Rats are interactive, intelligent and highly sociable animals. We recommend that you house at least two compatible rats together. They can also be housed in compatible groups. Providing companionship is an important aspect in their care. However you will need to take care to avoid mixing entire male rats with entire female rats to avoid having any unintended litters of baby rats. Care should also be taken when considering mixing two entire male rats together as they may be more likely to fight each other, however this is not always the case (male rats may be more likely to tolerate one another if they are introduced at a very early age).
Rats can be housed in a range of different enclosures. When planning your rat’s housing and care, the following points should be borne in mind:
- Provide a cage as large and interesting as possible and ensure that it is easy to clean and well ventilated. Bird-cage type enclosures are generally superior to plastic/glass tubs for providing adequate ventilation.
- Rats love to burrow and nest, so plenty of suitable bedding needs to be provided such as shredded paper or pelleted recycled paper ‘cat-litter’.
- Regularly clean the cage and change their bedding to avoid ammonia build up.
- Ensure that the area that they are kept in will not become too hot as rats are very prone to heat stress which can kill them.
- Make certain that the cage is predator-proof and escape-proof.
- Ensure the enclosure protects the rat from any adverse weather conditions such as heat, cold, rain, wind and other environmental dangers.
- Provide cardboard boxes, hard plastic tubes or similar objects for ‘hiding’ places and sleeping areas.
- Use dripper-type water bottles and/or water bowls for access to fresh water.