Rats Make Good Pets, Not Just Science Projects by Gina Spadafori
(Excerpt from http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&C=218&A=1018&S=0)
Forget horror movies and the bubonic plague. We're not talking about wild rats, but domesticated ones. Let go of everything you've ever thought about rats and consider the benefits with an open mind.
-- Rats are social animals. Many small pets don't like being handled, but rats get used to careful socialization easily, and come to enjoy riding in pockets and on shoulders. They like people!
-- Rats are smart. Rats respond quickly to food-based training and seem to love to perform. A friend of mine trained a rat for her college-level psychology course, and came to like the little guy so much that he's now a doted-on pet in her home.
-- Rats are cute. Think sleek, shiny fur, dark, glossy eyes and cute little ears. You say it's the tail that gets to you? Give a rat a break. If he just had a fluffy tail he'd be a squirrel, and people would give him nuts in the park. Really, is that fair?
-- Rats are agile and sturdy. Try to get a guinea pig to run a maze or climb a ladder and you'll appreciate the fleet-footedness of a rat. Unlike mice, rats can stand up to the handling -- and occasionally, the unintentional mishandling -- of well-meaning children.
-- Rats are diverse. Did you know that rats come in many more colors and patterns than the gray-brown of a street rat and the white of a lab rat? Think colors like silver mink, platinum, blue and chocolate, and markings like hooded (the head a different color than the body) or masked. Gorgeous!
-- Rats are easy to keep. Get a cage sized for a slightly larger animal, such as a chinchilla or guinea pig, and your rat will be content. Add bedding, a place for the animal to hide and sleep, a food dish and a water bottle, some toys, and you're set. Your rat will happily eat the food manufactured for them, and will love you if you add fruit, nuts, vegetables and other "people food."
The downside of rats? They don't live all that long -- two to three years -- and they're prone to tumors. And like all rodents, they live and love to chew. Provide all the chew toys imaginable, and they'll still put a hole in a piece of apparel faster than you can say "rats!"
The only thing rats need to become more popular as pets is a good public-relations campaign, and maybe a new name. Short-tailed squirrels, maybe?
No matter. If you're looking for a bright, clean and entertaining pet, you need look no further than the rat. These animals are great for a first pet, or a lifelong interest.
Misleading propaganda put forth by the Alberta Government: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/prm3266
If everything looks correct, click sign now. Your signature will not be added until you click the button below.