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Pet Rats/Getting a friend?


So, I think I may have more than one question packed into this. I have a male rat, who I've owned since he was only a few weeks old (Breeder gave him to me a little too early...) and he's now about to be 8 months old. I have a very busy schedule and while I try my best and give him attention everyday, I still feel terrible about him being alone and am trying to get him a friend. The good news is I may be able to, but I'm worried about a few things...

First, I feed him Oxbow Regal rat adult food. I know it's great and all, but it's for rats 4 months and up. Well that didn't seem to be an issue until I remembered...rats around 4 months old are kinda in their "puberty" stage, and can occasionally be kinda aggressive. Toby has never been aggressive or mean or even iffy with me or the younger kids in the house, so I'm not very worried about how he'll take to a friend. But this leaves me with should I get him a friend old enough to eat the Oxbow? Or get a baby around 6 weeks old? And If i do that, what should I feed the two of them? Also, I'm still worried that after being alone for 8 months, he might not even want another rat in there.

I know how to do an introduction, and that males can be iffy. I'm just worried about a few other

Hi Nicole,
I think it is great that you want to get your rat a friend. I actually think the Oxbow adult rat food should only be given to male rats over 8 months of age, since they continue to grow until then. Females tend to reach most of the adult growth at 6 months. I don't know why Oxbow says 4 months on their food, I have asked them to change it and they haven't. So, yes, if you get him a companion under 8 months of age, I suggest you buy the Oxbow young rat food instead. It would probably be easier for him to accept a younger male, but he should be at least 8 weeks old.

You'll find instructions for introductions on my website at on the Rat Info page.  If you have any questions after reading that, let me know.

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Debbie Ducommun


I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.


I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

BA in Animal Behavior

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