Rattus norvegicus, the same as wild brown rats.
A rat can be kept in a cage or tank. I prefer to use a cage, because the rats have more space to climb on. The cage should be quite big and you shouldn’t keep one rat on its own as it will get lonely. Rats naturally live in colonies in the wild.
Colours and Breeds
Rats can come in many colours, solid colours like black, brown, white or grey. Some rats are these colours with white underneath. Some are more than one colour like a black, grey and white rat.There are also different types of fur. Standard fur, short and straight. There are rex rats, they have curly fur, and velvet rat who have soft velvety fur. There are also hairless rats. Dumbo rats have ears on the side of their heads not the top. Tailless rats have no tail. It’s not a very nice thing, because rats use their tails to balance.
You can get rat food from pet shops, but it is nice to give them a treat once in a while. My rats are obsessed with baby food, and rats love liver. If they get too much protein their fur will go dodgy and may fall out. They can have vegetables like carrots, or they can eat toasted bread. Foods that you mustn’t give to rats are: Blue cheese, licorice, raw beans, raw peanuts, raw sweet potato, raw red cabbage, raw Brussel sprouts, green bananas, potato skins and potato eyes, wild insects, rhubarb, orange juice can cause cancer in male rats but is good for female rats.
You should be careful about giving them: dried corn, avocado skin, leaves and rind are poisonous but you can give them other parts, chocolate, peanut butter.
Keep rats out of reach of cats or dogs. I know, you think your dog wouldn’t hurt a fly, have you considered its wolf ancestry and hunting instincts? Rats may kill mice if they think it’s invading their territory. Ferrets are likely to eat rats. Rabbits are usually bigger than rats but probably won’t kill them on purpose. If the rat scared a rabbit, the rabbit may feel it needs to defend itself.
Introducing New Rats
If introducing new rats too old rats you already have, it’s a good idea to keep them away from your other rats for a fortnight to make sure they don’t have a disease. When introducing the rats for the first time they should be put in neutral territory, for example a bath (with the plug in!!). They should have their own scent covered with something like vanilla essence on the fur. You should have a towel handy to grab any fighting rats. After a few meetings of this sort you should clean the place you’ve been keeping the new rats and put all the rats in it. If it’s successful, they’re pretty much ready to live together.
This is only one rat-keeper’s opinion on keeping rats, so if you are considering them as a pet option, make sure to read as much as you can about keeping rats.