Not just quick but clever as well

If you look back a few hundred or a few thousand years, rodents scurrying around on the floor were not very popular and at certain times were accursed. Rats and mice were not usually differentiated – they were all the same. On the contrary, the Chinese have long since honoured the rat as a sign of the zodiac. For the experts from Maxi Zoo this is one more reason to introduce these little rodents.

Growing in popularity!

Rats have become very popular with animals lovers due to the film “Ratatouille” and the main character Rémy. The film had hardly been released before turnover in the rodent department began to rise rapidly. However, it has been known to happen that pets are bought due to a certain film but then end up ownerless on the street or in an animal shelter. Those who really are interested in rats should be able to separate fantasy from reality.

Little clever clogs

The rat is an animal that thrives in areas developed by man. Wherever there are people you will find them. They adapt themselves to the ways of humans and get to know them. Rats can tell if somebody poses a danger to them or not and so they are alert and know whether to display fear or contentedness. This is one of the reasons why they are so difficult to catch with traps or poison. If one of the pack has had a scare, they have been warned. There are also tasters amongst a rat pack whose breath, saliva and state of health are examined by the rest so they know where is good to feed. Another advantage that rats have is their good sense of direction for which they can thank their capacity for learning – they can quite easily memorise their surroundings. This makes it possible for them to think one step ahead and adjust to changes. Tests with mice in mazes have shown that as soon as the second attempt the mice were determinedly able to reach the food without getting lost.

What you can do for your rat

As well as displaying these clever characteristics, fancy rats, as we call the pet rat, are also friendly, companionable and curious. They live to an average of three years and contrary to the picture painted in the film “Ratatouille” do not eat anything they can find in a rubbish bin. For these rats there are special feed mixtures and now and then something fresh such as carrot, apple, cucumber or a hazelnut twig to chew. Fresh water every day is a must as well as regular cleaning of the cage once or twice a week. Last but not least, rats need the company of their own kind and should be at least kept in pairs. They need around an hours free run every day as well as toys in the cage, which should be big enough for two animals, at least 80cm x 80cm x 100cm (L x W x H). It is also important to have sleeping houses and resting options. Rats love variety and therefore the cage should always offer new and interesting climbing options.

The rat in the Chinese horoscope

There are many stories about the position of the rat amongst the 12 Chinese zodiac symbols as it is the first animal with which the cycle begins. According to some legends the rat achieved this through cunning and spite while others say he managed it with his charisma. People born in the year of the rat are said to be proud, tough, pugnacious, loyal and persistent. They also have charm and charisma and can be slightly jealous.


Call into your local store today to discuss your small animals personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts