10 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Own a Pet Rat

5. Rodney, the world’s longest lived rat at 7 years and 4 months.

Rats have an average lifespan of 24 months. According to Guinness World Record, however, ‘Rodney‘ is the oldest rat to have lived until 7 years and 4 months. Goro is by far the oldest living rat I have to reach 30 months as of March 2015. I’ve been feeding them foods that are rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, such as leftover chicken bones. This proved to improve their health.

10 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Own a Pet Rat

Goro the rat turned 30 months old recently! A toast to longevity and good health.

4. Rats love parties and birthday celebrations!

Rats are picky eaters and have the same cravings like we humans do…

they’re especially vulnerable to the allure of sweets and junk food! They’re basically my eating buddies, getting a share of everything I eat. Isn’t that a good life? According to a study, Mac and Cheese tops the list of a rat’s favorite foods, while broccoli is their least favorite.

10 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Own a Pet Rat

Fasolt, my first ever rat… celebrating his second birthday back in 2011.

3. A rat’s tail is a quilted piece of artwork.

Did you know that a rat’s tail serves as an extra limb which they use to keep them in balance? It also serves to regulate their body temperature. Most people would be reviled by the sight of a rat’s tail. Back in college, I’d bring them to school for exhibit. People were mostly fascinated, and when I surveyed what they thought about rats — most of them said it was the tail that brought them chills. When I asked them to hold the rat, their perception changed from fear to adoration. See? They’re really beautiful if you’d just give them a chance and take a closer look.

10 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Own a Pet Rat Pandanus is a ‘roan’. His coat is all grey, and as he aged it gradually faded into white.

**’Roan’ is a term used for fading coat color.**

2. Pet rats are free of leptospirosis and rabies 

It’s unfair to say that a rat has lepto or rabies ‘just because they’re rats’. Leptospirosis happens when creatures such as farm animals, come into contact with contaminated sources. Rabies is unheard of in pet rats. I’ve been handling pet rats for 6 years, and there was never an incident of disease. If there was anything contagious from pet rats, it’s the good feeling one gets from their cuteness!

 10 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Own a Pet Rat

This was me and Thoriel back in August 2014 at GMA studio, before the interview.

2. There’s a temple in India dedicated to the worship of rats.

In India, the Karni Mata Temple houses a horde of rats which the visitors consider as sacred. Rats there are well fed and sheltered. If there would be a heaven for rats, it’s this place. An albino rat is rare, but when spotted there it is believed to be auspicious or a sign of good luck.

 10 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Own a Pet Rat

Artwork by Cathy Klemente.

1. It is a mere myth that rats are temperamental and bear grudges.

In the Chinese zodiac, the rat is the first sign in the zodiac and has been highly regarded as very intelligent creature. Rats are not temperamental or vicious, but they are easily excited and very playful with the owners. They love to be tickled and to ride on your shoulder while out for a walk. They also won’t hesitate to run up to a stranger and greet them with a warm lick (aka ‘rat kisses’). They’re one of the friendliest creatures around if I may say so.

10 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Own a Pet Rat Siegmund perched high up at the door. Rats love to see the world like that.

BONUS: Rats love to cook!

Particularly in France, there’s a rat famed for mentoring a budding chef. But don’t quote me on that! 😉

10 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Own a Pet Rat

Rats deserve our love and care, too! If you would just take some time to look at them and give them a chance, you’d really understand why they’re one of the most popular pets to have around. They’re gorgeously beautiful, low maintenance pets and aren’t difficult to handle. They also thrive well with other pets like cats, dogs and fellow rodents. Hope this enlightens you about the friendly nature of pet rats. See you around!

10 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Own a Pet Rat Found this gorgeous rat profile photo from the web years ago.

*Note to would-be buyers: All pet owners should be responsible toward their pets and evaluate everything carefully before getting one. Although pet rats are a hardy species and a low maintenance pet, they have specific needs. Please take special attention and research on their dietary, homing and maintenance needs first before getting one. Rats also need alot of affection and human interaction since they are very social creatures.

I’m Rattus Yu, founder of Pet Rats Philippines in September 2009. Our goal is to create awareness about rats, and that they deserve our love and care too. Please do check us out to learn more about pet rats.

Check out these links for more pet rat information: