Most people see rodents as pests. They look at them as a source of disease and parasites, and something to despise. They do not want them in their home, much less as pets.
However, there is a large, and growing, number of people who are collecting them as pets. They see them as cute, intelligent companions that they want to have by their side.
This begs the question, though, do they make good pets? If you are looking for a new, small pet, should you choose a rodent? Really, it depends on the person. In general, rodents are fine as pets and safe to have around, but whether it is good comes down to personal preference.
Rats can have personalities. They are highly intelligent creatures, part of the reason researchers love to use them. Beyond that intelligence, they are caring and have a good nature to them, in general. People like to have them as pets because they show a lot of emotion and can think on a level similar to other popular pets. They are social animals, too. Rats love to be around others, specifically other rodents. They form bonds, including with humans, and can become close with those they love. This does make them, in the general sense, good pets. They can form bonds and relationships, and they are a source of comfort, things people love in any pet.
Rats are not as dirty as people think, at least not naturally. Wild rodents, yes, will carry diseases and parasites. Pet rodents, however, are not the same. Pet rodents are not born wild, at least they should not be. Most people buy them from breeders, where they have a good temperament and are healthy. This makes them safe to be around and handle. They do defecate where they want, which can be a problem, but it is not too bad. So long as you change their cage regularly, and clean up after them if they are outside of the cage, the feces should only be a minor, normal inconvenience, like any other pet. At the end of the day, whether a rodent is a good pet or not is up to you. It depends on what you personally want in a pet. For people who want the above, and want something small, they are a good choice. Do keep in mind that they are social animals and it is generally best to have at least two if you choose to get them.
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