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RATS!

I am thinking about getting some rats.
Probably 2 boys :) :) !!
My first plan is to house them in a bedroom away from the mice who are in the kitchen, so on a different floor. Because I read that mice do not get on with rats and I don't want anyone to get distressed. But what do you think? If I play with the girls and smell of mice will the rats get upset? And vice versa. Do I have to change my clothes between having loves with each species? Does anyone out there keep both? What do you chaps do?
My heart is saying do it now but head says wait, get the room set up and the cage, stand back and look at it for a while and think. OH is concerned of the time it will take and that I will never leave the house- have to spend time with the girls and the rats but cannot be at the same time.
Any comments and advice please gratefully received.
Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
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Comments

  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 813
    I keep rats ,three females I also keep mice. The mice are upstairs in the 'animal room' and the rats in the lounge. I keep the rats downstairs because they seem to like busy areas and one of mine (Madeye) loves to lounge in her hammock and watch TV. I never change my clothing just wash my hands. Remember when you first get your rats every scent in your home will be new to them at first but will soon become 'normal'. I have never had a problem with the rats smelling the mice or visa versa, but like I said just wash your hands. The rescue lady I got two of mine from had mice in the same room with no problem. You just would have to make sure the rats never climbed on the mouse cage.
    Thanked by 1Sarahnash
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,175
    I Sarah. Roz (zany_toon) has rescue rats so she may well give you some pointers on her lads soon. I`ve had five rats at separate times in the past. A single male from the SPCA, two males from the SPCA and three males from a woman I knew online when I was a member of a rat forum many moons ago.

    Rats do make good pets and are like large mice really, although because they are larger and can prey on mice if not kept an eye on, it`s very important that the two are either kept at separate ends of a room in secure cages, or in separate rooms for those reasons. But you should be fine to keep them both in the same room with supervision and safety measures.

    They like much what mice eat and variety is good. A diet based around the Shunamite diet is a good start. I always liked males personally but female rats do tend to get on well in larger groups. Female rats could be more susceptible to tumours just as female mice are, but genetics plays a big part in that so not really something to dwell on. Rat tumours can be surgically removed more successfully than mouse tumours.

    They do love their hammocks and getting into things! Lovely pets, but try and handle them before taking them on as some rats can be nervous and need working on, while others will be big lazy layabouts!

    They are fun to sit with the cage door open and allow them to come out onto you and play. Some rats will endeavour to jump onto the floor and run about, which is fine, as long as the mice are up high or in another room. Same kind of ailments as mice really. Respiratory and tumours being the main ones to watch for.
    Thanked by 1Sarahnash
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    Thanks for the advice. I think they would have to live in separate floors/rooms as the girls are open to the air - no cage or topper and I couldn't take any risk of rats getting to mice, which they could quite easily if in the room.
    I favour boys as is suggested they are are more cuddly that girls and also girls more prone to tumours. My breeder is kind of warning me off (in a good way) as she knows the state I get in when the girls get sick and have passed away. Hence she has also suggested boys. Or gerbils. But the heart wants them and I hope to go meet some tomorrow. Then I have to persuade OH....
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,175
    Hope the meeting goes well. :) Don`t mention gerbils! I`m a bit of a closet gerbil fan as I kept them for a while and would leap at the chance yo have them again, but my body pain isn`t up to matching a gerbils energy these days and I used to allow my boys free range while I sat on the floor with them. Great fun and I adored them all. Really miss my wee `meerkat` gerbils. x
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    No meeting yet :(
    She is busy with Christmas stuff though, so it might not be today. Have just returned from petsathome where I saw a male rat in solitary. There were other boys in another enclosure but they are different age they said, so couldn't be together (apparently?).
    I'd love to just take him and give him the best time, but he would still be on his own and I know nothing about rat introductions (yet).   Hence I am waiting for breeder to call :)

    Gerbils - having watched youtube videos (where else) they do look very energetic.  Jumping over little fences - gerbil agility class!  I'd fear they would not be bonding animals but I am told they do bond to their owner.   What does it say about me, I want to be loved by something small and furry.
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 813
    Good luck with the rats they are really lovely.Its sad to see a lone rat they crave company so much. Age doesn't matter to rats, they properly sold all the other rats he was with or his hormone's have made him a bit fighty.
    Thanked by 1Sarahnash
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    edited December 2016 Posts: 1,175
    The single male could be introduced to the youngsters but in all honesty, I would want the pet shop to be doing that and NOT leaving a rat on it`s own. >:P My first rat was an adult male (hooded rat) and he was a wonderful soul. He lived alone all his life as he came from the SPCA centre which has now closed sadly. I couldn`t eat for days after I had to have him put down due to body/muscle wastage and a zymbal(?) gland tumour on his neck. :(

    The two brothers I took on from the same SSPCA centre a bit later on were go lads, but sadly one took urolothiasis (bladder stones) and the other one was very nervous and I ended up phoning my vet for assistance as he had a serious respiratory problem. He didn`t cope well at all after his brother passed. I didn`t handle losing my rats well and started to impact too much on me personally and that`s when I switched to mice. I would keep mice again before I would keep rats, but that`s just a personal choice. I found the mice more manageable and although losing my mice was still tough, I got more hardened to it, but like you Sarah, I get very attached to my little ones.

    I done a lot of soul searching back then and research on rats health generally that I could have written a book! But decided when I lost my two brothers and then rehomed the three I got after that as I had other small pets and just had too much on my plate. I learned after that not to rush into taking on more than I could handle.
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    I know what you mean about it affecting one. I said to OH I would to be getting any more mice, it may be selfish but it hurts too much when they go.
    And here I am craving a rat, who though bigger is just as prone to the same and sounds like additional illnesses.
    That said I am strongly considering taking that solitary boy. How long can they be without a friend before it starts to break them?
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    edited December 2016 Posts: 1,175
    To be honest Sarah, I`m sure he would not bother about it and appreciate having someone to play with than being stuck in a PAH tank, even if you are human! It may actually give you a gentler start than taking on more, although a pair of rats isn`t anymore work than one. If you were to go back to PAH to see him again, it would make good sense to ask to handle him and check his temperament? The shop assistant should be able to assist and you can then see whether he`s a `take me home` rat or a rat that just wants to scarper or bite. Rats are normally placid though and shouldn`t bite or be more than just keen.

    He would enjoy having his home comforts like a big cosy hammock or one of those small fleecy houses sold for chinchillas or something home made! Do you have a cage ready?

    As for pairing him with a younger rat, well I depends on his own demeanour. My Winston was a laid back gentleman, while my other boys were already paired, so I never had to do rat intros, but it`s something that can be done.
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    OH and I have had a long chat. He is voice of reason. He thinks I shouldn't rush into rats and certainly not before Xmas. I wanted to do it before Xmas as next week we have reduced hours at work leaving more time to be with my mice and rats! But he is sensible. Also he has said he would prefer young rats to see them grow up. I cannot rescue everything he says. So somewhat regretfully I am staying away from solitary boy and waiting for breeder.
    Well actually he would prefer I didn't get any rats at all as he is not keen; he loves our girls but cannot say he will love rats. They are quite big and he doesn't like their tails. He is also concerned about the time everything will take. I don't dispute.
    But he will support me in what I want...........So he is buying the cage!!!!!!
    I can get excited about preparing the area and cage with many, many toys and ropes and hammocks and tubes and shelves and ladders and beds and fleece and everything.
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,175
    Probably more sensible to hold off then. Younger rats would be better handled from a breeder too Sarah so it can make a difference. My rats were all SSPCA rescues and apart from Winston my first single adult male, the others were not healthy rats and I think I was in worry mode all the time when I had to go out and leave them. It didn`t help my anxiety any!

    Mice would be my choice over rats but that`s mainly because of their size and having kept more mice than I have rats.
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    As a newbie to rats I also think that is sensible to get from breeder.  I will know their provenance, I can email her late at night if something is wrong (she is so good) and they will know each other.
    I will salve my conscience by thinking maybe I can rescue other rats at a later date.

    PS
    Cage should be here Thursday!!  EX-CI-TED
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,175
    I`m sure it will be worth the wait. ;))
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    Have visited breeder tonight to meet some rats. Two lovely boys fell asleep inside my shirt on my shoulder and wee'd on me. It was great! There are 4 available now and several in a few weeks. Bought a number of cage accessories, I will enjoy putting it all together at the weekend. Will decide on 'when' and 'who' another day. Trying not to rush things.
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,175
    Glad you had a good experience with the boys. It`s great too that you have a breeder you can contact or visit if you have any immediate issues Sarah. I`m sure everything will work great.
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    Well as they were going fast I have reserved two boys for collection next Wednesday! Lovely placid friendly boys, a red eyed cream coloured I am informed is a Siamese and a black eyed steely blue one. Very pleased and excited.
    And when I popped in PAH to collect some ratty stuff I think I saw the solitary boy is no longer solitary. It was hard to tell but I hope so.
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,175
    So excited for you Sarah, the boys sound lovely. They will love their new cage and the cuddles they will get!
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    Well so much for taking it slow and waiting till after Christmas. I am collecting them tomorrow! I spent some happy hours putting together their new cage, I hope they will like it.
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    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    edited December 2016 Posts: 1,175
    :-O !!!!! What a ratty mansion! They are going to LOVE that Sarah and you will get so much fun watching them play and explore and then zonk out in a hammock no doubt! I would keep hammocks or anything hanging lower down right now since they are still babies in case they take a bad step, although if the cage has solid floors, you will be fine. It looks fine. Fantastic access from the front too. x
    Thanked by 1Sarahnash
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    Hope you all had a good Christmas.  I did.
    Check the new signature :) and make welcome to Charlie (champagne Siamese) and Bosley (blue) dumbo eared ratties.  I collected them on Christmas eve and am enamoured already.  I have held Charlie several times but only when he went in his yellow bendy tube which I could pick it up.   I haven't picked up Bosley yet (other than to transfer him from travelling box to cage).  He is more timid.  He spends quite a lot of time behind the corner litter tray.  And neither have stepped onto one of their 4 hammocks!   They like the wooden house on legs from PAH.
    So my question - should I be attempting 'free-ranging' these boys yet?  Or should I leave them some time to settle in?  I don't want them going stir crazy.

    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,175
    I can`t see your new avatar Sarah? That`s great that your new boys are home and settling in! No, I wouldn`t free range them just yet, I would stick to opening the cage doors and letting them get used to coming to you, sitting on your arm inside the cage, picking them up for a few moments and down again. Little and often but always allowing the boys to come to you where possible. Sit beside the cage a lot when they are active and keep a door open. I used to have a table in front of a Jenny cage I had rats in and they loved climbing out the open door and on to the covered table which allowed them to go in and out at their own leisure. Sitting in front of the cage while they did so.

    They will be nervous due to being moved into a strange home, but they will get used to it. x
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,175
    How are the new boys settling in Sarah?
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    Hiya, well I think we are doing ok. But they are timid little boys. They tease me by coming up to the bars then when I open the cage they sidle away. I put my hand in gently and they sniff it politely then turn their back on me. They hide behind their litter tray quite a lot.
    I think they are smarter than me. :)
    As you suggested I sit right by, practically in the open cage in the hope they will come to me, not happened yet.
    They do seem to be on a different time line to me. The girls (mice) will be awake 7pm onwards and again up at 5am. Charlie and Bosley wake up about 11pm just when I am going to bed then 7am just when I am leaving. Will they adapt to us at all? Meet us half-way :)
    They haven't been out properly and tomorrow is 'laundry day' so that will be interesting. I may resort to doing one cage then the other (you can partition them). Actually the girl mice need changing, the rat boys need changing and my Dad is coming for new year. Think I will have to get up before I go to sleep!
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,175
    They are probably still going to need settling in time Sarah. Just keep doing what you are doing and they will soon realise they have landed on their paws!
    Thanked by 1Sarahnash
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 813
    Sounds like its going well. :D
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    I have been told off by breeder. I should be picking them up daily so they get used to me and being handled and held. So earlier... I went in! They were kind of surprised having not been troubled by the big pink thing, but once they were out I think they liked it. :)
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    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,175
    =D> The breeder will be right Sarah. Probably the best way to get them used to your scent and handling. I was never one to go in lifting my rats and mice up all the time but it worked for me as I allowed them to do what they wanted to, so I wasn`t too bothered about being too hands on, but it is important with young rats I guess because you don`t want them becoming too reliant on one another and seeing you as the big pink monster! Thanks for letting us see your new boys, they look cosy in there! x
  • AnnBAnnB Mouse
    Posts: 920
    That's such a great photo. I haven't commented on this thread until now as I know very little about rats but it certainly looks like you're making good progress.
    Thanked by 1Sarahnash
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 305
    Oh my, they are so much fun and so good. Now they are more used to me they come out with no trouble at all, they like it, they run along the settee (Harry did a poo but it's leather and wipes clean, don't tell OH). I give them some of their things to play with but mostly they just like running around the running back to me, up my arm to my neck. Only downside is I may be allergic as my neck has come up in wheals where they have used their claws for purchase. And I am sneezing and itchy. But I don't care I love them :) :) :)
    Changed that cage on Monday. Took me 12 hours. You know what it's like, haven't got the order right or the right tools in the right places. But 12 hours! So I have cleaned both top and bottom and limited them to just the bottom. Next change day they can go straight in the clean top and I have to clean just a single cage every week. Phew.
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley and wild boy mouse Wills.
    Mice in my heart and mind - Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex and house mouse Harry Houdini
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,175
    That`s a shame your skin is reacting to the rats Sarah, but I remember sometimes having a red, itchy reaction on my hands or neck on a few occasions, but never had any sneezing or watery eyes etc...

    Sometimes it can be their urine. You know, when they stand on it and then scratch your skin? It`s an immune response from your body. See how it goes and if it worsens, you could talk to your GP. Or even your vet. But I would only worry about this if it became a big issue and stopped you from being in the same room as the rats. It does happen sometimes, especially with children.

    They sound lovely boys too and coming out of their shells, which is great.
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