At my writing program, there was a girl one year ahead of me who was super nerdy and awkward, but she wrote her book-length thesis on a freak brain aneurysm she developed (and nearly died from) at age 27 and swept the year’s awards.  Afterwards, I congratulated her, and she adjusted her glasses and said, “I was originally going to write about my pet rats.” It took everything in me not to nudge her with my elbow and say, “Well, thank G-d you got that brain aneurysm, amIright?!”

I was reminded of this story the other day when my boyfriend told me he had investigated buying pet rats at our local Pet Smart and feeding them to our cats.  It’s been tough to entertain them, as we live in a small apartment and have two (Bodega, because I got him from the bodega men, and Slash, because he is a rock star.)  While browsing, M noticed that the “hairless fancy rat” is quite beloved by consumers.  There are twenty customer reviews: 1 is a 1 star, 2 are 4 stars, and 17 are 5 stars.  Here are some favorites:

March 21, 2013


from: Ohio   What is your gender?: F    How many pets do you have?: 5 or more    How often do you shop at PetSmart?: Weekly

I must admit, these little ones are by far the sweetest & most lovable. My little “Squeakers” was my joy. These little ones..people often turn away by the looks of them, BUT the heart these little ones have..there are NO words. The are curious, cuddly, love being held & love to pick up things. Not to mention chatter (talk) to you. Squeakers would go to our vet’s (for checkups) & just make herself @ home checking everything out she could find. Including picking up his Stethoscope & chattering into it. Wonderful with kids..just keep them in a warm place with no drafts as they are hairless..& enjoy years of love & laughter.

February 23, 2013


from NJ    What is your gender?  F       How many pets do you have? 4         How often do you shop at PetSmart? Monthly

My friend loves animals.Sadly,she is allergic and for a while could not have any pet.She was looking to see if there were any hairless pets at the store.Then,she saw a hairless rat.She loved rats so finding hairless ones were a huge win for her! She got one named Remy,and she loves him.He’s very sweet and smart,and she found him easy train.These are perfect pets for people with allergies to furred pets but don’t want to get left out of the pet fun.I actually saw that hairless ones are even nicer than the furred ones! Adorable and fun,and totally worth the moola!

November 27, 2011


from Duluth,GA        What is your gender? M        How many pets do you have? 5 or more        How often do you shop at PetSmart? Weekly

Hairless rats are amazing pets. I had one, named Buddy, he was like a little son to me. He loved to relax with me, and sit there being petted for a long time. I would buy as much as possible if I could. Buddy was my favorite small animal and one of my favorite pets of all time. Good for starters, Good for experts. Extremely awesome pets.

July 1, 2011


from Philadelphia, PA        What is your gender? F       How many pets do you have? 5 or more       How often do you shop at PetSmart? Monthly

I absolutely love pet rats. I have three; a hairless, a fancy and a dumbo. They are highly intelligent and sociable, not to mention adorable! I’ve trained my rats to do various tricks from coming when their name is called to even stealing money (for some reason they’ll only take 1 dollar bills and don’t worry it’s only for entertainment, I don’t actually use them to steal). I would definitely suggest rats to anyone looking for a little companion!

September 9, 2010


from NJ     What is your gender? F      How many pets do you have? 5 or more      How often do you shop at PetSmart? Monthly

I love my hairless ratties! I have 10 rats altogether and 2 of them are hairless – one girl (“Noodle”) and one boy (“Bosley”). I’ve owned MANY rats over the years and these were my first hairless sweeties.

The only problem is, the hairless rats seem to get sick MUCH easier than their furred friends. When I first got Noodle early last fall, she got a chill and almost died when it went down to 68 degrees in my room. Same thing happened to Bosley a few months later. Make sure to keep plenty of cozy hammocks in the cage and try to provide them with a furry friend for cuddling. They also seem to eat a lot more food than my other rats, yet they are smaller and skinnier than they’re friends.

Note that Bosley and Noodle are not from the same litter (or even from the same store), so it wasn’t just a sickly litter.

Other than the health issues, hairless rats and gentle, loving, and hilarious little pets.

March 16, 2010


from Ithaca, NY     What is your gender? F       How many pets do you have? 1        How often do you shop at PetSmart? Monthly

Just shy of 2 years ago, I bought a female Hairless Dumbo Rat (yep, they exist) from the big PetSmart on S. Canal St. while I was living in Chicago. PetSmart must really work hard to find and train animals for great temperaments because “Xena” had more personality in that little, wrinkly body than most dogs and cats that I’ve met. From the day I got her, she was perfectly comfortable with me picking her up and interacting with her. She was endlessly clever, sweet as pie, and was, to quote a friend of mine, a “rambunctious little stink.” She never, ever bit or squealed, and she was most at home climbing on or around me. I don’t think there’s a human in the world who could ever match the level of enthusiasm she showed just at the sight of me when I got home from work, or the unconditional love that she always gave me. Sadly, Xena died a week ago, and she meant so much to me that I cried for 2 days. Small animals aren’t built to last as long as you wish they could, but looking back on all the joy she brought into my life just by being her friendly, spunky, trouble-making self, it was so worth it. Anyone who chooses a Hairless or Dumbo Rat (or better yet, both wrapped up in one) is a lucky person, indeed. She was the best friend I’ve ever had, and when the time is right, I look forward to bringing a couple of new wrinkly friends into my life, courtesy of PetSmart. I recommend them highly.

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