Q: My youngest son is very interested in having a rat as a pet. Which rat is the best, and where can we get one?
A: Rats make fantastic pets for children. They are easy to keep, gentle and very intelligent and friendly. Best would be to purchase a pet rat from a rattery rather than from a pet shop. Ratteries breed their rats for personality and also try to keep them disease-free. There are two common problems we see in rats. The first is mycoplasma, which is a lung infection, and the second is skin mites, which cause wart-like growths on the nose, ears and tail. Commercially bred rats are more commonly infected with these diseases.
Dr Dorianne Elliott, veterinarian