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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there everyone. I stumbled across this site after desiring to give better care to our two new rats than what I (thought) I knew to do.

You see, 6 months ago my 6 year old son and I went to pick him a new little pet out and we chose the sweetest, most lovable little rat girl you've ever met. We named her Fiona. You could tell she was handled every day of her life, despite coming from a pet store. Gosh, Fiona was beautiful in every way and wanted to spend every waking minute with her humans. She was a petite girl with a huge belly, always eating everything in sight. My first pet rat, I didn't know exactly what care they required and just went with my gut and a wire cage and pine bedding with some boxes and tubes strewn about. She was the happiest rat, always alert and ready for play. Although she was intended to be my son's pet she became our family pet and I loved her like I do my dogs and bird.

This morning we found our sweet Fiona dead on the cage floor. I don't think I've ever seen my son so crushed before. I don't know what went wrong, or how she died. I hope it wasn't the pine shedding we had in the cage (who knew it was harmful?) or the pet store rat seed/pellet mix. I'd give just about anything to walk by that cage and see her paw out reaching and begging to be taken out and put in my pocket. :(

In an attempt to calm my sobbing son we went to another pet store (where we got Fiona was closed down) later that day. A small town with little choices, we went to the one pet store within 30 miles of us. We were shown to the feeder rat cages and told to pick one. I didn't like the crammed, filthy, stinky cages but I didn't know where else to get a rat.

You could tell none were handled as they all ran like crazy when a hand went near the cage. I decided to pick a young, small one in hopes to get it used to humans and turn trusting at a young age. I asked for a female (don't ask me why) and we handled each female, finally deciding on the healthiest looking, calmest one. I then thought about how Fiona was in that cage day after day seeking attention and I impulsively told my son to pick another one so it'd have a cage-mate to fight against periods of loniliness.

The employee working there was a teenage girl and she clearly didn't know how to sex them. I can only tell on the adults and we tried the best we could to choose two females. I hope I didn't accidently get one of each.. I looked at tons of sexing pictures online and I am fairly sure they are both girls, but I do have my worries, especially because we have a humper.

Now we are back home, the two young-n's all tuckered out in their new home. They don't fear our touch like I thought they would and they seem to be healthy and friendly. They are eating and drinking and I came to sit down to do some research and figure out where we went wrong with Fiona so we don't make the same mistakes.

Here's the first little girl (at least I hope she's a girl!) we picked out. My son named her Jasmine:







I also took a pic of her "bits" in case there was any expert here that may be able to tell the sex from an poorly taken picture:




I fell in love with Jasmine's spot on her face so I sorta-kinda may have possibly persuaded my son to get her ( :lol: ), but I left rattie #2 completely up to him. He chose a very petite soft solid peachy colored girl. He named her Minnie.




This picture shows her exact true-to-life coloring. No variation in the coat, all solid super-light fawnish.



She is the one I worried may be a boy. She seems to try to hump Jasmine a lot. I can't exactly tell if its playing or not. I have female dogs who hump and I wasn't sure if female rats do it as well. Here is her bits if someone may like to take a peek and see if they can tell if she is a male or female. Took two pics from diff views as I'm unsure which is easier to tell.




We already love our two new family members and have spent so much time just watching and adoring them this evening. First thing tomorrow I'll go out and try to hunt down some better bedding and better food. If they are indeed male and female I will have to exchange one for the opposite sex. I don't want any rat babies to be responsible for.

Now that I've introduced myself and flooded you with pictures, I think I'll go poke about the rest of the forums seeing what else I can learn about these wonderful pets. :) One thing I am curious is what their color types are called. Any ideas?

Thanks for listening! :)

 

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They are precious girls, welcome!

Humping is normal same-sex behavior to assert dominance. Boys do it as well as girls.

I believe the second girl is a beige self or fawn self. Fawn is more orange and beige is... well... beige. Fawn is also agouti based, so the fur is ticked.

The first... wow, that's some pretty marking! From the back she almost looks like a mismarked hooded with a wedge blaze, also mismarked... but I'd just go with cute. ;)
 

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they are ADORABLE!
i remember when my boys were almost that little. such darlings.
i think they might both be girls, but it would be better to get a more experienced opinion. females can hump each other; it's a dominance thing.

welcome to the forum :D
 

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They were FEEDER rats? How are such beautiful little girls for food?

They both look girl to me. But they look young, so keep a close eye out in the next couple weeks. Someone with more sexing experience will know for sure, though. And one of my girls humps the other all the time, especially when poor Belgie's in heat, so that's not necessarily an indication of one being male.

And especially- congrats on finding out about getting two rats, and new bedding, and all that. Your rats will thank you, even if they don't know the bullet they dodged! Poke around, there's tons of advice on this site.
 

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It pays to do research before getting a pet, I'll tell you that. I've spent two years researching rats, and only NOW have I chosen a breeder! (I'll be getting two boys in a few weeks :)).

They're beautiful girls. Congrats. But I can't stress enough how much work rats take. If you want the rewards of having these companions you need to do your part too. They're just as big, maybe bigger, of a responsabilty than a dog or cat. And imagine if you didn't know that dogs bark and demand extreme amounts of attention, and daily 45 min. walks, or that a cat stratches and bites while playing... and that they both besoin for LOTS of vet care? (The list evidently goes on) And you found out this after you commited to them? You'd probably freak.

I can't give you any advice just in one reply, but some important things to know are that, firstly, females are prone to tumours. And since you got them from a pet store, it is highly unlikely that they're from lines where a breeder has tried to fix that. Not only that, but you will need an experienced rat vet throughout their lives. Something as simple as a sneeze or a weeze can turn into something fatal for our little friends. Secondly, you need to find a cage calculator (I don't have the link right now, sorry). Rats need a certain amount of cage space to be happy. Thirdly, the food and bedding issue... well, most of that is about opinion. Someone will advise you use this, someone else that. Just have an extensive look around and choose what you think is best.

But anyway, congrats again! All I can say is good luck, and that your ratties will thank you for doing your research.

Sorry for rambling...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think its funny that so many replies on this forums talk down to the members and assume that they are ill educated. I've read so many posts on these forums the past couple days which as churned my stomach with the lack of encouragement and harsh tones.

I've had animals my entire life and try to do nothing but the best for them. I have an exotic bird that has the best life a bird can ask for other than being free in the wild. I show dogs and have had animals my entire life, all of which were very well cared for. I've worked in animal care for my entire working life.

When we first got Fiona it is true that I did not research rats like I should have but she had a wonderful life compared to a life in a snakes belly. I DO NOT think she died because of inadequate care. I *know* animals and although her bedding was pine shavings and she ate pet store food, (albeit very expensive, higher-than-most-quality rat food) I do not believe that is why she died.

Yes, I agree that running straight out and buying two rats from the only pet store near us is not the smartest idea, but at least I am working to make sure we are educated and prepared for all they will need. I could be like the majority of rat owners who go to their pet store and pick out the first cute rat they see, fling a small plastic hamster cage into the cart, some cedar shavings and some Hartz food.

These two rats have an enormous ferret cage. It's huge and it's getting multi-levels today. I knew to get a huge cage the day I laid eyes on Fiona. My birds cage is as large as a car and my dog's cage is the house and back yard. Even our betta tank is an aquarium.

You stress how much work rats are yet you do not know my background. I am a single stay-at-home-mom with the entire day devoted to the care of my son and animals. I've worked in various areas of animal care, and I KNOW work. You'll have to excuse me if I disagree and think that care of a black headed caique parrot is 100% more work than caring for a human child, let alone a couple rats. I am not going to commit myself to the care of another being if I do not have the time or energy to give it what it needs.

Instead of coming to my thread and telling me what I need to do perhaps read my words and my intent and trust I am an intelligent human being who is doing all she can to make sure these two babies grow up as healthy and happy as can be.

And before anyone chastises me about not buying from a breeder, know that as a dog breeder with champion dogs I am aware of genetics and the reasons to buy from a breeder, but I feel mighty great that these two rats are not in a snakes belly. I don't care if they aren't show quality or may not be the perfect pet rats in the entire planet (although they just may be!) and they may be predisposed to problems moreso than rats from a breeder, but I honestly don't give a rat's butt about that and it wont change my love and care for them.
 

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Camobee said:
And before anyone chastises me about not buying from a breeder, know that as a dog breeder with champion dogs I am aware of genetics and the reasons to buy from a breeder, but I feel mighty great that these two rats are not in a snakes belly. I don't care if they aren't show quality or may not be the perfect pet rats in the entire planet (although they just may be!) and they may be predisposed to problems moreso than rats from a breeder, but I honestly don't give a rat's butt about that and it wont change my love and care for them.
very well said. most people here hold breeder rats much higher than pet store rats, and i disagree with that opinion (though i disagree without saying anything since i don't like arguing :D) in the wild, animals don't have breeders to control their genetics, and they do just fine. the weak ones die early, and the strong ones go on to pass on those traits. it's natural. so if you happen to pick up a "weak" rat from the pet store, that doesn't make it an animal that deserves less love - it needs even more love, since it HAS A CHANCE of having a much shorter lifespan. my first rat was a Himalayan pet store rat, and she lived for almost 4 years. she had a perfect personality, and i would never have traded her for a purebred rat.

think about it this way - humans with genetic diseases aren't perfect, but does that make them less worthy of love and care? are they "less of a human" for having a genetic disease?

my two cents.
 

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1st off, welcome to the forum :) Jasmine is beautiful! I would love a rat with facial patterns (all my boys are hooded) and Minnie is adorable!

2nd to la_marée_haute that wasn't much of a welcome


3rd all of my rats are pet store rats and I love them to death, I believe most issues with pet store rats arise when people want to breed them, not own them.
 

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glindella said:
all of my rats are pet store rats and I love them to death, I believe most issues with pet store rats arise when people want to breed them, not own them.
I agree entirely.

And yes, rats from breeders are held on a pedestal. A pet is a pet, you love it, you care for it, you give it all you can (and more sometimes), regardless of where it originated.

I would love a breeder-born rat just as much as a petshop rat, or a cat-attacked 2 legged mongrel wild rat that's been found in a dustbin. Does it really matter where it comes from if you're prepared to give it a good life?
 

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No one was saying you should have bought pedigreed rats. I personally made mention to them being from feeder stock because I find it amazing that rats that look like that were feeders! All the pet store rats around me are variations on black hoodeds (or berks, selfs, capped). I would never be able to find rats that looked that gorgeous without going to a breeder!
 

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CaptainFlow said:
No one was saying you should have bought pedigreed rats. I personally made mention to them being from feeder stock because I find it amazing that rats that look like that were feeders! All the pet store rats around me are variations on black hoodeds (or berks, selfs, capped). I would never be able to find rats that looked that gorgeous without going to a breeder!
la_marée_haute's post was a little less than friendly...
that's how this whole thing got started.

but yes, they are both lovely little girls and i have never seen a rat that looks like Jasmine before :D i love the last pic, so many whiskers!
 

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CaptainFlow said:
They were FEEDER rats? How are such beautiful little girls for food?

They both look girl to me. But they look young, so keep a close eye out in the next couple weeks. Someone with more sexing experience will know for sure, though. And one of my girls humps the other all the time, especially when poor Belgie's in heat, so that's not necessarily an indication of one being male.

And especially- congrats on finding out about getting two rats, and new bedding, and all that. Your rats will thank you, even if they don't know the bullet they dodged! Poke around, there's tons of advice on this site.
how are any rats food?!? :cry:
 

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firstly, welcome! your rats are absolutely beautiful!

i dont know why you guys freak out just because they are pet store rats and probably dont have great genetics, do us people only have kids if we have absolutely PERFECT genetics? if you didnt eat the best food or live in a big house growing up does that mean you cant have kids? is our population rate and childbirth stuff controlled? no, so it really isnt that big of a deal

ps-im not encoouraging pet store rat breeding, im saying that just cuz pet store rats have un-perfect genesdoesnt mean they are bad pets, both my rats are pet store, and they are precious and perfect.
 

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i don't think anyone was saying that pet store rats don't make great pets. most of us have had at least one wonderful pet store rat since we started keeping rats.

the only concern there is with pet store rats comes up when breeding from them. because you do not know the genes you do not know what to expect and a lot of bad things can crop up that way. mind you the same concern would come up if you got rats from a breeder and decided to breed them without getting the information on their genetics from the breeder first.

other then that,i think some people were surprised to see such interesting markings from a rat from a pet store as most of the time you don't see those types of markings there (depending on your area).

beautiful rats btw. you must tell us some stories of their exploits. i can see the mischief in the eyes of that pudgy one and the other one looks like she's plotting something too. they're going to be very fun family members.
 

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Those are some gorgeous rats!!! I'm jealous and can't wait to get my own. :)

I've also found a LOT of good information (both in threads and articles) on fancy-rats.co.uk. They have a forum as well, but in addition to that vast resources of articles, product reviews, etc.

As for this forum, I still think it's a good time, despite the occassional snobbiness. ;)

I can't wait to see more pictures of your rats in action!
 
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