Our Rat Personalities:

All of our rats are super friendly and active especially as youngsters. They love people and are not shy about begging for attention and treats at the side of a cage. Many of our rats are big kissers, and will grab your hand to lick you. Shoulder rides are a favorite, but make sure to do so at home away from dogs or cats.

They love free-roam time, and are pretty good about getting into trouble while doing it. Hammocks, hanging baskets, deep bedding, and hides are a must for their busy brains.

Click here to see our rat varieties.

Quick and Dirty Facts:

  • Gestation is about three weeks, with pups born blind, deaf, and hairless
  • Pups are fully weaned by four weeks old
  • Sexually mature at about five weeks old
  • Lifespan: two-three years, though some lines live 3+ consistently
  • Females tend to be more active throughout life
  • Read about rat type/standards here: http://www.afrma.org/stdsrat.htm
For rats, tanks are not appropriate housing. If you use a barred cage like a Critter Nation I highly recommend customizing it to use bedding on as many levels as possible. You want your rats to be able to dig around, and floor space is much more important than vertical space. Yes, they will climb if given the opportunity, but should not have to do so. Bird cages are not appropriate housing do to the likelihood of falls and inability to use bedding.
 
If you are up to a fairly simple DIY task, bin cages make excellent, cheap, super customizable cages. There are a lot of guides out there already on how to make bin cages, but general guidelines include: at least the two long sides of the bin must be meshed with no larger than 1/2″ hardware cloth, make sure the windows are high enough to allow 2-4″ of bedding, put the mesh on the inside of the bin to avoid chewing, and try to find bins with smooth sides to also avoid chewing. I recommend 110qt tubs for 2-5 rats (these have the same footprints as a critter nation, they are big!). Keep in mind, more rats = more hides, more food, and more frequent cleaning needed. Don’t get more rats than you can care for. You can get fancy with bin cages adding hammocks, baskets, anything you want just like you can with the more popular bar cages. You can even stack bins and add PVC pipes to make super cages!
 
We recommend regular cleaning once a week regardless of cage, with occasional spot-cleaning in between as needed.
We highly recommend kiln-dried pine as your primary bedding for rats. It has superb ammonia control and is also really fun to dig in. Rats can also be given small amounts of hay and shredded paper to nest with but this needs to be taken out once soiled. Your rats will love you forever if you offer about 3-4″ of bedding to dig and make tunnels in! We recommend at least 2″. P.S. The Tractor Supply has big bags of bedding for about $4 versus pet shops selling the same size bag for $12-20.

 

Paper beddings in general have very little ammonia control and can be very dangerous for your rat’s health. There are studies showing that CareFresh in particular quickly builds up dangerous levels of ammonia very quickly. If you find that you are allergic to pine, I recommend using aspen instead (or vice-versa if you are currently using aspen). Should you be allergic to both types of wood bedding, you can use paper-based beddings but be sure to change the bedding very often and spot-clean pee corners.

 

Tallgrass Rattery does NOT endorse fleece bedding. Rats love to burrow as it makes them feel safe and taking that away is detrimental to them. Fleece also has zero ammonia control properties, which can quickly lead to sick animals.
There are many different types of food available for rats. Two of the best brands are Mazuri (preferably 6F) and Oxbow (Adult Rat and Mouse). Both brands are specially formulated blocks that contain everything your rat needs so there is no reason to supplement other than for treats. Fed sparingly, the following make great rat treats: yogies (of course), veggies, fruits, store bought feeder insects (crickets, mealworms), and sunflower seeds. In general, rats can have a little bit of whatever you are having, so long as it isn’t spiced and isn’t fed every day. Always make sure their main diet is a healthy block.

Avoid:
uncooked potato, avocado, and anything with seeds to avoid choking (ie: apple cores, seeded grapes, etc). Avoid seed mixes as they will happily pick and choose what they like which is often the yummy unhealthy stuff.
 
At TGR we feed Producer’s Pride Hog Feed (the red bag) which can be found at The Tractor Supply for about $13 and is 50 lbs of food. It has almost the exact same ingredients as Mazuri, at a fraction of the cost and without BHA. This is by far the best bang for your buck, but if you only have a few pets may be way too much food (you can purchase smaller quantities from us at 50 cents/pound if you’d like). We also regularly feed veggie scraps from the kitchen and various treats listed above.
 
If you have both mice and rats they can eat the same food. Convenient! Mice just prefer a little extra protein which is easy to add.

Really easy toys come from trash: egg cartons, small boxes (rip off bottom to avoid pee-soaking), or ripped up paper for extra nesting material. Don’t give them anything you don’t want ripped up. There are so many YouTube videos on how to repurpose stuff for rat toys so I won’t go into too much detail here. Just make sure to change out toys/hides before they start stinking as paper and boxes soak up pee and that built up ammonia can lead to sick rats. Hammocks, hanging baskets, flower pots, or anything that is easy to clean (or can be thrown away once soiled) can be put in a cage and they will make a toy or hide out of it.

One of the easiest forms of enrichment is treat balls (wrapping up in paper or hiding in paper rolls) or simply scatter-feeding. There is nothing wrong with having your pets work for their food. This works their brains and keeps them active physically as well.

Rats love getting out of their cage for a time as well, so feel free to pick them up and set them in your lap or in a designated play space they can’t escape from (tub, table, large box/bin). Always make sure to supervise during free-roam time. We do not recommend permanently free-roaming your rats. They will destroy everything they can, and it’s very possible they will escape the room or even your house all-together. They can easily get into things they shouldn’t, get stepped on, or get attacked by another pet in the house. It’s not worth the risk.

We do NOT recommend taking your rats out in public with you in a hoodie/on your shoulder as this is begging for an accident to happen. The only time a pet should leave the house is in a secure travel cage. Do NOT take your rat to the pet store with you as this exposes them to possible diseases from the animals housed there. 

How many rats should I keep? This a common question, and one that has many answers. First off, one should never get more rats than they have the time or money for. While fairly cheap and easy to care for, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. The best number for a new owner is three ratsotherwise known as a trio. Rats are highly social animals and should never be housed alone, and getting a trio ensures that should one pass away, the remaining rats are not alone. Once you get down to one/two rats you will have to make the decision to bring more into your household, or perhaps give away the remaining single rat either back to TGR if from us, or to another home that has rats.

People are never enough company for a rat. If you go to work or school that’s at least eight hours away from them and then another eight or so while you sleep. That means your rat is alone for 16/24 hours of the day alone not counting social time, driving, shopping, or any other duties you may have. If you spend every moment other than sleeping and work/school with them, that’s still only 1/3 of their day not alone. It’s not enough.

Though male mice cannot live together
male rats absolutely can, and should, be housed with other males. 

Adopting

Only knowledgeable homes are able to take home new pets from me. I will not adopt to you if you have obviously not done research on your new pet, so please use this page to help you do just that! You must fill out the following adoption questionnaire and provide proof of proper housing before you can adopt.

Thank you for choosing TGR!