The Social Pet Rat: Why Having Two Is Better Than One

If you have a pet rat, you already know that they're extremely curious and loving animals. Unfortunately, too many owners neglect the benefits of owning two or more of these creatures. Let's take a look at a few facts concerning the importance of multiple pet rats.

  • Rats are social animals. Even in the wild, rats are very social. They often run in packs, whether in a small or large group. They enjoy the company of others, much like humans and other animals do. While it's true that a single pet rat can often live a healthy life and won't exactly pine for another rodent, it's been shown that rats with a playmate or two are happier animals.
  • A rat will be just as close to you if it has a friend. Some owners are under the impression that if a second rat is brought into the mix, the original rat will lose its connection with the owner. To put it bluntly, this is ridiculous. Rats have enough love for everyone. In fact, when more than one rat's around, they'll often compete for your affection in a gentle way.
  • Rats love to play together. Just like many other pets, rats love to have fun with each other. They'll run around their cage after each other and even play-fight on a daily basis. This constant opportunity to interact with another of their species will keep your pet rats happy, invigorated and more loving. 
  • A single rat may develop behavioral problems. Not only is companionship a good idea, depriving your pet of a playmate could cause it to be unhappy. Over time, this could manifest itself in a number of ways, such as the rat no longer wanting affection or, inversely, becoming clingy with you. If it gets mad enough, the rat could even chew its own fur or skin.