Some Quick Facts : Pet Rats vs Wild Rats

Pet Rats vs Wild Rats

Rats have been getting a bad rap for centuries. They’re labeled as dirty, disease-ridden creatures that are best avoided at all costs. But what if we told you that there’s more to rats than meets the eye? In this blog post, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about pet rats vs wild rats. We’ll discuss the quick facts, differences, similarities, how they behave, diet, practices, and where to find them. Keep reading to learn more!

Differences to check out:

  • There are a few key differences between pet and wild rats. For starters, pet rats have been domesticated over time, which means they’re accustomed to living in close proximity to humans. This also means that they tend not to bite and are generally less aggressive than wild rats.
  • Pet rats also come in a wide variety of colors and coat types due to years of selective breeding by rat fanciers. On the other hand, wild rats are typically brown or black and have smooth fur. 
  • Another key difference is size. Pet rats tend to be smaller than wild rats – usually around 8-10 inches long from nose to tail (not including the tail itself). Wild rats can grow up to twice that size!
  • Finally, diet is another area where pets and wild rats differ somewhat. Pet rats are usually fed a diet of commercial rat food pellets supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables. Wild rats will eat just about anything – including garbage – but prefer seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables when given a choice. 

Similarities between them

Now that we’ve discussed some of the key differences between pet and wild rats, let’s move on to similarities.

  • Both pet and wild rats are intelligent creatures that can be trained to perform tricks or tasks on command. They’re also very good swimmers and climbers thanks to their strong claws and tails (which act as rudders when swimming). 
  • Furthermore, both pet and wild rats are social creatures that thrive on interaction with others of their own kind – although it’s worth noting that male-male pairs tend to get along better than female-female pairs (but more on that later).
  • And while we’re on the topic of social interaction, it’s important to note that both pet and wild rats enjoy interacting with humans too! In fact, many people who own pet rats say they make wonderful companions thanks to their loving nature. 

Behaviorism to consider:

Now let’s move on from quick facts and dive into some more detailed information about how pets and wild rats behave differently – starting with habitat preference.

  • Pet rats have been domesticated over time, so they’re accustomed to living in close proximity to humans (i.e., in houses or apartments).
  • Wild rats typically build their nests outdoors in burrows underground or in trees/shrubs above ground level. Another behavioral difference has to do with lifespan – pet rats usually live 2-4 years while wild rats live 1-2 years (on average). 


All rats are members of the rodent family, which means they’re related to mice, squirrels, and beavers. There are two main types of rats – domestic rats and wild rats. Domestic rats are also known as pet rats or fancy rats. You’ll find them in pet stores or living in people’s homes as beloved pets. Wild rats are the ones that live outdoors and are often considered pests.