Rats are intelligent, highly social animals and are normally active at night and dawn and dusk. They have an excellent sense of touch, and have a wonderful sense of smell. Provided their needs are met, rats are incredibly rewarding animals to look after and can form close human-animal bonds with their carers.

There are many varieties of rat with different coat and eye colours. These include white, cinnamon, blue and parti- coloured coats with dark or pink eyes. Male rats are called bucks, females are does and babies are known as kittens.

Rats need company of their own kind, so it’s unfair to keep one on its own. To avoid unwanted babies, the best option is usually a pair or group of the same sex. Rats will breed frequently from as early as five weeks old, producing a litter of eight or more young each time. Females can become pregnant again within 24 hours of giving birth.

With a life expectancy of up to 2 years, they have complex needs and are not easy to look after well.

The RSPCA and Blue Cross has a wealth of information on it's website should this be the pet you are considering.