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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so I have been having alot of problems with keeping my rats alive lately. I had two die out of the three I have gotten from a pet store.
The lady at the pet store said they were feeder rats. I have never had much luck with rats in general, they die often, but I also have always gotten these feeder rats from the pet store. I don't know is there any difference in the way rats from pets stores and breeders are bred? And what about health, is that any different depending on whether or not the rat comes from a pet store.....
Hm I dont know, I just had never known about breeders until recently and I was wondering if getting a rat from one would remedy my problem of frequent deaths and general poor health...

Thanks
 

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Pet store rats do tend to have worse health then ones from good breeders. The ones at petstores are a lot of the time inbred and stuff. They just breed the rats all the time to get as many babies as possible to sell. I have never heard of them dieing real easily though. Getting a rat from a good breeder will give you one with a better background.

What kind of cage do you keep your rats in? What food are you feeding them? Any other details would be helpful as to figuring out why they might be dieing for you so often.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well I use carefresh bedding and I feed them this stuff called Vita-Vittles and some type of treat every day (apples, cookies, cereal, ect.)
and I house them in a glass aquarium which I keep as far away from my window as I can.
Let's see.... and when I bathe them, I use Dawn dish soap because Ive heard that they use it on ducks...
But yeah, I had been following all the guidelines that I knew of thats why I was so confused. Thanks for replying.
 

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They should be kept in wire cages, better ventilation. Also I have never heard of using Dawn to bathe a rat. You should use pet shampoo of some kind and be careful to not get it in the face or ears. They use dawn on ducks to get oil off when their is an oil spill.
 

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Feeder rats are olmost never taken care of properly. I suggest that you only attept to save a feeder if you have the time to take care of them and the money for the vet visits.

Good and responsible breeders care about their rats(they're pets, too!), and take care when mating a pair. they avoid breeding any rat with an obvious health problem, and often times will check up on their sold kittens after they've been taken home.

I definitely reccomend a getting your rat from a breeder, they may cost a little extra but it will be worthwhile to have a long time spent with your rat.

One tip, though, talk to the breeder about the litter before purchasing a kitten. Ask why they chose to breed and how this certain litter came about(if they say it was an uh-oh! litter, start getting doubtful about taking home one of those).


And yeah, don't use Dawn. That is waaayyy too harsh for your ratty. A gentle puppy/kitten shampoo will do nicely. The stores around here sell an item that is 'intant shampoo' for small animals. It works well in getting my boy's oils out of his coat and leaves him smelling nice. I'm not sure the brand name but if you want it tell me and I'll go look.
 

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I think it dpends where the stores get there rats from. I have a store rat now and she is in great shape. My last 2 rats were pet store rats also, one lived 3 years the other 6 years! I have 3 rescue girls at moment, I think they were from a store originaly, 1 is very ill indeed and posted about that, the other 2 are doing ok. I also have 3 other baie rescues (well kinda) they were an unexpected litter and came straight from the persons house. Saw them on a rescue froum. They all seem in great health but there still very young kittens at moment. The petstores ive used in past 2 certain ones I know use only one certain breeder and have done for years as they are bred very well. Thats why ive bought from them.
 

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Yes, rats that are specified to sell as pets are(for the most part) taken much better care of.

But the Noah's here in Louisiana are horrible, which is why I still reccomend getting rats from breeeders. I don't know what the Noah's are like anywhere else, but it's horrble here. Tny aquariums, no housing, no form of exercise. Ew. (it's basically them, a little bedding, a food bowl ad water bottle, and that's it)

Sick. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #10
at this pet store there isnt even food or water heh, it is really gross. Theres like 20 rats stuffed into a plastic box. Its a jacks aquarium. I wish I could do something about it.....


thanks for the replies!
 

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Honestly, I would stop giving any of your money to this Jack's Aquarium or whatever. I know you probably want to save the poor l'il ratties, but you need to veto this place with your dollar. IMHO. Go to a better pet store or preferably to a breeder, or try to adopt an unwanted ratty.
 

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ive gotten rats from two different pet stores and they have never gotten respiratory diseases and didnt come home with any( except maybe my latest rat). only 1 got sick and that was cancer. i dont see the problem in buying from a pet store if the rats are healthy and well kept. that jacks place seems really horrible. poor babies.
 

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Here's where I'm considering for next time:

http://www.harlan.com/models/spraguedawley.asp

About $20 for a 5-6 week old. Plus shipping of course. They can hook you up with guaranteed litter-mates, and you can order grub for them at the same time.

Yeah, the initial cost is high, but heck - one vet visit could easily out pace the cost you would save by buying feeder rats or pet store rats. And I'm betting these guys are better than any breeder out there. You can get complete bloodline information all the way back to the early 1900's, they are tested monthly for all manner of pathogens, and if you wanted to breed these guys I'm sure your results would be pretty good - they also sell breeders, and pregnant females, etc. I would rather invest $100 in a pair from Harlan than $5 on a rat that's going to cost me several hundred in vet visits, and could live a generally poor, short life because of bad breeding and exposure to illnesses at a young age.

They also have hooded varieties besides the albino "lab rats" for about the same price. Personally tho, I kinda dig having genuine "white" lab models 8)

Sorry if anyone is offended by me wanting to purchase from a lab that supplies rats for medical and scientific uses. But putting aside the primary customers of Harlan, I think it's a viable alternative, and ethically not a large distance removed from buying "feeder" rats bred specifically as food for snakes and lizards. Personally I would rather see a rat give it's life for medical research than feed someone's pet python.... what in blazes do you do with a *pet* snake anyhow??

Rick
 

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rcropper said:
Personally I would rather see a rat give it's life for medical research than feed someone's pet python.... what in blazes do you do with a *pet* snake anyhow??

Rick

Many people would ask you the same thing about rats.

The key is having an open mind. I have four rats currently, and I love most reptiles. Although I have a very hard time keeping back tears at the sanke's feeding time, I still know that the sanke must eat as well.

Having a widely feared animal as a best friend puts me in a very open-minded state. Since both the rat and the snake are not your typical pet choice.


Just learn to keep in mind that snakes must eat, too. I'm not telling you to sit and watch at feeding time, just don't bite the head off of anyone who owns a snake.
 

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Vixie - its nice to see someone else that loves rats but knows snakes (and some lizards) must eat too. I eat meat, most people do. It's the same concept. People can choose to not eat meat, but snakes (and some lizards) can't...
 

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I agree that snakes have to eat too, and I've handled them at times, etc. Not afraid of snakes, but they just don't seem real "interactive". I was under the impression that a lot of snake type people are into watching them eat.... like keeping piranha's ya know? I'm sure there are exceptions of course, but to my mind it isn't natural for mammals to co-habitate with reptiles - we are essentially natural enemies. But I think that's what draws owners of reptiles to them in the first place - their aura of perceived "danger", and their shock value. Personally I feel those are poor reasons to choose a pet. Much like men who have large, "manly" dog species bred for fighting. Most are poor specimens of "dog". I would love to have a dog myself, but as my living situation currently does not allow it, I have rats as they are probably the closest thing to a dog in the world of bite-sized animals. But I digress.....

I guess my point was that I'm not attacking snake owners.... I just don't see a good reason to have one as a pet. Makes about as much sense to me as having a wasp nest as a pet..... pet rock anyone :?:

Snakes have to eat, and in the wild they eat what they can catch. Wild rats and mice are FAIR game. IE - they can run, and they can hide, and the snake must give chase. That's nature. But to feed a domestic pet store rat that has no real instincts to a pet snake.... well I would say we have done the rat a disservice at the least by breeding it to feed a predator that isn't serving a useful link in the food chain.

Rick
 

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Snakes can be good pets. They can be tamed and you can hold them and bond with them. They will sit with you, they don't just run off or something. Their are lots of people that would think it is crazy to have a rat as a pet too. We breed and kill cows, pigs, etc. for our food....they have no chance of escaping their future....same as with rats bred for food.

Don't get me wrong, I love rats and have 6 of them...they are great pets, but I happen to know that reptiles can be great pets too.
 

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Well - they sell lots of them (reptiles), so they must have some attraction. To each his or her own eh? Just not my cup of hot soaking leaves. I've got nothing really against them other than my own ignorance I suppose.... for that matter I have nothing against walking hamburgers or pink, hairy bacon strips either.....yum! :wink:

But seriously - back on thread topic - what does everyone think of getting them from a lab supplier? Good idea? Bad idea? Reasoning?

I should note that they are bred for health and lifespan.... it seems to be a bit of competition in the industry as to who can supply the longest lived rats. 24 months is a minimum for a lot of medical studies, and so they want as large of a percentage of them alive at the end of that time frame as possible.

Rick
 

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i may get flamed for saying this but i work at a pet store and yes we sell feeder rats and pet rats. we get our rats all from the same place ( who buys them from different breeders ) i can honestly say that feeder rats do not live as long as "pet "rats. i have snakes as pets my self but am also the biggest advocate for the pet rats in the store. i sell them to more people then hamster and gerbils combined and i always explain what they need and what to expect as well as a care sheet for every one.
i will also say that even the feeder rats are well taken care of in my store, as i am the one in charge of them :) they have fresh water daily, food bowl is always full, they get treats and they have toys to play with so at least there last days are hopefully better then the ones thay had previously

i am in the middle of setting up a bigger and better house for the pet rats in my store ( always seperating the males from the females)
and i am also starting to breed my own in the store so i know the quality will be good ( no inbreeding allowed )
 

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that's all very good but you're the exception to the rule. there are good stores out there that truely care for ALL the animals in their building but they're certainly harder to come by then the ones that don;t really care one way or the other if the pet rats they're selling are pregnant or malnurished or on the proper bedding.

as far as "feeder-bred" life span vs "pet-bred" life span is concerned there is great debate. i'm of the camp that feeder-bred rats tend to have poorer breeding then the pet bred ones but that does not necessarily mean that the feeders are going to live a shorter span then the pets. in fact there are certain strands of pet bred rats that live only about a year. its a side effect of their breed. though there is ALWAYS an exception to the rule as a generality feeder-bred and pet-bred will live about the same ammount of time if given the same treatments and health care.
 
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