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Pet Rats/Smelly Male Rats


Photos of them both
Photos of them both  
Hi, I was wondering if you could help me, I recently bought Two Baby Rats not sure on how old they are, got them from pets at home.

This is the 3rd day i've had them and i've already had to clean them out, they stink so bad its making me feel sick, White-Fang does have loose faeces so i'm going to take them for their free vet check and mention this.

But i was wondering what I can do to reduce the smell? I've heard air purifiers can be good? can you recommend any good ones in the UK for a decent price? Itd be a big help as i really don't want to take them back but they are physically making me feel ill :(

I've wiped down their platforms and bars too but so far it hasn't helped much, the smell was only gone for an hour or two. Will appreciate any help

Many thanks

There are types of odor produced by male rats.  One is urine and the other is the male rat smell generated by male hormones.  However, if they are under 3 months old and still babies, the male odor should not be prevalent until they reach adulthood.  

If it is the ammonia like smell from urine, it can be controlled by the bedding you use.  Some is more absorbent and masks the smell better than others.   Commonly used good urine absorbers are aspen wood shavings or chips, or Carefresh, however for me personally, those are both too dusty.  The only one I use now is Vitakraft Eco Bedding which is crinkled brown paper, and is the only one on the market that is truly dust free.  It can be purchased at Petsmart, and other pet stores, or online.   Since males tend to scent mark with their urine more than females, their bedding should be changed more frequently.   You may even need to change it out Every 2 or 3 days or as soon as you smell the ammonia.  Changing it often also helps reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses which are common in rats, and often flared up by the ammonia smell.  In addition to changing the bedding, if you have fleece or other fabric hammocks or such in their cage, those will have to also be switched out and laundered well...I use a half cup of vingar in addition to the laundry detergent which helps eliminate the odor.

Now, if it is male hormonal odor that is making you feel I'll, there is less you can do about it.   In fact, the only thing you can really do to eliminate it is to have the boys neutered, which eliminates most of their testosterone, and basically, within. Few weeks, they will begin to smell like female rats, who basically don't smell much at all.   I have a neutered boy and he doesn't smell and his fur coat is soft and fluffy like my girls' no, whereas males costs are course and rough once they reach adulthood.  The other benefit of neutering is reduction of potential aggression when they reach adulthood,which will make it much easier to introduce new male rats to them should you decide to do so, say if one of them passes away, or if you just choose to add more to your mischief.

I do hope that these suggestions help you and that you choose not to give them up.

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Irene Murphy


I can answer a variety of questions regarding adoption and care of pet rats throughout their lifetimes, including questions about their health and well being, temperment, diet, bedding, cages, toys, etc. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a timely manner and I have an abundant amount of resources to help me to help you with your pet rats. I love rattie pictures, so include pics with your question if you can. You may ask me medical questions, but please be advised that I am not a vet. I may use my resources to answer some medical questions, however, I will need to refer you to your local vet with medical questions that I feel I am not qualified to address.


I have been a huge rat enthusiast for many years. Since becoming a rat owner, I have educated myself in all areas of pet rats from every resource I could find including the internet, books, conversations with local exotic vets, as well as several local rat breeders.

I have a college degree but not in the area of animals. I have obtained my extensive experience and knowlege of pet rats all on my own because in my eyes, pet rats are the most interesting and fascinating creatures you can ever imagine to have as pets. I also am saddened by how mislabeled and misunderstood these amazing and extremely smart animals are by the majority, and my mission in life has become to educate and change as many people's perceptions of rats as I possibly can.

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