an introduction to rats

Despite common misconception, Rats are high intelligent, adaptable, social and make fantastic pets! With regular handling and care they form strong bonds with their owner and become very tame. We have put together this care sheet to show you exactly what goes into caring for these fantastic animals!


rat housing & Bedding

Rats are very flexible and may surprise you where they can escape from! They acclimatise well to normal indoor temperatures but it's important to make sure that their housing is not in direct sunlight, in drafts or places of extreme temperature change (air con unit for example!).

Rat cages should be made of plastic or metal and be well ventilated but escape proof. Glass tanks do not provide adequate ventilation for rats. 

Bigger is best so get the largest cage you can afford and decorate it with fun things to stimulate them! Rats love company so we don't advise hiding them away in a room on their own. 

Luckily with Rats, you have option for their bedding or substrate. Type of suitable substrates are:

  • Aspen or other Kiln Dried Wood (Kiln Dried has no toxins and is safe for pets)
  • Pelleted paper based products

Enclosures should also include:

  • Soft bedding spots made from fleece or sheepskin.
  • Hammocks or Hanging fleece tubes
  • A nest box where they can build a security retreat.
  • Toys
  • Ladder, Ropes, Shelves or Branches.

Spot check should be done daily and entire bedding should be replaced once or twice weekly. Clean the the cage with hot water or small animal disinfectant and allow to dry completely before placing all bedding material back  into the cage.


High quality rat food will make up 90% of your rats diets and the other 10% will be fruit and vegetables. We recommend brands such as Topflite which provides both pellets and grains and contains essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. 

Fruit and Veggies such as: apples, bananas, peas, broccoli, spouts and carrots should be fed as part of a daily diet. Foods such as: cooked egg, cooked chicken, cooked pasta can be given as treats! Food and water should always be available and any left over fruit and veggies should be discard if not eaten within 24 hours.


Do not feed chocolate, alcohol or caffeine as these can do serious harm to rats.



Rats are naturally very clean animals which may surprise you! They do a great deal or self cleaning and do not require bathing.


Normal behaviour

Rats are nocturnal and will be more active at night. You may hearing them playing during the night, playing and hiding in their hides. Like all rodents their incisor teeth grow continuously and it's essential that you provide them with appropriate chews to wear down their teeth. Overgrown teeth can cause serious health issues and will need to be seen to by your veterinarian.


signs of a healthy rat

  • Active, alert and social
  • Healthy coat
  • Clear eyes
  • Eating and drinking regularly
  • Communicative
  • Walking and climbing normally


Signs of an unhealthy rat

  • Diarrhoea
  • Overgrown Teeth
  • Weight Loss
  • Skin Lesions
  • Hair Loss
  • Lethargic
  • Eye or nasal discharge
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Audible laboured breathing