For the uninitiated, the domesticated pet rat is probably the very finest small animal pet one could wish for. The pet (or “fancy’ — as in hobby) rat has been around for over a hundred years and during that time has been molded into a gentle pet for anyone who wants a brilliant, highly social, interactive and affectionate animal. In both brains and sociability, rats rival dogs, and have the advantage over them in not needing annual shots, not needing to be walked and being very clean and inexpensive to maintain.
Unlike many other small pets, rats do not merely tolerate their human caretakers. In fact our rats seek us out for play, petting, tickles and companionship. The ease and joy with which they learn tricks makes them a joy to keep, and rats need this mental stimulation to keep their remarkably human brains healthy.
Interestingly, studies prove that rats even laugh when playing or being tickled.
The fancy rat comes in an array of lovely colors and coat textures — including the naked rat, and the so-called Dumbo rat (with lower-set and larger ears). There is even a tailless variety now, albeit with special needs (since a rat’s tail is vital for balance and many other functions.)
Mostly, though, the rat lives in social groups that sleep, play, eat and snuggle together, so transfer that community spirit to their human caretakers. You don’t have to keep one rat in isolation to make it tame or to love you. With frequent handling an entire group of 2-5 rats can become devoted, tame and loving (the same way a human family can bond strongly to a dog, cat or rat despite having other people in the family to talk to.) Imagine having a darling, charming, beautiful rat like this!
Anyway, the proof of the rat’s attachment to its human is here in the video. Watch and enjoy!