When choosing to adopt rats it can be a hard decision to choose which gender which works best for you. Its best to do your research and decide which gender fits you or your family best. All rats of course have their own personality and the work you put into bonding has a lot to with behavior too. This is just a rough overview of what could be expected in each gender. They both have lots of pluses and cons but in the end they are all rats which are very intelligent, social and affectionate pets.
Pros of owning boys rats definitely starts with their affection and cuddles. Boys tend to be extremely laid back and prefer laying in your blanket or hoodie pocket over playing. With laziness comes lots of adorable snoozing on you, and whats cuter than holding a sleeping rat. They tend to bond more to their owners since they would rather be cuddling you than exploring. I also find it much easier to free roam males since they aren’t as agile as females, typically they wont try to escape their playpen or jump off my bed as much as my girls do. Boys are also bigger so there is more to love and easier for rat proofing. And if you want a good laugh go ahead and look their big balls, I like to think they are so big they could bounce around on them like an exercise ball. To top it off my boys show a lot more pleasure in my company by giving me lots of chatters and boggles from pure happiness.
The cons on the other hand can be a longer list than females rats. Boys will dribble tiny drops of urine everywhere as way to mark their territory. These dribbles will lead to owning a lot more “rat blankets’ and my favorite the “rat hoodie” to avoid urine on your bed, floor, clothes well everywhere. The scent marking also leads to more smell, even litter box training or adding a pee stone will not deter the boys from scent marking with their urine. With more smells comes more cleaning and other tactics to repress smell and ammonia in the area. But on the plus side with all the tricks to reduce smell and cleaning the fleece or surfaces 2-3 times a week you can avoid on the odor. Males rats also tend to have a musky odor to their fur, and with not being able bath rats due to their sensitive skin you have to be alright with the scent. In my opinion the musk is unnoticeable but maybe i’m just use to it. Another thing to consider is how important male rats hierarchy is which leads to harder introductions when adding new rats and can even lead to hormonal aggression in rare cases. I luckily have only had issues when introducing adult rats to other adults and never with babies. Lastly the puppy dogs eyes threw the bars of the cage beginning for cuddles and love.
Overall with all the tricks and tools out their to keep down the scent and the mellow affectionate cuddles i personally prefer boys. Even with rats personalities being different for every rat overall all my boys are more than happy to cuddle and thats extremely important to me when I choose rats as pets the first time.
The upside to girls on the other hand is their personalities and playfulness. They are smaller is size as well which can be less intimidating to some. They love cats toys especially the cat wands, girls will chase that for days and have a ball doing it. They keep this energy most of their life and love to call them pocket puppies. With all this energy they tend to learn tricks easier and need more stimulation than their lazy brothers. They wont let the toys and items you buy for them go to waist. Girls will love puzzle/ foraging toys usually made for birds or dogs. Will never let your cage space go to waist either taking advantage of every inch it will be a blast to watch. Another plus is watching the girls joy during free roam time, they will beg at the bars for your attention and play time. Not to mention how much easier it is to litter train and control the odor. Girls also tend to groom more which will result in more kisses for you. Don’t forget to give them plenty of tickles, you might not be able to hear their high pitch giggles but you know they are laughing their butts off.
On the other hand they are more needy and time consuming. All that energy makes it so important to spend extra on stimulating toys. Free roam yet very important for both genders is more important for girls and their energy. Best to rat proof your room or bathroom or even buy a playpen to make free roam time everyday easier on you. Also need to note they go into heat once a week and will be even more jumpy and flirtatious giving you plenty of entertaining dances and skipping around. While in heat they love back scratches and will arch their back. Also in heat you can look forward to ear wiggles. The downside to girls in heat is the extra energy and personality change. Lastly have to consider mammary tumors which are prolific in female rats and just another reason why its so important to buy from a reputable breeder that makes health a top priority like we do at Queen City Rattery. Tumors can result in early death or expensive vet bills for removal around $200-$400 in cost and will sadly usually result in more tumors later on. Surgery can be very hard on rats and should be consider when dealing with tumors.