Friday, March 29, 2019

Prevent Your Pet CHINCHILLA From Experiencing Environmental Stress

Chinchillas, rodents and pets
Chinchillas, rodents and pets
(Photo credit: 
There are ways you can prevent your pet chinchilla from experiencing environmental stress.  You as the owner should make sure all their needs are satisfied.  You should also make sure that you are reliable enough to take care of their needs.  Your pet depends on you to take care of them physically and emotionally.

Make sure the cage is large enough where they can run around and play.  Be sure to include a wheel where they can exercise, some toys they can chew on and a hideaway.  All of these items can prevent your pet from being bored and stressed out.  You should also cover their cage will also help them be less stressed and provide a sense of security.  Make sure they get their daily exercise away from their cage.  This helps them to be able to roam around and not be holed up 24 hours a day.  This by itself can be stressful because they'll feel locked into one entity, which would be their cage.

If you must employ a change with your pet in the way of ownership, living arrangements or meeting other chinchillas, introduce it gradually.  Your pet will be more accepting of a slower process than they would of a quick and rash one.  A quick and rash one does nothing but contributes to more unnecessary stress.

Added stress can contribute to shock.  In your pet's case, this happens when they feel they can't consume the magnitude of what's going on around them.  The chinchilla feels their situation is out of control and can't be corrected.  They're unable to digest the scenario.  This type of shock can result in immediate declining health and/or death; sometimes, they may decline slowly and eventually expire.  Stress-related shock doesn't happen often, but if your pet has hyperactivity, they'll more likely to experience it.

It's normal for your pet to be wary of the unknown.  Eventually, they'll learn to adjust.  Chinchillas are used to routines.  They like to stay in the land of familiar surroundings and not rock the boat.  They don't particularly care for challenges, especially when it means making a change that affects them directly and swiftly.  If they have to, they will change, but they prefer to remain uninterrupted.  If they are in an unsafe environment, then it is essential that changes are made.  Eventually, your pet will appreciate your efforts to move them into better surroundings.

Your pet prefers to be in a setting where they're not threatened by change.  However, if they do have to change scenery, the most important thing is that they have time to get adjusted.  Depending on how old they are and their health status, some chinchillas adjust faster than others.  The biting of fur would occur mostly in an older animal.  This may come from having another animal in the house.  The older one would feel that their territory was being invaded.

Changes that would make your pet feel happy are a new cage, television or a new movie or a new chew toy.  More times than not, they would welcome these with open arms.  If in the event, any of these items don't satisfy them and cause stress, you'll have to make some adjustments so they can adapt and eliminate the stress. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Got A PET RAT? Some Helpful Tips About Pet Rats - Pet Rat Health, Pet Rat Training, and Pet Rat Car

English: A pet fancy rat: black? standard blaze
A pet fancy rat: black? standard blaze
(Photo credit: 
However, more people than commonly thought to own a pet rat, or even several pet rats - often nicknamed fancy rats. If you have arrived here you may own one or some already, or thinking of owning one, or simply want to know more about the fancy rat. Whichever is true, you should know that pet rats are more delicate than some might think, and caring for them requires a lot of attention to detail. Here you will learn some tips about attending to pet rat health, which pet rat cages are best and how they should be prepared for your pet rat, and general tips about pet rat care and pet rat training.

In order to house your pet rat, care must be taken to which cage you choose and how to prepare it. The cage should be large enough so that your fancy rat has room to run around. It should be made to provide an environment of different activities for your pet rat - toys to play with and keep your fancy rat interested are very important, for example, because fancy rats can literally get sick with boredom. The cage should also have places in which your pet rat can snuggle and rest, and preferably something it can climb. The cage floor should be properly bedded with newspaper or some fabric. Keep an eye on the cleanliness of the cage as well - clean it on a weekly basis, at least.

Which toys should you use in the pet rat cage? well, pet rats have personalities, and each pet rat is different. An old tennis ball can be good for one, a wooden ring to chew on can be good for the other. At the end of this article, you will find a pointer to the source of an abundance of ideas for pet rat toys. However, just like with a child, your pet rat can have all the toys in the world - but nothing would match up to some quality time with you. So make time to play with your pet rats. Pet rats are also good companions for each other - if you put more than one of them in the same cage (if the cage is big enough, of course) they'll be able to play with each other, and that will make their lives much better and more interesting.

Pet rat care begins with what you feed them with. Rats can eat pretty much everything, but in order to keep your pet rat healthy, there are certain things you can do with regards to their diet. You can feed them ready-made mouse food that you buy in a shop, but make sure you diversify it with bits of fresh fruit and vegetables (except citrus fruit which is bad, especially to males). Trial and error will tell you which foods your pet rat loves best - like I said, rats have personalities, and each one is different. You can sometimes even spoil your pet rats with a sweet delicacy such as a dog biscuit if you find they like it. You can also hide food in their cages for them to look for. Water should be given in a drip bottle attached to the wiring of the cage - make sure water never runs out.

A healthy diet, without overfeeding, will generally keep your pet rat healthy. But pet rat health requires attention in other aspects too. For example, pet rats are very sensitive to heat or cold. They should be given worm cloth to snuggle in during cold days, and fed cold food (such as frozen veggies) on hot days.

If your pet rat does not act like its usual self (particularly if it's much quieter or more indifferent than usual), if it does not drink or eat normally, or if it sneezes often or shows signs of breathing difficulty - it may be sick. If you notice a lump in your pet rat's body, that may be a sign of serious illness. Rats may also contract skin diseases or worms in their digestive systems. Whatever the symptoms are, the best thing to do is to when you notice something out of the ordinary is to take it to the vet, the sooner the better.

What about pet rat training? Is that even possible? Of course it is! That is the fun part. Rats are very intelligent animals. They catch on fast, they are curious, and they aim to please.

Don't push your pet rat too much in training or teaching trick. Be patient. This is not a race.

Rats can be trained to litter at particular places in their cage, and save you some trouble cleaning it. You can create a corner with some special bedding for that, place older litter in it so your pet rats can smell it. If there are certain places in the cage your pet rats prefer to litter at their own will, don't fight them. Create that litter tray where they prefer it to be.

Pet rats can be taught many things - to come to you when you call their names, stand on their hind legs and clap the forepaws, and so much more. Their reward is mainly food, and praise from you. Be patient, it takes time.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Raising Baby Ferrets

Photo: Pixabay
Ferrets can be purchased from a breeder or adopted from a shelter even when they are young. Baby ferrets are better known as kits and if you choose to get a male, it is called a hob while a female is called a Jill. 

When you acquire them, they have already been weaned and they now need adult nourishment. Since their teeth are not yet sharp enough to chew anything, it is best to soak the food in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes before this is given. You must never give them cat food because studies have shown that this causes health problems. 

Kits need more fat and protein than kittens. This is because they have a short gastrointestinal tract and a rapid intestinal transit time which means it takes some time for the food to pass through the stomach and into the intestines. When you are looking for the right food product to buy, look at the label and see to it that this contains 35% protein and 20% of fat. 

The baby ferrets need a balance of meat and poultry products as this will decrease the risk later of urinary tract obstructions later on in life. Aside from that, they must also be given water constantly either in a dish or bottle. 

As the baby ferrets grow older, you can give them occasional snacks such as bananas, crackers and raisins but only in small amounts.

Aside from food, baby ferrets should be housed in a cage. This should be big enough to let them move around and be easy for you to clean. There should also be sufficient bar spacing so they are not able to escape. It must also have a large door so the kit will not have a hard time getting in or out. 

The bottom of the cage should have a plastic bottom so you can easily clean it. This will allow you to change the bedding or simply wash it. If buying one is expensive, you can make one by sewing a few scraps together and putting it inside. 

When the ferrets are still young, you should already begin toilet training them. This will enable them to put their waste in a litter box instead on your carpet. The best way to do this is by putting a small amount of waste in the box and when they do this correctly, you give them a snack as a reward. You should be careful not to punish or hurt them when they are still learning because these creatures do bite back.  

Eventually, they will get a hang of it and to protect your home and your pet, it is best to ferret-proof your home to prevent any untoward incidents. 

One of the things that a baby ferret needs are a toy to play with. There are plenty of these in the market. Just make sure that they can withstand the ferret’s sharp teeth. In fact, some baby toys and rattlers are fun for them to play with so you should supervise how they use it because they will eventually eat their way through it.  

Baby ferrets need constant love and attention. Don’t forget to also bring them to the vet for vaccinations and anti-rabies shots so they will be able to stay with you for a long period of time. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What to Do When FERRETS Bite Hard

English: A picture of a ferret's teeth, very w...
A picture of a ferret's teeth, very white and in good condition
(Photo credit: 
Ferrets bite hard. That’s not an option, but it’s a sad risk ferret owners have to consider. It can happen to anybody at any time with a nearby ferret. But there’s no need to panic. Most bites are not as harmful but still, precautionary measures must be taken properly. 

A Quick Look on Ferret’s Teeth Structure

Ferrets’ teeth are in many ways synonymous to human teeth. But the lethal part in the ferret’s dentures would have to be the tip of their canines. That is the sharp part that some owners decide to cut off at the outset of its growth to avoid ferret bits from plaguing the whole ferret experience.

The good thing is that ferrets’ canine tips can naturally break off from excessive biting of objects. Giving them hard toys they can chew, for example, can help eliminate the threat of its sharp canines.  

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 1: Assess the extent of the damage. If bitten, the very first thing to do would be to assess the depth of the bite. If it is just a minor scratch, clean the wounds but do not make any dismissive presumptions. In the case where you are confronted with a major bite, you need to have it checked immediately. 

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 2: Clean the wound immediately with your first aid kit. Cover it afterward. Having a first aid kit would be very beneficial for both you and your pet ferret. Wash with soap and water, clean it with peroxide, cover it with gauze and if all else fails to proceed to the next step. Note the color of the wound and make sure that the blood flows for a considerable amount of time before cleaning it up. 

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 3: Go to the nearest doctor. Seeking the help of a medical professional will help you have the objective assessment of the wound. It will also ensure that you did not acquire any infections from the ferret bite.  

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 4: Have the ferret checked by the veterinarian. It is not just you who needs to be checked but you also need the help of your veterinarian to have your ferret checked. You also have to have the dentures of your ferret checked to see if there are any remnants of the skin or anything unusual that came from the bite. This is to ensure that both your health and the ferret’s health remain uncompromised.     

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 5: In the case where one ferret bites another, have them both checked and keep them in separate cages until the tension dissipates. In the case of a ferret to ferret bites, you will have to have both of them checked with a veterinarian. If at all possible, analyze the causes of hostile behavior. Eventually, you may have to combine them in a single place again but make sure that this is done with utmost care and in a gradual manner.  

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 6: Furnish your first aid kit immediately for both humans and ferrets. 
Your ferrets must also have their own first aid kit, furnished with pretty much the same thing that the human first aid kit has except that all the objects are downsized to suit your furry creatures.

Exert caution in treating wounds of your ferrets, otherwise, they will see it as an attack and bite you as you treat it.  

Monday, October 8, 2018

How To Re-home Your CHINCHILLA

Domestic chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera x ch...
Domestic chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera x chinchilla brevicaudata)
(Photo credit: 
Re-homing your chinchilla is not necessarily a delight to accomplish.  However, if you are in a situation where you can no longer properly care for your chinchilla, the best thing to do is to seek out someone who can give it the love and care that they need.  It will break your heart to let your pet go, especially if you've become bonded to it.  It's also better if you let someone else handle it rather than let it suffer and die.  

You can start your search by placing classified advertisements in the section designated for exotic animals or chinchillas.  Make sure you let them know that there is an adoption fee attached.  You should set the fee at a starting price of $50.00.  It has been advised that you should set it higher than that.  This way, you will weed out the freebie seekers or cheapos.  These types of people are usually not interested in taking care of a chinchilla; they just want to purchase it for their own corrupt whims.

The purpose of the adoption fees is to see if the candidate can properly and is financially able to take care of an exotic pet such as a chinchilla.  Chinchillas need routine care not only from you, but also from a specialized veterinarian.  When you're dealing with specialties, that usually costs more than general things.  If the interested person has an adverse reaction to the fees, then that's a strike against him.  You'll know that they're not interested in the chinchilla's well being.  You want to make sure that the person getting your pet is the most qualified.

Find out how long this person has been taking care of chinchillas.  Did they keep them healthy and active?  Ask them what kind of food did they feed them.  Let them know what brand of pellets and hay you used, in the event, it's different from what they use for their pets.  If they already have a chinchilla, will they try to get them together as mates?

Find out more information about trying to have more than one chinchilla in the same household.  Find out about their veterinarian and how he or she takes care of their chinchilla(s).  Does he or she have the best interest of the pet in mind?  If the person were to go on vacation or had an emergency, is there someone available who is knowledgeable in taking care of chinchillas?

If they can answer your concerns and you feel comfortable with them, then your chinchilla may have a new owner and a new home.  Before the prospect signs on the dotted line, take your chinchilla over there to see if they will adapt to their new environment.

The place should be clean and free from a lot of noise.  Chinchillas aren't comfortable with excessive noise in their domain and it's easy for them to get infections.  See how your pet interacts with them.  If they do well and pass the test, then you probably have a winner.  If your pet clams up and doesn't get comfortable, then you may have to continue looking.

Monday, August 20, 2018

MICE As Pets - The Perfect Low Maintenance Pet That Will Even Learn Tricks

A female fancy mouse with her litter
A female fancy mouse with her litter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mice are a popular choice of pet and unlike their generally bad reputation can be very sociable, intelligent and clean. The most popular type of mouse to have as a pet is the regular domestic mouse which is available at almost any pet store. More specialized types of mice are also available. Pet mice owners believe mice to make the perfect pets because they are fairly low-maintenance, do not make a loud noise and are sociable animals. 

When you purchase a mouse you will obviously have to choose a suitable home for it. The most popular type of housing for mice is the metal cage with a solid floor. This will allow your mouse to grip and climb up and down the walls of the cage. You will need to put a soft layer of hay, shavings or shredded paper on the floor of your mouse's cage. This will have to be cleared out at least once a week to prevent the cage turning smelly. You can equip your mouse's home with toys and play objects fairly cheaply, by adding decorations like pipes, through which they can tunnel, blocks, running wheels and empty cartons. Mice are nocturnal animals and so love to run around and play at night.

While the best type of food that you can feed your mouse will be available at your local pet store, you can also give your pet other alternatives like, leafy vegetables, carrots, celery, cereal and even certain types of worms. Beware that there are some foods that you should never feed your mouse. These include; peanuts, uncooked meat, citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges, as well as garlic. If you feed your mouse a new type of food product and notice that it develops diarrhoea or skin irritations you should seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

Much like a cat or dog your pet mouse can also be taught tricks like coming when it is called. After exercising a little patience and trial and error, you will see that your mouse will quickly dispel those rumours that they are un-intelligent animals.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Origins and History of RATS

English: Spotted a white rat at Karni Mata's t...
Spotted a white rat at Karni Mata's temple.
(Photo credit: 
Rats have not always been the fun, multi-coloured, patterned little pets that we see or own today. There are many different species and they can be found more or less all over the world. They play a major part in history and religions worldwide, as well as in today's modern society. This article aims to explore the history of rats in various different cultures.

Let's begin with the origins. Rats are rodents of the Muroidea family. As rodents, their teeth grow continuously and they need to gnaw things on a regular basis to prevent their teeth from overgrowing and causing painful damage to their heads. They are not picky in what the gnaw, they can even gnaw through concrete and steel and are reputed to have a biting pressure of up to 7000lbs per square inch.

Many rodents and small mammals are described as rats although they are not 'True rats', an example of these include the North American Pack Rat and the Kangaroo Rat. 'True Rats' are rats which fall into the Latin genus Rattus, the most common of these being the Black Rat - Rattus Rattus and the Brown Rat - Rattus Norvegicus. These two rats are the best known and most important to humans. The Black Rat is timider and less seen compared to the Brown Rat. This is mainly due to the Brown Rat driving out the Black rat, taking over its habitat and competing for its food. Many other species have also become endangered through competition with both the Black and Brown Rat. Fancy Rats are of the Rattus Norvegicus species, the same as sewer rats!

Rats are distinguished from mice by their size, mice generally being smaller and lighter. This is not an entirely accurate way to determine the class, as some rats can have the characteristics of mice and vice versa. As new species are being discovered the standard classifications can be confusing.

Brown Rats originated in Asia in the grasslands of China. They began to spread across Europe in 1553 and arrived in the US in 1775 after hiding away and travelling on cargo ships. Black Rats arrived in Britain long before the Brown Rat although there is no specific record of an exact time. Reports of bones found in London indicate that the Black Rat lived there as early as the mid-third century A.D and in York in the 5th Century A.D.

Today's rat is opportunistic and lives near to humans, quite often in their houses! This has caused them to become classed as pests. Since one pair of rats can produce up to 300 young per year, many places have become overrun with the mischievous little critters.

Most people don't realize that rats are a lot more complicated and interesting than they are portrayed. They live in colonies which contain complex hierarchies, where they form deep bonds, often risking their own lives to save family and friends. They are highly social, very intelligent and possess psychological traits very similar to humans.

English: Rattus norvegicus, the Brown Rat. Deu...
Rattus norvegicus, the Brown Rat.
(Photo credit: 

A group of rats are known as a pack, or more aptly a 'mischief'. The males are referred to as bucks, females as does and the young as pups or kittens. Domesticated rats differ greatly to their wild counterparts, with smaller hearts, brains, livers, kidneys and adrenal glands. They are also more prone to illness, possibly due to inbreeding.

These animals are usually portrayed as being dirty and diseased, though it is not true. Rats are constantly cleaning and grooming themselves and other pack members. Wild rats are generally robust and healthy, though city dwelling rats have poor diets and can have internal parasites. These cannot be passed on to humans. In fact, rats have very few zoonotic conditions. The most well known of these is Leptospirosis which is also known as Weil's disease and infects the liver, although this is very rare.

Rats have spread all over the world and are worshipped in many cultures. Though in the Western world they are still frowned upon, possibly because of their association with the Black Plague which I will talk about later on.

First, let's look at India, where rats are treated like royalty. In the North West Indian city of Deshnoke, there stands an ornate temple dedicated to Karni Mata, the rat Goddess. Many people in our society would describe the interior of the temple as horrifying, but to a rat lover such as myself, the contents are both wondrous and beautiful.

Thousands of furry brown bodies writhe across the floor and scurry up the intricate gold and silver work that lines the walls. The temple is overrun with rats, there are well over 20,000. It is the duty of the attending to put out bowls of milk and grain for the swarm of rats because they believe that eventually, these furry brown souls will be reincarnated as Sadhus, Hindi holy men. People pilgrimage to this temple, travelling miles just to sit and share food with the rats, or Kabbas, their name for the holy animal. They often eat and drink from the same bowls as the rats, believing that food touched by a Kabbas is a blessing from God.

Many people in our culture would find this temple to be strange or revolting, but it cannot be denied that all religions practise customs that may seem strange to an outsider. The rat loving Hindu temple was constructed in the 1900's by the Maharaja Ganga as a tribute to the rat Goddess Karni Mata. Kings often constructed temples to Goddesses more than Gods, believing the Goddesses to be more sympathetic and likely to help them achieve their goals.

The legend goes that Karni Mata was a mystic matriarch from the 14th century. It was said that she was an incarnation of Durga, the Goddess of power and victory. At some point during her life, the child of one of her clansmen died. She tried in vain to bring the child back to life, only to be told by Yama, the God of death, that the child had already been reincarnated. Karni Mata then cut a deal with Yama: From that point onwards, all of her tribe's people would be reborn as rats until they could be reborn into her clan once more.

The rat is also recognized in India as the vehicle of Lord Ganesh and pictures often depict him riding on the back of a rat. There are always statues of rats in the temple of Ganesh. In Curzon Park, Calcutta, India there is an attraction simply named 'Rat Park', where hundreds of rats scurry around inside a huge wire enclosure.

In Imperial Chinese culture the rat is the first animal of the Chinese zodiac. Rats are revered for their quick wit, ability to hold on to items of value, friendliness, natural charm and loyalty to their friends and family. The year of the rat falls in 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 and 2008. People who are born in the year of the rat are said to possess the rat-like qualities of creativity, honesty, generosity and ambition, but also a quick temper and wastefulness.

The rat is the first animal of the Chinese zodiac and the story goes that the twelve animals were stood on the bank of a river arguing about who should head the cycle of years. The Gods were asked to decide and they held a contest, whoever reached the opposite side of the river first would win and the rest would receive their years in the order that they finished. They all jumped into the river, but what the ox didn't realize is that the rat was travelling on his back. So the rat jumped off first and won. The pig was very lazy and finished last. That is why the rat appears first, with the ox second and the pig has the last year.

In old Japan, white rats were seen as the messenger of one of the seven Gods of luck, Daikoku. It is because of this reason that rats are not killed. There is an old story about rats in the Japanese culture: An elderly rat coup0le wanted the strongest husband in the world for their daughter. They asked the sun, who declined, saying that the clouds were stronger than him as they could cover him up. They asked a cloud who said, 'The wind is stronger than I because he can blow me away.' The wind could not make the grade either, 'The wall stops me cold,' he said. Even though the wall was honoured by the offer, he wailed 'The rat is stronger than I! He can bore a hole right through me!' So the couple wisely gave their daughter in marriage to another rat, who was indeed the strongest creature of them all. At New year, the Japanese leave rice cakes out to honour the rats.

In Ancient Rome there was no classification between rats and mice, they were simply referred to as 'big mouse' and 'little mouse'. The Romans saw rats as omens, seeing a white rat was considered auspicious, though black ones had unfortunate significance. It was said that if a rat had gnawed your personal possessions, you should postpone any business you may have been considering that day.

It is unclear as to whether or not rats held any significance in Ancient Egypt. There are pictures which show anthropomorphic rats, but there appears to be no rat deity. It is believed that rats were pests in Egypt, destroying crops and belongings, which is probably why the cat is held in high favour.

Perhaps the most memorable event in British history concerning rats is undoubtedly the Black Plague. It is possibly because of this that the Western world has such a negative association with the rat.

It is often said that the rats were the actual cause of the Black Plague. This is not true, the rats themselves were also victims. The plague was caused by the microorganism, Yersinia Pestis, which was carried by the Tropical Rat Flea. The bacteria blocked the flea's stomach causing an insatiable hunger. So the fleas fed on the rats. During the feeding process, the flea would regurgitate some of the bacteria into the open would, infecting its victim. After a while, the victim died and very soon the starving flea had less and less to prey on, so it moved on to another victim, humans.

The disease itself flared up in Mongolia in the Gobi desert around 1320 and rapidly spread along the trade route, infecting much of Asia before moving through Europe. The plague eventually arrived in Britain in 1348, and by 1349 every town and village in Britain had been infected.

The disease became known as the Bubonic Plague, as it caused painful swelling of the lymph nodes - buboes. Throughout the years there were many cases as the plague came and went through areas of Britain. But in 1665 the great plague hit London, killing half of its population. The disease was spread from person to person via airborne water droplets, mainly coughs and sneezes. Due to the lack of medical knowledge at the time, it raged through the city. An epidemic was upon us.

It started as an acute fever with headaches, exhaustion, chills and delirium. The lymph nodes swelled up and became hot and painful to touch. The final stages were septicaemia, coughing up blood and a lung infection. Four or five days later, death arrived.

No one really knows how the plague eventually came to an end. Reasons could have been lack of food sources, the bacterium becoming weaker or simply the fact that the surviving humans were becoming immune. Frighteningly enough, the Bubonic plague is still common in parts of the world today, though it can be treated and does not have the same devastating effects.

During the Victorian ages, London was swarming with rats. Rats being the cheeky, opportunistic creatures that they are, realized that there was plenty of food and places to live instead of having to struggle for survival. The abundance of rats leads to a cruel new blood sport, which although is ghastly and gory, is one of the reasons we have Fancy Rats today.

Rat baiting was seen as an entertaining way to keep the pests under control. Men caught large amounts of live rodents and brought them in sacks to public sporting houses. The rats were then dumped into a pit with a dog, or sometimes even a grown man. The dog (or man) was then timed as it tore through the pack. Whichever dog killed the most rats in the shortest time was declared the winner.

Jimmy Shaw managed one of the largest public sporting houses in London. After a while, he began collecting and breeding oddly coloured rats to create more colours and patterns. He then sold these 'new' rats to the public as pets.

But the man who can be credited as the originator of the first true domestic rats, was the Royal rat catcher, Jack Black. The rise of the rat population meant that many men had found new employment as exterminators, or rat-catchers as they were known at the time. It was often these men who supplied to sporting houses. In his line of work, Black came across many rats and after a while, he too began to collect and breed the odd coloured ones he found. After a while he had quite the collection; albinos, fawns, greys and marked rodents, which he then sold as pets. Between them, Jack Black and Jimmy Shaw sold hundreds of pet rats, laying down the foundations from which today's Fancy Rats originate.

In the 1800's, coloured or 'Fancy' mice became popular pets. People began to realize that these furry little critters made delightful and entertaining companions. They were very easy to keep, only needing small housing as well as food and water, and with the different varieties in colour and pattern, they were also pleasing to the eye. Interest in mice continued to rise until in 1895 the National Mouse Club was founded in the UK. The NMC set up the different standards and varieties and also held shows.

Meanwhile, dwelling in the background was a very special lady, Mary Douglas. In 1901, Ms Douglas wrote to the NMC concerning Fancy Rats and asked if their club would consider expanding their interests to include the Fancy Rat. After much debate, the NMC agreed and that same year, the classes for Fancy Rats were staged.

By 1912 the interest in Fancy Rats had exploded and was so high that the NMC decided to change their name to 'The National Mouse and Rat Club'. It was during this time that the scientific community discovered the benefits of rats in research. In 1921 Mary Douglas passed away and the interest in rats began to wane again. The NMC returned to their old name.

Over the following years, the rat lovers longed for an official club of some description, but the interest in rats as pets was still too low and there were not enough rat fanciers to make a decent club or society. The rat fanciers were left wanting until 1976 when interest was high enough again to start up the National Fancy Rat Society, the first ever rat only organization.

Interest in having rats as pets grew rapidly and very soon new varieties were founded and standardized. The National Fancy Rat Society is still active today and remains the UK's number one rat club.

    By Stacey Silver
    Stacey Silver has kept and bred rats for twelve years, caring for around 200 rats in this time. She has also owned an Exotic Pet shop and studied courses in animal husbandry.

    You can find out more about The National Fancy Rat Society by visiting their website at

    Article Source: EzineArticles