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Important Rat Info - Rat Care Instructions - Print and Keep! February 11, 2005 11:57 AM

DON'T---- pick up a rat by it's tail        DO--use boths hands and support the back legs
DON'T--let males and females live together or play together. a mating can happen in a matter of seconds. there's always a chance that a female you are taking could be pregnant if it has been housed in the same cage with males.
DON'T-- breed your rats.  Or at least read up on lots of information
before you decide to take on this responsibility. and be sure there is a demand in your area so that they will find good homes. start with only 1 litter--not multiple pregnancies.
DON'T--have just one rat              DO------buy 2-3 same sex rats--they will groom, play, and sleep with each other keeping themselves company when you're not home. they need at least 1 hour of playtime with you each day. they are most active in the morning and later at night but will adjust their schedule to be up with you.they are very loving, devoted, and loyal pets and will enjoy their time spent with you. they can learn their names and enjoy being talked to.
DON'T--house them in an aquarium          DO----buy a cage for them to live in.  rats require good ventilation and approximately 2 cubic feet per rat.  1/2" bar spacing will keep young ratlets in. floors should be 1/2" x 1/2" spacing to prevent foot injuries and solid floors are best. wire can be covered with linoleum squares or plexiglass and fastened into place with cable ties. have nest boxes,hammocks,tubes, and toys in the cage. they love to chew up cardboard boxes--just replace at the end of the week.
DON'T--use pines or cedar bedding---the aromatic oils (phenols)  irritate the rats lungs and can cause sickness.
DO----use aspen (hardwood) shavings,carefresh ultra, eco bedding, newspaper (sheets or shredded)  flannel, fleece, cotton cloth pieces.
 DO---use something different for in the litter pan. rats can be litter pan trained. use alfalfa pellets, yesterday's news pellets, walnut nut, corn cob.
 DO--freeze bedding/litter for 3 days to kill any possible mites/bugs living in the package.
 DO--keep their cage as clean as possible.ammonia is bad for their lungs and urine is not good for their is best to change their litter box daily and to wipe clean their shelves---you can spray vinegar on the shelves and just wipe off with a paper towel. remove wet bedding as needed.
DO--a weekly major cleaning--same as above plus entire bedding change and cleaning everything--all toys, nest boxes, hammocks, etc.       remember if you can smell it, they can smells it 6 times worse.
DO--have water and dry rat mix food available at all times.having 2 smaller water bottles is good in case 1 bottle malfunctions ( no water coming out or it empties itself out). if possible avoid mixes with bht and ethyquinone as preservatives. it is possible to make your own mix with low sugar cereals, grains,dry tri color pasta, dried fruit,some sunflower seeds ( not too many) and a low protein dog food such as nutro lite ( about 20% of the mix). they also like to eat what you eat broccoli,corn, peas,cooked beans,cooked pasta,yogert,cottage cheese, oatmeal,cooked sweet potatoe, different baby foods,soy milk. just give small servings of this type of food and throw out any that's stashed the next morning.
DO-- seek out a rat friendly vet before you need one and put aside some money for emergency medical care. rats need vet care just like any other pet. 
these are just the basics---- excellent books can be bought from and there are several internet groups  that have a wealth of information. just search  "rats" to find most of the top websites and forums. there is plenty more to learn to keep  happy and healthy rats.
 [ send green star]
Hmm February 11, 2005 2:38 PM

wow, kewl. I'll use that for reference. I was going to take my squidgies Dash and Harvie to a show tomorrow, but it was cancelled. They're so squidgy.  [ send green star]
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