A Conversation for Keeping Rats as Pets

Lifespan

Post 1

R

I would just like to point out that one of the most common death reasons is tumours and personally I see the short lifespan of a rat as a negativ thing.

Very good description of what is often a missunderstood animal.

-the Hooloovoo


Lifespan

Post 2

I'm not really here

The tumours are quite often benign. My brother bred rats that seemed to suffer from these. The vet would remove them when they go so large the rat could not walk, but they always semed to grow again. With his rats, it only bothered the females. Neither of my male rats had tumours.


Lifespan

Post 3

Lentilla (Keeper of Non-Sequiturs)

My sister owned a rat that turned out to be a hermaphrodite - it was male, but developed mammary tumors. I believe that it actually had surgery for the first tumor, but subsequent cancers were too systemic and it had to be put to sleep. A very nice, well-behaved animal; it's only fault was that it was nervous in company (my sister liked to carry it around on her shoulder) and would drop little rat-turds...

Warning - grandparents and elderly are usually freaked by rats, and can't really conceive of them as pets.


Lifespan

Post 4

R

True, most tumours are benign but they keep coming back..my first rat got a tumor but she was so old the vet didn't think it a good idea to opperate. The reason I started this conversation was that I read in a reputable source that tumors often kill rats. I might've been misstaken....

In reply to grandparents and rats: My Gran didn't really like them but Grandad though think they are ok. Though this is of course the same grandad who used to kill sewer rats larger than cats when he was in the army.smiley - yikes Stay away from my rats!


Lifespan

Post 5

Dr. Mickey WhD. (Doctor of Whatever)

True, the lifespan of a rat is short, and often shorter due to tumours, but death is a part of life. A rat is proof that a good pet (and friend) cannot be replaced, but the gap may be filled by another. My sister and I learned this lesson with our pets (including rats) and I hope that my children will too.


Lifespan

Post 6

Abi

I have had long chats with a vet mate of mine about this very point. Apparently the reason rats and mice (which I keep) suffer so badly from benign and malignant tumours is due to the high level inbreeding that produces the different colourways.


Lifespan

Post 7

I'm not really here

So it's the same as buying a pedigree dog that comes with it's own health problems built into it. smiley - sadface That's a shame. My brother did stop buying rats from a particular pet shop eventually, as my parents thought that the rats from there were worse because they let litters breed with each other.

And yes, the short life span is one of the reasons I bought my son a rat rather than a rabbit. His ADHD means that he can't keep his attention long on anything, and it was certainly helpful in explaining death. He was even keen that the last one be buried n the compost heap to "help the garden". I was very impressed with him.


Lifespan

Post 8

Researcher 179571

Now well, I`ve been breeding rats for about 10-12 years now
and I never had one single rat who developed any form of cancer
I don`t know if I just got rats with good genes or your ratgenes just stink or what? The oldest rat i had was a female rat and she died in the age of 5 years and 4 month. Tumors are widely alot more common
amongst Albino rats cause it`s far more inbreeded then regular rats


Guiding greeting from Denmark
YuXuz1 and 13 rats o`mine


Lifespan

Post 9

Sea Change

I worked for Labpets (now the Mouse House in Arkansas, check out their site) so I have much practical rodent experience.

Rats are bred to have tumors for research purposes. Research rats are purposely inbred for at least 30 generations, so that there is one less variable in experiments.

Some of that gets into the general pet rat genepool, because lab rats are much easier to deal with and breed than wild rats. This is why the tumors seldom go into remission.


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