Critters for Kids Part II – Rats

Amanda Small Animals

Critter Cabana is packed full of exciting and entertaining pets. However, we have pets that are appropriate and exciting for a variety of people. We have a great fit for everyone from a 4 year old girl to a 60 year old man. For mothers and fathers of young kids, finding an animal amongst the pets available in our store can be difficult, especially for those parents less experienced with pets.

Many kiddos are drawn to our small animal department. We have lots of furry, loveable creatures in this area of the store. While many kids (and parents for that matter) are often drawn to hamsters, bunnies, and more exotic small animals like hedgehogs, I’m going to encourage you to consider what is in my opinion, one of the best creatures in the small animal family – the rat.

Growing up I had a cousin who had a pet rat – something I could absolutely NOT understand. I thought rats were varmin of sorts with really unfortunate tails. Since then, I have joined the Critter Cabana family of owners and in working with small animals, have come to find I was gravely mistaken.

Not only do rats have the furry, cuddly qualities of other small animals (fuzzy, big cute ears, large sweet eyes, and frisky, wiggly wiskers)but their looks aren’t deceiving. Many small animals can be prone to running away, aloofness, biting, and other not so endearing qualities. Rats are known for their desire to ‘hang out’ on kids shoulders, nuzzle into a cozy pocket, and come to their owner for treats and attention.

So, the next time you are considering buying a small furry friend for your child, consider the rat. Here are some details about setting them up and maintaining a healthy, happy habitat for them.

Initial Investment:
Setting up a Rat is similar to setting up many other small animals. The main difference is that rats do need a larger cage than some of their furry counterparts. All in all, you can buy a cage and all the goodies for under $100.00. If you prefer to deck out your rat, set up price naturally increases from there.

Also, a notable monitary benefit of having rats vs. other small animals is that rats also love to interact with each other. For those parents with more than one child who want a small animal of their own, this is extremelyl handy. They can live in a cage together, helping you save a substantial chunk of change by only having to purchase one cage.

Ongoing Care Requirements:
Rat care is simple and strait forward. Their bedding needs to be cleaned every so often (weekly for a cage with multiple rats, once every two weeks for 1 rat) and of course, daily feeding and watering.

Monthly Costs:
Food: $7 or so for 1 rat, $14 for two.
Electricity: $0.00 other than general heating of one’s house.
Bedding: $8.00 for 1 rat per month, up from there.

Potential Risks:
As any creature has the ability to bite, including the rat. Usually a rat has to be QUITE provoked to bite however. Other concerns can be general lack of bonding. I always encourage kids to pick out a rat that they have held awhile and enjoy, as opposed to picking a rat based on looks.