3 surprising behaviours of pet rats 0 87

Pet rat behaviour

Rats have been given a bad name by decades of bad press. Far from the dirty, disease-filled pests that are portrayed on our screens, these sociable, clean animals have a few surprising perks to owning them.

These sociable, friendly pets are highly trainable animals who show affection for their owners and have many cute little quirks that make them great companions. They also have a very strange way of showing they’re happy!

With that in mind, here are three surprising behaviours of pet rats.

1. They are incredibly playful animals

This one will be no surprise to those who will have seen the boxing, chasing and excited jumps with their own eyes, but many are unaware that rats spend lots of time playing with each other and their owners. One scientific study actually showed that rats giggle when they are tickled. It’s highly recommended that you fill your pet rat’s cage with lots of enrichment toys and interact with them daily. Many owners report that their pet rats love being chased or to wrestle their hands!

2. They are incredibly social animals and love to show affection

Rats are incredibly social creatures. While of course every animal has its own personality and there are exceptions to the rule, they need to live with at least one other rat and most enjoy lots of daily interaction with their owners. It is not a rare sight to see pet rats snuggled up in the laps, pockets and sleeves of their humans. They will also nibble and lick them, as they would other rats, in a show of affection.

3. They boggle their eyes when they are happy

Surprising when first witnessed, one of the most peculiar aspects of rats is the way they display their contentment. While cats purr and dogs wag their tails, when a rat is very happy or relaxed they will brux and boggle – which is a sort of teeth grinding and very fast bulging of the eyes.

Rats are brilliant pets for all ages and there are many positives that come from owning these friendly, misunderstood animals.

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Which reptiles make good pets? 0 94

While some people might consider reptiles to be unusual pets, many people see them as a more practical and attractive option to cats, dogs and other mammals. The fact they have no fur means that people with dust mite allergies can enjoy caring for them. Here we take a look at three of the more popular types of reptile pets.

Tortoises

Known for being cute, tortoises can appeal to people who wouldn’t traditionally like reptiles.

There are a number of pros to owning a tortoise. In terms of pet care, they’re very low maintenance and compared to cats and dogs they are a lot more harmless. This means that the whole family can enjoy having a tortoise as a pet. Lastly, tortoises can live for 30 years or more, meaning that you can enjoy their company for a lot longer than mammals.

One challenge of owning a tortoise is dealing with hibernation which can last up to 6 months at a time. Depending on where you live this may be a big consideration as the temperature of their hibernation habitat must be monitored and the area will also need to be ventilated.

Terrapins

Like tortoises, terrapins can also appeal to people who wouldn’t normally consider a reptile as a pet. However, terrapins need a bit more pet care. They can be very timid creatures and may become frightened when you pick them up. This is why it’s essential to take your time and give it time to trust you. Hand feeding is the best way to gain the trust of a pet terrapin. It learns to associate you with its food and will eventually lose its fear. Although it can take time to earn a terrapin’s trust, it is well worth it as it will probably begin swimming over to reach you once it becomes used to you.

Bearded Dragons

Named as it is because of its ability to “puff out” its throat until it resembles a beard, the bearded dragon is considered one of the most docile and friendly of all reptiles. With a mild temperament, they will typically allow handling more than most other reptiles.

Once a bearded dragon gets used to its new home, he’ll take pleasure in your company and even scamper to the front of the tank to welcome you.

Photo: Terrapin by Neil T licensed under Creative commons 2

5 things you need to know about micro pigs 0 84

Micro pigs are no longer seen as a fad or even a luxury animal, as many homeowners have now embraced these animals as their family pet. The micro pig is intelligent, fond of people, and unlike dogs, do not need to be walked. Below we share the top five things that you need to know about the micro pig before choosing one as your family pet.

1. How big do they grow?

The size of the micro pig is a huge consideration when it comes to planning your outside and indoor living space for your new pet. Generally, they can reach a height of up to 16 inches and can weight up to 65 pounds. This usually occurs around two years of age.

2. How long do they live?

Micro pigs can live anywhere between five to 10 years, according to the RSPCA. However, it is not unusual for a micro pig to live for up to 25 years if they are healthy and well looked after.

3. Can you potty train them?

This is probably a question that many of us think about, but never dare ask. The good news is that yes, you can. This, however, can take a lot of time and perseverance. Just remember that micro pigs are clean animals and will not use a toilet near their bed. It’s also a good idea to use positive reinforcement and to have an area outside for toilet purposes.

4. Can they be kept indoors?

This very much depends upon your indoor living space. Ideally, they should be kept outdoors, but if you have an indoor living space that is at least 36 square metres, and has access to the outside, then this is also acceptable.

5. The outdoor area

The most important aspect here is that your micro pig can roam free in a safe outdoor space. It needs to be able to provide lots of space and to prevent the micro pig from escaping. As the micro pig is not very good at regulating its temperature, they are very prone to heatstroke. For this reason, they need to have shelter from the sun.