I’ve been framed
Mice and rats were once feared as dirty disease carrying vermin. For years people blamed the “Dark Ages” on rats carrying the bubonic plague. We now know we can blame the fleas, vindicating rats and mice from their poor reputations. (You just can’t enter a petshop without watching these endearing little acrobats play around in their cages. Luckily, taking care of one (or a few) is just as easy and fun as watching them play).
Rats or Mice?
Choosing between a mouse and a rat can be hard. The care of each is similar, but rats will need much larger cages. As mice can squeeze through holes smaller than a 5 cent piece, it’s ideal to pick a cage that is glass or plastic and has been built specifically for housing them. It’s also best to pick a cage that will house a few animals as rats and mice are very social. Rats in particular are known to get depressed when kept alone! Rats are known to “laugh” when happy, tickle each other and use peer pressure on other rats, as they don’t want to be left out of the group.
Clean Freaks & Little Stinkers
Rats are generally cleaner than mice and will allocate a section of their cage for food, a section for waste and a section for sleeping. Mice are messier, creating up to 50-75 droppings a day! Mice also use their urine to mark their favourite “trails” and release micro-droppings of urine constantly as they walk about, so their cages must be cleaned frequently.
Rats and mice love to play and should be given lots of attention from their human companion. After taking them home, start by gently offering the new pet some treats. Once they are comfortable taking treats from the hand, they can then be gently petted, before moving onto gentle handling and cuddling. Speaking to them in a calm soothing voice will also get them used to their new human friend. Rats especially love to climb and are very curious, so they adapt well to being a pampered pet.
Rats adapted to tackle challenges, they developed hooked claws to aid in climbing and a tail that can grip objects. Their bodies are shaped to survive in almost any climate, and they can find their way across any surface. They also use their paws to manipulate items. Rats are capable swimmers, can jump distances of nearly 1.5m and cannot sweat! They regulate their body temperature through their long tail. Rats are able to survive drops of over 1m and can go up to 14 days without food. Rats can also go without water longer than a camel.
Mice eat about 15-20 times a day and rats learn form an early age what they should and shouldn’t eat. Rats are usually more suspicious of new food sources and tend to sample small amounts of food to test the effects it has on their digestive system. Mice and rats are “concentrate selectors”. This means that they will pick the fattiest and tastiest foods from their bowls first. It’s best to choose a quality pellet diet as it is consistently the same. Meaning long term nutritional deficiencies are not caused by this natural rodent tendency. They should also be given a wide variety of healthy fruits and vegetables. Peas, broccoli, carrots and apples are some of their favourites.
For optimal health in rats and mice look no further! Vetafarm’s Rodent Origins doesn’t deliver second rate nutrition, this diet is purpose built using natural whole ingredients and is cooked to perfection delivering the best rodent diet ever.