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I am so torn right now. My heart really wants me to do something, but experience is telling me no. Yesterday when I went to get a new litter pan and some food for the girls at Petsmart, I saw there were two little fancies asleep in the corner of a display tank. They were the first and only rats I've seen in that store for about two months. I was actually kind of happy that I didn't see any during that time period, hoping that *maybe* there was no more demand and therefore no need for my local store to order more rats from mass breeders. Well, I should have expected to be disappointed. Even more so, I'm really worried for the lives of the two rats I saw in the display yesterday. Why?

They looked like they were younger than a month old. I am no expert on rat life stages, but my girls were MUCH bigger than these two when I got them, and the vet even told me then that they were tiny babies. Millie and Daisy were probably about 6 weeks old when I got them. These were not even close...they honestly looked smaller than mice. A month old at most. I'm pretty sure they are not ready to be away from their mother and I just have this feeling that if they are brand new shipments, they won't last more than a couple more days because they need momma's milk.

What would you do in this situation? I feel really heartbroken over it, because I know that without help they probably won't survive. But, if I purchase them I re-open the door to my girls getting sick like they were when I first brought them home. I also patronize the live-animal portion of the store, which I know will eventually just lead to them ordering more sickly rats.

After this, I think I'm just going to start ordering all of my pet supplies online unless I'm in a bind. I get so upset every time I go because of my bleeding heart for animals. Plus, Drs. Foster and Smith is somewhat cheaper. Just involves more of a wait, I guess.

If you have any good online retailers for things like food, litter, pans, etc. besides Foster and Smith please let me know.
 

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It's rough. You just have to say no sometimes (or many times) and stick with it. I've had to turn down a few rats the past few months, and I certainly have room (three rats sharing a DCN; they're so spoiled).

It's one of those things where you just have to harden your heart and look at the pragmatic side of things. There are lots of rats out there. With their ease of breeding and short lifespans, there are too many rats out there that could use love—more than we can actually give. And this is true for many animals; how many stray dogs and cats are out there?

I had a situation where we saw a sickly PEW at Petco. My wife's heart melted at seeing her. She wanted to rescue that rat, but we buckled down and said no. It's not just because we barely have time for the three we have (but that's always a consideration). We didn't want to expose our current ratties to whatever this PEW had. I know it's selfish, but what good is rescuing one rat if that should mean that one of your beloveds might get irreparably ill?

I've contemplated getting a fourth rat, but we gave all three of our rats antibiotics recently, so we're not thrilled about the possibility of another vet visit if we bring home some icky stuff. And I'm really not interested in buying from Petco. Those rats are just put on display. I've not seen any human interaction with them (I don't know what they do after hours, but I doubt they're socializing).

So yeah, if I were in your case, I'd say no.
 

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We've adopted most of our rats from a feeder bin or a snake breeder, we have a two rat limit... and I can sometimes close my eyes and see the cute little faces of the rats we didn't adopt. And I'll admit it hurts my soul to think of what happened to them. And for every rat we adopted, we left dozens behind some were no doubt just as special as the ones we took home.

But then I have to focus on the rats we did adopt and raising them well and caring for them and knowing they have a good life. You can't save the world.

And by the way, the pup we just adopted was very small for about a month old.. but she ate solid foods and has nearly tripled her size since we got her... I've always thought petsmart was bringing in rats that were too old to make for easy socialization, I'm happy to hear they are bringing in younger rats... A month old my be just a hair too young, but I've seen huge rats there that are going to be nightmares for their future owners. We're geared for adopting small pups, right down to an eyedropper feeding setup if necessary, but tiny pups can be a lot of work... Five to six weeks old is optimum for socialization and training... It would be nice if they ever got it right.

If you are looking for two new rats, two friendly young pups would be a good pick up, but if you aren't, it's two rats too many.

On the up side, a friend of mine who keeps snakes told me he went to a petsmart and they wouldn't sell him any rats for snake food... He was actually rather upset about it. So chances are better than average that the two pups you aren't adopting will go to good homes. I hope that makes you feel at least a little bit better.
 

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I wouldn't be too worried about their age, while it isn't ideal they are probably 4-5 weeks old and eating on their own well enough at that age. you often wean male rats at 4 1/2 weeks anyways. I highly doubt they are younger then that. They might just be on the smaller side. The last girl I got was a tiny itty bitty thing. But yes they will not die without momma at that age no worries :)

The problem is that every rat needs a loving home. And if you take in every single one you would be overwhelmed and broke very soon lol You have to put your heart aside sometimes. If the rats were in actual danger & u had money for vets then I would say take them and try and find them a good home, knowing it was a possibility that you may have to keep them.

if you want the rats though, get them.

I like drfosterand smith & amazon are my go to shops.
 

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I got my first 2 boys from petco and they're totally normal and healthy. One humps the other like a pubescent teenager, otherwise they're normal. If you have the space, money, and time then I say yes. Maybe ask to play with them for a little to see if they make any URI sounds.
Mammal Rat Gerbil Muridae Rodent
 

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I bought my first 2 rats from petco and they were both sick with URI so off to the vet for a check up and meds , now they are both super healthy but I would never buy another pet from Pet Co
 

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I thoght I'd just add my experience here... Originally I got Dela and Izumi from Petsmart. Izumi died the night I got her from pneumonia symptoms I hadn't seen in the store. I went back the next day and got Neera, the least sniffly of the rats that I saw. Neera's now been on antibiotics for months at a time. She was on them from January-April non-stop and is now sneezing again. Honestly, I adore her, she's my baby, but I'm so stressed right now I've given myself a week of headaches because I'm so afraid of finding her sick again... Despite all odds, Dela is an extremely healthy girl... So that's my experience with petstore rats.
 

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I bought my first 2 rats from petco and they were both sick with URI so off to the vet for a check up and meds , now they are both super healthy but I would never buy another pet from Pet Co
And to be fair to Petco, I'm sure the quality of how they store and display rats varies from store to store. I imagine there is at least one Petco that is managed by someone who is super-passionate about animals and works hard to ensure that they all receive great care and imparts this passion to the employees. But it is a chain store, and chain stores usually need more employees, which means that management has to consider hiring people less qualified in order to fill those numbers. Compare that to a mom-and-pop shop that is small enough to only need six to eight employees total. Of course, there's nothing magical about a mom-and-pop shop that makes it awesome. Again, it comes down to who runs it.

But I know that the Petco near my home is not going to see me walking out with any of their rats. I go there to buy food and some rat accoutrements, but that's about it. I buy my litter from Amazon for half the price (I know I'm horrible for not buying from a brick-and-mortar store, sorry).

All three of my rats came from the same small store, and I stop by there periodically to see if they have any new rats to fall in love with. A friend of mine just discovered a breeder that sounds promising. She advertises that her rats go home with food, antibiotics, and a fresh bath. It seems the bath is probably unnecessary, but it probably makes some pet owners feel better. And if someone else traumatizes the rat with water first, then maybe that makes it easier on me down the line. I'm definitely curious about her operation. The downside is that I think she only deals with baby rats, and mine are now 5 and 6 months old. I'd consider buying a baby only if I got a pair.
 
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