Sandy's Critter City

By Sandra Conti-Todd, Mentor and consultant for the proper care of pet rats.

Lets get started! 





Bambi, owned by Miss Bree of Illinois 



So you have a rat? NOW WHAT!


Here are a few things that I did not know when I first bought a rat for my son (who fast became mine!)

1. *Rats should be kept in same sex pairs. They are very social animals and prefer a cagemate. You can put males and females together only after one or both have been altered (spay or neutered)

2.  *Rats are sexually mature between 4 to 5 weeks. New litters should be seperated at this time to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

3.  *Pine and cedar bedding is very dangerous to your rats health and should never be used for bedding even in a pinch.

4. Rats hide their illness so its a good ida to read up on the various ailments that are commonly seen in the rat community. This way, being able to recognize the signs of a sick rat can possibly save his or her life.

5. Rats need and want plenty of attention from humans. They will reward you back by licking you and to them, they are grooming you which is a sign of true love from his rat owner. They also brux when they are happy and content (rubbing their teeth together to make a funny grinding noise) This is in comparison to a cats purring. Happy bruxing is also accompanied with eye boggles which is when the rats eyes vibrate real fast during the bruxing. This truly indicates your rat is happy and content when you get the double whammy of bruxing and boggle.

6.  *Contrary to popular belief, there are some rats that turn up their nose at cheese, and in fact, some (not all) rats are lactose intolerant and/or allergic to cheese!

Curious and fun loving, rats love to play!

 Rats are curious by nature and very busy when they are out during playtime. Anything and everything is fun to a young rat. They love to explore everything and they will find a challenge very rewarding.  When letting your rats out to roam around, you must use caution and literally "rat proof" the area they will be free roaming in.  There are many dangers that we dont think of that can harm our nosey friends from holes that lead to nowhere to poisons, even from eating wallpaper paste from the wallpaper. Wall sizing is a serious threat to a rats health. Of course, using common sense is a must with any pet.  Electrical wires are a serious danger as well so you must make sure your rats will not come in contact with them at all times.  I have heard of fatal accidents also where someone had either closed a door or opened a door on their pet rat, crushing it to death.  Accidentally sitting or stepping on your little friend is also a threat so always do a head count before plunking down on a chair or taking another step in a room where rats have been loose free roaming.

Curious young rats discover "fun" in a waste basket!                                                                      


Our fuzzy little friends also enjoy not only playing with other rats, but they enjoy playing with their owners too.  I have found that two of my young bucks LOVE for me to tickle their tummies and also hand wrestle with them. My little wild rat, Holly loves for me to play hand wrestle games with her and she will run away and come back for more. She loves to have me hold her down while she kicks and wrestles and will actually get up on her feet and jump on my hand, ears back, very serious with her intent to get my hand down while she is the one to "conquer" me!  Its pretty amazing to watch her play.   Like many rats, my rats also love to hide in things. Giving them a box full of rats and socks is like a dream for them. They can dig through the pile of socks, hide in them, toss them all around...this is something to do to get them nice and tired before bedtime, perhaps so they sleep better at night instead of playing and making noise all night since they are nocturnal by nature.   The older the rat, the more they sleep just like elderly humans, but while they are young, having fun and playing is critical for a happy rat!!

This little girl is trying to get her owner to play with her by giving her a little love nip! 


 ***All photos in this segment are printed with permission by their owner, fellow rat lover Shawna of Texas. Reproduction of these photos without permission is prohibited.


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The joy of being owned by rats


What Is World Rat Day?


For more information please refer to the link below!


World rat day


A Rat Owner's Creed  

By Pam Harris


I, the owner, promise to take care of my rats to the best of my ability. I will be sure they have a clean place to live and have plenty of food and water. I will ensure that they are kept in a cage that is large enough for their size and number. I will strive to give them "free range" or "run around" time, wherein they are enclosed in a room and allowed to explore. If this is not possible, I will take them out to hold, cuddle, and tickle and give them toys to keep them busy in their cage. I will provide a hidey-place for them where they can hide if they feel threatened and I will endeavor to give them as few reasons to use it as I can. I will be sure to give them a healthy diet and possibly a few healthy treats once in a while.

I will not allow disease to ravage them, thinking of them as "disposable pets". I understand that there is no such thing as a life that is disposable. If I am adopting rats for a child, I understand that if said child should become bored with their new pet, the responsibility of caring for them invariably falls on my shoulders. I also understand that rats can be hard to find a new home for and I must think of this before getting them. I will try to at least learn the warning signs of when my rats are sick if I don't know them already. I will also have a vet who knows rats or is at least willing to learn and listen to new ideas. I will be ready to spend money on my rats as they are not "just rats" but are in fact "family members."

When they do something that angers me, I will remind myself that they are just rats before I do something that may hurt them to "teach" them. I know they are destructive and so I will try to keep things that I don't want damaged out of their reach. I will try to keep anything they can hurt themselves.

When a friend, family member, or complete stranger responds in disgust at the thought of rats as pets, I will try to win them over. When a friend, family member, or complete stranger remarks that my rats are cute, I will love them for life.

When the time comes for my rats to cross the rainbow bridge, I will cry and be upset, but I will also know when it is time to say goodbye. I will be glad for the time we had together and I will always remember them, but I will end their suffering if need be.

Signed,  your owner  


A perfect way to describe our furry friends!

I found this on the PETA site and thought it was a great way to describe our rats, especially to people that are curious as to why we keep rats as pets.

Highly intelligent rodents, rats and mice are natural students who excel at learning and understanding concepts. Rats are considerably smaller than dogs but are at least as capable of thinking about things and figuring them out! And, while rats are much smaller than elephants, they have excellent memories. Although their eyesight is poor, once rats learn a navigation route, they never forget it. 

Both mice and rats are also highly sociable animals. They become attached to each other, love their own families, and easily bond with their human guardians, returning as much affection as is given to them. Many rats will even "groom" their human companion's hand and would appreciate a tickle, a massage, or a scratch behind the ears in return. Male rats will snuggle up for a cuddle and find contentment curled up in a person's lap. Although female rats are just as affectionate, they tend to be tremendously energetic and inquisitive! Rats love seeing kind people, and will often bounce around waiting to be noticed and picked up. Rats can bond with their human companions to the point that if they are suddenly given away to someone else or forgotten, they can pine to death.

Studies reveal that rats express empathy when another rat or a human they know is in pain. People who share their lives with rats report that they are altruistic beings who will try to help in times of distress.


Looking at the rat below, its hard to imagine that people have such a deep fear of them. Stories that are dated way back have given the general public such a misconception about rats its worse than fear of snakes, which by the way, not only do they eat our friends for dinner, but they account for many attacks and even deaths on people every year. Do a search on the internet and you will not find one single case of a rat bite that killed a human being anywhere in the United States. It just doesn't happen!  You would think though because of the reaction to many people (women especially!) that a rat is this mini killer walking around waiting to attack and maul them and suck their blood right out of their bodies!   Just look at these little animals...and if you dont agree that they represent nothing but sweetness and pure innocence, you are on the wrong website!

These two boys were owned by Matt (AKA Cyberpaws) of Massachusetts.

You are my world



I found this on The rat guide and wanted to share it with you:

Take a moment to remember and mourn for the animals who have unnecessarily passed before their time resulting from unnecessary exposure to disease or neglect. It is important for each and every one of us to learn as much as we can to ensure long, safe, and rich lives for the rats in our care. And to realize each individual rat as a being worthy of such treatment


  You Are My World

My small life is in your hands.
Every drop of water I drink, each morsel of food I consume, every
word and touch is delivered by you.
(You are the sun in my sky)

My daily safety is in your hands.
It is you who provides my companions, controls my environment,
determines the quality of my care.
(You are the moon above me)

My entire destiny is in your hands.
I offer in return loyalty, love, companionship, and my complete trust.
It is all I have to give.
(You are the stars that shine down)

From the ratguide    





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