Rats – The Good and Bad Every Homeowner Should Know
There are those who consider rats to be cute little creatures. If you’re one of them, you might be considering getting a pet rat. But before you make your decision, it is worth looking at the pros and cons of having a rat around you. First, they are smart and are sure to amaze you with their intelligence. You may even find yourself enjoying their company. So is there more to rats than meets the eye?
They Make Good Pets
One of the reasons you may want to have a pet rat is because rats are very social animals. They are also easy to tame and will definitely enjoy your affection. If you’ve been looking for some good company in a small package, a pet rat may be a worthwhile consideration.
Since rats are very social they should never be kept alone.1 Same sex pairs or groups are ideal. Males usually get along fine with other males, especially if introduced at a young age or if they are litter mates.
Keeping rats in groups does not make them more difficult to tame if they are handled from a young age. You won’t have to worry about creating a bond with your pet, even if you have several of them. Read more at The Spruce Pets…
Those who own pet rats explain that one of the things they love about them is their curiosity. They also consider them to be great companions.
They Are Very Sensitive
As much as you’d want to have a pet rat for companionship and fun, it is important to note that they are very sensitive. If you want healthy ones, you may need to be a bit more careful when purchasing them.
Just like dogs, mice and rats are supplied to pet stores by mass breeders, who aggravate the problem of these species’ overpopulation and their resulting abandonment and abuse. Shipped to distributors in small, cramped containers that are breeding grounds for parasites as well as viral and bacterial infections, they often reach pet stores ill, malnourished, and/or pregnant. Read more at PeTA…
It may be difficult to tell which baby rats are not healthy. But the experts advise that discharge from the eyes or nose, or frequent scratching, are all signs of illness.
They Can Spread Disease
This is probably the main downside to having rats in your home. They are disease vectors and can transmit the rare rat-bite fever.
The bacteria that cause RBF transmit to people through:
- bites or scratches from infected rodents
- the saliva, urine, or feces of infected rodents
- contact with contaminated surfaces
- contaminated foods or drinks
Although reports of RBF occur globally, this disease is relatively rare. However, a person may have a higher risk of RBF if they:
- handle rats as part of their work
- live in an infested building or area
- keep rats or other rodents as pets
RBF does not pass from person to person. Read more at Medical News Today…
Apart from the fever, an infection with RBF may also present with a rash, joint pain, and arthritis-like symptoms that may persist for months. While there are known treatments for an infection resulting from the bacteria that causes RBF, you’re better off safe than sorry. The truth, however, is that wild rats are the ones likely to spread such diseases. So, as you keep your pet rat, it would still be important to keep the wild ones away.
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