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Hey everyone.

I have seen these rats appearing more and more as feeders in the reptile hobby and I was wondering if anyone happens to know if they make good pets or not? I have heard that they can be pretty nippy, but I don't know that for a fact. If I were to obtain very young rats, are my chances better of having a pet-quality rat? Anyone else have these as pets that can share their experiences?

Thanks a lot.

Jeff H.
 

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I don't have them, but I can tell you what I've read...

This species is still mostly wild. Even hand-reared litters end up 'wild' and mostly uncontrolled. They are nippy, perhaps even bitey.

I'll admit they're adorable and I'd love to have a tame one, but unfortunately, not enough effort has been put forth by just about anyone to breed the tamer of them to create a 'pet' version of the ASFR. :)
 

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They are the descendents of wild rats, they are not domesticated like our "fancy rats." They do best in large groups. They can be quite vicious when when they have young that they feel need to be protected. As cruel as it sounds, they are feeder rats that are often given to picky snakes who don't want to eat anything else. While they are becoming more popular in the pet industry, they are still mostly bred as feeders.

They are very very cute though...I want one...unfortunately, they are illegal like most exotics are in California...
 

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Seeing as the first link for them that I found was on a python forum I assume not many keep them as pets. I couldn't believe it when the writer said that he kept 78 (males and females) in one large cage. I assume since they are being used for food that it doesn't matter if the females get pregnant. But oh my goodness are they cute little critters :) I'd love to see people start to breed them as pets.
 

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Oh I realized that :) Doing a search I came up with many articles with titles such as "Is your Python not eating?" and "Save on Pet food costs! How to Breed ASFR in your own home!"
 

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African soft furreds are used as minimally as a snake food mainly for the picky eaters.

They are very protective, and they are kept in harem groups continuously because they will kill any new rats introduced.

There are a few breeders that have managed to breed rats that are tamer, but they are by no means affectionate and stress very easily when removed from the group.

If the male were to be removed to allow the mothers to raise the young singly, she (they) would kill him on reintroduction.

Many breeders have tried to do cycle breeding, but the fact is that these are not tame at all and will kill given the opportunity. The mothers are not always pregnant as they can refuse a male when they like, and the fathers are very involved in the raising of the young. They help clean and manage and keep the little pups warm while the moms take a break.

If someone were to try and tame these rats, best to get them young, but not to expect a kind rat. They are very similar to mice in look and attitude. It will take some very hard work and many generations, but the truth is there are a few different coats and colors coming around. I have seen a picture of a red eyed fawn with a head stripe. Very gorgeous and just the tip of the ice berg.

Fawn ASF
 
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