How to Choose a Rat from a Shelter

Alright, so you want a rat. As a pet, that is! And you're getting from a shelter, no questions asked. Good for you!


  1. 1
    Find a nice, plump rat. A skinny rat is not a good choice. Don't get a really plump rat though; just a good sized rat.
  2. 2
    Handle the rat. A rat who bites, runs or struggles is not a good idea.
  3. 3
    Repeat all this until you and a certain rat "click".
  4. 4
    Inquire about the rat's history. Ask:
    • Who owned the rat before
    • Was the rat well looked after
    • Is the rat suffering any health issues
    • Any other things about the rat
  5. 5
    • If the rat (history of the animal, price and all) seems too much, don't get it.
    • If you are totally sure you can handle a rat, fill out an adoption application.
  6. 6
    Enjoy your new pal!


  • Get a pair of rats. Rats are social! Be sure to get the same sex though or you will have more rats than you bargained for.


  • Do not pick a rat up by its tail. The tail may break off. If you must lift a rat up by its tail (e.g., to break up a fight) hold the base of the tail.

Things You'll Need

  • A cage (Martin's Cages are GREAT for rats)
  • Bedding (pine and cedar are toxic to rats) - CareFRESH or Health Pet is a good choice.
  • Toys. Bird toys, large igloos, ferret toys. No hamster toys; they're too small and your little buddy will get stuck.
  • Treats! Rats love yogurt drops.
  • Food (low in protein). Veggie should be part of a daily diet.
  • And lastly, lots of love!

Article Info

Categories: Mice and Rats