What can I do if my rat bites me too hard while playing?

Rats don’t intentionally bite hard enough to hurt you while playing with you.  But, sometimes, they get too excited and they don’t realize their own strength (and how sharp their little teeth are!) When that happens, you should immediately stop playing, pull your finger away (assuming that’s what your rat was biting), and say “Ouch” and/or Squeak loudly like a rat would.  The rat will (usually) realize it has hurt you, and be more careful in the future.  Some rats might take several attempts before they remember this lesson, but they all seem to get it, eventually!

How do I catch an escaped rat?

If the rat trusts you, often the rat will let you pick it up when you calmly and gently hold out your hand to it.  The rat in the video is a Roof Rat, but this will also work for Norway rats.

Rats can be quick and hard to hold onto if they don’t want you to.  So, your first goal should be to get your new rat to trust you.  That way, it is less likely that it will jump down and, if it does, it will allow you to pick it up again.

If your rat doesn’t trust you yet, it may evade your attempts at picking it up, and possibly hide someplace.  As you can imagine, rats are very good at hiding, and the more places where it can hide, the harder it will be to recapture.  So, word to the wise, while your rat is first getting to know you, try to play with it someplace with limited places to hide.  For example, we made a simple play area for socializing out baby rats from leftover cardboard boxes.  Again, the rats in the video are Roof Rats, but the same principle applies for Norway rats.

If the rat has already escaped someplace in your house, you will want to quickly try to narrow down where the rat is to the best of your ability.  Then, close doors and block as many escape routes as possible to keep the rat confined to the smallest possible area.

Next, give the rat a chance to calm down and it might either let you pick it up or return to it’s cage on its own.  You’d be surprised how often this works if you are patient and friendly to the rat.

However, if the rat is too frightened or traumatized, that might not be an option, so in the meantime go order a no kill trap from Amazon or pick one up from Lowes or Home Depot.  If your rat is a baby, you need a mouse sized one.

You will need a bigger one for adult rats

You just need to bait the trap with something tasty (cooked rice seems to work), put it where you think the rat probably is and leave it be overnight.  If you have a camera that can see in the dark (like a Nest), you can watch the area around the trap to see if the rat is coming out, and if it gets trapped.

Now, you will need to carefully socialize it and gain its trust so this doesn’t happen again.  Until it finally trusts you, your little Houdini will be a flight risk, so handle him/her accordingly!

Can rats learn to do tricks?

Absolutely!  Rats are super smart, social animals.  Especially Roof Rats, which will learn to do tricks almost without any effort.

This family adopted a baby Roof Rat from us, and within days had taught it to do a trick.  Watch what happens when the rat hears the command word: isn’t that just adorable?

Why do rats make urine (pee) everywhere?

Just like dogs, often rats urine mark.

They don’t do this because they urgently have to pee, and just cannot hold it in!

Rather, like with dogs, it seems to be a form of social communication and marking of territory.  They seem to be saying “I was here. This is part of my territory.  This belongs to me.”  That thing might be their cage, hammock, toy, or another rat (where it might also be a show of dominance as well as friendship.)

They will even do it to you: I know that sounds kind of gross, but try to take it as a sign of affection!

When you put a rat in a new cage, especially a male, don’t be surprised if the rat immediately starts peeing over every accessible surface.

Male rats do it more than female rats, but both sexes will urine mark.  Roof Rats mark, too, but not as much (they are smaller, which also helps with that!)

Some say that neutering might reduce marking, but I, personally, cannot vouch for that.

Are rats ticklish? How can I tickle my pet rat?

Yes, rats are ticklish!  Just like people, a rat’s belly is very sensitive and tickly.

In this video, we demonstrate how to tickle a dumbo rat.  She’s clearly enjoying it, yet the sensation is a bit overwhelming and unexpected for at the same time.

Can rats laugh? What does rat laughter sound like?

We breed two kinds of Rats: Roof Rats and Norway Rats.  Roof Rats are highly vocal and make sounds to express emotions like fear, anger, contentment and joy or amusement.  When they are contented, curious or mentally engaged, they make a chittering noise.  They mostly seem to do it around people, not other rats. Roof rats make various chirping noises at other rats for social, ratty reasons.  Sometimes, if two Roof rats are annoyed with each other, they will tell each other off with an “eee eee eee” noise.  If one is really fearful or angry, it will hiss like an angry cat to warn the other to “back off.”

And, yes, when Roof Rats are especially happy and playful, they make a kind of giggling noise that I am certain is their equivalent of laughter!  While recording Qiong playing with Kitty, I just happened to catch him clearing doing it at 5:08 in the video.  I’ve linked directly to the spot below: turn your sound up so you can hear it better!

I know what you are thinking: “But what about Dumbo Rats?  Do they laugh, too?”  Yes, they can.  Researchers found that Norway rats also laugh, but it’s unfortunately at a higher frequency than most people can hear.  Here’s a video where they’ve recorded Norway rat laughter in ultrasonic frequencies:

Do rats like to be stroked or petted? Can I pet my rat?

Yes!  Rats are very social animals, and show friendship and love by reciprocal grooming and cuddling together for companionship.

So, your pet rats will definitely welcome and enjoy anything that feels like grooming if they are calm enough to hold still receive it.  This is a great way to bond with your pet rat.  Don’t be surprised if your rat tries to groom you, too!

Most rats enjoy face rubs.  This guy loves it so much, he makes a cute “licky face!”

Here’s more examples of rat face and belly rubbing:

And here we demonstrate how to stroke the top of the head, back and ears, just like you would a puppy:

And, finally, here are some examples of rats socially grooming me!  A rat grooming my face and hair:

Some baby rats grooming the hairs off my arm and hand (pretty pushy little rascals!)

And, last but not least, this little fellow decided to poke his head in my mouth and groom my teeth!

I found an orphaned baby rat. Can I keep it as a pet or should I release it?

Yes, you can generally keep it as a pet as long as it is tame, and it was still very young when you found it.

If it’s eyes were still closed and it had little fur when you found it, it is very likely that it will view you as a friend when it grows up, and unlikely it will have any parasites (internal or external.)  As with any animal in the wild, once it has fur there is the chance it could have external parasites, and once it is no longer protected by antibodies from it’s mother and her milk, and starts eating solid food, it can be exposed to internal parasites, viruses and etc.  As a general rule of thumb, the dividing line is around the time it’s eyes open.

If it’s eyes were already open when you found it, it is not totally hopeless, but you should probably have it checked by a vet.  At that age, it should be able to easily escape (and it will normally want to) unless it has some injury or illness.  After you treat the underlying issues, then you can evaluate what to do based on it’s behaviour.

Once it’s eyes are open, and both you and the rat will need to decide its future.  Mostly the rat will decide:  If it seems to want to run away, then find someplace to release it safely.  You will both be happier.

But, if it seems to like being with you, doesn’t seem fearful, accepts handling and isn’t trying to escape, then you should consider keeping it as a pet.  It will probably live a longer, happier life with you than in the wild and, besides, it has developed feelings for you at this point.  Rats are intelligent and social animals.  Although they are small and their lives are sadly all too short, they are capable of love and friendship just like us, and if your rat has developed an emotional bond with you, turning it out into the wild to fend for itself would seem, well, inhuman.  So, if your rat loves you (and you’ll know if it does), my heartfelt advice is to love and care for it for the rest of it life if at all possible.

If you need a friend for it, and you are driving distance of Orlando, let me know!

Why does my rat smell bad? What can I do about it?

Rats often pee on each other, I guess as a show of dominance or just because they are buddies and they want to mark them. Male rats do this especially, but even females will do so on occasion.
Here is Roofy peeing on Tommy’s back:

I’ve even seen some male Norway rats pee in their own hammock. Not just to mark them, but apparently because they just didn’t feel like getting out of bed to pee at that moment. You can imagine that sleeping in pee doesn’t leave one smelling very good.
Anyway, rat food with Yucca is supposed to help control urine odor.  Oxbow Essentials Regal Adult Rat food has Yucca extract to reduce urine odor. So, if the problem is due to them peeing on each other (or themselves) then at least the pee will be less smelly.
Finally, a high protein diet produces urine with more Nitrogen in it, which will have a stronger odor due to Urea breaking down to ammonia. Adult male Norway rats should be on a lower protein diet anyway, because they will otherwise tend to gain weight as they get older. Overweight rats are more sedentary and likely to pee in their hammocks. They are also generally more unkempt as they will have more trouble reaching all the spots that need cleaning.
So, you should make sure you are feeding adult male Norway rats not more than 16% protein rat food and consider switching to 15-14% protein rat food and see if that helps a bit.  Oxbow Essentials Regal Adult Rat food has 15% protein so it is a very good choice.

How can you domesticate wild rats? Won’t that take 100’s of years?

How do we know which baby Roof Rat to breed? The rats tell us!  In this video, we show 3 babies from the same litter (2 of 6 and Popeye.)  Look how obviously different their personalities are!
The three were raised by their mom, and hadn’t spent any time with me before I made the video.  Two of them (a boy and girl) are outgoing, brave and friendly. When I hold out my hand to them, they come eagerly and run up my arm (one of them even nibbled my ear!)
One of them is shy and nervous. We squeezes himself into a hiding place, and will not come out when coaxed by me. We have been working with this rat to socialize him and bring him out of his shell, and he’s much friendlier now. Rats are smart, so they can learn to overcome their innate personality traits like excessive shyness. But we won’t breed him, because he would pass this behaviour onto his offspring.
Tameness in rats is multifactorial. In this rat’s case, I assume that his stress response is stronger compared to his siblings. Interestingly, this is possibly controlled just by one gene in their case. The two siblings with the “low stress” version of the gene are friendly, while the “high stress” baby is too fearful to come out of hiding.
In the wild, a higher stress response might help him survive, unless he was so fearful that it kept him from finding food or breeding when people are around. If he had 2 copies of the stress gene, perhaps it would be very hard for him to live in or near human homes, but he might be fine in the wild.
Because the original Roof rats that we used for breeding were found near humans, they had a mix of tame and non-tame genes, so they could breed near humans but still avoid being eaten. By Domesticating them, we are selecting the ones whose genes are of the tame type: they wouldn’t survive in the wild, but they make great pets!
This won’t take hundreds of years.  It won’t even take hundreds of generations.  The amazing thing is, Our rats already have tameness in their genes!  Nature already did the hard work for us.  We are just bringing it out of them, in the course of a few short generations.  And the rats show us by their behaviour which ones we should breed to achieve that.  So, if someone tells you domesticating wild animals is impossible, don’t believe them: now you’ve seen it with your own eyes!

What is the dosage of Ambroxol for Rats by weight?

Analogous to the dosage for Human children, adding a bit more to compensate for rat’s quicker metabolism, the dosage for rats is 0.5 to 1 mg/kg BID.  See, for example:

An overview of efficacy and safety of ambroxol for the treatment of acute and chronic respiratory diseases with a special regard to children

The exact dosage is not critical, so you may choose to dose their drinking water. About 2.5 mg ambroxol per 250 ml water works out about right, going by this table: Rat and Mouse food and water consumption by weight. The taste is not objectionable at that dosage.

If you mix a 30mg pill in 6ml of water, you’d therefore put 0.5ml of the liquid in a 250ml drinking bottle.

If you use the pre-mixed ambroxol syrup, 15mg/5ml, then you’d add about 0.8ml per 250ml of water.

How do I assemble a Martin’s Cage?

Here is a step by step video demonstrating how to build a Martin’s Cage Model R-660 for rats and other small animals.

What colors can Roof Rats (Rattus rattus) have?

In the wild, most Roof Rats are agouti colored, like Roofy:

However Blondie is a blonde colored roof rat: the only rattus rattus with that color that we have ever seen!  All of her babies with Bobcat are agouti, but we expect the next generation to also have some blonde babies.

But we bred some with light or white facial markings:

Domesticated Rattus Rattus with facial markings

Then white tipped tails:

And now we have bred all black and even pale gray roof rats!

Snowflake is simply beautiful and such a sweetie!  We are so proud of her.

How can I give rats medicine in their drinking water?

It’s probably no surprise that rats generally don’t like taking medicine.  Sometimes, it is easier and less stressful for both you and your rat if you can medicate their drinking water.  This is an option for medicines that dissolve well in water and are stable at room temperature.  Here is the OC Dumbos online rat medicated water dosing calculator.  Please feel free to bookmark and share it.

Because of the small quantities involved, it is sometimes more convenient to pre-mix medicines that some in pills, capsules or packets with water to a specific concentration, so the OC Dumbos dosing calculator allows you to specify how many mg medicine there was per capsule (for example) and how many ml water you pre-mixed it with in a small bottle which you should usually store in your refrigerator.  You would always first shake the bottle to mix the contents, then use a syringe to measure the specified amount from the bottle, and either add it to the drinking water or give it directly to the Rat.

Bottle for pre-mixed medicine
Bottle for pre-mixed medicine


1ml syringe for measuring and giving medicine
1ml syringe for measuring and giving medicine


How can I give rats medicine orally?

Sometimes medicines will need to be given directly in the rat’s mouth.  For example, Amoxicillin, which does not dissolve well and needs to be refrigerated.  Or if you are not sure the rat will drink a “normal” amount of water from it’s bottle: for example, the rat is too sick or weak, or you are feeding it liquids or mashed foods.  Here is the OC Dumbos online rat oral medicine dosing calculator.  Please feel free to bookmark and share it.

Because of the small quantities involved, it is sometimes more convenient to pre-mix medicines that some in pills, capsules or packets with water to a specific concentration, so the OC Dumbos dosing calculator allows you to specify how many mg medicine there was per capsule (for example) and how many ml water you pre-mixed it with in a small bottle which you should usually store in your refrigerator.  You would always first shake the bottle to mix the contents, then use a syringe to measure the specified amount from the bottle, and either add it to the drinking water or give it directly to the Rat.

Bottle for pre-mixed medicine
Bottle for pre-mixed medicine


1ml syringe for measuring and giving medicine
1ml syringe for measuring and giving medicine

Can Roof Rats and Dumbo Rats play together?

People often ask us if Roof Rats and Norway Rats can play together. Apparently, these guys can! BaoBao and Chill are Male Roof Rats, and Rollie and Brownie are Female Dumbo Rats. They got along just fine: there was some rear sniffing and urine marking, like you’d expect in any rattie playdate. A bit of playful chasing, but not much else. The male Roof Rats were similar in size to the female Dumbos, and they had similar activity levels, too. They actually seemed like good playmates for each other.

I introduced Cinnamon and Bear’s Dumbo rat babies to Bandito, an adult male Roof Rat.  The babies (mostly) seem just fine with Bandito and he has no problem at all with them.  He’s mostly just interested in eating a nut.  Roof rats are not aggressive towards babies: I’ve never seen an adult attack a baby of either species.

What is the best way to pick up a rat?

The best way to pick up a rat is to scoop it up from underneath.  You can put one hand or arm next to or in front of the rat, then use the other hand or arm to gently guide or nudge the rat in that direction.  If you do it right, the rat will hop onto you, and run up your arm!

You should avoid grabbing a rat from behind because they don’t like that: it reminds them that they are prey animals, and could be  captured and eaten. They will often squeak and try to escape or defend themselves.

What is a good way to play with my rat?

Rats like it when you pretend to be another rat, and pretend to groom or play fight with them!

What is “Free Ranging?” How can I let my rat Free Range?

Free Ranging is where you let your rat explore on it’s own outside of it’s cage.  Free Ranging can be a lot of fun for both you and your rats, as long as your rat is well behaved and the Free Ranging area is “rat safe.”

  • If your rat likes chewing on things it shouldn’t, make sure the Free Ranging area has nothing dangerous or valuable that it can chew on.
  • If the rat is nervous and likes hiding, make sure the area doesn’t have any places that it can get into and hide, or gaps under the door where it can escape.
  • A cage with an open door, hammock, food and water will be the rat’s “safe place” that it can return to throughout the day.
  • If possible, teach your rat to come when you call it’s name.  That will make it easier to find and retrieve.
  • Practice putting your rat down and picking it up, so you are confident that you can collect your rat when it is time to go home or to keep it safe.

Can rats learn their names? Can I teach a rat to come when called?

Yes, you can easily teach a rat it’s name and to come when you call it.  You just need to call it’s name whenever you offer it a treat.  Rats are very intelligent, and they will quickly learn to associate the sound of their name with getting a reward, and will come running whenever they hear it!

Can rats eat fruit? What fruits are safe for rats to eat?

Rats love fruit, and many fruits are healthy treats for rats!  Here are some fruits that rats like which are safe for them to eat:

  • Melons.  Watermelon, cantelope, honeydew melon.
  • Seedless Grapes or raisins
  • Apple, including the skin if it is washed, but not the seeds or stem.
  • Seedless berries.  Blueberries, strawberries.  But avoid berries with seeds that they can choke on like blackberries.
  • Most pitted fruits.  Peach, plum, apricot.  But do not give them the pits


Are bare wire cage floors safe for Roof Rats?

Yes, bare wire cage floors are safe for Roof Rats.  It’s OK if you don’t cover them.  Your rats will not suffer any discomfort or develop and foot problems.

You can cover you floors if you wish.  However, be aware that Roof Rats chew on everything, and will attempt to shred any material that is soft enough to use for their own nests.  They may also attempt to hide underneath the floor covers, which is unsafe as it will put additional pressure on their feet and bodies, may make it harder for them to breath, and prevent them from interacting with you or their cage mates.

For these reasons, we do not recommend that you cover your floors.  If you do, we recommend that you use a metal plate which is completely welded on all sides so that they cannot go underneath it and there are no sharp edges that they can reach with their paws or nose.  Any other material, such as cardboard, felt or plastic, may potentially cause more harm than good.

Many people believe that Norway rats will develop foot problems if they live in a cage with wire floors.  For this reason, if you post any photos or videos of Roof Rats in a cage with visible wire floors, you will attract negative comments and helpful advice about what you are doing wrong.

Many well intentioned and experienced owners of Norway rats are simply unaware of the differences between Roof Rats and Norway Rats.  They reason that because metal wire is hard and applies pressure to a relatively small area, it must be equally hard on the feet of all species.  But, not all feet are made the same.  Roof Rat feet are adapted for climbing hard, rough surfaces, and hard tough, thick pads that Norway rat feet lack.  Their feet and legs are much larger and more muscular for the rat’s size, and more nimble and flexible.  They can climb around upside down on a wire cage almost as easily as walking horizontally.  In fact, they do it for enjoyment.  The wire doesn’t appear to bother them.

While they are resting, they will normally be in their hammocks.  If they do chose to rest on a wire floor, they naturally distribute their weight such that there are no uncomfortable pressure points, just as they would if they were in a nest made of twigs in a treetop.

Finally, because they evolved for a life climbing and jumping nimbly in trees, Roof Rats are longer and more muscular and slender for their size than Norway rats.  They walk lightly and silently on their feet, as you would expect for a rat that is able to quitely navigate twigs and leaves a hundred feet above the ground while avoiding the attention of predatory birds.  Therefore, they do not put the same pressures on their feet that Norway rats do.

None of this will probably be enough to convince experts you encounter online that what they know is true about wire floors for rats isn’t true for your Roof Rats.  That’s just the nature of the Internet.  If you do post any videos on Reddit with visible wire floors, especially, be prepared to be downvoted and lectured by some people.  My advice is to ignore it: your concern is making your pets happy, not some anonymous strangers!

But, if you can, try to take photos and videos where the cage floors are not visible!

What does a small rat look like?

This is a baby roof ratRoofy when she was a tiny, rescued baby Roof Rat

Are rats soft?

Yes, rats have soft bodies, and warm, soft, smooth fur.  If they enjoy your company, they can be cuddly pets.

What is the black rats’ scientific name?

The Black Rats’ scientific name is Rattus rattus

Where did the black rat originate from?

It is believed that black rats originally came from India.

Lord Ganesha and his Roof Rat vahana
Rattus rattus originated in India: Ganesha with Roof Rat vahana

How many roof rats can live together?

We recommend that you don’t keep more than 4-5 adult roof rats together in one cage.

Where can I get an Emotional Support Animal?

Rats make great emotional support animals!  We have calm, loving and well socialized adult rats available for immediate adoption that would make fantastic Emotional Support animals.  We do not charge for adoptions and you are welcome to visit the rat house to meet them and chose the ones that are most compatible with you.

Do your Roof Rats carry any Zoonotic diseases?

A Zoonotic disease is a disease carried by animals that can be transmitted to people.

We do not believe our roof rats carry any Zoonotic diseases.  We have been breeding them domestically for 7 years, and have had them tested by IDEXX twice for Zoonotic diseases, and the tests were negative both times.  The most recent test was March 29th, 2024:

You can also read about the our test for Zoonotic diseases in our roof rats in our blog post.

Can rats be friends with cats or dogs?

Yes, people have reported to us that their cat or dog and rats accepted each other and even become good friends!

It usually works best when they are younger so they can grow up together.  And it is very important to supervise your pets carefully whenever they are together until you are sure that they are friends.  Obviously, a cat or dog can injure or kill a rat, but it is also possible for a rat to inflict a very nasty bite if provoked.

Even if your pets seem to like each other, it is always possible for them to have a bad day and fight, so be careful (that is true with any animals that share the same space, regardless of species)

Roof Rat friend with Cat
Tommy the Roof Rat friends with Explorer a 14 year old cat


Can Roof Rats share a cage with Norway Rats (Fancy or pet store rats?)

Yes, it is possible for Norway Rats to share a cage with Roof Rats.

Norway rats will be bigger and stronger than Roof rats of the same age and sex, but if your Norway rat  is friendly and non-aggressive, it will generally be OK.  Dwarf Norway rats have similar size and activity levels as Roof Rats, so are an especially good fit!  As with all all introductions between strange rats, you should be careful the first time they meet in case they fight.  It is usually easier to introduce rats when they are very young (like 5-8 weeks old.)  If you would like to try to introduce your rat to one of our rats, please let us know because we can help!

Of special note: Roof Rats and Norway Rats are a different species and cannot make babies together!  However, male rats usually won’t fight with female rats, so if you have a male or female Norway rat that cannot get along with any same sex cage mate, it is possible that he or she will accept an opposite sex Roof Rat as a friend.

Male Roof Rat adopted a litter of baby Dumbo rats
Male Roof Rat adopted a litter of baby Dumbo rats


How can I get my Roof Rat to bond with me?

Roof rats are prey animals.  In the wild, almost everything else bigger than them wants to eat them.  For a Roof Rat, the world is a dangerous place.

That means that they are instinctually wary of new people and situations.  In the wild, this defensive behaviour helps keep them safe.  But, as a new pet, that is something you will need to overcome to get them to trust you, bond with you and love you.  That’s why we invented the Snuggle Hammock, which helps your rats feel safe while you socialize and bond with them.

Rats have another powerful instinct: they love to eat!  And you control the food.  Feeding them helps them to realize that you mean them no harm; in fact, you are the source of their happiness.

Before we were sure that our rats were genetically tame, we socialized our baby Roof Rats when they were just starting to eat solid food, but still eager to drink milk and willing to be hand fed by us.  We were effectively mothering them, so they bonded with us very easily.


Now our roof rats are genetically tame, so we no longer need to hand feed them.  Which is great, because that was really a lot of work!

When you get yours home, you should also use food to bond with them.  Get some unsalted nuts: almonds are a very good choice, as are cashew nuts.  Then, once or twice a day, offer each rat a nut and let them take it from you.  Every so often, try coaxing them out of the cage with the nut.  At some point, hopefully they will start to accept the nut from you while they are on your arm or shoulder.  Once they trust you enough to eat while sitting on your shoulder, then you know that this rat is your buddy!

If you don’t have any nuts, don’t worry: rats will eat almost anything tasty!

My rat is sneezing or coughing what can I do?

If your rat is sneezing or coughing, that is a sign of respiratory disease.

If possible, you should take your rat to a vet to have him or her properly diagnosed and treated.  Even mild respiratory disease can develop into something more serious very quickly if left untreated.  A persistent, chronic cough or sneeze is often a sign of Mycoplasma, which can cause permanent loss of lung function.  This will make it harder for your rat to breath and also contribute to other health issues, especially in older rats.  Chronic respiratory disease is probably the leading contributor to shortened lifespan, especially in male rats.

That said, it is not always practical to take your pet to the vet.  So, it is helpful to know some basic remedies that you can try, and have the necessary medicines at hand.  You will need to weigh your rat, and mix these medicines with something tasty at the correct dosage.  The basics are:

  1. Amoxicillin will treat many common, acute bacterial infections and is safe to give to pregnant and nursing females as well as babies.  Since it is so safe and effective against many infections that might otherwise quickly kill your rat, this should be your first line of defense for a very sick rat.  It is not effective against Mycoplasma, however. 10mg/lb 2x/day for 10-15 days.
  2. Azithromycin is also effective against many common respiratory infections, and it is also safe to give to pregnant and nursing females as well as babies.  It treats different bacteria than Amoxicillin, including Mycoplasma, and it is safe to give both in combination.  It is also anti-inflammatory, which will help your rat breath a bit better.  It’s thought that this is not as effective in treating older rats, where Doxycycline and/or Baytril might be better options.  4-8mg/lb 2x day for at least 14 days.
  3. Baytril/Enrofloxacin should only be given to adult rats unless your vet says otherwise.  Avoid giving to nursing or pregnant females.  This can be especially helpful for older rats with chronic Mycoplasma infections.  If your rat is wheezing, possibly add Doxycycline for additional coverage of bacterial strains as well as it’s anti-inflammatory properties (although, if your rat is that sick, best to take it to a vet if possible.)  15mg/kg 2x day for at least 14 days.
  4. Doxycycline should only be given to adult rats unless your vet says otherwise.  Avoid giving to nursing or pregnant females.  This is generally not given on its own, but in combination with Baytril where is will help against infection, and also act as an anti-inflammatory to help the rat breath better.  5-10mg/kg 2x day for at least 14 days
  5. Ambroxol will help your rats breath better because it is an anti-inflammatory, and loosens up mucus so it is easier for your rat to keep his airways clear.  It also helps antibiotics penetrate to where the bacteria are and improves your rat’s own ability to fight the infection.  It is safe for pregnant or nursing rats as well as babies big enough to eat solid food.  Read my blog post about Ambroxol.  Unfortunately, you will need to order this from Europe where it is OTC, as it is not sold in the USA.  0.5-1mg/kg 2x day as long as your rat is on antibiotics.

How can I pay my adoption fee when I pick up my rat?

We accept cash or Venmo.

What is a big-eared woodrat (Neotoma macrotis?)

Woody and Snoopy are both Big-Eared Woodrats (Neotoma macrotis.)

They are the native “rat” species of Southern California.  I put “rat” in quotes, because they are actually more closely related to Hamsters than “old world” rats, like Norway Rats and Roof Rats!

In fact, Chinchilla or Rabbit food is better for them than Rat food, and they also eat Hay, Grass, leaves and other forage.  However, like rats, they will eat grains, seeds, nuts, berries and other fruits.  Woody and Snoopy’s favorite treats are mealworms (which we hand feed them when it’s playtime!)

Also, they like taking Dust Baths like Hamsters or Chinchillas.  Have a look at Snoopy taking a dust bath!

Here are some more videos of Woody and Snoopy playing and generally being cute!

Woody, the woodrat ignores pesky Snoopy to get her neck massaged

Woodrats playing and taking a dust bath

Snoopy the big eared woodrat
Snoopy the big eared woodrat

Do you EVER sell ANY feeder rats (I.E. for snakes to eat?)

No, we never, ever sell any “feeder rats.”  We only sell rats for pets, period.

And, in case you are curious, that means we also won’t sell you “breeding pairs” so you can grow your own “feeder rats” (and, yes, people have asked us.)

Yes, I understand that other animals need to eat, too, and some of them like to eat baby rats or mice.  We don’t hate those animals, and we don’t blame you for wanting to own one.  Humans eat other animals, too.  But you will need to purchase food for them from a different breeder, because we won’t sell you any.

We personally know and love every single one of our rats, including our babies, and it would be like feeding our daughter to a lion.  I hope you can understand and respect our wishes.  Please don’t ask us about this, even (especially not) as a joke.

This includes Roof rats and Wood rats, by the way.

I reserved a rat from you: what comes next?

We will be contacting you in the next few weeks to make an appointment to come adopt your rats.  Of course, you can call or email us at any time to check on the timing of your litter and which mom and dad it will likely be.  You can even visit us to see the mommy and daddy (and maybe baby) rats in person!

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to prepare for your new arrivals.  You will need a cage with furnishings, toys and food.  If you haven’t already ordered all of that, and would like some advice or a ready made cage and starter kit, we are happy to help!

I heard that rats do better in pairs: is it OK to adopt just one?

Yes, rats can potentially get lonely and unhappy if they are alone in their cage for extended periods of time.  And they might develop behavioural problems, or become less friendly as a consequence.

However, some rats actually prefer having a cage to themselves.  And, if you are willing to spend a lot of time with your rat, then you can keep it from feeling lonely and isolated.  The problem is, most people work or have other responsibilities competing for their time and attention, so the rat may not get enough from you.  If he or she has a cagemate, that won’t be as much of a problem, which is why we generally recommend you get more than one.

Of course, it is possible to start with one and add more later, but keep in mind that an older, established rat may reject newcomers–sometimes violently.  So, if you think you might eventually want more than one, best to adopt them together from the same liter.

How do I adopt a rat from you?

Due to the high demand for our baby Dumbo rats, and limited breeding, they are mostly all reserved in advance.  However, we do breed Roof rats more frequently, so the waiting time is usually much shorter.

If you would like to reserve one or more baby or adult rats, please fill out the online reservation form.

You will then be contacted us regarding the next steps.

Adult rats are also sometimes available on a first come/first serve basis.  If you are open to adopting either an adult or a baby, or if you prefer an adult, please indicate your preference on the reservation form.

The wait for Roof rats might be shorter.  You can contact us, in case we might have Roof rats available immediately, or to ask us questions regarding our rats, rats in general and our upcoming litters.

Should I get males or females: Pros and Cons?



  1. Bigger, so easier to interact with them
  2. Generally less shy, may be more openly affectionate and attached to you.
  3. Calmer, lazier, likely to let you hold and pet them for longer.
  4. Less likely to get cancer or other tumors


  1. More likely to urine mark (neutering can help.)
  2. Some males may be too hormonal, dominant (neutering can help.)
  3. Some people don’t like to see their “male organs.”
  4. More likely to get overweight, respiratory/cardiovascular disease



  1. Eats and drinks less, hence poops and pees less
  2. Generally lives longer
  3. More active, and energetic
  4. Hair is softer, smoother


  1. Less willing to stay put and let you pet them
  2. More likely to get cancer or other tumors
  3. More shy, less openly affectionate
  4. Can also urine mark

What coat, colors and markings do rats have?

Roof Rats come in Agouti and Black colors.

Norway Rats have Rex and Smooth coated rats.  There are also hairless Norway Rats.

The markings range from capped barebacked, hooded, and berkshire.  Some of rats also have variegated and/or blazed markings with attractive white spotting or even full split capped.  These markings are not associated with High White genetics in well bred lines.

Norway Rat colors include albino, black, agouti, mink, pearl, amber and blue.

Do you have any baby rats for immediate purchase?

Generally, no.  Due to the popularity of our rats, they are generally reserved in advance.  The waiting list is currently 5-7 weeks, but we are trying to shorten that, and occasionally people do cancel.

If you would like to reserve our babies, you can do so online.

How old are your babies when they leave their moms?

We keep all of our babies with their moms until they are 5 weeks old.

If you have reserved some rats from us, we will contact you when the rats in your assigned litter are about 4 weeks old, and ask you to make an appointment to come pick up your rats in the coming week.

How much do you charge for babies or adults?

We do not charge anything for rat adoptions to good homes.

Roof Rat Babies and Adult Roof Rats are both a free gift from us.

You must convince us that you know what a Roof Rat is, why you want them, and that you are capable of caring for them.

There is no charge or deposit to get on our waiting list for rats.  You cannot pay for them in advance of picking them up.

I need some baby rats immediately: can I jump the queue ahead of others to get them?

No.  That wouldn’t be fair.  But sometimes one sex or certain colors have a shorter queue, so if you are flexible you might be able to shorten the wait.  If you are also willing to consider adults and rescues, even better.  Finally, most people adopt 2 or more rats, but there are occasionally odd numbers of males or females in litters, so if you are willing to adopt just one rat, or perhaps adopt from multiple litters, you can often get your baby(s) faster.

When you reserve your spot in line, let us know your situation, and how you are willing to be flexible to get your rat(s) faster, and we will try our best to accomodate you.

What is a Roof Rat? How are they different from Norway rats?

A Roof Rat, official name Rattus Rattus, is the native rat species in warmer, coastal parts of the USA.  Norway Rats (Rattus Norvegicus, also called Sewer Rats or Fancy Rats) are the native rat species in the other parts of the USA.  If you see a wild rat here in Florida, or discover an abandoned litter, chances are they are Roof rats.  Dumbo Rats are Norway Rats with funny ears.

Roof rats share a common ancestor with Norway rats, and there are many similarities in their behaviour and appearance.  However, Roof rats have some distinguishing characteristics:

  1. They are smaller than Norway rats, more petite, longer tail, larger eyes and ears, and a more pointed nose.  They have subtle markings and different shades, but right now they are all basically agouti. update: we now have black and pale gray Roof Rats!  They are also all top eared.
  2. Roof Rats are more playful, gentler and less aggressive than Norway rats, so they are a better choice for people who are fearful of rats.  We prefer to breed and own Roof Rats.  We’ve found that once people own a pet Roof Rat, most prefer them over Norway Rats.
  3. To promote Roof Rats as pets, adoptions and no obligation are 100% free of charge.
  4. Young Roof Rats are more active and athletic for their size.  They are better at climbing and jumping, and than Norway Rats of the same age.
  5. Adult Roof Rats mellow out and get lazy.  The activity level of both male and female Roof Rats is similar to that of an adult female Norway Rat.
  6. They are generally healthier and longer lived than Norway rats.  They are less prone to tumors and obesity.  Unlike male Norway Rats, male Roof Rats do not become excessively fat and lazy with age.
  7. They are probably more intelligent than Norway rats.  They can be taught tricks, like coming when called, if you can properly motivate them.  Nuts seem to work as will social interaction once your rat has bonded with you. We easily taught Roofy tricks that felt like fun and games for her.
  8. Roof Rats are so smart that they can learn to do tricks all on their own!  They love playing in water, and some learn how to push the little ball up in their water bottle so they can enjoy a shower!  They let the water run down their bodies, and scrub themselves clean like a tiny person!
  9. Wild Roof Rats are shy and skittish but not aggressive like Wild Norway rats.  Our domesticated, pet quality Roof Rats enjoy human contact, and are very gentle and friendly.
  10. All of our Roof Rats are descended from Roofy our amazingly tame Roof Rat.  She had a tameness mutation which was passed on to many of her offspring, which we selected and bred.  These rats also have noticeable white markings on their face and even white tipped tails!
  11. Roof Rats were challenging to breed in captivity, until we learned their specific behaviours.  For example, they exhibit some interesting tail wiggling mating behaviour which appears to be different than Norway rats.
  12. Although they are different species, Roof Rats and Norway Rats can play together.  Their behaviors are similar, but notice that the Roof Rats spend more time climbing on and interacting with Qiong in the video?  This is because Roof Rats are more playful and vertically orientated than Norway Rats.  And they tend to be more attached to their owners.
  13. We feed our Roof rats basically the same food as Norway rats.  They are skinnier and more active, so we continue to give them Teklad 2018 as adults.  We also supplement their diet with nuts, seeds and bits of fruit.
  14. Roof Rats look similar to Norway Rats, but they are not the same species.  Their energy level can be higher when they are young and they can be more timid until they know you.  You are welcome to visit and play with our baby and adult Roof Rats, and we will answer questions about their personalities and care.

You are invited to take our online training course: Rat Care and Ownership. This course contains accumulated knowledge and advice drawn from our many years of experience and research about Roof Rats. There is simply nothing else like it available on the Internet! It’s free for a limited time only.

Our complete collection of Roof Rat Youtube videos.  Watch us feeding them by hand, playing with them, showing them mating, exercising and other behaviours.

What kind of cage should we get? Bar Spacing, etc.?

We recommend that you avoid cages with plastic tub bottoms, because most of them have edges that rats will chew on, and eventually make holes and escape.

You need no larger than 1/2″ bar spacing for younger rats, or they can escape.

We are currently buying Martin’s Cages for our rats.  We like them because they are sturdy, well made, escape and chew proof and easy to clean.  If you purchase them directly from their website shipping is very expensive.  So, we recommend that you buy Martin’s cages from Chewy because shipping is free. This is a good Martin’s cage for 2-3 Roof Rats.  This is a good Martin’s cage for 2-3 Dumbo Rats.  We made a video demonstrating how to quickly and easily assemble a Martin’s Cage.

Good cage setup and decor is essential for your rat’s health and happiness.  Rats like places to hide, and places to climb, perch and watch the world go by.  We can help you design a good cage setup for your rats, please ask!

What kind of litter do you recommend we use?

We recommend that you use a litter which is made from recycled paper, such as Carefresh White Small Pet Bedding, or So Phresh.  Avoid wood shavings, as they do not absorb odor and urine as well, and some (pine) might be harmful.  Avoid any liter with baking soda or other additives, as your rat may ingest it.

What kind of food do you recommend?

We used to feed our rats Envigo Teklad Global Lab Blocks  In Florida that is hard to buy, so we switched to Mazuri Rat Breeder pellets.

If you can get Teklad, then for young, growing rats (up to 1 year) you should feed them the 2018 diet with 18% protein.  Mazuri Rat Breeder is also 18% protein.

If your older male rat is gaining weight, you should consider switching him to a lower protein diet, such as 2014 diet with 14% protein.  This will help him maintain a healthy weight.

You can purchase these products online (Amazon, etc.), from a local Animal Feed Store such as Kissimmee Valley Feed Store, or from us.  There are other good brands, such as Oxbow, but make sure whichever you chose is specific for rats and has the appropriate protein percentage for your rat’s age.

Lab blocks should make up the majority (90%) of your rat’s diet, as they as specially formulated to be healthy, nutritious and rats like the taste.

But, they will get very boring, so it’s OK to give your rats the occasional treat.  Mostly, anything that you would feed a child is also OK, keeping in mind that too much fat, sugar, salt, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors and etc., are just as bad for rats as they are for you!

Things that rats especially love are: unsalted nuts (in moderation as they are fattening), frozen sweet peas (either frozen like ice cream, or defrosted, like pudding!), Cheerios, lightly salted microwavable pork rinds (i.e. Carolina Gold), whole wheat bread, some fruits (apple, pear, grape, melon), yogurt.  Roof Rats just LOVE almonds: check out the video below…

There are a few things that you should avoid feeding a rat: citrus fruits, gas producing foods or drinks (soda, cabbage, beans, etc.), certain raw foods (potatoes), candy, chocolate, spinach, artificial sweeteners.

If you have any questions or are unsure, please feel free to ask us!

Do you ship rats?

Yes, we can arrange to have your rats shipped to you through Pet Pros, Haulin’ Paws or Hippity Hop Express.

Please see rat shipping information for more details.

If you do not live in a location serviced by any of the above carriers, you can also stay at our margaritaville cottage and take them home with you.

If none of these options work, here is a random, unrelated video you may enjoy…

I found a litter of baby rats, what should I do?

  1. Keep them warm and safe.  Pinkies, especially, are hairless and cannot regulate their body temperature, so put them together in a box with a clean soft towel, cloth or tissue.  Cover the box, leaving a gap for air, and keep them as close to body temperature using a thermostatically controlled heating pad or by holding the box close to your body.
  2. Feed them goat milk or (ideally) replacement formula such as fox valley day one 32/40 with an eye dropper or (ideally) syringe with mini-nipple.  You will need to feed them every 3 hours, day and night.  After feeding, you will need to clear they bottoms to stimulate peeing and pooing.  In our youtube channel, we have several videos demonstrating feeding and care of rescued litters.
  3. Most importantly, don’t worry because we are here to help!  Contact us anytime, day or night with any questions you might have.
  4. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept or care for any baby or adult rats, regardless of circumstances, unless they originally came from us.

Do you ever let people adopt your adult rats?

Yes, all of the adult rats will generally be available for adoption eventually.

Usually, when females have had 3-4 litters (around a year old), they will “retire” and get adopted by some nice family as a pet.

Males will also get “retired” from time to time, to make room in the “boys’ cage” for new fellas.

We charge $20 to adopt one of “our” adult rats.  If you are interested in an adult, you may join our waiting list for an adult by specifying that as your preference.  You can also specify which adult your prefer (if you have a preference.)


Can rats be litter trained like cats?

Surprisingly, yet, many rats can use a litter box as their toilet.

Of course, rats don’t have the same instinctive urge to bury their waste like cats.

But rats will often choose a specific area in their cage to poo and, sometimes, pee.  And, if you put a “litter box” at that spot, the rat will then use the litter box.  After a while, the rat may become conditioned to use the litter box wherever it happens to be.

Some of our rats are even more clever, in that they have figured out all on their own that they need to poo inside of a litter box filled with cat litter.  My wife suggested that they would, and insisted that we keep a litter box on the sofa when we play with them.  I admit I was skeptical at first, but here is a video which proves she was right: Butter making poo in a litter box all on her own

I want to point out that I didn’t try to “train” Butter in any way: I just provided the option, and she did it on her own.  Several of my other rats will use the litter box and, when the other rats see them do it (or smell the results), they will, too.  So, the litter box method works for us, and it might work for you, too.

Give it a try and let me know what happens!

How much do rats weigh?

Males are between 350-450 grams full grown. The alpha in the cage will generally grow bigger than the others.  They can also get “bigger” if you overfeed them, but that will lead to health issues.

Females are between 250-350 grams full grown.  Females are less likely to overeat than males.  Females that have raised litters tend to grow larger with each pregnancy due to the hormones.

How long do rats live?

Males live about 2 years

Females live about 3 years

They may live longer or shorter depending on care and feeding, and exposure to disease.

I have a rat I cannot care for. Can you help?

We are not an animal shelter or animal rescue.  We cannot care for or rehome any adult or baby animals that did not originally come from us.  Hopefully, a Google search can help locate an animal shelter than can help.

However, if your rat originally came from us, then we will help you rehome it.  Just bring us the rat together with the cage and etc., and we will match him or her with a family that will love and care for it.

Do rats bite?

Norway (Dumbo) rats rarely bite, and our Roof Rats never bite (even nursing females.)  If biting is a concern for you, we recommend Roof rats over Norway rats.  The differences between Norway rats (rattus norvegicus) and Roof rats (Rattus rattus.)

If a female rat is nursing young, and you try to disturb them, even the tamest new mommy might become aggressive and snap at you.  I breed rats, so I certainly have been bitten by some moms with babies.  Sometimes it took some gentle prying to get the rat to release it’s grip.

But you cannot fault them for just trying their best to be good momies.  It’s touching, really. to see how hard rat moms work to feed and care for their young, bless their little hearts!

Aside from that, I’ve never been intentionally bitten by one of my rats.  I’ve met some rats owned by others that I wouldn’t trust with my fingertips, but they were abused and neglected.  And even abused and neglected rats can be surprisingly friendly, because most rats crave friendship and companionship.

Rats have teeth, and any animal with teeth is capable of biting.  But most rats would prefer to make friends than enemies.  So, unless you go out of your way to torment and abuse your pet, and corner them so they cannot escape or avoid you, you will most likely not be intentionally bitten.

Is it possible to add new rats to a cage with existing rats?

Yes, especially if the rats are both still younger than 4 months or so.

When rats are full grown, they may feel they need to defend their territory from newcomers.  This is true for both male and female rats.  In the case of male rats, if you can get the alpha rat to accept the newcomer, the others will follow his lead.  Females have less of a strict hierarchy, which means that each rat will make her own independent judgement: some females can be very nasty with younger rats for some reason, so some suggest to wait until young females are 8 weeks old before introducing them into a colony.

The easiest way to introduce new rats is to let them play together, supervised, in a neutral place.  You can also try putting some vanilla extract on the new rat’s belly, chest and rump, so they don’t smell more like a milkshake than a strange rat.  Keep a water sprayer handy to break up fights.  If it doesn’t work out at first, try again later.  Don’t force things, and be prepared for the possibility that you may need to keep some rats separate from others.

Good luck!

Do you know of any other breeders in the area?

We do not currently know of any other local breeders that we can recommend.

If you are a breeder and you’d like to trade links, please get in touch.