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CostHelper > Pets & Pet Care  > Pet Rat

Pet Rat Cost

How Much Does a Pet Rat Cost?

low costPet Rats: $10-$20 eachaverage costAquarium or Cage: $30-$180+

A rat is a small rodent with a long thin tail. Pet owners prefer them for their curious, cuddly nature and easy care. Rats aren't mice; mice are their smaller counterparts.

Typical costs:

  • Rats cost between $10 and $20 each, depending on the rat's age and temperament.
  • Pairs of rats are sold for between $25 and $35.
  • Rats are social creatures and many breeders only sell them in pairs.
Related articles: Hamster, Guinea Pig, Rabbit, Chinchilla

What should be included:
  • Rats usually live between two and three years.
  • Rats owners find the small pet to be entertaining, as they play frequently and, if well adjusted to human contact, can be cuddly. Especially in the beginning, it's important to hold a rat for a few minutes two or three times per day so the rat is accustomed to being handled.
  • The Rat and Mouse Club of America compiled answers to a list of commonly asked questions[1] for new rat owners.
Additional costs:
  • Cage. Rats should do well in a 20-gallon aquarium tank or in a similarly sized wire cage ($30-$180+, depending on type and size). Make sure that the wire cage has a solid, not wire, bottom or the rat could get its foot caught.
  • Cage accessories. A $7 bag of bedding will last about a month. Put one to three inches of bedding on the bottom of the cage and replace weekly.
  • Food. Most rat owners buy their pet a commercially made rodent food mix, like Kaytee Forti-Diet, sold in pet stores for about $6 a bag. A bag will last almost two months. However, rat enthusiasts recommend buying specially made laboratory pellets; they're considered more nutritional than the commercial mixes. Pellets can be bought in bulk, 25 pounds for $20, from exotic animal food supplier
  • Toys. Rats love tubes, wheels and balls. Toys range in price from $2 to $10, with the average wheel costing around $7.
  • Vet care. A standard veterinary visit will cost about $35 to $40. Tumor removal costs between $35 and $150, depending on complications. Having the rat spayed or neutered will cost between $50 and $100. maintains a vet referral list[2] .
  • Older rats tend to be less expensive.
  •[3] may have rats at a discounted rate. In the search option on the left side of the home page, enter "Small and Furry" and "rat" along with a ZIP code.
  • Check the local animal shelter.
Shopping for a pet rat:
  • The American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association keeps a breeder list[4] . Buying from a breeder is preferred as they'll meet the association's standards for quality upbringing.
  • Be attentive when choosing a rat. Pick one that reacts well to being held. Some are too nervous to be held while others are comfortable right away.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Incorrect info tumor removal
Amount: $600.00
Posted by: Nik in Texas, TX.Posted: July 14th, 2023 04:07PM
First of all, DO NOT KEEP RATS IN AN AQUARIUM… they need to be in a wire cage with ventilation as they are prone to respiratory infections. Tumor removal surgery can cost about $600. There are no experienced vets that are going to do a surgery for $100. That’s a cost of an exam and meds .
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3 sis ratties
Amount: $1,200.00
Posted by: Kittytaart in Corpus Christi, TX.Posted: August 21st, 2021 09:08PM
I have 3 sis ratties that I bought when they were babies. Dorothy, Misty, Melonie. They are now 3 years old about to be 4 and recently they got bumps , luckily the vet is cheap where I live and it was $40 for all of them to get a checkup. The doctor scheduled their surgery for a month after their visit because they had cysts. Which were caused by the nibbles inflicted upon themselves and dirty litter that was in the cage due to a busy week of work. Overall they are the sweetest things and not so needy. Recently Dorothy looks to have a cloudy eye so she may need eye laser treatment which can be a few hundred but it’s worth it if it means my baby will have a good quality lifetime. I also learned my lesson to change the litter once a week and a lithe bath for them wouldn’t hurt from time to time to remove bacteria lol.
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pet rats- lovable but costly
Amount: $1,200.56
Posted by: broke girl with spoiled ratties in Cypress, CA.Posted: June 15th, 2021 02:06AM
I love my rats but between the mites and upper resp.infection,the lumps here and bumps there it has been an expensive journey lol-and please tell me what vet charges $35-40 for a visit..mines $80 usually and thats with a discount-whoever wrote this info page needs to do some research ,lol.
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Don’t buy unless you’re ready
Amount: $3.00
Posted by: Daymo in PHX, AZ.Posted: September 5th, 2020 06:09PM
So the rats themselves are not that expensive anywhere from 5$-20$ but the initial setup can be costly. You do not have to buy them in pairs. You do that if you are planning on having babies for yourself which will cost more money since you will have to get more setups for males and females and even have to get one for both the male and the female. As once she has her babies she can go right back into heat and get pregnant again. The male can also kill the male babies if he feels territorial. I recommend buying one small rat at around 5$ and spending a good 100-150$ on the setup toys bedding and food and leave an additional 200 atleast for a vet visit And any emergencies that might go in. Yes that’s not a lot and more is preferred but 200$ is better than 0$. If you are serious about buying a rat buy them younger if possible and make sure that they have a lot to play with and handle a couple times a day to get them socialized. Good luck
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Rat URI and Pneumonia
Amount: $400.00
Posted by: huttsy in Austin, TX.Posted: August 24th, 2020 10:08AM
This is purely for an upper respiratory infection that turned into pneumonia for ONE rat. Three $70 vet visits, three different $25 antibiotics, two $25 nebulizer meds, and one $150 xray. This is an ongoing situation. He may end up needing an overnight stay or even surgery, which could double these costs. Please, please, please, keep your rats in well ventilated cages, change their bedding regularly, and take them to the vet at the slightest hint of a wheeze. Your rat and your wallet will thank you.
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Rat Surgery
Amount: $500.00
Posted by: Rachel Acevedo in Marlborough, CT.Posted: August 12th, 2020 09:08AM
This is for mammary tumor removed, a ridiculous price!!!
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Pet shop rats (each)
Amount: $5.00
Posted by: Aika in Merced, CA.Posted: June 15th, 2020 11:06AM
Additional $50 for toys and cage. You need a minimum of 2 rats. Rat blocks (food) were $2.50 per bag. Keep some extra cash saved for vet visits (usually $50-100 in my experience)
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Rat breeder
Amount: $100.00
Posted by: Atreyu Mason in GOSHEN, IN.Posted: October 3rd, 2019 09:10PM
Rats should be kept in a well ventilated cage, as stated by others tanks are no good due to ammonia build up. But the prices some of you paid have me a great laugh that you would pay that much.
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Rat habitat
Amount: $140.00
Posted by: Trish cauchon in Vancouver, CA.Posted: September 23rd, 2019 11:09PM
I have 2 pet rats. Buying my pets cost me a mere $10.I bought my pets a new habitat from “pet-cetera” and after taxes it was close to $140. The 3 level habitat came with a running wheel, a hammock, a water bottle,a food dish a sample bag of bedding and a sample bag of dry food ( seeds etc.) these sample supplies were enough to fill the cage once and feed them dry food for a week( they need other food sources as well) I think people need to be aware of the coat starched with setting up your pets comfortably. U have to have a cage of ample size for them to be able to get exercise which isn’t cheap. Many people think because they start out small as babies that a small cage will be suffice which is false. The bigger the cage the happier they will be.
If u don’t have this kind of money to spend another option is getting them a tall bird cage. These cages r cheaper but can still provide them with the space and room for exercise they need as they love to climb and hang on the bars.
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Rat Owner of 4 YEARS
Amount: $600.00
Posted by: Vanendra in Eden, NY.Posted: September 9th, 2019 10:09AM
Respiratory infection cost me $400 in vet bills and $200 in meds and treatment. Because my rat lost so much weight, we found a tumpr but that wouldve been an additional $1k I didnt have. Idk what country this is in or what year this was posted, but its really inaccurate.
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Amount: $154.00
Posted by: Rat owner in Now where you need to know, FL.Posted: February 21st, 2019 09:02PM
I got my rat for free along with a small not appropriately sized cage food water and food bowls bedding although I used some I already had I had made homemade hammocks with materials I already had I bought a cage that costed 118$ it is much larger than his old one plus some more accessories and some chew toys I had treats already (Cheerios) and a rat proof room I’m really hoping to get him a friend soon which would probably only cost 10-20$ and I’ll already have everything for him (SIDE NOTE rats should NOT be kept in tanks they don’t have enough ventilation and can cause respiratory problems also it doesn’t provide much climbing range and 20gallons would not be an appropriate size anyhow)
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Tumor Removal Surgery
Amount: $560.00
Posted by: a rat owner in Albany, CA.Posted: January 22nd, 2019 12:01PM
Tumor removal can be quite expensive, as well as other veterinary care. Please keep this in mind before you decide to get a rat, as they are prone to both tumors and respiratory infections. Just because they are small animals doesn't mean their veterinary care costs less!
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Amount: $200.00
Posted by: Alana in Memphis, TN.Posted: December 27th, 2018 12:12PM
Rats should ONLY be housed in wire cages, and those wire cages must be bigger than 20 gallons. keeping a rat in a tank is pure neglect, and should never be supported.
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WHAT are you talking about?
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: a user in Gilbert, AZ.Posted: May 7th, 2018 08:05PM
NEVER put rats inside of an aquarium, because of the poor ventilation, meaning that the ammonia build up from their urine will affect them and could give them URI's and they can be very painful. i dont know who told you that or if you thought that would be reasonable, but anyone who checks this site shouldnt put their rats in a tank, EVER
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Baby rat
Amount: $25.00
Posted by: Bendy wittness in Radcliff, KY.Posted: August 14th, 2017 02:08PM
Cute and cuddly
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NO aquarium!
Amount: $20.00
Posted by: Heartwings in Southern, MD.Posted: March 1st, 2016 10:03PM
A 20 gallon aquarium is NOT suitable to house rats, which should be kept in multiples, not alone, as they are social. Aquariums are not good for rodents due to poor ventilation. I adopted 2 young tame rats from a rescue for $20- get from a rescue or breeder, not a pet store that sell animals from mills!
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pet rat
Amount: $15.50
Posted by: hi me 23 in bell, NE.Posted: May 14th, 2013 05:05PM
This is my first rat and I really thought it would cost less. The one I got was an adult the little ones were less expensive. Around $5 to $1o. the older ones are $15 to $25. I got my at Petco. It was sick for a while but survived. I would say your better of with a rat breeder.
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