World Rat Day
On April 4th, 1995, rat owners, rat breeders, and rat fans took to the internet to discuss the topic of pet rats. This ongoing discussion became known as the “Ratlist”–the oldest mailing list on the internet dedicated to the topic of pet rats. In 2002 these rat aficionados dedicated a day that would promote rats as wonderful pets and companion animals for people of all ages. April 4th was chosen as the day the Ratlist began, making it the perfect choice for World Rat Day. From 1995 Ratlist boasted nearly 2300 members and is now in its 7th incarnation.
A Bad Rap
Unfortunately, rats have gotten bad press for centuries. Between their role in the bubonic plague and the Black Death and their reputation for being dirty and mean, rats just can’t seem to get a break. In fact, many people have a true fear of them. But what is important to understand is that domestic rats are absolutely not the same as wild ones. They may have similar body structure and eating habits, but they have big lifestyle and behavior differences.
The Truth about Rats
Originally native to Asia, both brown and black rats can now be found all across the globe. They are highly intelligent and have adapted to survive in many different habitats. Typically nocturnal, they live in small family groups, usually near to human habitation because of the ease of finding food. Rats are different medium-sized, long-tailed rodents that belong to the superfamily called Muroidea. Rats are distinguished from mice by their size only. Most pet rats are actually a type of rat called a Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus).
Rats as Pets
With an average lifespan of 18 to 36 months, tame rats can be friendly, intelligent, and engaging companions. They usually love interacting with people and are sociable with other rats as well. Rats are clever and love spending time out of their cages exploring their environment. A pet rat can be trained to take treats, sit on your shoulder, and perform tricks. Rats also love to nap.
A Rat of Your Own
Want to nurture a pet of your own but don’t have a lot of space? Head over to Maser’s Grooming and Pet Boutique in Kenmore to check out a variety of small animals. If you already love a rat of your own, Maser’s can supply all that you need to treat your tiny friend like a king or queen. That rat that lives in your backyard? Don’t be too quick to invite her in for dinner.