"What? You have a rat?" That's what you may hear when you tell someone you have a pet rat. Even in a more accepting age the rat still isn't for everyone. Still, if you don't know about them, their capabilities as a pet may surprise you.
First, there is a major difference between a domestic raised rat and the wild or those from dark ages. Domestic rats have been handled by people for hundreds of thousands of their own generations. They first started being keep by humans in laboratories. That's where they finally discovered that rats can be very personable and make good pets.
They are comparable to the behavior of other small rodents such as gerbils and hamsters. Rats, however, are known to bite less than any of the other rodent pet breeds.
Rats have a strong social structure and bond to each other and their owners. Don't be surprised if your rats jump to the top of the cage to get your attention. They are intelligent and can be taught small tricks. They can even ride your shoulder like a pet bird would!
Rats have different sub species and names for coloring just like cats or dogs. There are clubs for rat enthusiasts too. Currently there don't appear to be any in Wisconsin, but who knows, maybe one could be started. Maybe by you?
For more information on variety and care of this special pet, see these links!