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!