Rats are the ideal pet for school-age children. Not only are they fascinating to watch, children also learn to handle a small animal in their daily interactions with small rodents. In addition, rats as pets require daily attention and, above all, variety.
Children and rats
Rats are nimble animals that must be handled carefully. If they feel too coarse touched, they may bite.
When fidgeting, they are quickly dropped in shock and wrong handling, eg. Pulling on the tail can cause serious injury. For very young children, rats are therefore not suitable, just as for children with conspicuously rough behavior.
At elementary school age, children have the ability to handle rats prudently. Around the same time, the interest in more unusual animals is increasing among the children. Rabbits and guinea pigs are no longer in the center of interest.
Rats tend to be dusk-active, but usually adapt to their caregiver and are active in the afternoon.
Their intelligence makes them particularly interesting for children. Anyone who deals regularly with the animals, they get tamed quickly. They love variety, so their little owners can let off steam when setting up the cage. Entire rat playgrounds can be made from tunnels, boxes with holes and paper snippets and other things. With the help of clicker training, you can even easily teach them tricks.
The correct handling of rats as pets
Especially at the beginning it is important to accompany the children with the care of the animals. You must learn to approach the cage quietly while talking quietly to the animals.
For beginners in the rat husbandry, it is advisable to decide on the purchase for already tame animals. If you really want to have very young animals, you have to deal intensively with them every day, so that they are really tame. Males are usually a bit calmer when dealing than females.
Also, the lifting must be practiced. Only when the child is so calm in dealing with the animals that it no longer flinches with every movement of the rat in shock, it is time to get the rats out of the cage without supervision.
It does not make rats happy to be carried on their shoulders through the streets. That seems to be often cool for older children. But it's just stress for the animals.
Keep rats appropriately as pets
Rats have a special social behavior. They are only really happy as pack animals, if they are held at least to third. Individual husbandry is animal cruelty. The fact that rats only become tame when they are left alone is a common misconception.
The intelligent rodents need a lot of space. The best is a large cage with horizontal bars, such as a large bird aviary. This can be designed as desired with built-in floors and climbing possibilities. With skilfully crafted parents, an old wardrobe can also be converted into a new rat home.
The diet is mixed, as rats are omnivores. The main food is a rat food, a feed mix of grains and seeds. In addition, the small pets need fresh fruits and vegetables every day. As a treat in between are cottage cheese, yogurt, raw noodles, dog biscuits and occasional insects, such as crickets.
Rats that are kept as pets have nothing to do with the "sewer rats" or brown rats. They are originally from the experimental rats from the animal testing laboratories, but this does not mean that they are ill.
Unfortunately they are not getting old. Two years is already an old age for the little rodents. Children learn so inevitably that they eventually have to say goodbye to their pet. On the other hand, one does not bind to rats for too long, which is an advantage for many parents over cats and dogs.