A pet rat, also known as a fancy rat, is the domesticated bread of a brown or black rat. A pet rat generally lives anywhere between 2 and 3 1/2 years. The title “fancy rat” actually has nothing to do with the rat, but the owner who “fancies” them. A buck, or male rat can weigh anywhere from 400 to 800 grams, and a female between 250 and 450 grams. While both genders are extremely intelligent and playful, female rats tend to be slightly more so than males.
The History of a Rat as a Pet
Jack Black It is commonly believed that the pet rat came about in the late 19th Century. In Europe, rat-catchers were paid for trapping rats by their local government. These catchers would keep the rats for exhibition and gambling fights. They began breading them, and eventually became attached to them, after discovering how good of pets they actually made. Anyone remember Jack Black? He was a rat-catcher for Queen Victoria. Between 1840 and 1860 he began breeding and selling rats as pets. Shortly thereafter in 1901, England held the first known rat show in the world. Throughout the years rats continued to be bred alongside their human counterparts, growing more intelligent, and more social – thus giving them their ‘domesticated’ title.
Why would you want a rat as a pet?
When I tell someone I have a pet rat, most look at me as a cow would at an oncoming train. Then the next thing out of the mouth is always the same, “Why?” Well I am going to explain just that. Rats are extremely intelligent, affectionate, and quickly bond with their human counterparts. Despite what people may initially think, rats are very clean mammals.
As I write this article, my lovable little pet rat is running around on my desk looking for fun things to do. He sniffs out objects in his surroundings while standing on two legs, insists on helping me type as he walks across the keyboard, and every time I speak he comes over to me with his ears attentive, ready to play any kind of fun game. Haha, he found my lifesavers… now I have to share. It is no wonder why many rat owners compare their companionship to them similar to that of a dog.
Pet RatsThere is one reason why a rat would not make a good pet, and that is if you do not have the time to put into them. As mentioned earlier, pet rats are extremely intelligent, they love to learn about and try new things, and hate boredom. If you are not prepared to give your new pet at least an hours amount of interaction outside the cage a day, then you may want to consider a lower maintenance pet. At first it may seem pretty boring playing with your new rat for an hour a day, however I promise you as you get to know each other, the more tricks he learns, the more affectionate he becomes; the more you both will be looking forward to that time outside the cage.
Now head on over to the Rat Care section to learn even more about Pet Rats! Don’t forget to check out our blog for tons of up to minute info on pet rats!