PROS & CONS

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

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Ship rats:


are intelligent, clean, and exceptionally playful and entertaining


can be very loving, and often form profound personal attachments to individual humans and/or other pets


are as bold and nutty as monkeys


are fascinatingly agile


have an extraordinarily varied vocal range


are very strong and hardy and are rarely ill


land on their feet if dropped


are attractive, unusual and historically interesting


are brave and bold


are cheap to feed


have small litters


produce dry droppings and very little urine, and so need cleaning out less often than almost any other animal


have only a mild bite


Ship rats also:


don't live very long


have quite a strong smell


have an extraordinarily loud vocal range: and a passion for things that rattle and twang


are flighty and excitable and prone to fads in which they e.g. pretend not to know you


are willfully naughty and bloody-minded wind-up merchants, and play you up just for the fun of making you run about trying to catch them


are unbelievably fast, and can run straight up embossed wallpaper


are often determined escape-artists, both from their cage and from the room/house, and are extremely hard to catch if they decide they don't want you to


chew things


are usually very nocturnal: you may not see much before 11pm except a ball of scruffy fur rolled up in the corner of the nest


require very large, therefore expensive cages (expect to pay 70-120)


have a tendency just to give up and die if they do become seriously ill, probably due to their lack of fat reserves; whereas a Norway rat would fight to live and would probably win


tend to be very difficult to breed from


make nervy mothers who may eat their babies if disturbed


can be startlingly aggressive, especially towards same-sex members of other pet species, and can develop profound personal dislikes for individual humans and/or other pets