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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok, so no matter what animal we're talking about- dogs, cats, rats, birds...there is that unspoken rule that you should *never* buy from pet shops (because of animal mills, backyard breeders, ect.). I'm looking for a very young female to keep my hand-raised baby company (she's almost 6 weeks old and has never seen another rat). i've checked all the local classifieds/papers/breeders/rescues, and none of them have babies available. so would it be ok to buy one from a pet shop? i don't want to encourage rat mills or BYBs but Cas is desperate for a friend :/ also, is there any difference between petshop rats and breeder's rats? i assume the PS rats would just be less fancy.
 

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I wouldn't go the pet shop route ever, personally. Especially in this situation where you can probably avoid it anyway. You could adopt a boy and then have him neutered, or adopt a girl who isn't a baby.

Edited to add -- forgot to answer your question. An ethical, good breeder (which mind you, finding one can be a bit of a needle in a haystack, unfortunately), breeds for a lot of reasons, and the #1 should be health. Not to say breeder rats are massively healthier than other rats, but they are selectively bred, so certain things shouldn't crop up. Moreover, a good breeder would have a full lineage of rats in a line, so you can easily see if certain things are prevalent (personality-wise, or health-wise).
 

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People on here rescue rats from pet shops all the time. The problem with petshops is most don't know how to properly care for them and the rats usually aren't socialized. That being said it's not true for all pet shops. My first boys came from a pet shop and I got super lucky because the guy in charge of rodents was going to school to be a vet and had pet rats and knew how to take care of them and when I got Loki (my oldest boy The guy (his name was Kari) had been working with him for a while and Loki was VERY well socialized and to this day has been a perfect rat. Never even peed on me! He ALWAYS holds it until I put him back in his cage never pooped on me either. Thor on the other hand (my other rat, The boys were bought together) had just gotten there not long ago and he had been working with him but (and he even told us all of this) he wasn't very socialized yet and would be very shy and not like to be touched. He also recommended we buy at least 2 rats because rats should be kept together and if kept alone would get depressed and could self harm. He was very knowledgeable. That being said he now works at a vet hospital and I wouldn't buy rats from that store anymore because I know the people there don't know what they're doing. However like I said people on here rescue pet rats from shops on here all the time and no one's going to condemn you or anything if you do get one from there. If that's you're only option that has what you're looking for and you now what you're getting into with the petstore rat I see no harm in it. Like I said no one going to throw virtual stones at you or anything like that. Just know that the pet store rat will have a greater chance of being sick as well because as I said pet store usually don't take good care of them. If you are prepared and ready for all of that then go for it
 

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I already posted in another of your threads about the risks of keeping roof rats and norways (which I'm sure you're fully aware of, I just wanted to share the advice of my vet since I'm having the same dilemma as you), but I wanted to say that if you haven't already you might want to try contacting Wildlife rescues/refuges. I don't know how it is in Australia, but in my area here Roof Rats are considered invasive and nonreleasable, which ends up meaning we are able to keep them as pets or giving them to other people to keep.
I have some friends in Australia, if you are comfortable PMing me your location (like just your city or nearest major city) I could ask around and see if anyone knows where you might could get another roof rat, or at least a baby Norway. But I totally understand if you aren't comfortable giving out this info, I just thought I'd offer :)

Anyway, one thing I didn't mention in my other post, a big reason my vet advised against keeping the two species together was because of issues like disease transmission. Norway rats (over here anyway) have lots of problems due to inbreeding and a wild rat is likely to have a much stronger immune system. Plus the general risk of one rat being exposed to something the other rat doesn't have immunity to, because of the differences in genetics and environments where they've lived. He said he would avoid a petshop rat, and go with something where I know the who the breeder is and that they are reputable and can tell me what kinds of health issues they might have or diseases they may have been exposed to. And to quarantine at least a month. Again I want to reiterate I don't want to tell you what to do, I totally understand the situation you are in, I just wanted to pass along my vet's advice so you can make your own informed decision :)
 

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All my rats come from pet shops. Some sold as pets, others as feeders. Of course it isn't ideal to support animal mills, but I literally have no other resources. There are no breeders (that I can find) anywhere within a reasonable distance from me. It depends entirely on the rat's condition and personality. You just want to make sure they're not showing any signs of illness, and of course you want to interact with them for a bit before you bring them home. And do a proper quarantine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
aah i love this forum, everyone is so helpful :) i was very lucky and managed to find a breeder! she seems very knowledgeable, and the babies are exactly the same age as mine. since they're from a breeder who takes good care of her rats health, would that make it ok to not quarentine? i only have one cage and can't get another at the moment (i literally bought the last one in town,this is a very unratty place to live) , should i put the newbie in a big box for a month? don't want to get either of them sick, but it seems unfair to bring new ratty home and shove her in a box :/ ( Cas is perfectly healthy, had her vet-checked)
 

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Getting her from a reputable breeder I would think makes it less of a risk, but it would still probably be a good idea to at least monitor the baby for a couple days if possible. Could you pick up a small cheap cage from a pet store? Like a wire hamster/gerbil or even small bird cage or small pet carrier? Obviously not an ideal permanent living situation, but I think it would be fine for a temporary quarantine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
whoops, just read the sticky on quarantine. she'll have to stay in a box tonight. there are some mice cages available, not ideal i know, but it will do while she's small :) i'll keep them as far apart as i can for a few weeks, and have different clothes for them. what signs of illness should i look out for?
 

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I just had a thought, if you truly don't have access to a cage, maybe a metal basket (like you see in home decorative sections in stores) with some bedding and get something to use as a lid like wire from a hardware store or even cut up another basket (you'd probably need wire cutters). That would probably work for at least a couple days and give you a chance to observe the baby for any issues before sticking them in together :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
great idea! although i may be able to get a big mouse cage tomorrow. i'll keep them apart for as long as possible, but they're already six weeks old, i want to intro them asap after quarantine because i've heard some nasty stories about older black/brown rats having a go at eachother :( just off to pick up the newbie now! i'll post some pics in "meet my rat" later!
 

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I think that a week of quarantine plus a vet check would be fine for a baby that's coming from a good breeder. No, it's not the standard procedure, but I think under the circumstances it might be the best option. If you haven't already got a cage, a plastic storage bin would work for the quarantine.
 
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