To say that rats are cute and clean might sound strange to many of us. But they are adorable pets, who have managed to conquer many hearts. Looked at like a plague, rats do not enjoy too much popularity and give goosebumps to many sensitive people.
But the denigrated rat has managed to make its way into the world of pets, not only in sewers or laboratories. There are breeders of domestic rats, breeds, and even beauty competitions for them.
Rats spend more time for personal hygiene than cats do, and don’t even spit furballs. In the cage, they defecate in one place. The living space must be carefully divided into areas for eating, sleeping, defecating, or playing. Leaving them out of the cage, they will not escape as guinea pigs do. With a little patience, they can be trained to defecate in the litter box.
A rat does not need a large living space. They can even be kept in 40 liters aquariums, with a lid on top, or in regular hamster cages. You don’t need many accessories in the cage, but you can improvise toys and beds. They don’t make a lot of mess, so the substrate doesn’t need to be changed so often.
Currently, pet rats come in a great diversity of shapes and colors, satisfying even the most demanding tastes. There are even hairless rats for allergic people. There are also rats without a tail. But how much does a pet rat cost?
How Much Do Pet Rats Cost?
The cost of a pet rat, bought from a breeder, can go from about $10-$20 up to $50 each. There are also certain types of pet rats that can cost up to $100. Although the average price for a pet rat from a breeder is around $20-$30, most of them will sell them in pairs or even three for a lower price.
The price for a pair of pet rats can go as low as $25-$35 up to $60-$90. No matter the price, the best way to make sure you get a healthy pet rat is to make a visit to the breeder to see if they are raised in a clean environment.
The most expensive rats are as follows:
- Albino lab rat – $100
- Hooded fancy rat – $100
- American blue rat – $150
- Sprague Dawley rat – $222
- Zucker rat – $500
Another option would be for you to adopt a pet rat from a shelter. Depending on the rescue shelter and the age of the rat, as young pet rats cost more, the adoption fees are around $15 up to at least $50 for a neutered/spayed rat.
The cheapest pet rats can be found in pet stores at about $10 or even less. The biggest disadvantage is that in most cases they are sick or they get sick very quickly. In this case, the vet bills will be often high.
Little Paws Rattery is a rat breeder directory that includes many breeders from all around the United States. Here you can find the breeders’ websites with all the information needed about the rats they sell and contacts.
Most of them offer guarantees like a 30 days health guarantee or rat replacement, in case the rat becomes ill, or in the unfortunate event that the pet dies. They can also replace the rat if it becomes aggressive and bites.
Factors that may affect the cost of a pet rat
- One first factor to affect the cost of a pet rat is whether you buy it from a breeder, a pet store or you adopt one.
- The breeder’s reputation;
- The breed of the rat, as there are as we mentioned above, rats that can cost up to $500. Like the Zucker rat;
- The temper of the rat; the temperament is genetic so you can see it in its parents;
- The gender and age of the rat; younger rats are more expensive than older ones;
- The color genetics is another important factor for the price of a new rat; the coloring type such as powder blue, agouti, or grey sell for a higher price;
- Most breeders offer a discount when you buy a pair of rats or more, so this will also influence the cost of a pet rat;
- The geographical location; in this case, the cost may depend on the cost of living from the area where you live or from where you buy the pet rat.
On top of the acquisition cost, you should also consider the cost of owning a rat.
The cost of supplies depends mainly on the number of pet rats. This can be between $100 and $300.
Because rats like movement and it is absolutely necessary for them to have an occupation all the time, it is advisable to have toys of all kinds: large wheels on which to run and which they can spin, balls on which to run, tubes, etc.
The cost of toys runs between $2 and $10, while the cost of a running wheel is between $5-$20.
As food, small amounts of bananas, salad, and vegetables should be placed in their food bowls. From time to time, because it is not very pretentious or too sensitive, it can be fed with pasta, cereals, and even popcorn. You can also find all sorts of rodent food mixes for about $5 to $15 a bag or pellets for $20 per 25 pounds. You can expect to pay between $60 and $120 per year for food.
The enclosure intended for the rat must be resistant to bites and scratches because the rat chews everything in its way. It can be very tempted and stubborn once it has set a goal, for example, that of escaping from the cage, thus, a terrarium would be the most suitable, because it has no possibility to chew the glass walls. A 20-gallon terrarium or a rat cage can cost from $30 to $180, depending on its size and type.
To maintain cleanliness, rat owners will also need bedding in the cage, which costs around $7 to $20 a bag. This should be changed every week, and the wire cage should be washed with hot water and soap or detergent.
Annual expenses are between $300–$400 per year. These costs include mainly food, treats, and bedding, depending on the number of pet rats you have.
Healthcare costs per rat can be between $100–$150 per year. This is due to the fact that rats are prone to form tumors, especially females who suffer from mammary tumors. These creatures are also prone to respiratory infections. Rats live only 2-3 years, so, in most cases is not so affordable to own one as a pet.
Let’s see some other veterinary care costs:
- Neutering a rat is between $40 and $100;
- Euthanizing a pet rat is between $50 and $200;
- A standard veterinary visit is between $35 to $40;
- Tumor removal in rats is between $35 and $150;
- Treatments and vaccines are between $0–$50 per year; most of the time rats do not need vaccination, but if you want to vaccinate them it will cost you up to $50 per year per rat.
- Cages, toys – If you have time and imagination, you can make toys in the house, from various boxes, wood scraps, etc., or even buy a used cage.
- Food – Buy bigger bags of food, as these are usually cheaper. You can also make the treats and snacks yourself.
Don’t think of rats just as disease-carrying animals. Rats, domesticated, dewormed, and raised in hygienic conditions are clean animals that do not spread disease. Rats are social creatures as well. They are excellent pets for both children and adults. The rat is among the smartest rodents and, with a little patience, time and imagination can even be trained. With all this, the disadvantage of owning a pet rat is the huge vet bill, considering the fact that it only lives 2-3 years.