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Pet Rats/Predator/prey reaction?

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Question
My husband and I recently had a golden opportunity to adopt baby rats for the first time that were hand raised. We had been holding off adopting any rats because we have ferrets and know that wild ferrets eat rodents. My husband couldn't resist and we adopted two sweet little sisters when they were 2 weeks old. The pet-store said that we shouldn't keep the ferret and rat cages in the same room because it would upset the rats to smell a predator. Unfortunately the only other room we could fit the rat cage in is our bedroom. They have gotten very noisy at night. The simplest solution is to put the rat cage on top of a bookshelf in our living room which is on the opposite side of the room from the ferret cage. (820 sq ft. 2 bedroom apartment with no room in the 2nd bedroom). Considering the size of our home I'm sure the rats smell the ferrets anyway and I know they have observed each other with little more than passing curiosity. The ferrets are not able to reach the rat cage where it is know or on the bookshelf I want to move them to. The critters will not be allowed to interact since the ferrets are too old to be trained not to hurt the rats. Time out of the cage for either group of critters is always monitored. I'd like to know if the advise from the pet store is accurate; that the the rats will do poorly if their cage is in the same room as the ferret cage. I'm hoping that because they are domestic rats with no previous exposure to a hunting ferret that they will basically consider the ferrets just another part of their new home.

Answer
First I'd like to offer congratulations on your new baby girls.  You and your husband will fall head over heels in love with them I am sure :)

I can see where the pet store people are coming from, but I would take it with a grain of salt.  Your rats are tiny babies, and so will easily adjust to any environment, as they have not experienced much else in their short lives prior to you bringing them home.  I would not be concerned that they are in the same room as your ferrets.  If anything, being that your ferrets are older, it's much more likely that the rats will stress the ferrets out.  However, I think that, with time, they will all get used to sharing the space.

Your strategy for completely supervised freeplay times is wise as well.  I wish you all the best with your new babies.  Please write me again if I can help with anything else.

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Irene Murphy

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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.

Experience

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.

Education/Credentials
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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