Undoubtedly, rats are interactive, intelligent, and highly sociable animals. However, when housing them as a pet, what’s the ideal number of rats you should keep in your home? If this is the question that brought you here, then we’re glad to inform you that you’ve come to the right spot, as we’ll be making a more in-depth analysis of answering this somewhat controversial question.
- Pet Rats – Minium of 2
- Rat Farming – Limited to size of Your Facility. – Laboratory – Pet rat sales
|Type of Farm
|Baby Rats per Litter/Yr
|Rats Per Year
|Low / High Cost
|Winstar / Lab
|21 - 24 days
|$ 22 / $ 455
|21 - 24 days
|$ 4.25 / $ 6.50
|21 - 24 days
|$ 4.25 / $ 6.50
|21 - 24 days
|$ 10 / $20
|$ 12, 500
And to arrive at a more valid conclusion on what’s the appropriate number of rats to raise at a time, let’s first look at some of the key facts about rats as an animal(rodent).
Rats, as recorded by the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), are more than 60 species in number, which invariably implies that you can find them in almost all shapes and sizes. However, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, they are often 5 inches (12 centimeters), or longer.
Largest Species of Rat
The biggest species is the Bosavi woolly rat, which was discovered in 2009 in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea (and doesn’t have a scientific name yet). According to CNN, in terms of size, this rat measures proportionately to the size of a cat, at about 32.2 inches (82 cm) from nose to tail. And surprisingly, it weighs about 3.3 lbs. The smallest, on the other hand, is the One of Osgood’s Vietnamese rat, which is often 5 to 7 inches long.
Rat Gender and Classification
As recorded by the Australian Broadcasting Corp., male rats are known as bucks, while female ones are known as does. The babies are known as pups or kittens, and a group of rats is known as mischief.
Unlike most animals, you can find a rat anywhere round the world. As stated by the Animal Diversity Web at the University of Michigan, you can always find rats like the rice-field ones in Southeast Asia; the Australian swamp rat is in Eastern Australia, the Norway or brown rats in every continent of the world except Antarctica, and so on.
Rat Behavior / Habits
While a good number of rats are nocturnal (see mainly at night), others such as brown or Norway rats are always awake day and night. Generally, rats live to forage and mate.
And unless a rat is trained and domesticated, they are often afraid of the sight of humans, and will quickly vanish when someone sees them. Also, they love walking n groups, with a male leader often leading the way. This habit is most commonly found in brown rats.
Rats are omnivores, but many prefer meat when they can get it. House and brown rats usually use humans for their primary food source. They will scavenge through trash or eat any food that is left unprotected.
As recorded by Encyclopedia Britannica, rats have also been known to eat grain or kill insects, water creatures such as snails, fish, and mussels, small birds, mammals, and reptiles for food. Other rats, such as the Sulawesi white-tailed rat and Hoffman’s rat, prefer vegetarian fares such as seed and fruits.
So, now that we’ve known some facts about rats, it’s time to go back to our big question for the day; how many rats can you keep together?
How Many Rats Can You keep Together?
Given that rats are naturally scavengers, even when trained and domesticated, it is recommended for you to house at least two compatible rats together. However, if you wish to increase the number, you can do so by keeping them in compatible groups because companionship is a vital aspect of rat’s scare. Put differently; they thrive well when they have another rat around.
And in other to prevent an infestation of rats in your home as a result of the groupings, you’ll have to be extremely careful not to group male and female rats in one cage, as that would cause them to mate and give birth to new baby rats.
Also, you will need to be careful not to mix the entire male rats with an entire female rats, to avoid having any unintended litters of baby rats.
Another thing you might want to look out for is in grouping all males together, as that could cause them to fight and make noise all over your house every single moment. If you must keep all the males in one place or while mixing, you should do so when they are young, so they can grow and learn to tolerate each other. Below are some of the things you should keep in mind when building or getting a cage to group your rats.
Things to Consider
You’ll have to give them a cage that is big, fun, neat, and well ventilated. The noteworthy point is that bird-cage type enclosures are often superior to plastic/glass tubs; when it comes to providing rats with the best form of ventilation.
Adequate Bedding Materials
You need to understand that pet rats live to burrow and nest. A such, you’ll have to provide them with lots of suitable bedding like shredded paper or pelleted recycled paper(cat-litter), wood shavings, and so on.
You should understand that you’ll always need to conduct regular cleaning of the cage, and if need be, replace their bedding to avoid ammonia build-up.
Susceptible to High Temperatures
You’ll also have to ensure that space where the rats are kept, isn’t too hot. This is because pet rats can barely survive in areas with high temperatures.
Rats Cage Escape Proof
You’ll also want to ensure that the cage your rats are housed in, is escape and predator-proof. You don’t want to come home to an escaped or devoured pet rat. Rats are very intelligent and persistant, They can and love to Burrow, Dig, Scratch and Chew. So make sure your cage can contain them.
Cage materials / Toys / Structures
You’ll have to provide extra cardboard boxes, hard plastic tubes, or similar objects for ‘hiding’ places and sleeping areas. This will help them stay lively. Gives them a place to play exercise and hide, feeling of security
Minium Size Fancy Rat Cage
Minimum size for two fancy Rats is
72cm x 36cm x 44cm, – 28″ x 14″ x 18″
Availability to Fresh Water Access
And lastly, the best way to give them access to fresh water is by using dripper-type water bottles or water bowls.
In a nutshell, the most recommended number of rats that one should keep together is two. However, if you wish to have more than two rats at a time, it’d be best for you to group them carefully in order to avoid the uncontrollable multiplication of these pet rats in your home.
Rat Breeder Associations
|American Fancy Rat $ Mouse Association
|Rat & Mouse Club of America
|National Fancy Rat Society
|North of England Rat Society
|UK National Pouched Rat Society