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Some Things You Need to Know

Before running out and purchasing one of these cute and cuddly looking rodents there are definitely some things you need to know. They are not the average rat with a lifespan of three years but can live for up to seven years in captivity, weigh an average of four pounds and grow up to 72 centimeters in length. They are also nocturnal animals so be forewarned that you may not get much sleep.

Because an African Pouched rat is a wild animal it is important to acquire one when still very young so that it becomes used to being handled. Also because it is a wild creature it may or may not become aggressive as it ages. It is therefore essential that you socialize it from a very young age and spend lots of time with it if you want it to become as tame possible.

Where Does One House All that Energy?

Due to their size and energy levels these rats need a lot of space for romping around and kicking up a storm. It is best then to build a very big cage with a solid metal surface as they will quickly chew through wood or plastic. Your rats will also need several levels in the cage with a variety of toys, a custom made wheel and smaller enclosures with natural materials suitable for nesting. Also stock up on hardwood toys (organic) as they love to chew things. Ladders and ropes will also keep them healthy and stimulated. If you can, set aside a fairly big room in your home or an outbuilding to house these pets.

Do not allow them too much space outside their cage as they may decide that they need to protect that area too. They are intensely territorial and the males can become aggressive in protecting this territory. Also never put your hand too near the face of a male whilst in its space as it will likely bite you. When you remove your rat from its cage for playtime it must be confined to a small area to maintain its limits and remain domesticated.

Caring For Your Pouched Rats

Place your water bottle outside the cage so that it can’t be chewed up and keep it filled. Your rats will enjoy fruits and vegetables, grains, seeds, raw mixed nuts and good quality pellets. Note that in filling a dish with food it will be emptied in a very short time as your rats are hoarders and will hide snacks beneath their bedding.

As far as hygiene is concerned, your rats will defecate in one corner so it is a good idea to place a catch bowl underneath that area. Unfortunately they will urinate all over the place so you will have to clean daily. If you look after your rats well and spend a lot of time with them, they will become fairly well domesticated and provide you with hours of pleasure.

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