Has anyone ever had a pet rat?

United States
December 7, 2010 10:47am CST
Someone once told me that rats are very intelligent and make good pets. I was thinking that if this is true, a rat might be a good pet for someone who doesn't have a lot of space for something larger like a rabbit. But how tame can a rat be? Do they ever bite and do they like being held or played with? Do they recognize their owners and are they able to learn any tricks? Also, are they very dirty and hard to keep their cages clean? If you have had a rat as a pet, what has your experience been?
3 people like this
9 responses
@Jiabsa (512)
• India
8 Dec 10
I know that many people like to keep rat as their pet. But I have no plan to keep a rat as my pet. I don't like this creature and I am afraid of it. Every night one rat come near my kitchen door in search of food. If I am not in kitchen it will enter inside and start to eat what it sees in front of its eyes. Beautiful pet animals are around us, then why do we want to keep these kinds of dangerous creatures as a pet. Rats are harmful because they spread diseases like plague.
@Galena (9124)
8 Dec 10
domestic rats are not harmful, and don't spread diseases. pet rats are not dangerous.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Dec 10
There is a big difference between wild rats and pet rats. You should never adopt a wild rat as a pet...only those hand raised make decent pets. The rats in pet shops are hand raised and socialized to be with humans and they do NOT carry disease.
• Singapore
8 Dec 10
Hmm...you can keep hamsters but not a rat. Rats, as we all know, carry diseases. Although they are intelligent and look adorable, I don't think it's worth getting sick, haha.
1 person likes this
@Galena (9124)
8 Dec 10
the only time rats carry diseases is when they're living in close proximity to human waste. so it's a case of spreading human diseases. a domestic rat is no more a health risk than any other small animal. you CAN keep rats, I have done for years, and they are wonderful pets. they are only dirty if YOU don't keep their home clean. they go to the toilet in one corner and are fastidious in their washing routines. it's easy to change the bedding. rats are only dirty if you as a rat owner are lazy.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Dec 10
True, Galena. The only reason rats have a bad rep for spreading disease is due to the great plague which, as we all know, was actually caused by the fleas that accompanied the rats. Domesticated rats are no more fleabitten than cats and dogs because they are kept inside, not outside where the fleas can get to them. Also, JIF, if rats are so disease-ridden, then all those scientists that use them in labs would also be in danger of disease. It is only the wild rats that can carry disease because they are exposed to it. I would suggest checking with your vet to see if your pet rat needs any vaccines.
@sender621 (14956)
• United States
8 Dec 10
I can not imagine having a rat for a pet. The closest I have come to this is having a pet gerbil. I am afraid if I would have had a rat for a pet a helping neighbor might have harmed it. Rats are not the first animal you would think to have as a pet.
• United States
9 Dec 10
The rats that are kept as pets are much larger than a gerbil and actually are easier to cuddle with and handle. You can't do much with a gerbil other than feed it and clean its cage but a rat you can take out, perch it on your shoulder and interact with it. Rats are far superior to gerbils.
@raineyes (561)
• United States
8 Dec 10
I don't personally have a rat, but I have a very good friend who has two rats. Both of these rats are very intelligent, friendly, and smart. They aren't hard to take care of, but since they are smart, you have to make sure they don't escape. And yes, they are highly trainable. They might bite, but generally they do not, though they also nibble just a little bit. They are very eager to explore and have no problems being held and handled.
1 person likes this
@toniganzon (39802)
• Philippines
8 Dec 10
I have a hamster right now and it belongs to the same family of rodents like the rat. My hamster is so smart and cuddly. I play with him and brush his long hair with a toothbrush. It's like having a puppy because when the hamster gets used to patting, they will stay put. The eat food buy grabbing them and they have this tiny fingers almost similar to human fingers. He also cleans himself so I don't have to bathe him. It's very convenient and easy to take care of a hamster.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60044)
• United States
7 Dec 10
I have known of people who have had pet rats and really loved them. Here, they'd be cat food, I have some very energetic cats who would FIND a way to get to them, and that would be that. They have already killed 3 rats and a mouse that were stupid enough to get on a porch where it smells of cats. Darwin at work I say!
1 person likes this
@hushi22 (4941)
7 Dec 10
my cousins had a pet rat before. actually many. they look cute with the mini clothes on, but many dont like rats. it didnt last though.
1 person likes this
@alaskanray (4642)
• United States
7 Dec 10
My first nanny job was in California for a family that owned a cat and a rat. They kept the rat caged and I took him out a couple of times while cleaning. He was very affectionate with me and the boys in the family really loved to play with him. One word of caution for any rodent owner, though. You DO need to keep their cage CLEAN!!! I have been around rabbits, mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs and when their cages are not kept clean enough, the smell is nauseating!!!! So they are definitely NOT low upkeep animals. I would recommend cleaning the cages twice a week or more often to keep the smell down...and bathe the animal itself at least once a week!
• United States
7 Dec 10
P.S. Rats do love their baths, too...and they are very good swimmers so filling the tub for them can be a fun time for both rat and owner.
• United States
9 Dec 10
I should note that I would not choose to keep a rat as a pet, myself, simply because I don't really care for their coarse hair or dealing with the odor that any rodent...rat, rabbit, mouse, gerbil or any of those...inevitably will have. I am not afraid of rats, though, and if someone wants to keep one, more power to them. I can fully understand the appeal.
@zandi458 (27954)
• Malaysia
15 Dec 10
My son used to keep hamsters as his pets. They multiply very fast. He was keeping them in his bedroom and once in a while he would release them and these little creatures roamed all over the places including going over his bed. When they become a colony their droppings become a problem. Before it become a health hazard, I forced my son to give them away.
@zandi458 (27954)
• Malaysia
16 Dec 10
I am just ignorant. So I have only to blame myself.