A guide to the proper care of rats as companion animals: history of the rat in Europe; health-care tips (including care of the diabetic rat); setting up a cage; introducing new rats to an existing colony etc..

Now includes *RatLines* ratty items for sale - rat-cartoon T-shirts, toys for rats, toy rats for humans etc..

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STOP PRESS - save the Lundy ship rats!

New additions: the site has been substantially re-worked, including entirely new sections on the wild Norway rat and on the rat-temple at Deshnok, and the addition of a plain-text version, suitable for the Lynx browser.

Awards: Absolute Rats Award for rat website excellence; The Literary Rats' Award for Perspicacity (in all things ratty).

Coming soon: chart of fancy rat colour-genes (I've been saying that for about two years - which is how long I've been waiting for a certain somebody to provide the list of white-spotting genes she promised me, and which I need to complete the genetics section); authentic ship rat noises (maybe). New fancy and/or ship rat cartoons will be added usually every two months, after they appear in Pro-Rat-a.

N.B. Both Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus have numerous common names. Rattus rattus is variously known as the Ship, Black, Roof, House, Alexandrine or Old English Rat, and Rattus norvegicus as the Norway, Brown, Field or Sewer Rat: and both are known as the Common Rat. I have used the names "Norway Rat" and "Ship Rat" because those are the ones in commonest use in Britain, and because they generate some interesting puns: but in fact most of these names make very little sense. The Norway Rat isn't from Norway; depending on the local climate the Field Rat also lives in houses and the House Rat in fields; both rats go on ships; and although black coats are much commoner in Rattus rattus than in Rattus norvegicus both rats come in a wide range of colours. In fact the only name which makes much sense is the American term "Roof Rat" for Rattus rattus. Even there, Rattus norvegicus also sometimes occurs in attics and Rattus rattus in burrows, but it is generally the case that Rattus rattus prefers to live on top of things and Rattus norvegicus prefers to live underneath things, and if we could start again from scratch in the naming stakes I would suggest calling the two species Roof Rat and Cellar Rat.

E-mail if any to Claire M Jordan

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The Fancy Rat.
This is the normal pet and laboratory rat: the domesticated form of the Brown, Common or Norway Rat Rattus norvegicus. Probably the most attractive and easiest to care for of all cage-pets [strictly speaking the easiest and most attractive of all are female mice: but male mice are smelly and quarrelsome!].

The Ship Rat.
Also known as the Black, Roof, Alexandrine or Old English Rat, this is Rattus rattus, the original Mediaeval rat: now rare in Europe but very common in Asia and fairly common in Africa, Australia and warmer parts of America. Not strictly a pet species - certainly not a beginner's pet - but these animals are occasionally kept by experienced rodent-fanciers, or adopted from the wild as orphans.

Ratty rings.
Some rat and general rodent-related web-rings and links.

Rat haiku and other assorted oddities.
Samples of miscellaneous rat-related poetry etc., with links to other sites.

Suggested reading.
Rats in fact and fiction: a selection of the best.

Various rat-related items which are or soon will be for sale, including T-shirt designs by myself and by Bunny Duffy.