Rats make great pets, even though their long, hairless tails may cause some people to choose other animals instead. They are intelligent, clever, and extremely social, which means they are usually happiest when allowed to live with others of their own kind. However, there are a number of things you’ll want to consider when housing more than one in the same cage.
The more rats you have, the more space they will need. There should be plenty of room to play, but there should also be sleeping areas where your tired rodents can go to rest. If you don’t have a lot of horizontal space, consider building up instead. These critters love to climb, so high cages with ramps and tubes work quite well when you have more than one.
It should go without saying that multiple rats means more food, but there’s a lot more to feeding multiple rodents than dumping extra food in the cage. You should also keep an eye on each of your pets to ensure that they are all getting the nutrients they need. This is especially true if you choose to feed them a seed mixture. Many critters will pick through the seed mixture, eating only what they want, while leaving other morsels behind. That means none of your animals will get all the nutrients they need. Instead, feed your furry friends a pellet diet and supplement their diet with seeds, fruits, and vegetables as special snacks.
If you need help providing your rats with a balanced diet, contact your local animal hospital.
Take special care with introductions
Rats that are 12 weeks old or less are the easiest to introduce to one another. Simply introduce them in a neutral space, then plop them together in the same cage the very first day they meet.
Older rats are a bit trickier. Rodents over 12 weeks of age tend to be territorial, which means a newcomer will be considered a threat. When introducing older pets, start by introducing them in a neutral area, but then return them to their own cages until they have the chance to get to know each other better.
If you’re having trouble keeping more than one rat, schedule a visit with your local animal hospital.