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with kids
with seniors
with other animals
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Energy & Exercise
Training Needs
Grooming Needs
Size: Small
Lifespan: Very Short (Less than 3 years)
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While they may not be the typical first choice on most people's lists, rats actually make great pets, especially for children. In fact, they are considered by many to be one of the best rodents (or pets in general) that a child can have. In the last 20 years or so, the U.S. has seen a significant increase in the domestication of rats. They are very friendly and love to play, so make sure that your family can commit to interacting with and being a companion to the animal, just as with a cat or dog. You'll also have one of the smartest animals there is--rats are known for their humanlike intelligence!

General Care

Strongly consider getting more than one--rats, like gerbils and many other rodents, are usually happier and healthier when living in pairs or groups. And, if you want your children to share in the responsibility, place the rats' cage in a central location in the house so it won't be forgotten. The cage should be fit for climbing and playing, since rats love to do both. As always, bigger cages are better, and horizontal bars will allow rats to climb up the sides (although wire floors should be avoided). Don't underestimate their intelligence, either, and continuously rotate their toys for new stimulation. Lastly, grooming your pet won't be a hassle. Rats are exceptionally clean animals, but just make sure to clean their bedding every few days (and avoid the potentially toxic cedar and pine shavings). As always, check with your veterinarian with any questions you have about the health or care of your rat.

For more information about rat ownership and care, check out Kim's Ark Rat Rescue.

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