No animal is the same. They’re not a “one-size-fits-all.” Different likes. Different dislikes. You get it. But when it comes to rats, there are definitely some rat care mistakes that we, as, rat parents, need to avoid. Check out the rat care “no-no’s” below.
Using Sawdust Bedding
Did you know that rats have sensitive respiratory systems? And not only can sawdust harm their systems by being breathed in, but mites could potentially be in the sawdust, too, causing skin issues. (This is less common, but it can definitely happen.) We don’t blame you at all if you didn’t know you should stay away from sawdust bedding. Lots of pet stores actually recommend it. But they’re totally wrong. When you’re looking for rat bedding, go with a low-dust, high-quality and absorbent (to help with ammonia odor) bedding. You’ll be happy you did. And your rat will be happy too. (And healthier!)
Having Too Many Rats in One Cage
The average rat needs roughly 2.5 cubic feet of space per rat. This is really important. Rats need space, just like you and me… just like all animals. There are tons of good cages/habitats available for purchase at totally reasonable prices. If you want to add another rat to your family, please make sure your cage is large enough. If it’s not, wait until you get a new cage. It’s the most responsible thing you can do as a rat parent. Your rat will appreciate you.
Taking Rats Outside
We really don’t recommend this… for a few reasons. We know you’ve heard this before, but it’s totally true: you NEVER know what is going to happen. And if something went wrong outside, even with the best trained rats, you’re going to need to get to them quickly. There are natural predators everywhere. Not to sound dire, but it’s true. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Also, rats don’t know what they can and can’t eat. It’s your job, as their human parent, to manage their diet. That being said, when a rat’s outside, they may ingest something that they’re not supposed to, which can be detrimental to their fragile body.
Inside is best… where they’re in a safe space.
Not Cleaning Your Rat Cage Daily
You may be surprised, but we recommend cleaning your rat cage on a daily basis. Do we mean a super deep, set aside four hours type of clean? Absolutely no. But you should, at the very least, be doing spot checks. Remember we talked about rats having sensitive respiratory systems? Ammonia can build up, which also has the potential to cause respiratory issues. A clean cage is just all around safer. And better.
Not Socializing Daily
Rats are SUPER social creatures. We can’t stress that enough. So, it’s important they get daily socialization. If your rats have gone through trust training, don’t lose it by not socializing. Rats get bored in their cage. Take them out. Let them free roam. They’ll be much happier and much more well-behaved.
Taking the Internet’s Word For It
Never just take the internet’s word for it. We’ve done a blog on this topic. It’s so important that we’re getting our information from professionals. Please do the same.
Not Giving Them Health Checkups
Lumps, porphyrin, skin stuff… these are all things you need to check for on your rat often. Basic health checks from you, the parent, are… just… smart. (And common sense.) They ensure that if there is something off, we’re catching it right away and can get to the exotic vet ASAP for a diagnosis and a plan of action. Being proactive is key.
Please. Don’t. Do. This. It’s not more nutritious anyway. Here’s the thing: rats are selective eaters; they pick what they want a leave what they don’t. It’s your responsibility, as their human parent, to provide them with a balanced diet. And selective eating is the opposite of a balanced diet. Pick a high-quality rat food for your little, and stick to it.
We recommend Science Selective rat food. (It includes fruits such as apple and blackcurrant for their antioxidant properties and high vitamin content to promote optimum health. It is also high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and low in both saturated fatty acids and cholesterol to assist cardiovascular and circulatory health. Selective is specially formulated to help keep you pet’s skin and coat in great condition. Plus no added sugars.)
Hope these rat care mistakes to avoid helped. Refreshers are never a bad thing. Now go and spent some time with your rats. 🐁🐀