The average life span of pet rats is 2 - 3 years. This is
only a rough average. Some die younger, and a rare few make
it past 3. Of course all of this varies depending on breeding,
diet, health and environment.
What you are seeing is most likely a red tinged secretion
called porphyrin, not blood. It comes from the Harderian gland
and the secretion appears around the rat's eyes and nose.
It can be an indication that your rat is sick or stressed,
however a little crusting around the nose and eyes occasionally
is normal. When in doubt, a vet visit is in order.
Pine and cedar are not safe bedding for your rats. Both contain
phenols, which can be harmful to the rat's delicate respiratory
system. It also does long term damage to the liver. Unfortunately
pine and cedar are very popular in pet stores. However, do
NOT use them. If you can, use aspen shavings, or paper based
cat littler such as Breeders Choice. Cloth and toilet paper
or paper towels can also be used.
A rat bruxes by grinding its teeth together. It usually does
this when it's content, much like a cat purring; however it
can occur when it's upset.
Boggling usually accompanies bruxing. The rat's eyes will
bulge in and out in a fast motion, and is quite startling
to see. A boggling rat usually means a blissed out rat.
Unlike dogs, chocolate isn't poisonous to rats. Although
it's safe, it's still high in sugar and fat with no nutritional
value, so should only be given as a treat occasionally.
No, mother rats will not eat or reject the babies if you
handle them. It's very important for their socialisation that
you handle the baby rats from a very young age on a daily
basis. If the mum is aggressive or over protective of the
babies, just remove her first before picking up the baby rats.
Females are prolific breeders and can become pregnant at
just 5 weeks of age, however they really should not be bred
until at least 4 months of age. Female rats can also become
pregnant within 24 hours of given birth. While it's physically
possible, it's not healthy for the mum, the nursing babies,
or the new babies growing inside mum.
No. While rats can't burp, your rat getting into your soda
won't kill it. It may cause a bit of discomfort for the rat,
but it certainly isn't fatal.
It's actually exactly that. Hiccups! Just like you and me,
rats occasionally hiccup.
Rats are extremely sensitive to both hot and cold and should
never be kept outside. Pet rats are quite different from their
wild ancestors, and just one night outside on a cold night
can cause severe pneumonia or even death.
Unfortunately rats are prone to tumors as they age, especially
females. Tumors in rats are usually benign and can be surgically
removed. Your vet will be able to tell you if this is possible.
If your rat is over 2, surgery may not be the best option
as surgery and anaesthetic can be quite rough on older rats,
and the risk to your rat starts to increase. If you don't
opt for removal, rats can live with benign tumors for several
months, however it does eventually take it's toll on your
rat as the tumor increases in size. Abscesses are also common
in rats, and can be treated with a round of antibiotics and/or
lancing the abscess.
Rats don't get colds. The most common cause of respiratory
illness is an infection, which usually requires a course of
antibiotics. Other causes could be allergies or dusty bedding.
Try to eliminate possible external causes such as dusty bedding
or air freshners. If he doesn't improve or gets worse, a vet
visit is recommended.
She's fine. Females go in to heat every 3 to 4 days, and
one of the most common signs is vibrating, wiggling ears,
and jumping when touched. Not all females show visible signs
everytime when they go into heat, but many do.
Unneutered males are prone to buck grease, an oily orange
skin discharge usually caused by an overproduction of testosterone.
An increase in more omega-3 fatty acids in their diet usually
helps. Give them flaxseed oil or olive oil on wheat bread
a 2 - 3 times a week. This not only reduces the buck grease,
but also improves the condition of their coat, making it softer
Yes. Rats are social animals, and male rats are no exception.
Males will get on with other males, related or not. It's also
possible to introduce new males to existing males. Very occasionally
a rat that is used to living alone or is set in his ways will
not be receptive to new rats, but that's rare.