Grey and white rat © iStockphoto

Rats are intelligent, highly social animals and are normally active at night and dawn and dusk. They have an excellent sense of touch, and have a wonderful sense of smell. Provided their needs are met, rats are incredibly rewarding animals to look after and can form close human-animal bonds with their carers.

There are several different kinds of rat, varying mainly in colour. Usually, rats live for around 2 years, but some may live for longer. Although this may appear a short time in comparison to other pet animals, owning rats is still a big responsibility and commitment. Rats have complex needs and are not easy to look after well. 

Take a look at our pet search to see all the rats available for rehoming.

Your duty of Care

Owning and caring for a rat can be fun and rewarding, but it is also a big responsibility and a long-term commitment. If you own or are responsible for rats, even on a temporary basis, you are required under the Animal Welfare Act to care for them properly.

Understanding rat’s needs

There is no one “perfect” way to care for all rats, because every rat and every situation is different. It is up to you how you look after your rats but you must take reasonable steps to ensure that you meet all their needs.

Read our expert reviewed pet care information to find out more about the needs of rats and how to make sure that they are happy and healthy: Environment, Diet, Behaviour, Company, and Health and welfare.

Clarification of terminology

Bedding material is used to describe the material or substrate that is used to cover the bottom of the cage.

Nesting material is used to describe the material provided in addition to bedding material, which is given to animals for nest building and nesting behaviour.

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