For those of you who are not yet initiated into the wonderful world of rat ownership we can assure you that they make truly rewarding and affectionate pets. They are neat, easy to care for, clean and adorable. But they are also amazing! Here are some fun facts about rats:-
- Rats do not have any thumbs although they do have a thumb stump on their front paws the use to hold food against. Very cute!
- Rats are good climbers and excellent swimmers. They use their tail like a rudder on a boat to change direction.
- Rats use their tails to regulate their body temperature. They hang their tail out to cool themselves and tuck it up under their furry belly to keep warm.
- Rats have excellent memory. Once they learn a path, they will never forget it. They will quickly learn to navigate around your home. If lost they can usually find their way back to their cage when it’s time for bed.
- Rats are very clean animals. They often set up a toilet corner, a feeding corner and a nest in their cages, all on their own! They can be easily litter tray trained and quickly learn to hold their bladder and bowls when out and about with their humans.
- Rats have incredibly strong teeth and can chew through metals such copper and aluminum. They also have a ‘sweet tooth’ for rubbers such as the buttons on most remote controls and computer wires. This means they do need a bit of supervision when out with you!
- Rats have very poor eyesight and are colour blind. However, they have a very well developed sense of smell and exquisitely sensitive whiskers. We might consider them practically blind but they probably consider us ‘nose blind’!
- Rats laugh! They really do! It has been discovered that rats emit long, high frequency, ultrasonic, socially induced vocalization during rough and tumble play and when tickled. This is described as chirping or chuckling. We can’t hear these noises but they are there. It was also discovered that like humans, rats have “tickle skin”. These are certain areas of the body that generate more laughter response than others. The laughter is associated with positive emotional feelings and social bonding with the human tickler! Additional responses to the tickling were that those that laughed the most also played the most, and those that laughed the most preferred to spend more time with other laughing rats. This suggests a social preference to other rats exhibiting similar responses. There are lots of fun games you can play with rats.
So all in all, rats are amazing, affectionate and loveable pets and well worth considering as an addition to your family. We are always happy to give advice about acquiring a new rat, or the health care of your best little mate.