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I looked into mom and pop shops because people here have such amazing opinions about them. Well I had read the incredible reviews, and heard wonderful things about this place. I thought that it had to be great! So I went and it was really nice. The staff was friendly enough. Small and cute with a lot of options. They had a wall of aquariums for fish, a whole wall for birds, a small section for guinea pigs, hamsters and chinchillas, they had a 'show no sale' spot with a Python and an alligator. Pretty cool store. The prices weren't nearly as high as I expecte, and all the animals were in clean approachable enclosures. But I couldn't find rats...

I was watching the birds and a lady approached and sparked up a conversation. She mentioned that she didn't like wearing flip-flops there because of the critters below. Well, I looked down and saw what I could only describe as a cubby. I had been standing in front of it the whole time and hadn't even noticed! There were three 10 gallon aquariums tucked underneath. Small, medium and large rats. It was utterly heartbreaking. At least 30 babies were in one with one food bowl and one water bottle. I wanted to walk away but I just watched them curled up in little fur balls with each other. One approached the glass of the aquarium and stretched out as far as he could and just stayed there in the corner watching me. Difficult to explain but he just stared at me and I stared back.

I have no doubt that these rats would grow up and become the snakes food, but were being advertised as pets to make an extra penny. I understand the need for snake food. I really do. But it bothered me that the owners couldn't even make an effort to give them a decent life until this unfortunate fate happened. Out of curiosity I asked the owner what genders he had and he said both. I stared at him for a moment and asked if they were separated and he said no...so they are indeed allowing them to breed so that they have an endless produce of feeder rats/pets to make money off of. But even the principle of selling rats that could be pregnant to unsuspecting people was mind boggling to me.

I left immediately not wanting to see anymore. After sobbing in my car, I drove home, sobbed some more, went in the house and cuddled all four of my beautiful and loved rats. I feel disgusted, hurt, and even guilty for not screaming at the owner right there and then. But I knew that wouldn't do anything and it would infact end with me balling my eyes out in front of the shop because it would have meant nothing to him. But it means everything to me, and to the rat parents everywhere.

They will be getting a horrific review from me, and hopefully this will deter others from making the same mistake that I did by stepping foot in this place.
 

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That's how I ended up with Anga, my very first ever rat. She was a feeder bin rat, 'Petco' did very little to disguise it, there were about 30 of them in a tiny aquarium. It was impossible for them move around the cage with stepping all over each other. Anga was bouncing around, desperate to find a way out. Then she noticed me and wouldn't look away. I seriously believe she was begging me to get her out of there. Me being the sucker I am, and never having had rats before, took her out of there with the idea of finding a home for her. And chastised myself for allowing my husband to convince me to go into a pet store!

I guess that was about 3 months ago. Anga charmed me before the lady who would adopt her could come get her.

Buying a pet without thinking about it first is never something I would never suggest. I would in fact advise against it. Strongly! But I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I left her there. I would have felt even worse if I decided to go back for her, only to find her gone.

So three months later, I have 5 rats and a DCN with a Wodent Wheel no body wants to play on! I never even thought about having rats before! I had no idea how much fun they are and mischievous! Much joy and laughter has been added to my life that I never would have known about if I hadn't walked in to that pet store.

The one thing Petco did get right was that there were only female rats in the front of the store. They told me that they keep the males in the back.

You know.........I thought that was kind of strange to have the males in the back. Now I'm wondering what's going on there???

Do you think they are actually breeding their own rats at Petco????
 

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Well I guess I'm lucky in that only 1 pet store in my area sells live feeders, and they keep the feeders in the back while the pets are right up front. I've only seen them sell feeders a few times (probably mostly because I go in during slow times) but the ones I did see all appeared to be clean and healthy. They do breed their own feeders though because they sell them as young as pinkies. This is also a small mom-and-pop pet store but it's in a very nice part of town. It's also the only pet store in the area that sells purebred puppies and kittens. (They do bring a vet in weekly to check on the condition of each of their animals.)
 

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I know that PetSMART doesn't sell feeders. They even screened me before letting me look at the rats.
 

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I believe most petcos get rats from a supplier. I know that at the petco in our town, the small animal care manager would get really angry when the supplier screwed up and sent them females (the other employees would put them with the males and didn't know the difference) she would then have to separate them and "put them in the back", so maybe that is what your petco person meant.

It is unfortunate that some places don't treat their rats well. I know many people that breed for feeders and they keep their rats in clean, uncrowded conditions and separate them by sex once they are weaned... That is pretty standard practice for people raising their own. It is sad that a pet store that seemed to do well by their animals otherwise, treated the rats that way.

mis.kay- When you leave your review, I would ask that you do so fairly... It will carry more weight if you give a balanced opinion.. Many people (including me) ignore reviews that just seem like rants. Maybe point out that most of the animals were well-cared-for but that the care for the rats was lacking and that people should be wary of buying them because they could be pregnant because genders are housed together. That would warn people and possibly the store would see it and try to fix the one issue that was noted as a flaw.
 

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I know I've told stories about getting my first pair of rats from a mom and pop pet shop and that was over 15 years ago. A lot has changed and unfortunately these places do too. I haven't been to that particular one again since my family moved away so it might have gone out of business or the quality might have worsened or stayed the same.

I'm sorry to hear that these rats were kept this way. It must have felt awful to see them like this. I agree with Artgecko to leave a fair review, and hopefully the owners might change their ways.
 
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