Pet shop buys...
Ratatouille features a loveable French rat with a passion for cooking. Now children are saying they want their own live version of the animated star.
“Rats make very good pets,” says Mark Johnston, from the British Small Animal Veterinary Association.
They don’t really smell, they’re clean, intelligent and they’re bigger than hamsters, gerbils and mice, which means they’re less likely to get injured. They’re also easy to look after.
Rats have long been seen as something dirty and unpleasant, even to be feared. This negative perception may go back as far as the plague, which was spread by wild rats. But while these kind of rats are indeed dirty and can spread disease, pet rats are of different breeds and no more likely to carry diseases than any other pet. In many ways they’re even more appealing than other small animals like hamsters, as they don’t sleep all day and then spend their nights awake, running around on their wheels!
Now, with the success of the film, which is still number one at the UK box office, children are inundating pet shops with requests for the rodents. Pets at Home said sales of rats over the half-term holiday soared by 50 percent.
“I am wary about anyone wanting to buy a pet because they’ve seen it in a film,” says Mark Johnston. “They should want it because they want to look after it.
“Pets are good for children because they encourage responsibility and a love of animals, but whatever pet is chosen, it still needs proper looking after, and that’s up to the parent even more than the child.”
Possible pets for kids:
Think about what pet suits you and your child. Do you have time to walk a dog? Do you want to clean out a rabbit cage? Do you have the space for a cat? Or would a fish be the easiest of all.
- Fish – a good first pet, but remember, they often don’t last long!
- Rabbits and guinea pigs – good pets for children, encouraging responsibility and cuddles! Be prepared to clean cages properly though.
- Hamsters and mice – can become nippy and bite if not looked after properly. If they are dropped, they can get easily injured..
- Rats – robust, intelligent, happy if kept singly or in pairs.
- Cats and dogs