Only becoming popular as pets over the last century, rats have actually lived with humans for thousands of years.
Domestic rats make wonderful pets. They are highly social, intelligent and most enjoy the company of people and other rats. The life span of a rat is variable, but can be from 2 – 3.5 years of age. Today, 51 species of rats are known. It is believed rats were first domesticated in Europe and Asia for a variety of uses.
I had a pair of rats around 15 years ago, they were some of the most adorable pets I ever had and they both lived for 4 years. Sadly the first one was euphonised due to a large tumour, the other died unexpectedly shortly after (I can only speculate she lost the will to live without her lifelong companion, effectively dying of a broken heart).
Rats as Pets – Are Rats a Good Pet for Kids? — Clumsy Crafter
Rats are brilliant pets for the young or old
Another annoyance is their habit of urine marking. They will often leavetiny drops of urine where they walk to mark their territory. Males urine markmore than females, but fortunately neutering almost always eliminates thisbehavior in males. The spots of urine are easily wiped up from hard surfacesbut they can stain fabrics. A washable throw cover can protect furniture, butif rats are allowed to run on carpets, periodic carpet cleaning may benecessary. With so many wild rats in England it was necessary to find some form of control. This led to a new career for some people, that of rat catcher. One of these men, the Royal Rat Catcher Jack Black, can be credited as the originator of the first true domestic rats. In the course of his work, when he came upon strangely colored animals, he kept and bred them. Eventually he had Albino, Black, Fawn, Grey, and Marked animals which he bred and sold as pets. Between the 1840s and 1860s Jimmy Shaw and Jack Black sold many animals and provided the background from which our present day domestic rats originate.4. If you are away from home for long periods each day, they will be OK. Regardless of how often you are home, you should always have at least two rats. Rats are highly social animals, and they need a pack of their own kind to thrive. This doesn’t mean their rat friends are a replacement for your company altogether, but it is helpful if you can only play with your rats in the morning and evening. Rats sleep about 21 hours a day, and if they have a buddy to cuddle with they won’t be lonely when you are away from home. I think this is one of many characteristics that make rats a better option than a dog for busy students and young professionals (provided you live in an apartment that allows small pets). You don’t have to let your rat out of the house at midday.Over the last 15 years there has been a large increase of interest in Fancy Rats as show animals and pets. In a large part we have the recent popularity of reptile keeping to thank for this, as many people buy rodents to feed their reptiles and end up discovering what wonderful pets rats make. Also, people have less time, money, and space for animals so are often turning to Pocket Pets as an ideal alternative. Rats today are more popular than they have ever been, and we can look forward to this trend continuing into the future.