Holding Rats: Do They Like It & How to Do it?

Rats are the most social rodent on the planet. Not only are they incredibly social with members of their species, they’re also very receptive to human interaction.

However, while many people are aware that rats are receptive to human love and affection, there are some mysterious about the rat’s likes and dislikes as well.

Something that I most hear that people are confused about is whether rats like to be held and how to properly pick them up and hold them.

Rest assured, rats do indeed love being handled and held, as long as you do it properly!

Most Rats Love Being Held

Most rats definitely like to be held. Whereas some rodents, such as hamsters, do not really enjoy being handled all that much, rats love it, especially when they’ve been handled from a young age so that they’re used to it.

Rats absolutely love human interaction and holding them is one of the ways they can get that interaction. These little rodents can even learn to jump into the palm of your hand on command!

Because rats generally enjoy being handled, they do not often bite when you try to hold them.

However, one thing that’s important to take into consideration is that they are nocturnal. This means that they sleep during the day and are awake at night.

Because they are nocturnal, some people wake their rats up during the day because they want to hold them.

This is not a good idea and can result in a cranky rat that doesn’t feel like being held. Put yourself in your rat’s shoes and imagine that a giant woke you up in the middle of the night to pick you up, you wouldn’t like it either!

The best time to hold your rat is at night or in the evening when they’re awake naturally. This is when they’re most in the mood for playing and being held and will be the most receptive.

How to Pick up and Hold your rat

Picking up a rat to hold them is quite simple, just follow these steps:

How to pick up a rat
– Place one hand under their chest
– Support their back legs with your other hand
– Lift up the rat and hold it close to your body

Alternatively, you can place one hand on either side and gently scoop them up.

When young kids pick up a rat it’s important that they do so close to the floor just in case they drop them. Rats are not the most fragile animals, but big falls can still be very detrimental to them.

Once you’ve successfully picked up your rat, you can now start holding them.

If you’ve ever seen the meme of the chucky rat being held, that’s not the best way to do it…

not the advised way to hold your rat…

Instead, you should hold the rat close to your body so that it feels safe and secure. It’s also a good idea to speak softly to your rat and offer some treats.

This positive reinforcement will ensure that your rat enjoys the process and will be more receptive to being held the next time.

If your rat starts to panic, squirm or squeak loudly, put them back and try again some other time.

Wrapping up

Rats are some of the most social animals you’ll ever encounter. As such, it doesn’t come as a large surprise that they’re very receptive to human handling.

Being held is something that’s enjoyable to the vast majority of rats, especially if they’re used to it. Occasionally, you might find a rat that does not enjoy it that much, but even those rats can be trained to enjoy it once they get used to it and trust you more.

It’s important that you are careful when handling and holding them though. Never hold your rat by its tail and always make sure that it’s safe and secure to prevent falls.

Once you’re done holding your furry friend and it’s time for them to come back down make sure that you do so slowly and carefully. Lower them back into their cage and let them crawl out of your hand so that they can safely get back onto the ground.

Jesse A.