In Asia in 1553, rats were thought to spread the plague – it wasn’t the rat it was their fleas! The ancient Romans consider the rat to be good luck, and in China the rat is considered a sign of prosperity.
These domesticated rats Rattus are clean highly intelligent social animals and shouldn’t be confused with the wild rat although they are related to them. They are generally nocturnal animals but can be seen during dawn and dusk hours of the day, living anywhere they find suitable. Unlike the wild rat they can be a variety of colours with long tails which they use for their balance making them excellent climbers and also enabling them to be able to swim. They are calm in nature and are able to tolerate companions around them. Their brains, livers, kidneys, adrenal glands and hearts are much smaller than wild rats.
It is thought that they became domesticated in the early 19th century by the rat catchers who were employed by the town governments to trap them, this is when it was discovered that they are very sociable, loyal and intelligent animals to have as a pet and enjoy human company, therefore they began to breed them to keep themselves in business. As long as they are handled correctly from birth, they can share your home quite safely, with no risk of disease or aggression. They need companionship and at least an hour of exercise each day outside their cage so make sure you are able to devote this time to them pets.