How to hold a rat safely

Rats are friendly and outgoing pets who really enjoy human company. Unlike most small pets, rats love being picked up and handled by their human owners.

While rats do enjoy human interaction, they’ll need to be picked up and handled from a young age so they’re used to it.

Rats rarely bite and their larger size makes them easier to pick up. This means they’re a really good choice of pet for children of all ages.

Picking up a rat

As with any pet, it’s important to learn how to pick up your rat safely. This will protect them from injury and they’ll stay calm and easy to handle.

Adults and older children should pick up rats by:

  • Placing one hand under or around their chest area.
  • Lifting and supporting their hind legs with the other hand.
  • Hold them close to your body for security.
  • Rats can also be picked up by placing your hand on either side of them and scooping them up into your palm.
  • Rats often love sitting on people’s shoulders.

Young children and rats

Younger children should always be supervised around rats. It’s best for them to stroke and handle rats at ground level by:

  • Sitting on the floor or a low chair in a secure area where your rats can run free.
  • Letting the rats approach them and offering a treat. Rats will likely climb onto children of their own accord. Once they’ve got used to each other, the rats might be happy to be picked up and cuddled.