This article is from the WSSF 2006 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Kids Q & A
By Karen Robbins
Olga Sokolov, Ann Arbor, MI
QHello. My name is Olga. I am 8 years old and I have a fancy rat. Her name is Ratty. She just turned 1 year old. She is a Black Hooded rat. We have a problem with Ratty. She started to bite me any time she got a chance to. I know we take good care of her.
I started to take more care of her. I started to check on her and give her some treats 2 times a week. But she still bites me. Do you know how to solve the problem? What do you think we should feed her and not feed her? The biggest problem is we can only have one rat, not two or more. What do you think we should do?
AIf you are only giving her attention 2 times a week, sounds like she is very lonely. Rats need to be played with at least two times a day, if not more when you only have one rat. They are very social animals, meaning they like to be with other rats and like company. Since you cannot have another rat for her to be with, then you need to give her the attention she needs in place of another rat. She could be biting to tell you she doesn’t like to be ignored.
If you go to handle her and have just had lunch or a tasty snack without washing your hands first, she could be biting because she smells the food on your hands. Remember to always wash your hands before taking out Ratty to play with her.
Rats will eat just about anything, but doesn’t mean they should be fed everything. They should be fed a good quality rat lab block (these are large pellets that the rat bites off pieces to eat called lab block, pet block, rodent block, rodent chow, etc.) as the main diet (food they should have all the time) and you can then give treats of fresh fruits (apple, banana, grape, etc.), veggies (broccoli, carrots, kale, etc.), healthy cereals (Cheerios, shredded wheat, puffed cereals, etc.), leftovers from your dinner such as spaghetti, or plain (no butter, no salt) popcorn. Treats should be no more than 10% of the diet for each day. You can give her a treat each day but don’t overdo it. She should eat the treat within an hour. If you feed a grain/seed mix, get the Reggie Rat brand food as it is healthier for your rat than most other seed mixes. Remember, if it isn’t good for you, it isn’t good for your rat.
You can read more detailed information in the care sheet.