Pet rats are very social and friendly animals that enjoy human contact but crave the company of other rats. In the wild, rats always live in large groups of, very often related, males and females. While it’s recommended to keep domesticated rats in pairs or groups of the same sex to avoid rapid multiplication, no rat should live alone.
1. Life Is Better With Company Of A Friend
It has been proven that rats living in pairs or groups have much better quality of life and they take a lot of enrichment from cohabiting with members of their own species and always having a company.
While they love human contact and enjoy spending time with their owners, a friendship with another rat and their company will always come first. For example, if you have a pair of rats and one of them is more outgoing and adventurous and the other one is shy and nervous, the latter one will learn from their cage mate how to be less frightened and more affectionate towards humans.
A pair or a group of rats will crave your attention and company more as a part of ‘competition’ with their cage mates, which can be lovely for you as the pet owner!
Rats living in pairs or groups always have someone to play with, chase around, groom or cuddle up with. Humans can provide interesting toys or extensive play times but cannot be there 24/7 and therefore will never ever replace another rat.
It’s always easiest to get two or more rats from the same litter to live together, but it’s also possible to introduce ‘strangers’ to each other without issues. Because rats are social creatures, they can spend hours squabbling with their cage mates, play fighting and grooming each other and then fall asleep on top of one another in a cute rat pile. The safety of one companion or a whole group helps them build bonds with their own kind and be more sympathetic toward humans too.
3. Loneliness In Pet Rats
Preventing your pet rats from having contact with other rats it’s simply unkind and can lead to a very sad life for your furry friend. Just think: would you deprive your child from having friends, just because you want him or her all to yourself? No, that would be cruel.
Rats that are housed alone might seem okay on the surface, but their existence would be incomplete. Keeping a single rat can lead to various behavioural problems, including depression and lethargy. Lonely rats will be bored, introverted and often hiding away to avoid any contact with humans, which in turn can cause biting and aggression towards their owners.
According to various studies, all bad behaviour and mental health issues subside, or even go away completely, when a new cage mate is introduced into their life. Even scientists, who study rats in laboratories, avoid keeping rats by themselves and favour housing at least two of them in the same cage. It’s really the best solution!
Keeping two or three rats in the same cage doesn’t really cost much more than keeping one rat, but it makes a world of difference to the animals! They thrive in pairs or groups and can entertain each other whenever you are not able to interact with them.
Many breeders and pet stores will not let you buy just one rat to live alone as it’s unfair and diminishes their quality of life.
The only reason a rat would have to live alone is if it’s constantly aggressive and poses a treat to other cage mates, but that’s quite rare. Issues like these are usually caused by underlying health conditions like higher than usual testosterone levels or previous traumatic experiences. Most times though, rats can be successfully rehabilitated to get along with at least one other mate.
So if you want to do right by your furry friends and provide them with the best life possible, make sure they have friends, they will love you for it!If you enjoyed reading this article, please share it with your friends and on your social media! Also leave us a comment below with your thoughts or questions.