Which Make Better Pets, Mice Or Rats?

Mice and rats can be bought as companion pets all over. Unlike their wild counterparts domesticated mice and rats are friendly and can be taught to perform certain behaviors. Pet mice and rats behave differently and which ones make the better pets really depend on what kind of pet you are after and what you’re looking for.

Mice As Pets

Pet mice are very popular because they are small and easy to handle. Mice quickly get used to human handling. Female mice are much popular as pets because they can cohabitate. Male mice on the other hand can be very aggressive against each other to the point of killing each other regardless if they are siblings and have more of an odor. The reason for male aggression in mice is because of their unchangeable territorial instincts regardless of domestication. Because of this, male mice cannot be housed together without risking injury to one or both males. Some pet owners however prefer male mice to female mice because male mice are more curious than female mice. Pet mice are best kept in pairs or more since they are sociable animals.

Rats As Pets

Domesticated rats are tame and very comfortable around humans. They are known to seek out their owners when they are kept roaming freely. Pet rats are more tolerant to overcrowding than pet mice. Domesticated rats exhibit a wide range of behaviors thus making them interesting animals to look after. Domesticated rats have a longer lifespan than their wild counterparts. When provided with food, water, shelter and medical care, domesticated rats can live up to 2 years. Rats enjoy each other’s company. They are used to living in large family groups and there are no problems when males from the same family group come into contact with each other. When mixed with stranger rats, fighting may occur as they are territorial animals. Because of their social behavior, pet lovers are encouraged to buy domesticated rats in pairs or small groups. Rats groom each other, sleep in groups, communicate and play in so many ways.

Rats Are Better As Pets

Rats do require more attention and will live longer. This makes it a little up to the person obtaining the pet, more commitment, larger housing and more interaction for more reward means you should get a rat. Smaller commitments, shorter lifespan needs and you may be in the market for a mouse. 

Rats can tolerate each other more than mice do. Rats are generally more playful than mice and that is why they are more interesting as pets. Rats can become fond of their owners so much that they end up seeking their owners out when loose. This kind of behavior strengthens the bond between pet owners and their pets (domesticated rats). Rats are better at learning new behaviors than mice and that is another reason why rats make better pets.

Pet rats are not very complicated to look after. The following are some basics for looking after domesticated rats.


Cages with bars are mostly used to house domesticated rats. Caging is meant to protect the rats from predators like cats, dogs and birds which can kill and eat them. Domesticated rats behave differently from wild rats and if they come into contact with each other, the wild ones can kill their domesticated counterparts. Interaction between domesticated rats and wild rats can create lots of problems among which include diseases. This is because wild rats are vectors of a wide range of diseases because they come into contact with many pathogens. Some of the pathogens carried by wild rats can affect humans. It is therefore very important to avoid interaction between wild rats and domesticated rats.


Domesticated rats can eat almost anything. Food for rats can be scraps from the kitchen or specially formulated feed mixes. Rats enjoy eating vegetables such as carrots, spinach and lettuce. However, when you are feeding your rats with these vegetables, you have to limit their quantity because they can cause diarrhea and dehydration. Bread crumbs and breakfast cereals are also good foodstuffs for rats which can readily be found in the house. You can also feed your rats with fruits and nuts. These are a good source of essential vitamins and minerals which help maintain the animal’s immune system thus prolonging its lifespan. Nursing rats can be fed with meat and dairy products to boost their protein source for increased milk production.


Domesticated rats can easily be affected by drafts and pick up colds and flu. Rats can also be affected by obesity if their food is not restricted. If they are overfed they have a high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases which can be fatal to the animals. In order to prevent this food has to be restricted and play equipment can be placed in the cage to encourage exercise. Any other health issues should be directed to a veterinarian.