Of Rats And Men

June 27, 2019

There seems to be a very complicated relationship between rats and humans. While most rats are despised, a lot of people find them as very good pets.

The most common image of rats is one that is one that likes to come out from the sewers, or one that is scavenging for food in garbage bins; or both. They like to live in dirty places and they themselves carry the bacteria and viruses that they picked up from these places.

On the other hand, rats are kept as pets by many people. Rats, they say, are clean, highly intelligent, and very sociable. As we can see, both sides seem to talk about two different creatures altogether. Let us examine them, and investigate the relationship between rats and men.  

Rats As Pets

Let us face it, rats can be cute. They look like a certain mascot of a very popular entertainment company. They make wonderful pets because they are very intelligent, can be tamed easily, and very sociable. As pets, they are also clean, friendly, they love to cuddle, and they remember the faces of their owners. They are easy to care for and do not need much maintenance; you just need to have the right cage, accessories, and toys for them. A rat’s body can reach up to around 9 to 11 inches. As their owner, you can enjoy them for up to 3 years, since this is their expected lifespan.  

The Behavior Of Pet Rats

Pet rats love to be around humans. They are playful and have a great memory. They are like dogs and cats in that they remember the faces of their owners. They also easily learn new tricks. And contrary to popular belief, rats are clean and have no smell. Rats like to groom themselves.  

Where is it best to keep them? A large wire cage is ideal. It should be large enough to house at least two of them; rats are social animals and like companions. Make it at least 12 by 24 inches in floor space so the rats can run around. Make it a tall cage with ramps. Giving them a partner will definitely make them happy. Put some horizontal bars on the sides so that the rats can climb and play. Some people use an aquarium, which is fine but it has lesser ventilation. Avoid wired flooring. Put their cage in quiet areas of the house, but be sure to place it near where people usually congregate. That place should be quiet during the day because rats are nocturnal.  

Rats are fed with small amounts of fruits and vegetables, whole grain pasta and bread, yogurt, and brown rice. Occasionally, they are given cheeses, seeds, nuts, and low-fat cooked meats. There is also commercially produced rat food; they can either be pelleted or block type. This food for rats are already complete in nutrition. Always keep a steady supply of clean water for them too.

Some Interesting Facts About Pet Rats

  • Aside from their long bodies which are about 9 inches to 11 inches in length, they have long tails that are almost as long as their bodies; it can go as long as 7 inches.
  • If you want to have pet rats, you better keep up with them at night; rats are nocturnal beings.
  • Rats show a wide range of emotions; they are social creatures and become lonely when not accompanied by a fellow rat. It is best to have at least a pair of them when buying pet rats.  
  • Since they are emotional, they show signs of depression when they lose a loved one; they are happy and laugh in the company of others and when they are playing.
  • It is very easy to breed rats. Female rats get in the heat for 24 hours every 4 to 5 days once they reach puberty. Rats reach the age of puberty at five to eight weeks.  
  • Rats have episodic memories. They remember everything. Show them a new path going somewhere and they will never forget it. They also remember the faces of their owners.  
  • There are new studies that have emerged showing rats may have been falsely accused of being the source of the black plague in the Middle Ages. These studies actually point to fleas as the culprits. The black plague wiped out more than half of the world’s population in the 1400s. 
  • Rats have large incisors that are constantly growing all their lives, which explains why they have this tendency to chew on anything.  Chewing helps it stop growing too big.  
  • Rats are very intelligent AND inquisitive. They like to investigate things but avoid confrontation.  
  • Rats are good swimmers.
  • They can survive without drinking water. They get hydrated by the food that they eat.  
  • Most pet rats are from the Norway rat type, and their average lifespan is 2 to 3 years

 Rats Are Also Pests

The reason why humans and rats have such a complicated relationship is that rats have also caused a lot of harm to us. Of course, they are nuisance pests. As we have discussed above, they have incisors that are always growing so they need to chew on something to stop them from growing. Due to this, they can easily destroy any items in our house once they get inside. They chew on clothes, boxes, cardboard, wooden items, shoes, and our food of course.  

Aside from being nuisance pests, however, they are also dangerous pests. They carry diseases that they can easily transmit to humans, thus making them high health risks. They can do this either by carrying the fleas or ticks that in turn carry a variety of parasites, or by directly transmitting the disease through their urine, droppings, or saliva. Some of the diseases they are known to transmit include leptospirosis, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, rat bite fever, and salmonella.  

  1. Leptospirosis - Rat urine is the main source of this disease. It can infect both humans and animals which, if left untreated, can lead to liver failure, kidney damage, or death. Signs and symptoms include headache, vomiting, nausea, high fever, jaundice, red eyes, rashes, and abdominal pains. As a treatment, antibiotics are prescribed. This is contracted by wading in floodwaters, swimming pools, or drinking contaminated water contaminated by rat urine.
  2. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) - This disease is a severe respiratory disease caused by hantavirus infection. This could be a fatal disease and is transmitted through direct contact with rats. Infection is through inhalation of rat urine or droppings, or if we touch something that is contaminated with rat droppings, urine, or saliva and then we touch our nose or mouth. Eating food that is contaminated by rat feces, urine or saliva also puts us in danger. Symptoms are fever, muscle aches, and fatigue. 
  3. Rat Bite fever - This is contracted by humans after getting in contact with infected rats. Sadly, people who keep rats as pests are the ones in danger of getting this disease. The same is true for people who work close to rats, like those in the laboratories. Signs and symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, muscle pains.
  4. Salmonella - This is contracted by eating food that is contaminated by rat droppings. Symptoms of this disease include fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping.


If you happen to detect rat infestation in your home, there are some ways to treat them, one of which is to hire the best pest control management in North Carolina; Go-Forth Pest Control.

But like with any other unpleasant situations, prevention is much better and much easier than having to treat it. To prevent rat infestation, you have to cut out their food source. Regularly throw your garbage, and put a cover on your trash cans. When eating, use a placemat so that you can easily wipe off any food and drink spills. Eat at designated areas only inside your house. But in case you have to treat them, call in the best pest exterminators around. 

Go-Forth Is Simply The Best

Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned commercial service solutions provider of modern pest control services and techniques, using the latest and most advanced technology in the business, making our service to you more efficient, safer, and more convenient. We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments all throughout North and South Carolina.

We bring in a new and fresh approach to the pest control industry, using family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination that caters to your specific needs. Our expert experience in exterminating pests like cockroaches, weevils, mosquitoes, mice, flies, termites, ants, and spiders can really make you say goodbye to these pests in your home. You may check us on Facebook or Google us to see what our satisfied customers have to say about us.

Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.  

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