Rats have been unfairly maligned for centuries. They’re intelligent and social animals that make great pets. Contrary to popular belief, pet rats are not dirty and don’t carry diseases. They’re very clean animals that groom themselves frequently. Rats are also very intelligent. They can be trained to do tricks, and they love to play. Pet rats are very social creatures and do best when kept in pairs or small groups. Rats are also very active and love to explore their surroundings.
Here are six things you didn’t know about pet rats:
1. Rats Make Various Noises
Rats communicate with each other through a variety of different noises. While pet rats aren’t as liable to be as loud as a barking dog or as noisy as a meowing cat, they emit several different sounds to express themselves. The noises rats make have different meanings. Here are some of the noises your pet rat might make and what they mean:
- Sniffing: Sniffing is a rat’s way of smelling its surroundings. When a rat sniffs, it takes in all the scents around it to figure out what is happening. This can be anything from smelling where another rat has been to trying to identify a food item. If your rat starts sniffing a lot, it might mean that something has caught its attention, and it is trying to figure out what it is.
- Whistling: Whistling is a rat’s way of showing excitement. It might whistle when it sees you coming or about to get a treat. If your rat starts whistling, it is likely because it is happy and excited about something.
- Purring: Purring is a rat’s way of showing contentment. When rats purr, they are usually happy and relaxed. This is often accompanied by them grooming themselves or another rat. If your rat starts purring, it is a good sign that it is happy and comfortable.
- Squeaking: Squeaking is a rat’s way of expressing excitement, fear, or pain. A happy rat will often squeak when petted or played with. A scared rat may squeak when it is startled or frightened. A hurt rat will also squeak to indicate that it is in pain.
- Growling: Growling is a rat’s way of showing aggression. A rat may growl if it feels threatened or wants to protect its territory. If you hear your pet rat growling, it is best to leave it alone until it calms down.
- Squeak-Growling: A squeak-growl is a combination of a squeak and a growl. This noise is made when a rat is feeling both fear and aggression. If your rat makes this noise, it is best to leave it alone until it calms down.
2. Rats Have Touchy Tummies and Whiskers
Rats have very sensitive whiskers and tummies. Their whiskers help them navigate their environment, and they are very sensitive to touch. This is why you should never try to trim a rat’s whiskers. If you stroke your rat’s face, you will notice its whiskers bend. This is because their whiskers are very sensitive to touch. When you stroke a rat’s whiskers, it feels good to them, and they will often close their eyes and purr in pleasure.
Rats also have very sensitive tummies. They can’t vomit, so eating something that doesn’t agree with them can make them sick. It is essential to feed your pet rat food that is easy on its stomach. You should also avoid giving your rat any human foods that are spicy or acidic, as this can upset its stomach.
3. Rats Can Be Right or Left Pawed
Like humans, rats can be either right-pawed or left-pawed. This means that they will prefer to use one paw over the other when doing tasks such as climbing, eating, or grooming. Most rats are right-pawed, meaning they will use their right paw more often than their left paw. However, some rats are left-pawed and will use their left paw more often than their right paw. There is no correct answer as to which paw your rat should use. Depending on their task, some rats even switch back and forth between their right and left paws.
4. Rats Love to Play
Rats are very playful creatures. They love to explore their environment and play with toys. If you have a pet rat, it is vital to provide plenty of toys to keep it entertained. Rats are especially fond of playing with balls. They will often push the ball around with their noses or paws and chase after it when it rolls away. You can even teach your pet rat to play fetch with a ball. Rats also enjoy chewing on things. It is crucial to provide them with plenty of chew toys to gnaw on. Chew toys help keep a rat’s teeth healthy and sharp.
5. Rats Love to be Petted at Certain Spots
Rats enjoy being petted, but there are certain spots where they love to be touched more than others. The most popular spot for rats to be petted is their backs. They also enjoy having their heads and necks scratched. When petting a rat, it is essential to be gentle. Their fur is very delicate and can easily be pulled out if you are not careful. Rats also have sensitive skin, so it is best to avoid using lotions or perfumes when handling them.
6. Rats Have Instincts
Every living creature has instincts, and rats are no different. Rats have an instinct to burrow and nest. They love to dig and will often build little nests out of shredded paper or cloth. They do this to feel safe and secure.
They have an instinct to explore. This means that they love to climb and play. Pet rats should have plenty of toys and things to climb on in their cage to keep them happy and occupied.
Rats also have an instinct to hoard food. This means that they will often hide their food in their nests. If you have a pet rat, provide them with plenty of food and water, so they don’t have to hoard.
Pet rats have often misunderstood creatures. They’ve been unfairly maligned for centuries, but the truth is that they’re very clean, intelligent, and social creatures. If you’re thinking about getting a pet rat, do your research first. These little creatures deserve to be loved and cared for just like any other pet.