When your rats arrive home with you, leave them alone for a few hours. They need to get used to the cage and the new surroundings. Before you try to pick up your pets, use some getting-to-know-you techniques to minimise stress. Let your hand be sniffed. Speak softly. Try some gentle stroking. All of which minimises stress. When you feel ready, and you feel they feel ready, scoop them up in your cupped hands.
Rats require lots of exercise and stimulation and will love to explore so housing them in a large cage is important.
Rats are very happy to sit in your lap or on your shoulder. They can’t have a quiet word in your ear, but you’ll be able to tell when they’re content. Just listen to them grinding their teeth. It’s called bruxing.
NEVER lift a rat by the tail – it can cause them discomfort.
Rats are hygiene-happy and will generally groom themselves. And any other rats in grooming distance too. But there may be times – if one of your rats is old or unwell, for example – when you need to give them a bath. Use warm water and a mild soap such as baby shampoo but be careful not to get either in the ears or eyes. Rubber ducks are optional.
Rats have glands on the bottom of their feet so they leave a wet trail wherever they walk.
Rats tails are used for temperature regulation and communication as well as balance.
One of the great joys of keeping rats is that they love to play. It’s great to watch, and great to join in. They don’t know it, but plenty of fun and exercise keeps them in good physical condition. It’s important for mental stimulation too.
So make sure their cage is filled with plenty of toys, tunnels and ropes. Do you have something that looks like a cross between a crèche and an army assault course? Perfect.
Your rats will enjoy running on a large wheel, but it must be solid – otherwise their tails might get caught. Rat balls are an excellent accessory to allow your pets to run safely around the room. And in pursuit of exercise, mental stimulation and emotional wellbeing, hide snacks around the cage for them to find.
If you have a question, please email us or call us on 0800 413 969. Our dedicated consumer care team are available to answer any questions you may have. If you are concerned about the immediate health of your pet, please seek the advice of your vet as soon as possible.Email us