Help me choose a pet rodent

Jay H

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 22, 1999
Messages
5,654
Location
Pittsfield, MA
Real Name
Jay
...and when you get bored of the tarantula that ate the rat, you can get a snake... (A snake and a T is kind of 50/50 on who wins, don't underestimate the T).. and then you can get a mongoose to take out the snake and there ya go!
How about a Marmot ??
I've seen one in Alaska and you can see their burrows everywhere.... Except that they're usually really curious and are famous for scavaging one's backpack while in the backcountry, probably more mischievious than bears.
Jay
 

Ryan Wright

Screenwriter
Joined
Jul 30, 2000
Messages
1,875
Rats are fun. I had one when I was a kid. Watch the feeding: If you don't feed it on a regular basis, it will starve to death very quickly. Rats will take their food and hide it in their cage, and for that reason, I always overfed mine. They seem to do better when they know they have large stashes of food located throughout their cage.
The cage will need to be cleaned throughly at least once per week to avoid nasty smells wafting throughout your house, and if you can, keep overfeeding, as once you clean the cage out your rodent's food stashes will be gone and it will want to make new ones. If you put multiple rats together and they run out of food, within 24 to 48 hours they will tear each other apart and the winner will dine on the remains of the loser. I forgot to feed my two mice one evening and one of them didn't last the night. I found a very plump male and a headless female in the cage the next morning.
Also, I'd advise you to buy a female rat. The males have no problem going to the bathroom on you while you play with them, but I've NEVER had a female make any sort of mess on me. In my experience, they always wait until you put them down.
That said, you sure your daughter wouldn't rather have a http://www.gliderconnection.com/sugargliderfaq.html
 

Max Leung

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2000
Messages
4,611
Marmots (same as Ferrets right?) are really stinky! And they bite a lot and love to hide your things, like slippers, socks, food, etc. Ferrets are overrated, I think. Might as well get a cat instead.

The best hamsters are the male ones...docile, friendly, and generally more sociable then the female hamsters. Female hamsters are EVIL! And very smart...I had a female hamster that would escape from her plastic cage all the time...she would push the ceramic bowl and crawl on it and push the hatch mechanism to escape. Unfortunately, my sisters were not smart enough to thwart her, and the hamster drowned herself in a bucket of water (my mother wasn't too bright either, leaving a bucket of water around when there are pets scampering about).
EDIT: Oops, marmots are closer to beavers than to ferrets, which are totally different. Dammit, the Big Lebowkski was WRONG!
Get a rat.
 

David-S

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 18, 2001
Messages
267
Actually, my girlfriend owns both a syrian (the larger, "normal" ones) and a dwarf hamster... the dwarf's are much more friendly, like to be handled, and more sociable... They like to play in the tubes etc, and are pretty cute too

Just a thought if you decide against a rat...
 

John Garcia

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 24, 1999
Messages
11,571
Location
NorCal
Real Name
John
Ahhh, yes, the femal vs male issue. I agree, females are the way to go. They just seem, oddly enough, more managable.
 

John Berggren

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 17, 1999
Messages
3,237
That said, you sure your daughter wouldn't rather have a Sugar Glider? They're very cute, about the size of a rat, and they can glide and catch insects in mid-air. Neat, and very smart and loving!! Not cheap though. About $200. But if I was going to have another rodent, this would be it.
Sugar Gliders are marsupials, not rodents. I would love to have another one, but they do reek of musk, and are very fragile. They make great pets, but have to be kept quite well. Read a sugar glider faq before getting one. It's a committment.

Also, they are very nocturnal. They are quite active late, but not at all during the day. It's difficult to impossible to change this, and I'm not sure it would be kind to.
 

Ross Williams

Supporting Actor
Joined
Feb 9, 1999
Messages
653
Another vote for rats. They really do make unbelievably good pets. Very bright and personable.

One major suggestion when getting one is seeking out a professional rat breeder, instead of getting them at the pet store. We got our first rats from the pet store, they were very skittish and were afraid to come out of their cage. The last five pairs we've had have been from breeders, and they are much more social. They always want out of their cage to play. They also tend to be healthier, as the pet store rats are usually inbred.

Also if you can, try to get a pair of them. That way they have each other for company when your daughter can not be with them. I think they will be much happier.
 

D. Scott MacDonald

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 10, 1999
Messages
545
Update: We are now the proud owners of two female rats: Marsha and Gollum (I let my children pick the names). We bought a 20 gallom aquarium to house them.

Ross, I wish I had read your post before we bought them. We bought them from a pet store, and they are indeed very shy and skittish. The book says to let them out of their cage to explore, but they just hid under the dresser (I finally had to fish them out after half an hour or waiting). Hopefully they will warm up to us over time. The book says that we should handle them a lot to help them get used to us, but I don't want to scare hem away too much, so maybe we should just pet them while in their cage (rather than take them out of the cage and hold them).

Ryan, you will be pleased to know that my daughter immediately identified the sugar gliders in your picture, and then told us all of the differences between a sugar glider and a flying squirrel. Apparently her teacher has one at home that she brings in every now and then.

Charles, she actually did consider a guinea pig for about 30 seconds, but eventually went back to the rat.

Kevin, I actually did use the giant Tasmanian mouse line and she thought it was funny.

Thanks everybody for their help!
 

Ross Williams

Supporting Actor
Joined
Feb 9, 1999
Messages
653
Welcome to the wonderful world of rats! Five years ago when I was introduced to rats, I was quite sceptical about how good they would be as pets. Since then, I've become a life long owner now.

Try to spend as much time with them as possible. Our first pair, from the pet store, did warm up to us after a few weeks. But they still rather have spent their time in their cage than with us. Our current pair, want out all the time. When we come home, they're usually waiting for us hanging on the side of their cage. When we have them out on the couch or bed, we can call them to us by clicking at them. They're more responsive than most cats I've known.

The only problem with them is they have very short life spans. 2 years is usually tops. They're very susceptible to tumors. It's killed 7 out of 9 of our rats. The good news about that is you get new ones all the time, you get to learn about their different personalities. It's fun that way.

We just had to put one of ours to sleep. So we're going to get some babies in a couple of weeks. Can't wait to meet 'em.
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
345,532
Messages
4,744,560
Members
141,474
Latest member
gregklau