Can rats live alone? The short answer is yes, they can, but solitude will absolutely have an impact on the quality of their life. That doesn’t mean that your rat will live a shorter life, but he’ll probably be sad and unhappy. Getting him just one more buddy will make so much difference. Your rat will feel safe, happy and satisfied that he has someone to play with.
Rats are Social Animals
Rats actually live in large communities in the wild, so it would only be natural for them to get one more rat, or more, dependable on the size of the cage you have. They love to wrestle, chase each other, play thug-of war with food and generally enjoy communicating, forming friendships while single rat has to wait for you to play with him and it is just not the same. If your rat feels like being alone he can go to sleep but he’ll feel much better knowing that he can play with his own kind anytime he wants to.
Social animals, like rats, are not “designed” to leave happy and fulfilling lives alone. Baby rats or younger rats for instance tend to adopt behavior of older rats. They learn what they should or should not do, gain social skills and survival instinct and eventually learn how to be a rat. If you adopted a rat that had previous owners, he may be scared of human contact so getting him more ratty friends is a perfect solution. He’ll see how you take care of them, feed them, cuddle them and will realize that there is nothing to be scared of.
I Had a Single Rat and He Seemed Perfectly Happy
Yes, your rat is happy when you spend time with him but what happens when you’re not around? He gets bored and lonely. If you don’t go to school, have a job or social life, family, or need sleep and can commit your life to a rat, then its fine, you can just get that one. But since most people have responsibilities and can’t just spend a whole day with a rat, naturally your rat will feel left out and bored if he doesn’t have company.
Even if you’re a super-human and can spend all the time in the world with your rat, it is just not the same as having his own kind with him. Just imagine if someone separated you from your family and put you in a cage and kept you there without your own species, you don’t even speak the same language. They are nice, provide you with food, bedding and toys, but all of that is just not enough for an animal that needs socializing as a rat does.
Will Rats In Groups Be More Affectionate Toward One Another Then Their Owner?
This is not true at all, you can ask this question any rat owner that you know and you’ll get the same answer every time. Your rats will bound to you if you provide them treats, clean their cage frequently, get their favorite toys and just generally pet them and care of them. Animals can just feel you love them. Depriving your rat of company of his own species will just make him depressed and lonely.
In my opinion, it is pure animal torture. Just imagine if your own parents didn’t allow you to meet other children when you were little because they wanted you to love them more. Isolated rats are likely to develop behavioral problems, like becoming neurotic, or hiding away, some tend to even chew their own fur or mutilate themselves because they are kept in such unnatural conditions. Truth is two rats will fight for your affection, so you’ll be getting double dosage of love from your pets.
How to Handle a Shy Rat?
If you have a shy rat problem the best way to deal with it is to get a friendly rat, shy rat will soon adopt his behavior. He’ll learn that you are not some scary giant, but someone who cares for them very much. Two shy rats will be affectionate towards you, if you provide them enough affection, but you’ll have to work harder on socializing them. This had led to a wrong conclusion that single rat is happier then a pair of rats.
If you spend enough time bonding with your rats (you can put them under your shirt while watching a TV show or a movie, or let them experience outside world for an hour or two a day). Soon they’ll become friendly, just like a single rat, but they’ll be much, much happier.
How Should I Introduce My Rat to a Mate?
Young rats or rats that are not more than 4 months old are easy to introduce, you can either put them on a neutral territory or put them in a cage that has been cleaned if one of them has been living in it for a few days first. Adult rats, however, cannot meet in the cage; they have to be introduced on a neutral territory and when they feel comfortable in each other’s company, you can put them together in a cage.
It is hard to say how much time will it take them to become friends. It may happen on the first meeting, it may take many meetings, or several meetings in a week or two.
If they start fighting spray them with water from plant spray to break them up, put them away and try meeting them again later. If however both rats are aggressive do not put them in a cage that smells just like one of them. Cage needs to be cleaned through ought. It would be best to put them in a cage where none of them had lived for a week or so, just till they get used to one another. If one of the rats turns out to be an ultimate bully, put them in none bully rats cage (do not clean it).
He will have more confidence in there and bully will act less aggressive. Do not worry, after a couple of weeks, they will become best friends. When introducing two rats it is important to remain calm, animals can feel the tension in the room and they in these situations often tend to become nervous themselves. It will take you some time and effort to get two adult rats to become friendly toward one another but in the end, you’ll feel proud of yourself and your rats will feel much better playing with each other.
Can I Keep Two Male Rats Together?
You definitely can, not just two but you can have several male rats. Just make sure that they are all male. Because females can get pregnant again 24 hours after giving birth, and they usually have up to 7 or 8 babies. If you don’t want multiple rat colonies living in your house, make sure that you have either male or female rats living in one cage. You can keep neutered male rats with females but male rats get along better with other male rats. If they are not neutered, they can become aggressive. Just neuter aggressive rat and he’ll get back to his old friendly self.
Conclusion: Can Rats Live Alone? Or Does My Rat Need Companionship?
Technically they can, but there is no good reason to keep your rat isolated from his own kind. Some breeders and pet shops do not sell single rats, because that is just inhuman to keep your rat like that. Two rats are much more fun to look at and they will compete for your love and affection and you won’t have to worry if you don’t spend enough time with him because he’ll always have company.