RITCHEA RATS CARE GUIDE

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR YOUR NEW COMPANIONS!

Owning a new pet can be overwhelming. On this page you find will sections are all aspects of rat care and what you need to be a successful rat parent.

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BEFORE YOU ADOPT

Please realize adopting a pet is a huge responsibility. Do your research so you know exactly the commitment you are making.
*Rats are social animals and need to live pairs or larger groups. A good breeder will not adopt out a lone rat.
*Rats have a life span of 2-3 years and will need to be introduced to new friends when they become older so you do not end up with one lone rat. Or you may have to rehome your rat if you do not plan to adopt more rats in the future.

 

CAGE AND ENVIORNMENT

Having a proper environment for your rats is very important. 

*Rats need to live in a wired cage with great ventilation. 

*Each rat needs at minimum 2 cubic feet of space, but you should opt for more space. The cage should have ample floor space, but also be tall enough to give them room to climb.

*Make sure the cage bar spacing is no larger than .6 of an inch for babies and females. Large adult males can most likely stay in a cage with 1 inch bar spacing. 

*Rats need to live in pairs or larger groups. 

*Intact males and females should not be housed together, as rats can reach sexual maturity at as young as 5 weeks old. 

*Rats need a  scent & dust free bedding. I recommend hemp, aspen, or kiln dry pine. Never use cedar or pine.

*Rats should be kept in a room with temperatures between 60 & 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  

*Rats need places to hide and feel secure. I suggest hidey houses and hammocks. 

*Rats should have an active environment with minimal shelving and more ropes and ledges for them to climb on. 

*You should change litter trays and spot clean daily, but you should only need to deep clean weekly or bi-weekly. Over cleaning can cause rats to mark and make your cage smell worse in the long run. 

 

FOOD AND WATER

Rats need to eat a well balanced diet and can become overweight easily if not given a proper diet. 

*Depending on where you live, you should be able to find a well balanced rat lab block for your rats diet. Mazuri and Oxbow are popular in the United States. You can also research making your own feed mix.

*Rats need to have fresh water available to them all the time. Please make sure to have AT LEAST 2 water sources in case one malfunctions. 

*Rats love treats and people food. Rats are able to eat most things we can eat, but please note rats cannot vomit so avoid the following. 

-Carbonated beverages

-Candy

-Anything sticky 

-Raw beans, peanuts, potatoes, cabbage, brussel sprouts

-Dried corn

These are just some of the major foods, always research a food before giving it to your pet rat. 

*Feed treats sparingly, and make sure to watch your rats weight. 

 

EXERCISE AND ACTIVITIES

Rats need to stay engaged and entertained. They should have at least an hour of free roam time daily and an active cage set up. 
*Ropes, branches, bird toys, lava ledges, etc. are all great ways to keep your cage active. 
*Some rats will use exercise wheels, and if you choose to get one it must be large enough. 16 inches should be large enough for males and females. 
*Rats also love to chew and should be given chew toys Untreated wood & cardboard are always good choices. 
*Rats should have time out of their cage daily. It is not the end of the world if you miss a day, but just think of being cooped up in a cage your whole life. Get them out in a "rat proofed" area or your bathroom to let them explore. The Ritchea Rats love their cat tree to climb on!

 

BEHAVIOR AND HANDLING

Rats are a friendly rodent by nature, but they all have their own personalities and may take some patience when handling them. 

*Ritchea Rats breeds for good temperament so bonding with your new pet rat should be easy. 

 *When you bring your new pets home you will want to give them some time to adjust to their new environment and let them explore their new cage.

*Scared rats will need you to be patient when getting to know them. If your rat is not running up to you right away, try giving them treats and luring them to the door of the cage. You can also put baby food on a spoon if you're not ready to hand feed them yet. 

*Some rats will want to cuddle and some want to explore. Not all rats will want to sleep on you, and that's okay. You have to learn to love each for their special personality. 

 

COMMON HEALTH ISSUES AND SIGNS OF ILLNESS

Rats are sadly prone to certain diseases and conditions and should have proper vet care. 
*When you get your new pets, take them to an exotic animal vet for an initial check up.
*Rats are prone to respiratory illness so keeping a dust and scent free environment is important. Watch for any signs of respiratory distress. Sneezing, excess porphyrin, weight loss, lethargy, or difficulty breathing. Your vet will give you antibiotics when necessary. 
*Rats can also be prone to tumors and other issues in old age. Just watch for any odd behavior and get your rat checked on if (s)he is acting differently.