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How Much Is a Rat? (Cost to Buy, Keep, and Supplies)

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A pet rat costs between $10-$20. Breeders often lower their price if you buy multiple at a time. If you do not want to spend money on a pet rat, you can try animal welfare and rescue associations or shelters and adopt one or more. The cost of accessories can be as high as $300.

Most people see rats as pests. From the oldest times, they have destroyed people’s cultures and caused damage.

In modern times, people accept, love, and raise rats as pets. 

Domesticated rats can be fun. They are clean, friendly, playful, and quiet, and of all the “pocket animals”, pet rats are considered to have a unique way of interacting with the owner.

Through selective reproduction, many fur color and appearance varieties have appeared. There are seven pet rat breeds currently accepted by the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association (AFRAM).

Pet rats are easy to maintain. They are also cheap.

In this article, you will learn how much a rat costs, how much the accessories cost, the monthly costs to keep a pet rat, and more.

How Much Do Pet Rats Cost?

Pet rats from breeders usually cost between $10-$20. Some pet rats cost as much as $100. You can also adopt one of these friendly rodents for free from welfare and rescue associations or shelters.

Pet rats have become more and more popular amongst pet lovers. They are curious and friendly and quickly get attached to their owner.

The price of a pet rat varies depending on how many generations it has been bred for.

Private pet rat breeders sell first-generation rats at low prices of $10-25, while rats that have been bred for many generations cost up to $100.[1] 

Many breeders choose to sell them in pairs (male and female). Rats are social animals that need at least one playmate. A pair of rats typically costs between $25-$35.

Older rats are usually less expensive than baby rats ($5-10).

How Much Do Pet Rats Cost

How Much Are Fancy Rats?

Pet rats are also called fancy rats. These are the result of repeated mating of the Norwegian brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). In other words, the fancy rat is a subspecies of the brown rat.

Fancy rats cost about $20-50 a piece, but many breeders choose to sell them in pairs.

Most fancy rats are white or black, but there are different colors. Special colors usually cost more.

The American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association[2] recognize 40 distinct colors in pet rats:

  • Beige
  • Champagne
  • Chocolate
  • Platinum
  • Agouti
  • Mink
  • Powdered blue
  • Black-eyed white
  • Pink-eyed white
  • Silver black
  • Silver lilac
  • Hooded
  • Dalmatian and many more

Special colors such as agouti, powder blue, or gray can cost between $50-150.

Some breeders can ask for a low price for a pet rat. But be aware that these rats can be reptile food, especially snakes. Rats bred as food for other animals do not come from domestic rats and have a more aggressive temperament and are not friendly (they can bite).

Related article: Types of Pet Rats: Breeds, Colors & Patterns

How Much Are Fancy Rats

How Much Are Dumbo Rats?

The average price for Dumbo rats is 10-20 USD. They are more expensive if they have special colors and patterns.[3]

A Dumbo rat is a pet rat that has its ears like the Dumbo cartoon elephant. Its ears are large and placed on the side of the head, giving it a funny appearance.

Dumbo rats are considered friendlier than normal-eared fancy rats. 

Most Expensive Pet Rats

Among the most expensive varieties of pet rats are:

SpeciesPrice
Albino lab rat$100
Hooded fancy rat$100
American blue rat$150
Sprague Dawley rat$222 
Zucker rat$500

Albino Lab Rat Price

Albino Lab Rat Price

Albino rats cost about $100. They have red eyes and white fur. They are usually used as animal models in scientific research, especially medical.

Hooded Fancy Rat Price

Hooded Fancy Rat Price

Hooded rats cost $100. They have white bodies and black or shades of brown heads with a stripe down their spines. They are docile and playful rats.

American Blue Rat Price

The American blue rat costs about $150. This color is one of the standardized and accepted colors by AFRAM. According to the standards, blue rats must not contain brown or silver spots, and the color of their eyes must be dark ruby or black.

Sprague Dawley Rat Price

sprague dawley rat
Image Source

The Sprague Dawley rat costs about $222. They are widely used in medical research but also kept as pets. They have a high reproduction rate and a low incidence of spontaneous tumors.[4] 

Lab rats, as they are also called, have a calm temperament and react very well to handling, which makes them suitable for both researchers and people who raise them as pets.

This type of rat can live up to three and a half years and reach ~500 grams body weight and up to 10 centimeters long (without a tail).

Zucker Rat Price

The Zucker Rat, or Zucker Fatty Rats, cost $500 and is the most expensive species. They are a genetic animal model for high blood pressure and obesity research. 

These rats can weigh up to a kilogram body weight (~2.20 lbs.), being twice the average weight of a fancy pet rat.

How Much Do Pet Rat Accessories Cost?

The price of the pet rat accessories varies depending on the number of pet rats and the quality of the products you buy. In general, the price for a cage, toys, litter box, food, treats, etc., reaches $300 or more.

If you decide to keep rats, you need to know the estimated costs of accessories. 

Pet rats need the following accessories:

  • Cage
  • Bowl of food and water
  • Toys
  • Food
  • Treats
  • Bedding
  • Litter box etc.
Pet rat suppliesPrice range
Cage$30 – $180
Rat carrier$10 – $50
Bedding$0 – $20
Enclosed wooden house/nesting box$10 – $30
Rat food (for 6 months)$20 – $30
Food bowls$0 – $15
Water bottle or bowls$0 – $15
Running wheel$10 – $20
Toys$15 – $40
Treats$10
Calcium block$1 – $10
Hammock$5
Total Initial Expenses$200 – $300

Monthly Cost of Owning a Pet Rat

Pet rats are cheap to keep. After the initial purchase of a cage and accessories, your only monthly expenses are food and water. Food and treats can cost between $5 and $15 per rat monthly.

Keeping pet rats is cheap. Once you make your initial purchases, which can reach several hundred dollars, the monthly maintenance of a rat is around 5-15 USD. 

This amount depends on the type of food you choose to buy, and whether you buy new toys, beddings, etc.

Some months you have to spend a little more, as you will have to rebuy bedding, calcium blocks, toys, or other accessories.

Bedding needs to be changed frequently to avoid unpleasant odors and an unhealthy environment.

Keeping pet rats costs $300-$400 a year, or $30-$34 a month, including food, toys, treats, and bedding.

Monthly Cost of Owning a Pet Rat

How Much Does It Cost to Take Rats to the Vet?

Veterinary services are expensive. Expect to pay an estimated $100- $150 a year per rat. This includes parasite treatments and routine check-ups.

Pet rats are generally healthy animals. They don’t need a lot of veterinary care.

If you choose female pet rats, keep in mind that they are prone to mammary tumors and will require surgery at some point.

Rats bred from relatives are more sensitive and predisposed to respiratory infections. If your rat develops respiratory symptoms, you need to go to the vet for an examination and treatment. 

A visit to the vet can cost $30 or more.

These rodents, like others, do not need vaccinations but need external antiparasitic treatments (for mites). These treatments can cost as much as $50.

Veterinary visits also include medical emergencies. 

The most common medical emergencies in pet rats are as follows:

  • Wounds – same-sex rats tend to fight
  • Mammary tumors (especially in females, which are more prone)
  • Skin abscesses (males)

Medical emergencies cost around $150, depending on the problem.

How Much Does It Cost to Take Rats to the Vet

How Much Does a Rat Cage Cost?

The price of a rat cage varies between $30-180, depending on the size. Some cages can already come with a few accessories, such as water and food bowls, stairs, or toys.

A rat cage can be up to $180 or more, depending on its size. 

Rats are good at escaping, which is why it is ideal to buy a cage with a small space between the bars.

Rats also like to chew anything, so the cage material should be hard (metal or plastic). Avoid the following enclosures:

  • Cages made of wood or soft metal
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Aquariums
  • Terrariums

Tips for Building Your Pet Rat Enclosure

To make the perfect rat enclosure, you need a sturdy cage, recycled paper bedding, hiding places, and chewing toys. The space between the cage bars must be small. Pet rats are known for their ability to escape. The material of the cage must be hard so that it cannot be chewed.

Choose a cage as large as possible for the rat. The basic rule is at least 2 cubic feet of space per rat. Most pet rats spend 22-23 hours a day in their cage, so it should be large enough for them to explore.

Rodents tend to gnaw continuously on their cage, so stainless steel, hard plastic, or wire cages are recommended. Avoid cages made of wood or soft metal.

Cages with hard plastic floors and closed metal bars are ideal in terms of pet insulation, as well as in terms of ventilation.

Avoid terrariums as they do not provide adequate ventilation.

You also need to purchase several accessories for your rat’s cage:

  • Bedding
  • Toys and exercise accessories
  • Wooden blocks
  • Calcium blocks
  • Thermometer

Related: How to Make the Best Rat Cage Setup

Bedding

Pet rat Bedding
Image Source

Provide your new pet rat with enough material to build a nest. Use bedding that will be able to retain, cover, and absorb urine. A clean, absorbent, non-toxic, and odorless substrate is the best way to go. 

Products based on recycled paper are the best substrates for bedding.

Toys & Chewing Instruments

You also have to provide tunnel toys, running wheels, and boxes to maintain your pet’s mental health. Buy some cardboard rolls, wood blocks, and calcium blocks for chewing. Rats’ teeth grow continuously, so they need something to gnaw on.

Temperature

The optimum ambient temperature for rodents is between 18-26°C (64-79°F), with a relative humidity of 40-70%. Place a thermometer on the cage to keep track of the temperature.

Place your rat’s cage out of direct sunlight and away from other heat sources such as radiators.

Cleaning

Thoroughly clean your pet’s cage and its attachments once or twice a week. Change the bedding and disinfect the entire surface of the cage. Clean the food and water containers regularly.

Tips for Keeping More Rats Together

Rats are sociable animals. 

Adult males should be separated if they do not come from the same generation or if they did not grow up together. 

Females or pairs of different sexes get along well. If pairs of different sexes live together, sterilize the males, as rats are a prolific species. 

About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.

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