PROS & CONS

The advantages and disadvantages of fancy rats as companion-animals.

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Fancy rats:


are affectionate, playful, intelligent and clean


are as jolly and matey as a dog and as mature and independent as a cat


don't make much noise


don't smell strongly or unpleasantly: even the bucks just have a faint smell like digestive biscuits (apart from a few individuals who have BO as an abnormality), and a Finnish lady called Dr Birgitta Edelman used to have a champagne-hooded doe named Luah who had such a pleasant, floral scent that she used to be passed round to be sniffed like a pot-pourri


are very strong and hardy and are rarely ill


nearly always land on their feet (making them much safer for a child to handle than a guinea pig or hamster which is quite likely to suffer a broken back if dropped - but one still shouldn't take needless risks, as I do know of one case of a rat breaking its back in the same way)


very rarely bite


usually have bold, steady, cheerful natures


are gregarious animals who live in groups with complex social interactions, which makes them more interesting to watch than solitary species


generally make excellent mothers, competent and sensible, and do not eat their young even if disturbed (though they may have a go at eating you)


are cheap to buy and cheap to feed


come in a variety of attractive colours, markings and coat-types


Fancy rats also:


don't live very long


have enormous litters


chew things


require large, therefore expensive cages (expect to pay 30-90)


are prone to tumours - which can nearly always be removed, but are another expense


have a powerful bite (should you be unlucky enough to get one of the rare biters)


have painfully scrabbly claws