Articles, Blog

Rat Care For Beginners!

Hey everyone, I’m Lauren Elloise, and welcome back to my channel. I’m super happy to have you here. Either if you’re new or you’re subscribed, it’s a pleasure. I’ve talked about this in two other videos. I want to do a Rat Care 101 series. This is the first video out of the three that I’ll be doing. If you really enjoy this stuff, make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss out on the other two videos. So the reason why I wanted to start this series in the first place is because so many of you have seen my other rat videos and so many of you have commented like, “I want to get pet rats!” Or questions about pet rats, and I just feel like I have a lot of responsibility and I want to educate you guys. In this video I’m gonna go over things to consider before you get rats and then things like cage, bedding, playtime, food… pretty much everything that you need to know before you have rats. If at any point in this video I don’t really clarify something or you just come up with a question, leave it below, I’ll be happy to answer. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll direct you to somewhere where you can find the answer. Pet rats make awesome pets. They’re so fun to have. They’re friendly, they’re cuddly, they’re very affectionate, they’re very smart, they can learn their names, they can even learn tricks. They generally don’t bite, and they just have great personalities. Rats are very social animals. They need to be kept in pairs of two (or preferably three or four) of the same sex. If you have a male and a female rat, they will breed. As well as having cage mates, they need a lot of time spent with you as their owner. And you can form really good bonds with them, too. You can get different types of rats, so there’s lots of different fur colors and fur patterns. There’s also hairless rats, too. You can also get rats with ears that are on the top or ears that are on the side. The rats with ears on the side are called “Dumbos,” they’re super cute. All of their physical appearance doesn’t really determine what their personality is going to be like, so it’s just up to personal preference really. Before you get rats, you do want to make sure when you’re handling them and checking them over, that you check their nose. You need to make sure there’s no red stuff on their nose, or in their eyes either. These could be signs of respiratory illnesses. It’s also good to make sure their ears are, like, nice and soft because that could indicate they have mites or lice. And then you just make sure that their coat is nice and shiny and nice and smooth. That should indicate a healthy rat. So, some things to consider before you get rats is sex. Would you rather have males or females? Males are generally a little bit bigger. They’re more cuddly, more sleepy, a little bit less active. And females, on the other hand, are very active, very adventurous, and they don’t slow down. Generally they live for about two years. This can vary quite a lot. Sometimes rats only live to about eighteen months, while sometimes they can live even longer. It just really depends on how well you look after them. You also need to consider before you get rats about where you live. Is your house suitable for rats? Do you have young children playing around? Do you have other pets that could eat your rats? Do you live in an apartment that allows pets? And probably also consider if you have a vet near you that actually knows how to deal with rats. Rats are considered an exotic pet so not every rat — not every vet, I said that in my last video too — not every vet knows how to properly care for rats. The best place to get a rat is to adopt from a shelter or to get it from a breeder. Really try and avoid pet shops because the conditions they keep rats in is not very good, and they’re not very trustworthy when it comes to pet rats. Alright, now let’s talk about some rat needs. Rats really need to be kept in a large cage, a small cage will just not do. If you can’t provide a big cage or get two or more rats, please don’t get rats. Generally about two cubic feet is required per rat. That is a minimum, so if you can provide more than that space, then that’s even better. The best cage that I recommend is a Critter Nation or a Ferret Nation. They’re both exactly the same, one just has wider bar spacing. It’s also good to consider you need at least 17 millimeter bar spacing, no bigger than that otherwise rats can fit out of it. That’s about half an inch for you Americans. The best kind of cage is ones that are made out of wire. Please do not buy a tank. Rats cannot live in tanks. It is too humid and ammonia will build up. Also make sure when you get a wire cage that the bottom isn’t wire, or at least cover it, because rats can get their feet stuck in it. I’ll put a pet rat cage calculator in the description. If you’re looking at cages, you can put in the measurements and you can see how many rats can fit in that cage. In their cage, you need to make sure that there’s enough space for them to run around without having to turn their bodies. You need to also make sure they can stand up in the cage. You need to make sure you can provide enough room to put heaps of toys in, they love toys. Things like cardboard boxes and places for them to hide in, they love that so much. They also really love hammocks to sleep in. Some types of toys and play areas you can make yourself. I’ve used plastic baskets and, like, hung them to the cage, they really like to play in there. Rats are so smart that you can also litter train them. If you put a plastic container, or like a litter box in the corner of their cage, and you move their poos in there all the time, they’ll eventually realize that that’s where they should go to the toilet. You can also use a rock. Like a nice, smooth rock that you’ve washed, of course. And you put it in the corner of their cage too. Rats for some reason like to pee on the rock. So that helps them to go to one spot. Makes it easier for cleaning. If you want to use litter, like litter stuff, the best one to use is this cat litter that is made out of paper pellets. Please don’t use normal cat litter. Cat litter is often too dusty and it’s just toxic to them. And that leads me onto bedding. The best bedding you can get your rats is fleece. It’s nice and soft. When the rats chew it up, it doesn’t make any little stringy bits. Towels sometimes go really stringy, or sheets can go really stringy. This can cut off circulation or choke rats. Try to avoid wood shavings as well, because some of these are toxic to rats, too. Alright, on to diet. Most pet shops will sell rat food seed mixes. These aren’t very good for rats because rats are fussy, and they only pick out what they want to eat. So they don’t get a complete balanced diet. Some pet shops do sell a pellet mix. These are generally a bit better than the seed mix, you’ve just got to make sure that they don’t contain any corn or any alfalfa. These are unsafe for rats. Some people like to make their own food mix, so if you do enough research, you can definitely make your own. It’s probably a lot cheaper and a lot better for them too. Rats also love fresh stuff. So fresh fruit and veggies, they love. Just avoid citrus and avoid…pretty much raw foods. If you do a quick little Google, you can find out a lot of things that are good and bad for rats. Make sure you also provide them with a water bottle attached to the cage. If you have two floors like my cage, I put one on each floor, just so they have easy access to water. Make sure you clean this out every few days. And now onto playtime! Rats are social, like I said, they love to play, they’re super smart, and they need at least one hour out of the cage every day. If you can give them more than an hour, then that’s even better. They need some chew toys as well, because their teeth are constantly growing, they need some hard foods or some toys that they can gnaw their teeth down on. What I like to do since I have dogs is, I’ve made like a playpen for them to go in, where I take them out every morning and every night. This means they can’t get out, and then the dogs can’t get in either. And yeah, that’s pretty much all that I had on my list to share with you guys. If you enjoyed this or found this useful, please let me know by giving me a big thumbs up. If you want to see the other videos in the series, I’m going to be doing next, one about rats’ health and then after that I’ll do how to convince your parents to get rats. I know a lot of you want to see that one. Make sure you’re subscribed so you can see that. Yeah, it was a pleasure having you guys here. Make sure you leave a comment below if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them, and I’ll see you guys in the next video. Bye!


  1. Sophia Rae Author

    I really like your videos! I'm not sure if you'll be able to see this comment but I just wanted advice and I have a few questions I feel like I should ask personally;

    I've been thinking of getting an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) for ADHD and depression, and although it is kind of hard to talk about, I genuinely believe that this would benefit me.
    Since I feel like having rats will keep me busy rather than just laying in bed a lot, way too much.

    1. What is your opinion on 'saving rats from being eaten'? AKA buying from reptile stores where the rats are supposed to be used as food?

    2. What restrictions should I put on my 8 year old brother? I'm 14, and I've always have had an appreciation for rats. My brother is 8 (he tends to be loud and extraordinarily hyper). I'm scared he might accidentally hurt one, but at the same time he is usually understanding, what should I talk to him about before getting my rats?

    3. What about placement of the cage?

    Thank you!
    Any other advice you have would be really appreciated

    I also wanted to mention that you have an amazing personality! Again, thank you so much for making these videos!

  2. Nyftii Author

    My parents said I could get a bearded dragon but I really want rats now! I asked them and the seem interested. I’m excited and I’m going on a rat care spree. I want to get 2 males, if you have any tips for me tell me 🙂

  3. Ch.11 Author

    Sooooo I wanna take care of these rats that I have buttttt I have to do it while hiding it from my parents… Asian parents. How do execute this difficult task??

  4. Thomas Anime-lord Author

    What if you go on vacation while having a rat? Would they be fine without being held for at most a week, even if they are in a pair?

  5. Hannah Beers Author

    Sorry for the late comment, but I will probably be getting a rat (or two!) very soon, and I was wondering if you HAVE to have two or more, because the person we are getting him from is selling him individually. I would really appreciate it if you replied, thanks!

  6. Jiminey Crickets Author

    I know this comment is a bit late but this is something I’ve been wondering
    So rats are very social animals, right? Let’s say for example you had three rats, what would you do once two of them pass away (from old age)? Are you supposed to let the last rat live the rest of their life alone or should you get another one?

  7. Natalie boughey sings Author

    I have six dogs would it be bad to get rats because I really want a rat but I’m worried my dogs will eat them but I’m planning on putting them in a room the dogs don’t go in but my moms worried they’ll escape 🤯please help 🤦🏻‍♀️

  8. MGTOWcockney Author

    Very very nice informative vid. My daughter wants pet rats so I guess as a father I should learn as much as possible 1st. Again, thank you

  9. Peacemaker Author

    I have a big husky rat and soon as I open the cage it runs away and goes underneath my wardrobe and when I try to pick it up it’s make the lousiest noises I’ve ever heard. Will it bite me and do rat bites hurt? I try to grab it by it tries to fight out of my hand? And I don’t understand why it’s like that as I’m always stroking it and giving it treats and it’s fine with me then I’m the cage. I’ve had it for about 3 weeks.

  10. IammmJHope FAN Author

    oh my god. not that it matters at all, cause you seem so intelligent and kind to rats. but you are the most beatuiful person i have ever seen, in my opinion ever ever ever. anyway this video was very helpful. Thank you a lot. I will still watch thousands of other videos cause i sometimes have hard to focus , therefore i would need many videos so i can feel confident i am caring for the rat in a way i would want a owner to care for me if i was a rat.

  11. sabrina brandon Author

    I have just one question. Do the dogs ever try to get the rats or chase them? Also how were the dogs when you first got the rats? We might be getting rats so doing some research

  12. Elena Vait Author

    I have a question. Do rats have any sicknesses that can kill other animals or people, cuz my mum does not wanna keep rats in my room beacuse they have a deadly desease. I think only wild rats have those deseases. I will be waiting for an answer. And this is my first video i see on your Channel ❤️

  13. Andrew Gordon Author

    I think I will be getting 2 rats for my birthday as my mum and dad let me and I don't know what to say next. 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😌😌

  14. Daria Rocks Author

    Rats and other rodents naturally secrete a red substance called Porphyrin. That’s due to stress if that’s what you are referring too, not necessarily a resp. Infection.

  15. Chains Da Floof Author

    I really want a small pet!!!! I want one that will cuddle up to me and stand on my shoulder and that is really easily tamed (taming is a big problem for me) I want a good bond, and I don’t mind if they’re nocturnal because I am too lol! I’m in 5th grade now and I have pretty much 60% of my day I can dedicate to them I also have a dog and cat though, so they can’t escape like when I had a hamster it left. I only have tanks but I’m willing to spend 0-90$ on a cage, my mom doesn’t like smell or mess and I have a good experience with pets. I want one that doesn’t bite too much. I do not care too much how long they live but I prefer 2-5 years. I want one that is not brown because my mom does not like the ones that look wild. My budget in buying them is 150$ for the cage, the pet and the toys and the food. (One time purchase my mom can buy the rest of the food

    Pls reccomend me rats or mice! I think rats are a good fit but pls tell me!! I’m doing a TON of research btw (why I’m on this video)

  16. Give me Unnecessary likes Author

    I want to adopt a rat but idk if I need to be a certain age to do it, its a surprise for someone who’s pet rat died after 2 years

  17. Gacha Oakley Editz Author

    I have a good breeder where I live and I’m saving up 100$ so I can afford them but I’m researching before getting them. Also I’m a vegetarian so I have tons of fruits and veggies.

  18. DrowzeeDreamer Author

    I’d love to get some pet rats or a hamster but I’m terrified of my little brother getting into the cage and hurting the poor things. 💔

  19. Willow Meadowspeed Author

    I want a rat SO BAD and I’v done so much research! But my mom literally HATES all animals except for dogs -__- with rabbits as a sudden exception ( it took some begging and explaining to get my first rabbit, getting my second soon)

  20. xxX STRAWBERRYXxx Author

    Even tho this is from awhile ago I have a dog.. but I am planning on putting them in my room is that a better idea then my basement which is very clean

  21. Ms3queen Author

    I want pet rats someday but I can’t have them right now because I live in a super small apartment and I have two cats, plus a few other factors that mean I have to wait. Hey, I want them to be happy!

  22. KyleKL Author

    ok hear me out: what if i give an entire room to the rats? Like i block out any 'dangerous' areas in the room likes vents or whatnot. would that be safe for the rats? Also id most likely block the door with wire (safe for rats of course) so they dont escape from under the door/ i can come in without them running out

  23. average avery Author

    Ok, so hear me out: I’ve always been interested in rats. I currently have two hamsters, and they’re pretty easy so far, just kind of messy. I feel like rats would be relatively low maintenance considering my lifestyle. I have the opportunity to get rats and have gotten the ok from my mom as well. I feel like I’m making an impulse purchase but either way I think I’ll regret my choices at some point. I already have lots of knowledge on rats, and am still currently doing research. What do you think??

  24. Alysia Senyigit Author

    Can i have rats even tho i have a cat, will they be able to go in the same room even tho the rats are in the cage? My cat is 17 but sometimes she is really active and sometimes she's just lazy. Thanks for reading!

  25. grimthing Author

    I know this is an older vid,but I am getting rats soon and I got a great cage for only €50!I suggest always looking on secondhand websites and you might get lucky,just be sure to check out the description and such first.The cage I got is a ferplast furat plus and it even came with some accessories from the previous owner.Always wipe down your cage with pet safe disinfectant if you get one secondhand, just in case.

  26. Makeup by Liza Author

    Thank you So much I’m getting one rat tomorrow! I’m super exited!! I don’t think I’ll even sleep today because I’m too exited!!

  27. TheOneTrueMaddi Author

    Just a point on rat aging
    I had one live until she was around 6 years old and she was just a common brown fancy rat.
    Unfortunately, I was just a kid and didn't know they needed friends to keep them company.
    So, yeah, care does go a long way.

  28. Jabbers Art Author

    I just got my first two 10 minutes ago, going to go on a youtube binge to find out what they're all about. I hate that they only live for 2-3 years, ugh.

  29. DisabledRat Author

    I just got these 2 siamese looking male rats from 2 previous owner who really cannot look after animals. When I got their cage (which is a hamster cage) it was very dirty, and their water bottle was empty. One of them is breathing weird while the other seems fine. I've been researching onto the breathing problem and I'm planning on taking him to the vet. Is there anything else i need to do for these rats, who seem to have come from such a horrible environment?

  30. Ya boi Lexie Author

    I have a question! So, I just got a rat because one of my good friends couldn’t take of her. She doesn’t have another rat, so should I go and buy another one or will she be alright alone?

  31. Swaggy Spaghetti Author

    So, I own a ball python,
    We got some rats for him and we asked for them gassed,

    We got them live…
    I didn't want to feed live rats to my snake, due to hearing stories of retaliation of rats (Rats killing snakes) so now I have to lil rats chilling in my spare cage…

  32. ChewVodka Author

    Thanks! I'm a new owner and I did everything right. But I'm wondering if it's a problem if they stay in the cage for about 9-10 ish hours in the day, for that reason I'm getting a little larger case, but I let her out once I get home. One more question, anything fun other than a wheel that I can keep her entertained with?

  33. Ash Sawyer Author

    Thank you so much this is super helpful! My friend dumped there pet rat on me last night and I want to make sure he’s very well taken care of. I think it might be sick or something to, I’m not sure tho.

  34. Jay Mantis Author

    cheers lass, i found this really helpful. im planning on getting a couple of rats in the next week and you've cleared a lot of things up for me. just one question though: what would you recommend to do when you've just got your rats home, you've set up their cage and put them in. should i leave them alone for a day or so to settle in? how long does it usually take for them to become familiar and comfortable enough with their new home, and me, before i can start handling them

  35. X Phantom Author

    a bad condition I have seen rats in a pet store was one being kept in a tank and plus the rat was alone. and some other bad condition's for reptiles seen. since I keep reptiles as well I'm knowledgeable of them

  36. N DAVIES Author

    Just got a pair of Rats, two males, I named them Rufus and Alfie.. Made sure I got a big cage, letting them settle at the moment. I have one of the best rodent vets in the u. K right on my doorstep👍. He has saved my Guinea pigs and even operated on a scent gland tumour on one of my gerbils last week, he pulled through brilliantly 🙂

  37. Vanilla_Dipped_Donut Author

    I really want rats (2). my mother is kind of afraid of them but we compromised so I'll be able to get a rat if I help clean the storage room.
    I'm like 99% sure I'm an arachnophobe and I saw 6 spiders upon entering.
    but I want f*cking rats so looks like some spiders are dying today.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *