Rat

How to take care of your pet rat

These are very intelligent, friendly and highly social creatures. They make good pets with individual personalities that are easy to handle but due to their nocturnal nature would only be suitable for older children / adults. They live in colonies once plenty of food / space (fighting will occur if lack of these vital resources). Females are usually fine to keep together but males will fight, neuter if keeping opposite sexes together (male is still fertile for 8 days after neutering!). They breathe through their nose only and cannot vomit. Coprophagy is common (eat their own poo, it contains important b vitamins), and rats spend half their waking hours grooming. They have a poor sense of vision (though can see UV light) and use their whiskers (‘vibrissae’, which are as sensitive as your fingertips) to help them navigate. Their sense of smell is most important, they can learn everything about eachother from how their breath / urine / faeces smells. They use their urine to mark territory / preferred foods / eachother / humans. They have an innate aversion to cat odour – keep away from cats!

Fact sheet

Life expectancy           26-40 months

Weight                         Females: 225-325g, Male: 300-500g

Gestation                     21-23 days

Size of litter                 6-12

Weaning                      3 weeks old (eat dry food at 2 weeks)

Puberty                        5-6 weeks old

Feed                             ~20g a day / 30-40 mls water

Housing

Metal / glass cages best – no wood / plastic as these materials are easy to gnaw through. If breeding, must be small enough space between bars (1.5cm) to prevent escape of young. Min height 30cm, must be well ventilated as pneumonia very common (build-up of ammonia from their pee / droppings, this makes fish tank style cage unsuitable).  They benefit greatly from environmental stimulation in the form of furniture ie branches / ropes / tubes / ladders / exercise wheels (solid NOT open-tail will get caught and injured) and a ‘hidey hole’ (small cardboard box). Suitable bedding material include wood shavings or chips / sawdust / paper nesting material, or commercial ‘dust-free’ bedding. This must be cleaned out twice weekly to prevent ammonia build-up and also skin disease of feet / tail / underbelly from urine soaked bedding. Unsuitable bedding includes newspaper / corncob / cedar / pine / aromatic woodchips. Their hearing range is very different to ours and so should not be kept near TVs / dvd players / computers / as all of these emit a high frequency noise that can stress them out.

Diet

Omnivorous, meaning they eat both animal and plant material. Feeding preferences are socially transmitted—ie they prefer what their mother eats. Commercial rodent mix like Burgess supa rat pellets etc (best ratio of ingredients : 16% protein, 5% fat, must increase protein to 20% if breeding) supplemented with fruit and vegetables are best. They are prone to obesity and will ‘pick and choose’ high fatty / sugary diets, so seed diets are not suitable (they pick out the fatty, sugary parts ignoring other elements that contain important nutritional requirements). They tend to avoid new foods so if changing diet, they may not eat it until they are familiar with it (present same food over multiple days). Scatter food through cage / in plastic kongs to encourage foraging, this helps stimulate them. Food restriction instead of constantly having food available has been found to decrease incidence of tumours, which these species are very prone to, and generally increase their lifespan. Never feed your rat through the cage – they may mistake your fingers for food! Water should be provided at all times, changed daily and if using bottles, check daily for blockages.

Things to watch out for

DO NOT GRAB BY THE TAIL – this may cause the rat to ‘deglove’ the skin over the tail and expose the bone. No cure except to remove tail surgically. When lifting, use one or two hands around the rats chest and support the hindquarters. 

Facebook

Instagram

Follow Me on Instagram
  • Happy Friday from Hamilton the hairless rat 😍 Can you see her beating heart? 💜#rat #ratsaspets #exoticpets #exoticpet #exoticpetsofinstagram #exoticsvet #exoticsveterinarian #exoticsvetdublin #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients

    pvhvets: "Happy Friday from Hamilton the hairless rat 😍 Can you see her beating heart? 💜#rat #ratsaspets #exoticpets #exoticpet #exoticpetsofinstagram #exoticsvet #exoticsveterinarian #exoticsvetdublin #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients"
    20
    0
  • Introducing the amazing Blue Skye (and Paula aka @thepurrfectnurse ) 😻 How amazing is this little guy 🐾 He was with us last week for surgery and is just about the snuggliest, softest cat we have ever met 💜 #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients #cats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsofdublin #catsofpalmerstown

    pvhvets: "Introducing the amazing Blue Skye (and Paula aka @thepurrfectnurse ) 😻
How amazing is this little guy 🐾 He was with us last week for surgery and is just about the snuggliest, softest cat we have ever met 💜 #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients #cats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsofdublin #catsofpalmerstown"
    26
    1
  • We like to take a moment on Sunday evenings to remember your pets who have gone to Rainbow Bridge 🌈 We especially remember Benson, Wendy, Winkie, Sam, Roxie and Stevey who all gained their angel wings this week 🐾 Our thoughts are with their families at this difficult time 💜 #RainbowBridge #SundayThought #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients

    pvhvets: "We like to take a moment on Sunday evenings to remember your pets who have gone to Rainbow Bridge 🌈

We especially remember Benson, Wendy, Winkie, Sam, Roxie and Stevey who all gained their angel wings this week 🐾 Our thoughts are with their families at this difficult time 💜 #RainbowBridge #SundayThought #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients"
    29
    1
  • Happy Caturday 😻 Caitriona's kitten Enzo was neutered last week and enjoyed lots of cuddles and TLC afterwards 😻 He is back to his normal bouncy self now 🐈 #caturday #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients #cats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsofdublin #catsofpalmerstown #happycaturday

    pvhvets: "Happy Caturday 😻
Caitriona's kitten Enzo was neutered last week and enjoyed lots of cuddles and TLC afterwards 😻 He is back to his normal bouncy self now 🐈 #caturday  #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients #cats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsofdublin #catsofpalmerstown #happycaturday"
    40
    0
  • Throwback Thursday to this supercute trio 😻 #TBT Taco (Paula's kitty), Lily (Caitriona's kitty) and Peter (our lovely client Liz's kitty) were all about 3 months old in the pic 💜 #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients #cats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsofdublin #catsofpalmerstown

    pvhvets: "Throwback Thursday to this supercute trio 😻 #TBT
Taco (Paula's kitty), Lily (Caitriona's kitty) and Peter (our lovely client Liz's kitty) were all about 3 months old in the pic 💜 #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients #cats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsofdublin #catsofpalmerstown"
    19
    0
  • Make sure you add your message when you visit us 💜 #valentines #valentinesday2020 #loveisintheair #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients

    pvhvets: "Make sure you add your message when you visit us 💜 #valentines #valentinesday2020 #loveisintheair #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients"
    10
    0
  • When a patient is under general anaesthetic at PVH, there is always a qualified nurse closely monitoring your pet 🐾 When your pet has a general anaesthetic they have an E.T. tube (endotracheal tube) placed, in order to provide the anaesthetic agent safely 💜 We thought this video was pretty cool......can you see the dogs breath moving through their E.T (endotracheal) tube #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #dogsofinstagram #dogs #weloveourpatients #generalanaesthesia #generalanaesthetic #endotrachealtube

    pvhvets: "When a patient is under general anaesthetic at PVH, there is always a qualified nurse closely monitoring your pet 🐾 When your pet has a general anaesthetic they have an E.T. tube (endotracheal tube) placed, in order to provide the anaesthetic agent safely 💜 We thought this video was pretty cool......can you see the dogs breath moving through their E.T (endotracheal) tube #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #dogsofinstagram #dogs #weloveourpatients #generalanaesthesia #generalanaesthetic #endotrachealtube"
    24
    0
  • The snow has arrived in Palmerstown ❄️ #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients

    pvhvets: "The snow has arrived in Palmerstown ❄️ #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients"
    17
    0
  • Calcifer is a Russian tortoise 😍 he is so small but moves quite fast for a little guy ☺️ #tortoise #russiantortoise #exoticpets #exoticpet #exoticpetsofinstagram #exoticsvet #exoticsveterinarian #exoticsvetdublin #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients

    pvhvets: "Calcifer is a Russian tortoise 😍 he is so small but moves quite fast for a little guy ☺️ #tortoise #russiantortoise #exoticpets #exoticpet #exoticpetsofinstagram #exoticsvet #exoticsveterinarian #exoticsvetdublin #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients"
    58
    1
  • We are delighted to announce that Julian has gained a new qualification 💜 He now has a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Zoological Medicine (ZooMed) 🐾 Wow...he is super talented and an expert with all exotic species 🐍🐢🦔🦜🐁🐠🐀🦎Join us in congratulating him on this amazing achievement 👏🏻 #exoticpets #exoticpet #exoticpetsofinstagram #exoticsvet #exoticsveterinarian #exoticsvetdublin #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients

    pvhvets: "We are delighted to announce that Julian has gained a new qualification 💜 He now has a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Zoological Medicine (ZooMed) 🐾 Wow...he is super talented and an expert with all exotic species 🐍🐢🦔🦜🐁🐠🐀🦎Join us in congratulating him on this amazing achievement 👏🏻 #exoticpets #exoticpet #exoticpetsofinstagram #exoticsvet #exoticsveterinarian #exoticsvetdublin #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients"
    45
    7