Rat Life And More
Rats are very intelligent creatures and need to socialize just like us humans do. They love to play with us as much as we enjoy it, however, to have a truly fulfilled life, they need the company of other rats to share their life with. While they will stay alive alone in their cage, their quality of life will not be terribly high. We want our rats to have a fun, happy life and for this reason they need to be in the company of other rats as much as possible. They live best amongst groups of 2 or more rats of the same sex so they can groom each other, play, sleep together and even have little fights. They usually fight the most between the ages of 3 and 6 months but they are mostly harmless fights and won’t result in any serious injuries. This is a normal animal trait whereby they need to establish who the alpha of the group is and even us humans do it. Keeping a rat alone is cruel, no matter how much attention you lavish on it. Rats need the company of each other no matter what.
Rats are most active in the middle of the night when their owners are usually asleep so it’s key for them to have some company. Rats that are kept alone tend to become shy, introverted and clingy to their owners, while rats with some company display a lot more healthy behavior. Some rat owners have some pretty creative reasons why they like to keep a single rat but the fact is there are no really good ones. A cage large enough for one rat is big enough for two. Taking care of one rat is just as easy as taking care of two. Rats in pairs live longer than solitary rats and the fact remains that it’s a lot more fun keeping them in pairs. They are extremely entertaining since they get up to the silliest things together. If they’re a single-sex partnership (which is recommended) there is also no chance of them having babies.
It’s best to introduce rats to their new friends when they are younger than 10 weeks old. However it is still possible to introduce two adult rats to one another. The first step when doing this is to make sure you clean out their cage to get rid of any territorial scents left behind. Take some wet paper towel and put a few drop of vanilla essence on their coats and introduce them to one another on a carpet or some other open space which is neutral territory. This process eliminates their smells and eases the pressure of one of them being on another’s territory which might result in fighting. Even with all this effort there will most likely still be some fighting during the first few days but this is normal. The other option is to let them have a few minutes together each day for a week, letting them get to know each other a bit more gradually. This will result in less fighting but it will also take longer. If it is two adult males you are introducing, expect the process to take a few weeks. An adult rat and ‘teenage’ rat will usually be a much easier process.