Buying a pet rat? Top tips

27 Apr, 2022

Buying a pet rat? Top tips

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Always wanted a small pet but never sure what to buy or how to start? Considering buying a pet rat? Read this article written for new petowners to better understand the various pluses and minuses of choosing a pet rat for your home and family.

Considering buying a pet rat? Read this first!

buying a pet rat
Escaped pet rat – pet or pest?

The rat is one of the most despised creatures on the planet. This is mainly because it is responsible for many different problems, but also scares  people by its appearance. These enterprising critters will live anywhere food and shelter are prevalent.

What is more, they will eat virtually anything to stay alive. While there are many people who despise rats, some people adore them. They find them unique and interesting creatures. And some  people even consider buying a pet rat. Before you decide to keep a rat as a pet, be sure to read this article just so you understand the pluses and the potential minuses!

Why would someone think about buying a pet rat?

Having a pet rat is fairly rare. But those who do keep them generally cherish their little rodents. Some only consider owning a rat once in a pet store and see them safely in their little glass display case. Another reason people decide to keep a pet rat is if they have them in their property and decide to catch and keep one.

However, it is important to know that rats can cause serious health problems. Plus they can cause destruction to your home. Continue reading to find out more about why a rat might not make such a great pet.


One of the scariest problems that rats can cause is the spread of a viral infection known as Hantavirus. Hantavirus is a very serious disease with a mortality rate of nearly 40%! This disease is so deadly because while causing relatively innocuous symptoms after initial contact.

These symptoms remain unnoticed for a time. The symptoms then worsen and only then is the person likely to remember they came into contact with a rat. The scary thing about this disease is that there is no treatment. So even if a patient goes to the hospital, they can still die of the disease. This disease spreads through direct bites or scratches from rats, as well as through contact with droppings, urine, and saliva.

Rat Bite Fever

A second serious illness spread by rats is known as Rat Bite Fever. This disease is a bacterial infection. It is generally spread to humans and their pets by, you guessed it, a rat’s bite. If you are curious, visit to learn more about rats and the effect of their bites on humans. The website does a great job discussing the rat’s biology.

Rat bite fever features common symptoms of other diseases, such as headaches, muscle aches, fever, joint pain, and many other common illness symptoms. If you have reason to believe that you have come into contact with rat bite fever, doctors will perform blood work, and then prescribe a course of antibiotics.

Bites and other risks of disease when buying a pet rat

buying a pet rat
Rats can look very cute and tempting in their pet shop cages

While rat bite fever and hantavirus are arguably the two most worrisome diseases rats carry, they are not alone.

There are many other bacterial and viral infections that are caused by rat bites and their behavior in general.

Rats spread diseases in three main ways. Each of these can infect a family. The most direct way is through direct contact, such as a scratch or a bite.

Another common transmission method is the disease spreading through contact with rat droppings or urine.

Finally, rats will leave their hair and saliva all over certain surfaces and food products.. This potentially causes an infection in that way as well.

The risk of damage to your home

Beyond the risk of disease there are many common rat damages that can be very costly to repair.

They can also add an element of danger to your home and family.

One of the more common rat behaviors that could lead to serious problems has to do with their chewing habit.

They chew anything and everything. For example, rats chew on electrical wiring, potentially causing electrical fires adding risk to your home and family.

In addition to wiring they will chew on and tear up insulation. This can lead to decreased energy efficiency in your home, leading to more expensive heating and cooling bills over the long run.

Rats also love various building materials found in your home, and chew on those too. They will destroy structural lumber, potentially causing a failure that could be expensive to repair. They also find ways to access every part of your home. This happens because they can chew through drywall, siding, roofs, walls, and virtually any other material in their path.

Rat Pest Removal

Based on all of these issues, it might begin to seem like owning a rat is more of a problem than a benefit. This is the main reason that when a rat gets into a home, the best thing you can do is to hire a professional wildlife removal company, such as All Star Animal Trapping.

The experts at these companies will approach every scenario they find with a unique approach, relying on their years of expertise to determine how to remove the rats, as well as prevent them in the future.

Buying a pet rat in summary

So while rats can seem cute and safe when tucked up in their glass cages, consider the pros and the cons. There are many downsides to buying a pet rat. It is a pet that carries disease, and causes serious damage to your home if they escape their cage. Take care and make a choice that suits you and your family.



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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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