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How Rodents were made to be kept as pets

May 18

How Rodents were made to be kept as pets

Rodents were living in close proximity to humans for thousands of years. Because they can access food more quickly from scraps and storage than they could in nature. But rodents were not kept as pets for many centuries. They are different from animals like dogs or cats that provide companionship, protection, and help hunting.

A Brief History Of Rats

Both white rats, as well as black rats, came from Asia. They moved west with traders, travelers, and other animals... although black rats began moving west about a thousand years ago. In Europe, rats developed a very bad reputation for spreading bubonic plague though technically it was spread by fleas that are not on the rats.

In England, the rat population was creating serious problems in the Victorian era. Ratcatchers had never been busier and began to attract gamblers through a blood sport called Rat baiting. More than 40 rat-baiting sites were in London by 1840, the most popular year. Rat baiting was finally banned but it was still practiced 70 years ago.

A Ratcatcher named Jack Black started keeping rats around this time and was even a ratcatcher to Queen Victoria. This was the beginning of rat domestication. Black split these rats into two categories. He taught one group to run up the arms and down the other while discussing the effectiveness of his rat trapping services. He often used these rats to demonstrate how quickly the results were from the mixture of rat poison that he used.

Another group of rats that he kept and tamed was the "pretty", which had unusual or attractive coloring. He decorated these rats with ribbons and sold them to women to keep as pets. This trend spread to other European countries and Mary Douglas, a 1901 Mary Douglas, organized an English pet rat show at the National Mouse Club. Douglas' death caused interest to wane. It was revived in the 1970s when the National Fancy Rat Society in England was founded.

What's the Difference between a Fancy Rat & a Rat, and How Can You Tell?

A fancy mouse is just one way to refer to domesticated rats. The wild rats and domesticated rats are completely different.

Wild rats do not associate with other animals except for mating. Nature's most aggressive and strong rat tends to survive. If threatened or cornered, rats will often bite and fight to survive. Technically, all rats can react aggressively to being threatened. But wild rats are more susceptible.

Fancy, domesticated cats are less docile as this trait was bred. They also tend to be very clean. The wider color palette they have is because of the way that early rats were domesticated.

Are Rats Aggressive?

Any animal can be aggressive when they are threatened. Wild rats tend to be aggressive when threatened. high-stress levels are what cause general aggression in rats regardless of type.

How long do rats live?

The average lifespan of rats is around two years. Although it is possible for domesticated rats to live longer, a three-year-old rat is considered a very young rat. Wild rats have a shorter life expectancy, averaging 1.8 years.

How long have people kept rodents as pets?

Mice are known to have been sighted by humans since the dawn of civilization. However, Keeping mice as pets were documented in the 1700s. Europeans first domesticated mice in China and Japan. Then, they imported " fancy mice", and began breeding them with local mice. "Fancy mice" were so popular in Victorian England that there was a National Mouse Club.

The trend of keeping rats as pets is fairly recent. It started around the Victoria era. This was about the same time the "fancy mice", pet craze in England, reached its peak.

Tampa Pest Busters' Rodent Experts are available to help you

Tampa Pest Busters is the best place to call if you are experiencing a rat problem. There is a good chance that more rodents in Tampa FL are hiding than you realize. Contact us as soon as possible to help you live in a pest-free environment.

 

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