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Do Pet Rats Attract Other Rodents?

Last Updated: 26.02.20


In short, pet rats do no attract other rodents but you will need to be careful to clean their cage frequently and thoroughly since leftover food can indeed be a magnet for other pests. If you want to learn more, our informative article that you can read below will be of help, so check it out.


The relationship between pet rats and other rodents

Many potential pet owners avoid getting a rat because they think that it is a dangerous animal that is not meant to be kept near people or small children. The truth couldn’t be further from that, and while we will explore more of the common misconceptions below, we will first focus on answering the question on hand.

If you are wondering if having a pet rat will mean that other nasty rodents will come swarming in your house, the answer is no. Rats do not attract mice or any other rodents since it is not the smell of other rodents that attract these nasty pests but rather the smell of food.

Thus, if you have a house that has plenty of exit routes, a lot of clutter, left out food and garbage around for wild mice and rats to be tempted, then the answer would be yes. Of course, this has nothing to do with the pet rat in the cage since this would happen even without it.

In case you have a rodent problem in your home, it is entirely possible for these pests to try and enter your pet’s habitat looking to steal some food. Seeing your furry companion with new roomies in its cage may fool some pet parents into thinking that they got there because of the pet rat and that its smell somehow attracted them when the food was in fact to blame.

Rodents of different species do not get along very well, especially since these animals are very territorial. If you end up having a rodent problem in your home, it is best to protect your pet rat since if the wild rodents get too close to it, they could attack one another and your pet might get injured or even die.

This is valid for pet rodents as well, which is why you should never try and have your pet rat coexist with a hamster for example, since the results could be disastrous. Among the many differences between these two species, the most important one is that rats are social while hamsters are more solitary animals.

In colonies, rats are used to surrounding themselves with many of their own kind but hamsters enjoy their solitude and they can become aggressive and bite if their space is invaded.



How to prevent rodents from getting in your house

As previously mentioned above, while pests can show up in a home for a variety of reasons, such as looking for warm shelter during the colder months, most of them come in looking for your unsecured food. Because most pests are relatively small, they are attracted to small pieces of food such as crumbs, bits of cereal, corn kernels, etc.

The food of your pet rat is also quite small and easy to accidentally drop on the floor from where it will begin to attract some other rodents and pests. To avoid this, you will need to try your best not to leave food sitting out when the pet rat is not eating. If you do want to leave it out, you will need to get an enclosed container that only your rat can have access to.

There are lots of containers on the market that you can get and some of the best options are those made of durable plastic. If you use the plastic bag your food came in, undesired rodents will be able to chew through it in a matter of seconds. Plastic containers, on the other hand, are durable and cannot be chewed through as easily.

Keeping your food secure is the first step to solve this problem since if you do not clean your pet’s habitat often enough or as thoroughly as it needs, it is still possible to attract other rodents. The root of the problem is once again the food. If you do not clean the cage often enough, the food can fall out of it and onto the floor.

Once the food finds its way around your house, especially if it falls in corners, under furniture, or other spots where you might not even notice it, mice and other rodents will quickly become attracted by it. Thus, during your weekly cleanup of the cage, you should take the time to ensure that everything in the cage and the area surrounding it is clean.

Furthermore, if you don’t want to attract other rodents, you will need to keep your rats indoors. If your pet rats are kept in outdoor conditions or in the garage, it is much easier for them to attract unwanted guests. The closer the cage and the pets are to other rodents, the easier it will be for them to smell the food.

While in such a scenario the rodents might not get in your home, they do share parasites and diseases, so being in close proximity to other wild rodents can put your pet rats at risks, even if your cage is secure enough not to let the wild rodents enter.

Thus, as long as you keep your pets indoors and keep your home and the cage clean, then the other rodents outside won’t even know that your pet rat exists, and you will have nothing to worry about.


Other misconceptions about pet rats

Because rats have a bad reputation compared to hamsters, gerbils or other pet rodents, many owners are very reluctant to get one. Some people believe they are violent, others think they are creepy, and there seems to be a common misconception that they can spread diseases. All of these myths and more will be covered below.

Popular culture has made rats seem as dirty animals but what they’re presenting are wild rats and the same characterization applies to virtually any animal that lives out in the wild. As far as domestic rats are concerned, this couldn’t be further from the truth. They are not dirty at all as long as you clean their cage at least once a week.



Domestic rats also love to clean themselves and they spend most of their waking hours grooming, and as a result, they have a fur that is very soft and shiny. Pet rats unlike their wild relatives can’t catch and spread diseases, especially diseases that can affect people.

While it is true that your pet might get sick, a quick visit to the vet will help it get better in no time. To get a disease an animal needs to be exposed to harmful bacteria, feed on infected food or be exposed to filthy environments. As long as you care for your pet properly and keep it indoors, the chance of it catching or spreading diseases is close to none.

Another misconception about pet rats is that they are violent and they will bite you. Once again, this myth is based on the behavior of wild rats which won’t think twice before biting you. It is important to note the domestic rats are used to people and unlike their wild cousins they won’t be terrified by us, and they won’t become violent either.

It is extremely rare for a pet rat to bite anyone and if it does chances are it is because something is wrong with it. Pets bite in order to tell you that they are sick or in great pain and even then, reports of pet rats biting owners are very rare.

Rats are also very affectionate and this is the primary reason why so many pet parents love them. Much like a dog, they like to lick the hand and face of their owners and these kisses are signs of affection, they don’t do it because you might have something tasty on your skin.

They are very intelligent pets, they love to solve problems and are quick to learn new tricks. They also need a lot of interaction with their owners and this makes them perfect choices for owners who are looking for a pet that can be very affectionate.




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Irina Ionescu

As a long-term learner and animal lover, Irina helps her readers find the best products and accessories for their pets, as well as the latest training techniques, tips & tricks on how to handle animals.

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