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I need another rat. I got my first rat from a chain-pet store* a few months ago, and I returned this evening to discover that nobody in my town still sells rats anymore. I've looked for other places to get a rat and literally all the breeders I can find are on the other side of the state or farther. I can't even find any animal shelter rats.

A couple of sites had mention of shipping. How does that work? I don't want to come home and pull a shoebox out of the mail with my rat inside. I can't imagine that's how they actually do it, especially without putting holes in the lid first, but I have no Idea how it would otherwise be done. Also, Is it expensive? More expensive than a long drive?

I live in Eastern WA, and everything I can find is in and around Seattle, because, it seems, Seattle is all there really is to Washington. If there are any other rat people in the PNW, where did you get yours? what do you recommend?


*Please, spare me the evils of my mortal sin, as it seems there is quite some controversy over pet-store/feeder rats. It was literally my only option without a 5-hour trip. I've also never had a rat before. He's my best little buddy in the whole world and I've had exactly 0 issues with him so far. maybe I got lucky, I dunno. But I don't need any lectures, please and thank you =)

I eagerly await all of your candid replies.
 

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It seems like shipping live rats is pretty expensive and involved if the links I found are accurate.

http://www.afrma.org/shipping.htm
http://www.paperheartrats.com/shipping.html

Have you checked out the local animal shelters? I did a quick google to find Spokane, Washington is in eastern WA and put the zip code 99201 into Petfinder, which found two adult male rats at the Spokane Humane Society.

There exist "rat trains" where people will band together to transport a rat. I don't know how common those are or how they're arranged.

If you feel strongly about buying from a breeder that's 5 hours away, I'd just prepare for a fun road trip!

If you're open to other sources, a pet store that doesn't normally stock rats might be willing to order one for you. Also keep your eye open at shelter websites (humane society, spca, animal control, special rescue groups, etc). Craigslist is another potential source; if you don't see any rats on Craigslist already, you could post that you're seeking and see if anyone answers your request.
 

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Aw I got my first rats from Pullman, Washington but that was ages ago.

It can really take some hunting for both breeders and shelters, try facebook, craigslist ( use your best judgement) and ask your local petstore if they know any breeders in the area. But if you must, I think it would be safer to make the journey to pick up your rats over shipping them.
 

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I don't exactly know how it works, but I do believe that in my country, they put the rats in the plastic see-through containers with holes and then puts them in another cardboard box that holds the plastic container perfectly (to avoid too much shaking in the box). I think they also put holes in the cardboard box, but I'm not too sure. The delivery fee in my country is about $1.23 USD. I'm actually getting my 2 rats "shipped" over as well because I couldn't find any places in my city that sold rats and it was the only other way for me to get rats.
It's always better to drive there to pick them up yourself, but if that isn't possible for you (like in my case), then I think rat-shipping should be fine. But honestly, I only know how they "ship" rats here in my country so I'm not entirely sure how they do it in the States. Sorry :/
 

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You can ask the breeder for the shipping rate. Some breeder will drive to you for a small fee plus gas, maybe she can meet you half way.
 

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I would contact a rescue/breeder, explain your situation and see if they have any suggestions for you. They might even know of a breeder or rescue closer to you that just hasn't come up in google searches.

That's how I found my boys. I called the local Humane Society and asked how often they got rats in, and they gave me the contact info for a small rat rescue in my own town. They hadn't come up in my internet searches for whatever reason, but low and behold there was a rescue right under my nose. :)
 

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I realize that some rat sites will put you down for adopting rats from the wrong place, I hope you don't ever feel that way here. No one should ever have to apologize or be defensive about adopting a rat from anywhere. I'm quite proud to say that all of our girls were on the menu for snakes at one time or another, we gave them a good forever home and they each rewarded our kindness with unconditional love... It never gets better than that.

While you might wind up with a healthier rat from an ethical breeder with a long history of selective breeding, there's really no guarantee and a survey I did actually had many pet shop rats and feeder bin rats doing just as well and living just as long as many breeder rats. While it's nice to support ethical breeders and rescues, every rat needs a good forever home no matter where they were born or where you find them.

I've shipped tropical fish to and from Seattle via Alaska Air. With one exception involving a plane sitting too long on a tarmac in Alaska, in the dead of winter, with mechanical problems, the other shipments got through fine. That particular shipment came from Seattle to Newark NJ. I have no clue why that plane wound up in Alaska, as I always shipped to Seattle on direct flights and the fish arrived there in a few hours in great shape. I think it cost about $65.00 back in 2000 for a large Styrofoam box of fish and water. You have to have someone drop off that animals at air cargo and then you pick them up at your airport's air cargo terminal. The cabins on the plane are heated and pressurized, but bad things can happen on the tarmac and in the terminals which get hot and cold so you don't want to leave anything at the airport for a minute longer than you have to.

I've also shipped fish via overnight mail, but as you don't know how they are routed, you only want to ship in spring and fall. As I recall that costs quite a bit less, but friends lost animals after 9/11 when the post office closed for 3 weeks. Luckily I didn't have anything alive in the air at the time.

I might add that we were shipping large numbers of very expensive, rare and small tropical fish and our clubs were paying the freight. Our club even had an animal import license for air shipments form Europe. I think it would be hard to cost justify air shipping one or few rats.

My best advise is to try and find a store or feeder breeder that has young rats or better yet pups available near you. The longer a rat lives in a bin without human contact the larger it gets and harder it can be to socialize. Many feeder and pet shop rats also get neglected or mistreated which can make it harder for you to bond with them.

I recall once we tried to adopt from a "reputable breeder" and we were told we would have to wait for 6 to 8 months. As the only rat we had at the time was already a year old, even the breeder suggested we adopt from a pet shop because no rat should be alone for that long.

Certainly we can all encourage everyone to support rescues and ethical breeders, but saving the life of an innocent and defenseless animal from anywhere is also a very good thing as I believe you already know. So see what your pet shops have on hand... or check out the reptile groups in your area and see where they get their rats from and get your rat a friend. Some reptile people breed some really fine rats as a sideline and sometimes they might have a few extras to spare if all else fails.

Best luck.
 

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"but saving the life of an innocent and defenseless animal from anywhere is also a very good thing "

Yes, except that as soon as you rescue one, another will take his/her place. In other words you save one but at the same time you condemne another one who wouldn't have been there if it weren't for you saving the first rat in the first place. In the end no net number of rats were saved, only more get produced. So is it still a good thing? That is up to anyone personal judgement. I'm not judging anyone here.
 

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Correct, the net number being fed to snakes remains unchanged... except one rat gets rescued. In what world isn't that a win? If you could save your mom or child from getting onto an airliner that was going to crash and someone else on standby would take their seat would you really let them fly so someone else doesn't get on the plane? In the grand scheme of things the same number of people perish, but your mom or child survived... which is a good thing.

If someone could reduce the number of people on the doomed airliner or better yet prevent the crash that would be a better thing... Similarly if we could prevent rats from being fed to reptiles or used in lab experiments that would go a long way towards fixing the problem. Just because a rat is going to be fed to a snake doesn't mean you shouldn't rescue one and give it a good home.

Adopting a pet shop or feeder rat or letting it languish away or suffer a horrific death makes no difference in the grand scheme of things either way... but it rescues one innocent animal and it gets a new best friend for you and your rat. And oddly if there were a higher demand for high quality pet rats, more commercial breeders might consider breeding healthier rats and taking better care of them to satisfy the market and earn higher margins.

I think it would be silly to not get your rat a friend or get yourself another rat so one rat gets fed to a snake instead of another one.

In any case opinions might differ, but no one has a right to criticize you for adopting a rat and giving it a good home.
 

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Rat Daddy- I know I can't get you to understand economics. You are way too emotional about the topic to think rationally about it. I'm sorry you weren't treated well on another forum (as you explained it yourself in another thread), but you need to move on; not everyone is out to get you. None of your examples make sense, but I'm sure they do to you. That is ok. I was just balancing your opinion with mine. That is all. Stop taking everything as a personal attack. I meant no offense.
 

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Gribouilli,

I think people get my meaning... and I don't get offended. I'm really not looking to change your opinion, I have an irrational thing against Exxon, but I don't expect anyone else to share it with me. And by the way, I was a commercial banker and mortgage banker for much of my career... I've made millions in loans in both good and bad economies, I get economics just fine. And can promise you that not buying rats from the store or bin will make no impact on the industry what-so-ever and can even model it for you.

Did you notice the OP added "*Please, spare me the evils of my mortal sin...". No one should worry about being chastised because they adopt a rat from anywhere. When I started out, half the threads started out with "I'm very sorry to own a pet shop rat..." Why should anyone apologize for owning any rat.. to anyone, especially to a group of other rat owners?

You may never have had yourself or your rats degraded by holier-than-thou rat bigots, but it's way too common and it hurts our community as a group and individually.... By suggesting that rats shouldn't be adopted from some places someone is saying that other people shouldn't have adopted their rats from a feeder bin or store, which makes those people wrong or immoral and that their rats aren't as good as someone else's... or somehow have less of a right to live. And I really believe that has to stop.

Seriously... I have no problem with you advocating for reputable breeders and good rescues. I wholeheartedly encourage it. But before you keep picking on pet shop or feeder rats or those people who own them, consider how you are making other rat owners feel... and by the way most of us own or have owned pet shop or feeder rats at one point or another.

If you want to express your opinion against pet shops and rat mills, by all means poison pen them a post card or a petition.. again to be encouraged.. but low life rat mill owners and sleazy pet shop owners don't hang out here... your not just preaching to the choir, your insulting them for no reason.

Everyone has an absolute right to be proud of their rats and themselves for being good rat parents and to adopt their babies from anyplace they want... and they too are to be encouraged.


 

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If you want to express your opinion against pet shops and rat mills, by all means poison pen them a post card or a petition.. again to be encouraged.. but low life rat mill owners and sleazy pet shop owners don't hang out here... your not just preaching to the choir, your insulting them for no reason.
It makes alot of sense to express on rat forums that pet stores/mills are evil. We should NEVER encourage supporting them. I am not saying we should grab the pitch forks and belittle people for shopping pet stores, it happens, I have some pet store rats myself even. But no one should hide the truth that it is not good.

i will never understand how we as a community who should love rats would pour so much support into supporting cruelty to them. There was just a huge case of severe animal cruelty involving rat mills that were sold to stores like petsmart.

Mills are evil and cruel. Some pet stores may be lovely and treat their rats right, but I can guarantee most do not.

It isn't even that you "save" one and another takes its place, it is that you by giving them money are directly supporting the entire process.

To put it another way, lets pretend there is a horrible child slave ring. You go down there and give them $1000 and to have them release one child. Yay that child has a better life....but that money goes to help the evil people still continue to work and be evil and all the other children are still being slaves. Your action not only gave money to evil people, telling them hey lets keep doing this, but it did nothing to solve the problem.

If you really wanted to "save" anything you would be the one working to stop pet stores and mills. But people don't really care about saving the rats, they are lazy, selfish and want it NOW. I have seen people literally say that the local breeders won't have babies for 5-6 months so they couldn't wait and had to buy from a pet store! They couldn't spare the gas money to drive an hour away!

And yes we can change things. By far most pet stores no longer sell cats or dogs, because people said hey mills are evil lets stop this. But apparently our rats are not as worthy..... or the rat community sucks.

If someone wants to buy from a pet store, that is their choice. Everyone has to make their own choice. But don't pretend it is a good thing. Be honest.



Anyways.... breeders can be hard to find sometimes. Alot of them do not really advertise. I always suggest joining facebook where alot of breeders are active it seems. Even if you can only join a group for a major city near you there are often people just like you who will not be from that city. You can network, meet breeders or people just rehoming their rats. Also yes many breeders will agree to meet you part way or even deliver. So don't be afraid to ask!
 

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I agree: The best places to adopt rats are ethical breeders and rescues. Good breeders handle and socialize their rats, the best rescues socialize their rats before adopting them out. For these reasons, the rats from these sources are worth more money and are a better investment.

I also agree that wherever someone adopted their rats from, they shouldn't be demonized or judged for their choices. As rat owners and lovers we need to educate and accept other rat lovers, not berate or ostracize them. People have different reasons for their choices, we really have no right to judge them. We need to educate them to understand the better ways and help them to give their rats the best lives possible. When new rat owners meet belittling attitudes it can drive them away from the very sources of support, help, and education that they need. That doesn't help anyone, least of all the rats.
 

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Ok, guys. No one was giving this person a hard time about adopting from a pet store. We're getting upset about something that hasn't even happened. xP

No one is saying that your rats or you are worth less because you got them from a pet store. And if any does say that to you, tell them to screw, because that shouldn't be what this community is about.

Some people buy from pet stores because they don't know better, have no other options, or see a rat they just can't resist. Imo though, those are the only reasons you should buy from a pet store. Otherwise you're doing more harm than good by telling pet stores that if they continue to bring in rats, you'll continue to buy them. :/
 

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As for feeder rats, the way I see it is snakes will always need food, regardless of whether the rat is taken home to be fed to a snake or to be a pet. For every feeder rat thats bought as pet there are probably hundreds that are bought as snake food. As long as people keep snakes as pets, nothing will change that. Saving one is hardly going to make a difference.
 

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Basically, I'm all for putting an end to rat mills! But when we can't do anything meaningful to stop rats from being fed to reptiles and being bred for that purpose we shouldn't then turn on each other instead. In the example of freeing a child slave, still one is better than none... but putting an end to child slavery is by far the better option. Imagine if we criticized a child slave holder for setting his child slaves free because more would be recruited... Might that not be a poor way to execute on good intentions?

I've been around for a while, and I remember the bad old days when rat owners were openly and rabidly chastised for adopting rats from the wrong place and when pet shop and feeder rats were considered contraband or junk rats. And thankfully things are better now, at least on Rat Forum. But I know how easy it is to backslide.

It's a great idea to promote ethical breeders and rescues. It's even better to support them with your money. It would be a great idea to speak to your local pet shop managers and owners to promote better treatment for rats as I have done. I've even taken our shoulder rats to the big box pet shop and done meet and greets with the staff and customers there... I recently did a meet and greet with a small animals manager of a big box pet shop to make sure she knew just how amazing and special rats were... and she promised her rats would get the best of care. So, I'm absolutely for changing hearts and minds... and I go out there to do it. When people finally get how amazing our true shoulder rats are, I make sure they know that they came from bad situations and that they were born to be snake food... and that really drives home my point... when people say "OH NO... that's terrible I can't imagine your rats as snake food.." it shows they get it. Fuzzy Rat was charismatic and people fell in love with her and when I told people she was rescued from a snake food bin, many people got angry at how she had been mistreated and one lady actually teared up... People are revolted by how cruel the system is to rats when I explain it... people who never cared before, until they met an actual feeder bin rat, who just happened to be amazing... Fuzzy Rat even posed on the shoulder of a pharmaceutical lab employee that had hundreds if not thousands of research rats.... He promised to take the photos to work and show everybody what amazing pets rats could make... Fuzzy Rat befriended an exterminator who had made a career out of killing rats and he walked away saying he had to rethink the way he dealt with rats.... and she befriended a fellow who works for a snake importer who went to his boss and got him to implement some minor better conditions for their feeder rats. And yes, this is only a tiny drop in a giant bucket, but we make every effort to change hearts and minds and we take it to the people that matter. Fuzzy Rat was sold as a three week old pup at wholesale for under a dollar and retailed for $2.49 and yes all of that money went to support the evil industry... and another rat replaced her... or maybe a reptile went hungry that week, either way it hardly matters... She changed hearts and minds and she did more for our community through helping teach us immersion than most high born rats do in their lifetime... And being a feeder bin refugee drove the point home even more poignantly to the uninitiated.

I'm not only against the mistreatment of rats, I have actually done something about it. Dogs and cats are in fact different, because they are primarily being raised as pets, there's no vast number of anacondas that need to be fed dogs and cats to support the dog and cat mills if pet owners don't. Simply put if every pet rat owner stopped buying feeder bin or pet shop rats, two things would happen... first lots of potential rat owners wouldn't have best furry friends and second the stores and mills would have a sale or culling, until the market stabilized and then it would go on without a hiccup. In fact if rat sales slow down, chances are good that rat mills might cut costs and make their rat's lives even more unbearable... or they might raise their prices to make even more profits. In any case they wouldn't have to worry about appeasing pet rat owners anymore and we lose the little leverage we have to change things.

"Good" is a funny word... It's good to survive a car crash.. but the car crash wasn't necessarily good in itself, likewise it's good to rescue a rat from being snake food or from a pet shop, where the snake food industry and pet shop industry is anything but good... So we need to define good, perhaps for the better... Every rat owner is one more person on our team, one more person to speak out against pet shops and rat mills, every rat that becomes a family member is another rat that changes hearts and minds and every rat that gets a happy forever home becomes special to someone... And that's good no matter where the rat comes from. Every rat that a rat mill breeds and a pet shop sells, that becomes a pet, raises public consciousness and solidifies public opinion against them. Once rats become as common as dogs and cats rat mills and pet stores will have to change in light of informed public opinion. The fact is that most of the people who are against feeder breeders and pet shops actually bought their first rats there.

So... yes... based on my experience... I think its good for someone to adopt a rat from anywhere. I wouldn't argue against someone who says it's better to adopt from a rescue or an ethical breeder, that might also be true... But I think its actually a bad thing to discourage any rat owners from adopting whatever rats they want and can responsibly support.

For me, it's really so simple... I've adopted several truly wonderful rats that would have otherwise died horrific deaths, four even became true shoulder rats. Each has rewarded our family with love and companionship and most have each done some good for our community. In total, I've given the evil industry less money than I likely lose in pocket change every month and I would have gladly paid the same amount to the devil himself for our rats... I'm not sorry that I adopted them, in fact I'm proud of all our rats, those that made the grade to become shoulder rats and even those that didn't. Every one of our tail draggers had a right to live and blessed us with their friendship and love. So, maybe I define good differently than someone else might.. but yes adopting from bad situations was both good for us and for our rats and I believe in the end it's actually done something good for the movement to stop rat mills and pet shops from mistreating rats... in a very small way.

This really isn't a hard subject to agree on.... we all agree rat mills are bad and that pet shops that don't care for their rats properly are bad... generally we agree that rats don't deserve to be snake food... and we can all find ways to do something about it... If your personal way is not to buy from rat mills or stores that sell rats that's fine and perhaps good too... Perhaps you can talk to your pet shops about not selling feeder rats or snakes... that would make a difference.

But we also need to agree that there are no second class rats that don't deserve a good forever home... otherwise why should we even care about the rats in the mills? And we should also agree to support other rat owners unconditionally, regardless of where they got their rats from.

I'm not pretending that our rats are better than anyone else's here, nor that I'm better than anyone else here for rescuing our rats from bad situations, but I'm stating as a fact, one I can defend, that our rats are just as good as any other rat represented here and that our decision to rescue them was a good one.

In short...

The good:

Rats from anywhere...

People who adopt and love and care for their rats...

Ethical breeders who try and improve their strains and pre-socialize rats for other people...

Rescues that rehabilitate and rehome rats..

The bad:

Rat mills...

Pet shops that don't properly care for their rats...

Labs and universities that mistreat their animals...

People who mistreat rats...

And the ugly:

Rat owners who put other rat owners down for any reason other than for mistreating or neglecting their rats.

Rat owners that think that some rats are second class and don't deserve to have a good life...

It's just so simple to get along... support the good, oppose the bad and don't be ugly. And together we just might change the world.... just a little.
 

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Actually, there's a pretty big push from responsible reptile owners to switch to frozen/thawed mice and rats instead of live ones. Live feeding is dangerous for reptiles. I have a friend who used to live feed, until one of her snakes was killed by a feeder rat who bit through the skull of the snake that was trying to catch it.

As for the reptile food industry being this big awful thing......I hate to break it to you, but rats are prey animals. Part of their purpose in the ecosystem is to feed other animals. As people who love rats, I know that's a sucky thing to reckon with, but it's true. Snakes need to eat, and that doesn't make them or the people who own them evil or cruel (although I personally believe live feeding is a very inhumane practice).

Almost all of the pet stores in my town only sell f/t rodents now.You want to know why? Because reptile owners stopped buying live ones, and bought the frozen ones instead. By buying a feeder rat, you're still telling them that you're supporting the business. They don't care about the effect your rat had on anyone else, or that it made a great pet, or that it had an awesome personality. They care that you bought it, and paid money for it. That's it.
 

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Stay on topic please.

Don't make me ask again :)
 
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