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hygiene requirements
sociable animals
household pets
spread of diseases
How To Take Care Of Your Pet Rat
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Pet exotic rats. What exactly are they? Are there any interesting characteristics and unusual behaviour traits? How do you house them in cages? What type of tank substrate do you require? What tank temperatures do they require? What are the requirements for their diet? Which is the best way to handle them? What are their hygiene requirements? What are the species specific diseases?

Over recent years exotic varieties of rat have become ever more popular as household pets. Most of these pet rats are cute. Much of this cuteness is due to them being cream or pink or black or albino in fur colour. Therefore exotic pet rats are most definitely not the same as the sewer resident brown rats.

Early in their lives these exotic pet rats will prove to be highly intelligent. They manifest signs of this intelligence by being playful and inquisitive. Both playing with toys and exploring any tunnels or climbing frames shows how much learning ability our pet exotic rat has. What is more, you can teach them to perform tricks. Such as standing on their hind legs. Such as rolling over. Such as begging.

Only teach your pet exotic rats to perform tricks while you feed them. Once you start to use positive reinforcement they begin to associate food and words with tricks. Now you can name and call by name each pet exotic rat in your social group. Once you are able to call each pet exotic rat in your social group you have your exotic pet rat family.

What may surprise you is that our pet rats can be taught games and tricks. Interestingly, exotic pet rats demonstrate good memories. Many games can be taught by the pet owner which the pet rat quickly learns. With such training there will be hours of fun between pet rats and their owners.

Since exotic pet rats can be safely handled by children aged 10-12 and teenagers in your home, rats make good pets.

Early on in your exotic pet rats life is the best time to buy them from any reputable breeder in the immediate vicinity. If they are less than four weeks old this is the best time to buy one. Almost every pet exotic rat should have clear eyes, clean coat and not be underweight.

At this stage they are already mature. In fact they are able to breed. Because exotic pet rats live in the wild in social groups of hundreds, when replicating their natural habitat in your cage you have to keep them in social groups. You can't keep them as solitary pets.

Therefore you must be able to tell the gender differences. Between male and female exotic pet rats there are some clear physical differences such as size and organs.

From this pet owner's perspective, it is best to keep at least three separate 10 gallon tanks. One of which is used to house groups of males. Another tank should house groups of females. Yet another tank should be used to house pregnant females and their nests.

Almost obligatory is the requirement to neuter male pet exotic rats after 1 year. Unless you want your female pet exotic rats to reproduce every 2 months. Having only 3 years as the average life expectancy for our pet exotic rat explains the rapid and regular breeding cycle. However with proper care and proper nutrition, your pet exotic rat can live for up to 5 years.

Always provide your pet exotic rat family with abundant earthworms and mealworms, citrus fruits pellets, sunflower and sesame seeds, apple segments, green leaf vegetable pieces. Having insatiable appetites, pet exotic rats never stop eating. Never forget to leave out bowls of fresh and clean drinking water in the cage throughout the day.

In fact, obese exotic pets are being reported as being on the increase by many veterinarians.

While setting up your 20 gallon size glass aquarium tank or your 3 feet x 3 feet cage, arrange your tank substrate in layers. Sand substrate filled to depths of 3 inches covered with abundant newspaper, moisture loving plants, logs, rotting tree bark, tree branches and foliage provide an adequate replication of their natural habitat. Substrate is essential for sleeping, resting in shade, pregnant females.

On the substrate you should create your pet rat colony playground. Every rat loves to burrow in the sand and climb branches and run through toilet roll holder tunnels. Each rat should use the pair of exercise wheels in the pet playground. Place toy climbing ladders in the tank amid ropes hanging down from an enclosed lid. Carousels and swings and roundabouts can also be ontroduced.

Once you are able to call your individual pet rats by name you can begin to handle them. Pick them up and gently stroke their forehead. Open the palms of your hands and let them scurry around. Never let them roam around inside your home. Unless you want chewed socks, trousers and shirts.

Until they are litter trained, they will also defecate and urinate. If you keep an enclosed secure glass playarea in your enclosed back garden our pet exotic rats shall have all the exercise they require.

Instead of keeping your pets clean by bathing them in about an inch of water, you could use gentle spray guns to keep your pet rat family from emitting fur odour. Even though pet exotic rats self-clean themselves regularly they still require bathing or showering to remove any fur parasites.

Many exotic pet rat groups being kept in cages have proven susceptible to the influenza virus with continuous sneezing and associated nasal discharge. Any patches of exposed and damaged fur require antibiotics from your local veterinarians.

Most surprisingly, you can perform cardiac pulminory respiration on your rat to save its life yourself. Once you know how to administer life saving first aid to your pet rat, you can save the life of your pet rat in an emergency. Exotic pet rats are worthwhile and rewarding pets.


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