, genetics, they have had something horrible happen to them or some males will go through a hormone change around 6 months that may cause them to become aggressive (this can be corrected by having them de-sexed). For more info on fur baby diet click – HERE

Myth 2
Rats have to be picked up by their tail!
This is also NOT true. Rats should only be picked up by their tail if there is no other gentle/safe way to pick them up. Picking up rats by their tail can cause “de-gloving”. this is where the skin on the rats tail becomes lose and comes away from the tail, sometimes bringing part of the tail with it. This can also be caused by a rat getting its tail stuck in things like their cage door and trying to pull them selves free. To pick up your pet rat you should place your hands on either side of the rat making sure you pick up the rats entire body including their hind legs so they feel secure. Most rats will be more then happy to climb into your hands or up on to your shoulder without needing to be picked up. But if you find you have to grab them quickly and the tail is the only option, try and grab the tail at the base as close to the body as possible with one hand and as you lift them use your other hand to place under their tummy and hind legs to make them feel secure and to try and avoid injury.

Myth 3
You should only keep one pet rat at a time or they wont bond with you!
This is also NOT true. Rats are very social creatures and are happiest when in a pair or mischief (group). The more rats you have the happier they will be, they will have someone to play and cuddle with when you are asleep, at work/school, at a party, shopping etc. Being on their own will make them lonely. Rats have their own personality so how a rat bonds with you is up to you and your rat, but keep in mind that like us it is much easier to bond with others when we are happy 🙂 For more info on getting to know your rats Click Here

Myth 4
All rats will bite you no matter what!
This is also NOT true. Pet rats should not bite unless they are feeling threatened and are trying to defend them selves. You should never knowingly buy a pet rat that bites, If a pet rat bites it would be due to genetics, hormones or something horrible has happened to the rat to make it very scared. If its biting due to genetics it will probably always bite, If its biting due to its hormones have changed getting it desexed should fix this, If it biting due to having had something horrible happen to it you will probably have a long road ahead of you before the rat trusts you enough to not bite. If you do your research and find a good breeder you should end up with a wonderful rat that never bites unless provoked.

Myth 5
All rats have to be bred at lest once in their life so they stay happy and healthy!
This is NOT true. Rats do not need to be bred at all to stay happy and healthy and no rat should be bred for this reason. Rats should only be bred if your have a purpose like trying to better/create a good healthy genetic line. Breeding rats just to breed them without a goal or reason is only going to run the risk that you are going to create more genetic issues/problems and more rats are without homes. For more info on breeding rats click – HERE

Myth 6
All rats have to be desexed!
This is NOT true. Yes desexing rats can be done and can help with aggressive hormone issues and can prevent tumors in female’s, but it is not mandatory. Choosing to get your rats desexed is up to the breeder/owner of the rat, it can be expensive to get done and can have its own health issues. Make sure that if you choose to have your rat/s desexed that you do your research and that your vet is confident in doing the procedure.

Myth 7
All pregnant and nursing doe’s are aggressive!
This is NOT true. Yes some can be and if they are they should not be bred again and if you choose to adopt out the pups from the litter you should inform the new owner that the mother had become aggressive. But not all doe’s will become aggressive, most wont change at all other then to become a lot slower and cuddlier as they get closer to giving birth and once given birth most will be glad for a few min break away from their litter before going back to feed them again.

Myth 8
All doe’s will eat their babies if you touch them!
This is NOT true. Yes some may eat their if they are stressed, if there is something wrong with the bubs, if she feels she and the bubs are in danger, if you touch them and you have a strange scent on your hands that makes the bubs smell bad (in most cases the bub will just be moved away from the rest of the litter) or genetics. If your doe eats her babies then I wouldn’t breed her again unless you really wanted to carry something in her genetics that only you can get from her and you should let anyone know who adopts any survivors just in case they breed from them and it is genetics.