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Old 03.03.2020, 13:37
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Social rules for pet rats

Hello everyone,

Wondered if anyone had any idea if you are allowed to "walk" your pet rat or have it on your shoulder/bag when you go into town, tram/train, shop (not a supermarket) or hanging out at a café etc.

Our chihuahua goes everywhere with us - he's quiet, clean, super friendly so he is also welcomed wherever we go. I would love to have a pair of pet rats, our dog would love to have buddies. But...I wondered if our current life will be restricted? I wouldn't want to leave the rats at home when we are out and about with our dog, it would feel unfair. But I must admit...I have never seen a rat in town

My boyfriend is freaked out by their tails so he is not agreeing yet, but I am just entertaining the possibilities...and wondered if anyone knew... There was only 1 rat thread but it was 6 years ago and social outings were not mentioned
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Old 03.03.2020, 13:58
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

As rats need to be kept in a group, you shouldn't need to worry about leaving them to do your human and canine activities. That's the whole purpose of keeping social species in groups - they entertain one another.

I know little about rats. However, according to this STS article on the correct keeping of rats as pets, rats are twilight/nocturnally active animals. Hence I would question whether taking them out and about in daylight is even beneficial to them.
https://www.zuerchertierschutz.ch/ti...arbratten.html

Ratten sehen bei Tageslicht nicht sehr gut. Ihre Augen sind vor allem der Dämmerung angepasst. Um sich in der Dunkelheit zurecht zu finden, sind diese dämmerungs- und nachtaktiven Nager mit Tasthaaren um Nasen- und Mundöffnung sowie an Pfoten und Schwanz ausgestattet. Ihr gutes Riechvermögen und ihr hervorragender Geschmackssinn helfen ihnen, ihre Nahrung zu finden.

Here is what the BLV has to say about keeping rats:
https://www.blv.admin.ch/blv/de/home...ng/ratten.html

Read the several documents linked.

And here are the folks you really should contact for these questions, the Club der Rattenfreunde:
https://rattenclub.ch

This is a group of pet rat aficionados and owners, dedicated to promoting the welfare of their chosen critters. They would be a valuable resource for you, especially if you have not kept pet rats before.


And thinking with my canine hat on: Have you already assessed your dog's behavior around pet rats? This would be step one. And then any rats you consider taking on should be assessed as being able to live with a dog in the house. If babies, refer to the experts at the Club der Rattenfreunde for tips on how to socialize pet rat kits around dogs/other animals.

(Remember that Chihuahuas were originally bred to hunt rats and other small prey.)

Last edited by meloncollie; 03.03.2020 at 14:15.
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Old 03.03.2020, 14:04
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

May I? I think this may be super interesting, but I have nothing worthwhile to contribute. I'll subscribe to the thread though.

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Old 03.03.2020, 14:27
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

A bit of browsing through the Club der Rattenfreunde website FAQ answers the question:

https://rattenclub.ch/heim-faq-haltung/

Ausflüge mit Ratten?

Ratten mit nach draussen nehmen sollte man auf keinen Fall. Ratten können durch ein lautes Geräusch erschrecken und deshalb im Nu von der Schulter oder aus dem Pulli springen. Einfangen ist dann nahezu unmöglich und die Gefahren durch Verkehr und z.B. Raubvögel oder Hunde sind gross.


Rough translation:

Outings with rats?

Rats should never be taken outside. Rats can be frightened by a loud noise and therefore could jump off your shoulder or out of your sweater in no time. It is then almost impossible to catch them and the dangers from traffic, birds of prey, or dogs are great.
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Old 03.03.2020, 14:38
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

You used to see quite a lot of goth / punk types with pet rats on their shoulders in different parts of Zürich. But that seems to have gone out of fashion about 20 years ago. Or maybe it was banned. I don't know.

The rats seemed calm enough and were not perturbed by the noise of the city.
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Old 03.03.2020, 15:08
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

Thanks for all the info meloncollie
Will have a look through the links.

Actually, a good point not having to worry for them to be lonely - I knew you have to get them in pairs, but maybe it's my human side that feels bad leaving one set of pets home, while taking the other with you And yes, I guess the noise of the city might not be the best for them...

Yes, of course would have to check if the rats are good with dogs, but I know ours is with any animal (the ones he has met so far). He is incredibly gentle and sweet. Techichis - ancient form of Chihuahuas were originally bred as companion dogs though - and buried with the deceased to supposedly take away their sins....ah how sad.

Will be doing some more research, thank you!
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Old 03.03.2020, 15:09
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

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May I? I think this may be super interesting, but I have nothing worthwhile to contribute. I'll subscribe to the thread though.

Not sure how entertaining this tread will be but feel free!
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Old 03.03.2020, 16:29
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

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You used to see quite a lot of goth / punk types with pet rats on their shoulders in different parts of Zürich. But that seems to have gone out of fashion about 20 years ago. Or maybe it was banned. I don't know.

The rats seemed calm enough and were not perturbed by the noise of the city.
Thats what happens when you let them nibble on your hash...
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Old 03.03.2020, 16:40
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

As a child, I kept pet rats.

They were so much smarter, sociable and cleaner than my brother's hamsters.

They loved going outside and would sit on my shoulder, or pop out of my sleeve. Never lost them either.

Mine were brown rats though - and this was a problem for some people who were irrationally afraid of what they saw to be dangerous vermin.

They were especially unwelcome in shops or the bus - As if a stroppy, snotty-nosed 10 year old urchin cared.
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Old 03.03.2020, 16:54
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

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As a child, I kept pet rats.

They were so much smarter, sociable and cleaner than my brother's hamsters.

They loved going outside and would sit on my shoulder, or pop out of my sleeve. Never lost them either.

Mine were brown rats though - and this was a problem for some people who were irrationally afraid of what they saw to be dangerous vermin.

They were especially unwelcome in shops or the bus - As if a stroppy, snotty-nosed 10 year old urchin cared.
I read a lot that you can toilet train them well. I know how to do that with dogs, but how do you train a rat to use the litter?? I read you can train them to poo in the litter but they tend to mark with their pee quite a lot, is that true? Would you let them roam free in the house when you were home and only put them in the cage at night?
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Old 03.03.2020, 17:11
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

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Mine were brown rats though .
yay, brown rats are the cutest.

In a previous place where I lived there was a wild rat, maybe feral, living outside. It had no fear of us. When we were out in the garden it used to come up and beg and if we offered it pieces of bread or pizza it would take them out of our hands, always being very careful not to scratch or bite.

It was so tame that we reckoned it must have been an escaped pet.
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Old 03.03.2020, 17:26
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

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I read a lot that you can toilet train them well. I know how to do that with dogs, but how do you train a rat to use the litter?? I read you can train them to poo in the litter but they tend to mark with their pee quite a lot, is that true? Would you let them roam free in the house when you were home and only put them in the cage at night?
Dunno how to train them, mine only ever used the toilet in his cage, would even jump of the couch to go in and do his thing, they are pretty clean by nature.

I also never had a problem with taking them into town, but do that only if it is not freaking busy since people will still bump into you, and mind where you stand since they are damn fast and curious, mine once hopped from my shoulder on the top of a market stand, got it back but normally if you lose it in a busy spot they are gone. Taking them out in daytime is no problem, a lot of the time they'll just sleep in your pocket anyway.

They can also perfectly be left at home I mostly had the cage open (only do this if you are certain what they like to nibble on and have that provided in proper amounts)

If you are the emotional type, mind that you can bond pretty good with a rat and develop a real friendship and that they do not become old.
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Old 03.03.2020, 18:22
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

I had pet rats when I was younger, they were great! But do keep in mind that they have a relatively short life span: 1.5-2 years max. It’s the reason why I stopped keeping rats: it was Too hard to see them die as i was very attached to them.

They’re also quite sensitive to cold air and catch cold easily, which can be deadly. So getting out too much might be bad for them if you’re not careful! Mine loved to snuggle up on my shoulders, under my hair.
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Old 03.03.2020, 22:09
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

I had a hamster named Fonzie when I was little, and my dog ate it.
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Old 04.03.2020, 07:14
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

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Not sure how entertaining this tread will be but feel free!
So far it's "OK". I was honestly waiting for some less-than-brilliant mind to start flaming you for suggesting to take rodents out in the street, and then some people to jump to your defence. It's a lot more civilized than I hoped. We should be proud.

On the other hand I love pets, all kinds. I had tarantulas (one, actually) as a very young adult; I've had dogs, cats, hamsters, fish and I wouldn't find to keep iguanas if I knew I could provide them with a very humane habitat (which I don't think we people can). So I honestly thought I could find out something cool about keeping rats.
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Old 04.03.2020, 15:33
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

Thanks guys for the additional information and sharing experiences. Hmm....yes, I am quite emotional when it comes to animals....and I did think and still do think of their short lifespan. It definitely is something I would need to ponder on...

I wonder if maybe I should start with "rat-sitting" for someone who goes on holiday, if they are happy to bring the cage and all over... I find myself looking at various rescue websites...

Last night I let out a big sigh watching my phone and my partner asked what was wrong. Told him I was watching youtube videos of dogs and rats playing together and that ours would be sooooo happy if we got a pair too. He gave me this "dream on" look. Aaahhhhhhhh....
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Old 04.03.2020, 15:34
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

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I had a hamster named Fonzie when I was little, and my dog ate it.
OMG really??? Oh that is sad!
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Old 04.03.2020, 15:37
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

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So far it's "OK". I was honestly waiting for some less-than-brilliant mind to start flaming you for suggesting to take rodents out in the street, and then some people to jump to your defence. It's a lot more civilized than I hoped. We should be proud.

On the other hand I love pets, all kinds. I had tarantulas (one, actually) as a very young adult; I've had dogs, cats, hamsters, fish and I wouldn't find to keep iguanas if I knew I could provide them with a very humane habitat (which I don't think we people can). So I honestly thought I could find out something cool about keeping rats.
To be honest, I hesitated a bit to post this question as I was worried I would be flamed! But people have been kind

Wow, I love animals, but I would draw the line at Tarantulas or having snakes as pets. Imagine you wake up in the middle of the night and your pet is gone from its cage...
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Old 04.03.2020, 15:38
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Re: Social rules for pet rats

Oh and not to forget: Cables.

They love nibbling on cables, I once had to replace all cables from the stereo

These days it is easy to buy protection for cables tho.
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