You should not get rats unless you can provide everything on the list to the right. There are many other animals to choose from that have different requirements and may be better suited for you. While rats are considered low maintenance, these requirements are widely regarded as the bare minimums required for rat care giving.
Rats have sensitive respiratory systems and due to the ammonia in their urine, they need proper ventilation that tanks do not provide. For a list of recommended cages, click here.
Always Have More Than 1 Rat
Rats are social animals that can become depressed without a friend. There are a few exceptions (temperament, illness, special needs, etc), but in most cases, you shouldn't have a lone rat.
Cedar Beddings Are Toxic/ Pine Beddings Must Be Kiln Dried
Never use cedar bedding. Kiln dried pine has been proven safe for rats. Other beddings that should not be used include bedding that is scented or has baking soda. These can be deadly to your rats and their respiratory systems.
2.5 Cubic Feet Per Rat
Small cages can lead to boredom, barbering, territorial issues, and more. To avoid these issues, use a cage calculator to determine if your cage is big enough.
Rats Need Mental Stimulation
Rats are smart creatures and will get bored without proper stimulation. Always ensure that your rat has a hammock to sleep in and toys to chew. For a list of toys, click here.
1 Hour Out of Cage Time Per Day
Take your rats out of their cage for 1 hour each day if you can. You can do 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night...or all at once! The more time, the better. This ensures that your rats get exercise, mental stimulation, and bonding time with you. Ensure the room is rat proof and let them roam the floor. Use a bathroom and set up boxes for them to explore. Or, simply let them out on your bed or couch. Can't do a full hour? As long as your rats have a large cage and can get out every other day, they'll be happy ratties.
The information below ARE the minimum requirements for owning rats.
Rats have short lifespans and it's up to
us to give them the best lives possible!