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Topic: Does anyone have Rats as pets? Rabbits?

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Subject: Does anyone have Rats as pets? Rabbits?
Date Posted: 8/30/2007 10:11 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2007
Posts: 594
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I am considering getting my 3 1/2 year old a rat but am not sure between rats or rabbits, males or females, how noisy are they at night, etc.  Any advice for me?

Date Posted: 8/31/2007 6:00 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2007
Posts: 594
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Date Posted: 9/1/2007 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2007
Posts: 594
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Date Posted: 9/2/2007 10:11 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2007
Posts: 594
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Date Posted: 9/5/2007 3:27 AM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2005
Posts: 339
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I've never had a rat but I have a rabbit and I don't know if I would recommend one to a three year old.  It is hard to pick them up, you have to do a specific way, and don't really like to be cuddled.  I'm lucky to be able to lift my rabbit out of his cage.  They are also more expensive because they require fresh vegetables every day.

Date Posted: 9/5/2007 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 242
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I have a rabbit now and have had tons of rats in the past.  My bunny tends to rattle his cage a lot at night if he's not out hopping around.  I don't have kids, but I'm not sure that I'd choose a rabbit for a child that young because of their tiny little bones and sharp teeth if they aren't held right.  My rabbit's never bothered to bite anyone, child or adult, but he's a cuddle bug and not all rabbits are. 

I got my first rat at age 6, and have loved them ever since.  I always had female rats but my brother and sister both had males and all in all they've all been really well behaved.  But again, you've got an animal here that tends to wake up and make noise at night more so than in the day. 

Date Posted: 9/15/2007 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2007
Posts: 161
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Have had rats and rabbits both. Rats are much better. They are very smart, easy to tame, and fun to watch and hold. They are also easy to clean (don't get cedar litter, get the paper litter as cedar can cause skin conditions). Both rabbits were EXTREMELY stinky and peed outside of the cage (as it projectile peeing). They were extremely hard to keep clean and they ate TONS of food and hay. They are not nearly as smart as rats nor as affectionate. JMHO

Date Posted: 9/16/2007 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2005
Posts: 571
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to be honest, i wouldn't get *any* pet *for* a 3 1/2 year old. imo, both rats and bunnies are too delicate for a child of that age, and both can and will bite badly if scared/hurt. both need a lot of care, large cages, and veterinary care can be expensive.

Date Posted: 9/18/2007 4:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2007
Posts: 43
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Katie B. does have a point.  But, both my kids had a pet rat.  The main down side was that they are predominately nocturnal.   They should also be kept active for at least 1-2 hours a day or given a playmate or they may become bored (which could lead to self-destructive behavior).  One way to overcome this is to provide some busy toys in the cage.  Rats are very smart, intelligent, gentle, inquisitive.  We took ours with us on our shoulders when we walked the dogs.  They weren't afraid of our labs.  They weren't fond of their baths, though.  But they did sit for the blow-dry and toenail clipping.  None of us were ever bitten by either of our rats (can't say the same for the hampsters!)  The first thing I taught both rats was to come to a kissing noise, so that if they ever got out of their cage, we could find them.  Well, it even worked when they got lost OUTSIDE--FOR SEVERAL DAYS!!!!  So, even if it is not quite time for a pet, don't give up on the idea of a rat, yet.  But, understand, the cage is not odor FREE.  There is still some upkeep.  And rats love all kinds of food.  Hope this helps.

 

Date Posted: 9/22/2007 1:29 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2006
Posts: 671
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I've had both, My rat Giga Byte just passed away a few weeks ago. Not many people know that Rats are actually clean freaks, they love clean cages and they are always grooming. Rats are a great pet, BUT they only live for 2-3 years  I think the type of pet your looking for is a fish, but not a goldfish unless you have a 20 gallon fish tank used is fine but not a former critter tank. Fish are great pets, and your daughter can help with the feeding and vaccuming of the gravel every week (with mommys help) If you get a rat, make sure you pick up a friend for it, either 2 boys or 2 girls, otherwise you will be run over with babies. and a nice large cage, Ferrett cages are awesome especially the multilevel ones. Aquariums for rats and other small and furry animals are not recomended because of the inadequite (sp?) ventilation.  

Date Posted: 9/23/2007 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2007
Posts: 6,447
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None of my rabbits were ever snuggy bunnies. They didn't like being picked up and they were messy. I would love to have a rat. I have heard that they make exceptional pets. They don't usually bite, they are smart, clean, fun to watch. They enjoy inteaction with their humans unlike rabbits. But they are nocturnal, so you might want to keep their living quarters out of the bedroom. That way their activity won't bother anyone. Tho most people after a while get used to it and can sleep thru it. I don't know if a small child could tho. And remember, while rats make great pets, Mice do not!(handling, ect)

Date Posted: 10/23/2007 12:11 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2007
Posts: 6
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Honestly, I don't think a 3 1/2 year old is ready for any furry pet. Rabbits I guess aren't cuddly pets. And I've read that if not held right they can break their backs if they struggle a little.  Rats are wonderful critters, but again, for a 3 1/2 year old?  I'd go for a fish, something she can't hurt and can't hurt her. Give her 3 1/2 more years for a furry ;)

Date Posted: 10/24/2007 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 9/17/2007
Posts: 14
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I think a rat would be better with young children, as they like people more, are not as high-maintenance as far as their diet goes, can live happily in a cage, and do not require as much of a commitment since the rat's lifespan is only a fraction of the rabbit's.  However, you definitely should not leave a three-year-old alone with any pet.  Both rats and rabbits are pretty sedate during the day and can be noisy at night.  Both rats and rabbits can be litter-box trained.  Both do much better with a companion of their own species.

A final note:  My rabbits do not smell bad; everyone who has been to my apartment agrees.  I know some people have smell problems with rabbits, but maybe that's related to how they are keeping the cage, or maybe because the rabbits are not spayed or neutered.  Mine are free-range and use a litter box, which I fill with recycled-paper-litter and hay and dump into a trash bag and wipe out every couple of days; very easy. 

Date Posted: 10/24/2007 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 9/17/2007
Posts: 14
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As far as male vs. female, there is not a huge difference in rabbits if they are spayed/neutered, which they should be.  Unaltered rabbits of both sexes can be aggressive and territorial, and unaltered females are especially prone to uterine cancer.  Male rats are more affectionate and cuddly than females, but some people don't like their visible testicles.  Because they are so small, making the surgery traumatic, rats are not typically spayed/neutered unless there is some special reason for it, like rats of the opposite sex living together.

Date Posted: 10/25/2007 12:26 AM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2007
Posts: 3
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I had a pet rat in my early 20's and it was a great "quiet" pet.  I took him EVERYWHERE!  I got my daughter one when she was about 7 and she let it out.  It ate through the wall, cords, etc.  I feel the younger children are too young for this responsibility.  If you get one for your daughter (any pet for that matter) make sure you have the time to keep total responsibility for it and if it is a rat that you decide on, I would recommend a latch on the cage that she can not undo so you don't have the same issues I had and she can hold it only when completely supervised.

Date Posted: 10/25/2007 10:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2006
Posts: 1,108
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I have 4 rabbits. They do have to be held correctly and they are messy.  Most can be litter trained to cut down on the mess but some can't. I have one that absolutely refuses to use any type of litter pan so he makes a bit of a mess lol. They also shed ..alot .. it takes alot of brushing and vacuuming to keep the hair down, so if anyone in your home has a problem with allergies that could be a problem.  As for noise...well mine are mostly active at night and they do make a lot of noise :)



Last Edited on: 10/25/07 10:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/25/2007 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 10/20/2007
Posts: 5,297
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My 7 year old begged and begged for literally years to have a rabbit.  We waited until last spring to let him have it.  He cleans out the cage, but other than that, he has nothing to do with the rabbit.  I feel bad for the rabbit.  So if you're going to get a rat or a rabbit, count on it being yours, not your kid's. ;)

Rabbits are also jumpy.  If you pick them up in a way they don't like, they'll kick those back legs and tear your arm/face/whatever to shreds.  So I don't think a rabbit is a good pet for a 3.5 year old.