Rat - Rattus norvegicus

Please note: These are general recommendations; they are not meant to be construed as veterinary advice, and may not be appropriate for your pet.  Be sure to schedule a visit with your local veterinarian to discuss the best care for your animal!


Rats are small, furry rodents with a lot of heart and big brains! A full grown male rat can weigh up to 1 pound, and they can live 2-4 years.  Though they often get a bad rap in the wild (and in the city!), rats can be very friendly and sociable pets!  Rats tend to do best in groups, but older animals may not accept a new housemate, so be sure to introduce your rats at a young age!


Rats are omnivores, which means they eat plants and animals, but at home you can just feed them rodent blocks!  Vegetables can make a nice added snack. Like all animals, rats require fresh water every day.



Rats are very curious and active; a good cage for a rat should have a running wheel and places to climb.  Rats also like to burrow and nest, so a nice deep bedding such as shredded newspaper is needed. But watch out! Rats will poop in their cages, so we need to replace their bedding and clean the cage regularly!  A wire cage will help ensure good air circulation and can reduce the risk of breathing issues, which are very common in rats. Be sure to avoid cedar bedding, which is strong scented and can cause respiratory problems.    

Other Notes:

Did you know rats can have red tears? Rats have a special gland by their eyes which produces porphyrin, and this stains their tears red.  You may see this more when your rat is feeling stress, so it’s a good thing to call the vet if you see red tears!

Older rats are very prone to having lumps and bumps, many of which can be removed by your veterinarian. These tumors can grow very fast, and can even become as large as the rat! If you see a lump, be sure to talk to your vet!

Always wash your hands well after playing with your rat to prevent germs!


Dr. Chuck recommends rats go to the veterinarian at least once per year to make sure they are healthy and happy!