Ten Reasons why Rats make better Pets than Mice

Pet rat playing

Ten good reasons why rats make better pets than mice

It can be a difficult choice when selecting a new pet as everyone has their own individual requirements as to what pet would suit them better.  Here at Rats 4 Pets, we prefer rats but here are ten good reasons to help people understand why rats make better pets than mice:

Child cuddling two pet rats

  1. Social nature: Rats are known for their sociability and enjoy being around humans and having fun with them. They can form strong bonds with their owners and are often more inclined to engage in playing games and interactive activities. According to the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association (AFRMA), rats can enjoy companionship and can also form deep bonds with their owners, making them more engaging and interactive pets compared to mice.
  2. Intelligence: Rats are highly intelligent creatures, very capable of learning new tricks and solving puzzles. Their intelligence allows for more varied and engaging interactions, making them more interesting companion. This is good for both humans and rats, as you are less likely to get bored with them if you can do something together.
  3. Trainability: Due to their intelligence, rats can be trained to perform various tasks and tricks. They can train to respond to their names, come when called, and even navigate obstacle courses. They possess a greater capability than mice, as noted by a study published in the journal Animal Cognition.  This intelligence makes rats more trainable and capable of learning complex tasks and tricks and again, more fun to be with.
  4. Size and Handling: The larger size of rats, compared to mice, makes them easier to handle and interact with (and harder to lose). Their size allows for more physical interaction and cuddling if they are comfortable with it. The Humane Society of the United States recommends rats over mice for just this reason for those seeking a pet, a rat is easier to be held and cuddled more comfortably.
  5. Longer Lifespan: Rats generally live longer than mice. The University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Website states that rats typically have a lifespan of two to three years, while mice usually live for only one to two years. A longer lifespan can provide more time for building a personal bond with your pet, as well as an opportunity to teach them some tricks. Not having the life span of a Dog or Cat, you know that if your life changes, you will still be able to look after them for their lifespan. This is also what makes them great pets for children who tend to want a pet but get bored with them after a small period of time. It means you will not be left with a pet that going to be around long after the children have gone or lost interest in it, and you still get to have some fun with it.Pet rat sitting on couch arm
  6. Playfulness: Rats are often described as playful pets.  They enjoy exploring their surroundings, playing with toys, and engaging in interactive games and interactions with their humans. Their playful nature can provide hours of entertainment for everybody.
  7. Cleanliness and Litter Training: Rats are generally cleaner animals than mice. They are known for their cleanliness and grooming habits. They are more meticulous about grooming themselves and can be litter-trained more easily. This makes looking after their living space and hygiene routines a lot easier to manage.
  8. Adaptability: Rats are adaptable to various living environments. They can adjust well to different types of cages, and their flexible diet allows for a wide range of feeding options. This adaptability can make rat ownership more convenient, especially for living in smaller places like an apartment.
  9. Personality: Rats are known for their individual personalities and unique traits. Some rats may be more active and energetic, while others may be more laid-back and cuddlier making each pet unique just like other well-known pets.  This diversity in personalities can make rat ownership more engaging and rewarding.
  10. Health benefits: Interacting with pets such as rats, has been associated with several health benefits. Spending time with rats can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and provide emotional support. Rats may also provide a sense of companionship and alleviate feelings of loneliness, contributing to improved overall well-being.

Remember, both rats and mice can make wonderful pets, and the choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle. Some things to take into consideration when choosing any pet are:

  • How long would you like a pet?
  • The cost of looking after it
  • What space do you have available
  • How much time do you have to devote to it
  • Will it fit in with your lifestyle?

Good luck with your search for your perfect pet, regardless of what pet you choose.

Pet rat watching us


How to Train a Rat

Training Pet rat

Rats are great pets for training. They respond well to positive reinforcement, much like dogs, and can be trained to do a large variety of tricks. The main part of this training is rewarding behaviour that you want to encourage with both food and/or verbal praise. Training has the added benefit of socialising your rat and building a bond with you.

When it comes to teaching the rat their name for example, hold out some food and call its name. Repeat as many times as you need to until the rat as associated the reward with its name, and will now be more responsive to you. This also works for other types of training, you encourage the rat to perform the behaviour that you want and then reward it. This type of training is all about consistency, repetition and patience.

The first two “tricks” that I found helpful for my rat were the “come here” command, and litterbox training. This way I know that he will run back to me when I let him out of his cage and the litter training helps to keep the rat cage clean and makes it easier to maintain a high level of cleanliness.

Here are my 3 main tips when it comes to rat training:

  • You must remain consistent, since inconsistency will confuse the rat and make the training take longer
  • With this consistency is repetition which is the main way that a rat will learn its tricks. You are aiming to encourage certain behaviour again and again so it becomes more habitual.
  • And lastly you must have patience. This consistency and repetition can feel boring at times, but you must keep up with it and have patience with your rat’s development as that is what is going to help the succeed in the end.

Hope these tips help you as they helped me. Just remember that all rats will learn at a different pace to try to stick with it and you will be rewarded in the end.

Here are some other resources for rat training: