I only like to add on by saying that it also depends on the area that you live in. For example where I live the petco has females and males seperated, and for the most part seem to have some knowledge on rats. where Pet-Smart only carries males. On more than one occasion I've gotten sick rats from petco. I finally got my first male rat from petsmart and so far so good. Knock on wood. I really like getting rats from these places and have found a place that is a small pet shop and they breed their own rats. Which they have gotten from a breeder. They know where petco get their rats and don't allow it there. The owner use to work at the mill outside of seattle and the living conditions where un heard of. So I just got plum lucky. Not to say that it's perfect but for a pet shop I've been really happy with them. They take really good care of their animals and they are knowledgeable.Holly said:I always hang around the pet stores and check out their rats, just for fun. Most of the rats I see are "fancy rats" of one kind or another. The usuals around my area are albinos, hoodies of all colors, blue rats, and the usual array of the solid "fancy" colors. (I'm still a little confused about how rats are classified by their coats, so, more often than not, I'll make up my own name for the color. Gregor was a hoodie with a chocolate covered hood. Gus has an agouti [multicolor] hair pattern for his hood and stripe. I've seen "caramel" rats and "coffee" rats, too.)
I just noticed that I seem to compare the colors to food quite often! :lol: I guess they're so cute that I just want to "eat them right up," as the expression goes!
Anyway, last week, I saw my first "Rex Rat" that actually looked a little bit like a Rex Rat. His hair was only a little wavy, and his whiskers were more "wavy" than "curly," but I had a (Petsmart) employee with me at the time who really knew his rats, and he said that the Rex Rat I saw had a brother who had been sold earlier, and the brother had very curly hair and whiskers. Apparently, there are different degrees of curliness, and they don't necessarily stay the same throughout a lifetime.
On a tangent:
There was a debate earlier about PetSmart vs. PetCo. I never added anything, because everyone seemed to have it covered pretty well. However, this is what is going on in my area:
At PetSmart, the ~stores~ are "sexed." Females aren't even on the same premises as males. The clerks were very helpful, and, indeed, the young man who was discussing the Rex Rats with me showed a great deal of interest when he learned that I had purchased my first rat (Gregor) at that store. He asked about Gregor's health, and eventually heard the whole "Gregor Story." He took the time to talk with me, and was genuinely interested.
At PetCo, where I got my current rat, Gus, the stores are not sexed. (Since I buy males, it isn't really a problem for me, but it doesn't reflect well on the store.) When I bought Gus there, the clerk may as well have been a mannequin. She had NO information. Are the rats socialized? Do they have information on the parents? When were these rats born? DON'T ask the clerk - she doesn't know. She did NOT give me ample time to visit with Gus, to listen for labored breathing, etc. She basically seemed to want me to just pick a rat and leave.
Having said this, there is one very important fact which must be stated:
Gregor, who came from the "good" store, was ill with tumors most of his life, although we didn't know it. Since he was my first rat, I was unaware, but now that I can compare with Gus, I realize that Gregor should have had a lot more "pep" than he did as a young rat. I thought he was just calm...but in reality, the silent tumors were wearing him out. And Gregor only lived to be a little over a year old...a fairly short life for a pet rat, kept in luxury, with regular vet checkups.
Gus, who came from the store that doesn't care, ironically seems to be doing great, touch wood. He has tons of energy, absolutely is following the descriptions of the rats on this forum - he's at the end of the "zooming fuzlet" stage right now - and is in very good health so far. Of course, no one knows what the future holds, but so far, Gus appears to be a far healthier rat than Gregor.
To wrap it up, it's probably "luck of the draw" at any chain pet store. Only a breeder can give you 100% of the information. I've decided that, when the time comes to bring a new rat into my life, if I can't find a breeder in my area, I'll adopt a "rescue rat," of which there are plenty. I'd be happy to give a good home to someone who really needs it.