Pet Rat Facts

Grey rat

Once you get over the Rat’s bad reputation.  People have then discovered that rats are very social, intelligent and inquisitive animals that make great pets. They come in a variety of breeds and colors, not just black and brown.  The most common rat types are Standard, Hairless, Tailless (Manx) and Rex (as per the Rat Club of America).    They are a cheap pet to look after and they enjoy the company of humans and other rats. It is advised that rats get an hour of attention each day from their human family outside of their cage where and when it is safe for them to run around in.

On average, a rat will live 2 to 3.5 years but there are always exceptions. Rats are nocturnal creatures that are mainly active at night.


Male rats are called Bucks.

Female rats are called Does

Baby rats are called Kittens.


They are one of the cleanest pets you can have and pose no known health threats to humans or other animals if looked after properly. Rats do keep themselves well-groomed. They do shed hair but do not require any additional special grooming except maybe a bath occasionally (use warm water and a towel to dry them with).

It is recommended to have more than one rat at a time as they do benefit from a rat on rat interactions. It is preferable not to have a male and female unless at least one of them has been desexed.  Be careful introducing rats to each other as male rats are very territorial and will fight if unfamiliar with each other. Always introduce on neutral territory.

Pet Rat Cleaning


Rats can reproduce from 5 weeks onwards so it is advisable to have your rats(s) sterilized as soon as possible. Annual check-ups are recommended by the Veterinary. In Australia, there are no annual vaccinations needed.



Rats can be trained to do a variety of tricks.  It is recommended to train them by using the food method.  This means rewarding your pet rat with food when they do the actions you want to encourage. For example, coming, when you call their name.  If they come, give them a small treat.  They will get the idea very quickly (Similar to dog training). For more information on how to train your pet rats. Click Here.

Buying a Rat 

When acquiring a rat, look for one that has clear eyes and no discharges from their eyes or nose. Their fur should look healthy (not dull) with no patches of fur missing on the skin and there should be no lumps under the skin.  Check for good healthy teeth and gums.  It should be able to breathe, eat and drink normally.

The best spot to get a pet rat is from a recommended Rat Breeder.


Year of the Rat

In Chinese Zodiac, the Rat is one of the twelve animals in their zodiac list. The last year of the Rat was 2008 and the next year of the rat will be 2020.

In the Chinese zodiac, the Rat represents wisdom. Personality traits for people born in the year of the Rat personality are that they tend to be intelligent, charming, quick-witted, practical, ambitious, and good at economizing as well as social activities. Their weaknesses are that they are likely to be timid, stubborn, wordy, greedy, devious, power-hungry and like to gossip.