Rats are some of the best pets you could wish for. They’re smart, curious, and incredibly loving creatures!
However, one often overlooked aspect of these little rodents is how affectionate they really are.
You might not believe it, but rats are more affectionate than many other animals such as hamster or guinea pigs that people often keep as pets.
Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into rat affection. We’ll discuss whether they like to be held, petted, and how they show their affection towards their owners. Let’s dig in.
Rats are incredibly affectionate
Rats are extremely affectionate animals. When you compare them to some other rodents that humans often keep as pets such as hamsters, chinchillas, or guinea pigs, rats top them all in terms of cuddliness and affection levels, and it’s not even close.
In the wild, rats live in large groups.
These groups, called mischiefs, have intricate social structures and the rats that live in these groups regularly show each other affection.
In captivity, pet rats consider their owners as part of their group, so they show a lot of affection towards their owners as well.
Rats love spending time with their owners and are capable of forming extremely strong bonds with humans which is one of the reasons they’re such great pets.
How rats show their affection
Rats show affection in a number of different ways. However, one thing to also keep in mind is that all rats show love in different ways.
On top of that, some rats are more loving and doting than others and older rats are generally more cuddly than younger ones.
1. Licking and grooming
With that being said, one common way that rats show that they like you is by licking and grooming you.
In the wild, rats spend a lot of time grooming each other. Some people believe that rats are dirty, but that’s demonstrably false! Rats are actually super clean animals.
If your rat likes you a lot, you might notice that it’ll lick you. This is a show of affection because they’re essentially grooming you!
While they’re grooming you they might also bite you softly. This is called nibbling and is part of the grooming process and thus a show of affection.
2. Bruxing and Boggling
Another common way for rats to show affection and contentions is through behaviors called boggling and bruxing.
Bruxing means grinding their teeth and is a sign of them being relaxed and content. If they do this near you, it means that they feel relaxed in your presence.
Boggling is a bit weird, it’s a rat behavior where they bulge their eyes nearly out of their sockets! This might look strange at first, but it’s actually a sign that they’re happy and relaxed!
3. Enjoying your presence
If you notice that your rat seems to always want to be around you that’s a good sign. It means that it consider you a good friend and wants to spend as much time around you as possible.
Common behavior that you’ll see is them running out of their hiding place when they hear your voice or sitting on your lap when you’re watching a movie together.
They might also follow you around the house, climb on your shoulder, and generally get as close as possible.
Did you know that rats can purr?
Many people believe this behavior to be exclusive to cats, but rats can do it too! When they’re cozy and content rats will often make a purring sound. If you hear this, you know you’re doing well and that your rat trusts you completely.
5. Offering food
It’s a common saying that food goes through the stomach and this does not only apply to humans! Rats also show their love by offering food to their favorite humans.
Have you ever noticed your rat offering you a piece of food? It’s a token of gratitude!
How to show affection to your rat
1. Holding them
Some rodents such as hamsters do not like being held all that much. Not the case with rats! They love it!
Rats enjoy being held and will gladly accept this sign of affection.
Rats definitely enjoy being petted and love nothing more than a good scratch behind their ears. No two rats are the same though, and they all have different places where they enjoy being petted. Generally speaking though, good places to pet them include:
If you’d like a video tutorial on how to best pet your rat, this one is excellent:
Rats absolutely love to cuddle. In nature, rats often huddle together during cold months to share their body heat. This helps keep them warm and conserves energy.
In captivity, they don’t really need to conserve energy and it’s often plenty warm enough in your house, but they still enjoy cuddling. Many rat owners can attest to the fact that rats love nothing more than spending an evening on the couch with you, curled up, watching TV. They’re among the cuddliest rodents on the planet.
4. Giving treats
Showing love through food is a two-way street. Your right might offer you food as a token of their affection, but you can do the same! Rats love nothing more than a good snack and will definitely interpret you giving them what they crave as a sign of love, making your bond even stronger.
Rats are highly intelligent and active creatures. Playtime is very important to them, so taking time out of your day to play with them is a great way to show them that you love them. Playing with rats is a lot of fun because they can learn their name, tricks, and many commands.
Of course, you can also show them affection by making sure that they have a clean cage, fun toys, a healthy diet, and a generally good life!
Rats are highly affectionate creatures that like to be held, petted, cuddled, and love spending a lot of time with their owners.
These remarkable little rodents have various ways to show affection to their owner, and there are many ways that you can return the favor!
Rats have definitely earned their place among the most affectionate animals on earth and are without a doubt the most loving in the rodent family!
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