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Hmm, touchy topic it seems

3231 Views 16 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  2manyrats
I was wondering what everyones opinions are on feeders as pets. I know from a few posts I've read here that most people do not wish to discuss feeders, but they are rats too aren't they? Most of my rats have come from feeder sections of pet shops. Are they more prone to disease or something? The shop I go to has a few ladies that breed the rats and care for them. They have a huge breeding program there and at any time they might have upwards of 100+ rats ranging in all walks of life. Most of my rats have come from there. The ladies will take out any dumbos or extremely well marked, or well behaved rats and put them into the pet community for sale as pets.

Anyway I saw a few people say "Never buy a feeder as a pet!" and I just wonder why. They've always made as great of a pet for me as a breeder raised pet from a private owner. But there could be something very important I'm missing! I live in a rural area and finding rat breeders is very difficult without having to drive for an hour to get to them. I don't have air conditioning in my car and it gets -really- hot here so I don't dare take my ratties in the car. I usually just get my rats from the local shop. There is a petsmart and a petco in town, but I don't really like their rats, they seem to never get any hands on experience while they are caged there. I've got a rat from petco before and it took a long time to tame him, and he still isn't as "human happy" as the rest of my ratties.
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They are rats, and just like any rats they can have amazing personalities and be completely sweet. However, they have a lot more risk of being sick. Think about a breeder that doesn't care for the rats health or environment because they're "just feeders." They'll breed related rats (brothers and sisters) because they're just going to be handed to the snake anyway. There's no true goal to take amazing care of them because they're going to be snake food, which I don't agree with at all, but is part of the rat world, and snakes do need to eat to.

My recent rats were bought from a petco in the feeder section about three weeks ago. I just payed a 75 dollar vet bill for mycoplasma on pepper. It took the life of my other little rat sniffles at just two weeks after having him. Thinking the little "clicking" noise was cute was a bad decision on my part and almost took the life of pepper too. Now I wish I would have known why breeders are such a good decision in the end. They take individual care on every single rat and make sure they are healthy before even thinking about giving them away. Overall, if you have the money to pay for a feeder rat's possible and probable sickness, it isn't a horrible decision. They are still rats, and they are still adorable.

Certain ways to prevent the mycoplasma are listening for a clicking noise when you fist get the rat. Though it may still be dormant in the rats body, noticing this ahead of time can save you lots of money on vet bills.

Hope this helped some, though I don't know too much about the disease itself. I found out from my vet today that 99% of rats have mycoplasma, but only a portion of that flare up as a result from it. Flaring up can cause them to get pnemonia and once they have that you're too late to save your poor little rat. There also is no cure for it, only antibiodics that will stop them from flaring and being susceptible to pnemonia and other things that result from it. Chances are, if you buy from a feeder cage, your rat will have this. Breeders almost never do, and when they do, they have pedigrees to show you.

If any of this info was false feel free to let me know, as I'm still learning and mostly trying to remember what the expert told me.
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