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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With the passing of my Gustav, I know that I have to consider getting a companion for Beadle.

There are some rescues available in a shelter.
They were surrendered with several other rats, citing that the owner just couldn't take care of all of them. I worry that they are from an accidental litter or a backyard breeder (possibly even feeder stock), and that there could be health concerns.

Does anyone have any advice?
Questions to ask?
Things to look for?

So far none of the near by breeders have any available litters, and I am concerned how Beadle will cope with being alone for the first time in his life.
 

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With unknown lineages, health concerns can be serious. It's a sort of potluck. My two rescues lived longer than my accidental litter or their parents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm thinking I will have to take a look at them. They are PEWs, so I also worry about the possibility of what recessive genes are coming along with them.
I'll have to ask the people at the shelter more info and if they've had any vet screening.

I wouldn't really be considering it, but Beadle has been very upset. He's an introverted rat, sometimes he just needs someone to snuggle with. Gustav was a good brother for him, he was very outgoing and always involved Beadle in play. I don't know how long Beadle can be without a companion- with no litters available until January.
 

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I don't think pews bring any kind of genetic issue more than others among rats. There are things like their sight is bad and will get worse with age and light exposure, but since rats are not nearly as reliant on sight as they are on other senses it doesn't pose much of an issue. I think most people worry more about waardenburg type markings in rats.

I also have a thing for pews, so many avoid getting them because eww red eyes (this happened with ferrets as well) and some of my sweetest rats have been pews.

Don't tell the rest, but my current pew, Buttercup I tend to favor a bit. She is brave, curious, sweet and loves to hang out with her people. She'll be 2 here in the next month.
 

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Pew owner here. The only problem coloring with rats are Highwhite, where they have excessive white distorting proper coloration which tend to be unhealthy, and BEWS which are sort of like high whites.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh thank you!
I was having trouble finding much info on PEW specific health info. My home stays dark, so they shouldn't have a problem with light exposure.
 

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I personally love PEWs, always have. If I were you, I would at least go and take a look at any that are available to you, this will give you more data to work with and decide from. I find there is a certain sense of satisfaction in rescuing an animal in need. But you have to make the decision that is best for you and your situation. :) Best of luck!
 

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Pew owner here. The only problem coloring with rats are Highwhite, where they have excessive white distorting proper coloration which tend to be unhealthy, and BEWS which are sort of like high whites.
Actually theres a number of varieties that have inherint health issues, some of the most common;
British / American blue - blood clotting issues, lowered immune system (can be improved by good breeding)
Red Eyed Dilute (Beige/buff, topaz/fawn) - blood platelet pool deificieny, leading to blood clotting issues (can be improved by good breeding)
Black eyed white - can have megacolon issues if formed by high whites, also can be prone to audio generated epilepsy (audio genetrated epilepsy has proved to not be able to be selected away from so this variety is banned from being shown in the UK)
High white / chinchilla - megacolon issues (can be bred away from)
Hairless - very prone to cysts / abcesses of the skin, inherent eye issues especially if no eye lashes, latation issues in females (may be able to breed away from all or some, not really been tested)
Rex - somewhat prone to cysts, abcesses and may get ingrowing eyelashes (can be imporved by good breeding).

Then you get issues like Essex and pearl being double lethal (2 copies of the gene causing the featus to be reabsorbed, or baby be still born)

PEW is an interesting one, as its essentially like chucking a bucket of white paint over the rat (and turing there eyes pink), underneath that variety there could be anything (that's not carried on the C-Locus e.g. Siamese, Burmese, marten, himi), so you can have a PEW highwhite, a PEW Russian blue etc, you'd never know what it was underneath unless you knew its geaneolgy and did some test matings. To be fair though even the varietys above with health issues you can get very healthy rats, they tend to be on a sliding scale of severity, and even a robust variety like say a black can have health issues all its life.

I would get these lads as it sounds like they are needed, give them a good diet and life and hopefully it will work out. To avoid being in this situation in the future I would recommend aiming for a rolling group (something I do as its less stressful). This means planning ahead, so say you want a max of 4 rats, then when your youngest pair hit around 12 months old plan to get a pair of babies) you'll know the rough age for this so can get on a breeders waiting list early. Then when you loose the 2 oldest in your group of 4 you can get another pair of babies and so on. That way your group will vary between 2 and 4 and it will minimise your worry. I liked a rolling group of 6 myself for bucks but it has to work with you.
 

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I would take a chance on the rescues. Health issues can occur in even the most seemingly healthy rats. Those shelter rats need a home and your rat needs buddies - I think a match can definitely be made.

Questions to ask?
Same sort of thing you would ask when adopting any other species from a shelter. Are they neutered/spayed? What are the circumstances behind their surrender? Do they get along well with other rats? Are they friendly with people? How sociable do they seem? What are they being fed? Any health issues I should be aware of? How long have they been at the shelter?

Things to look for?
Any obvious signs of illness, lethargy, respiratory issues, etc. Aggression or avoidance indicating an under socialized or fearful rat.

Honestly even a fearful rat can be a great pet. It is all about how much work you are willing to put in and how experienced/willing you are to resolves issues should the rat be sick, territorial or frightened.
 

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I rescued my boys and could not be happier (I believe Pata is either a pew or a champagne, it's really hard to tell since it looks like he has some really light beigy colouring on his bum, but it could also just be his skin. He's got red/pink eyes though. And Ares looks like he's a fawn cap). I could have bought a couple from the petsmart or mrpets, but I figured it's really hard for rats to get adopted why not give these guys a forever home where they have toys and lovings (not to say the shelter didn't treat them fantastically, they were amazing).
 

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I suppose, to cut to the chase... The finest, most loving and most competent true shoulder rat I've ever known was a feeder bin refugee... She was bred to grow fast, get big and with no concern for her long term health...

It was terrible to lose her to mammary tumors at 2 1/4 years old... but I wouldn't trade a day spent with her for a long healthier life spent with any other rat that's ever lived.

Yes, it's a bad idea to adopt a rat you know is sick, but with rats you never can predict the future... It's also not necessarily a good idea to adopt a rat that has social, behavioral or emotional issues that you can't deal with, but if the rats you are considering are currently healthy, sweet and smart and feel right to you, that's what matters most.
 

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health and temperament would be my main concerns. Even with breeder-purchased rats you can get health issues. With those bought in a store or from rescue you don't know the background so they may be more at risk for things like cancer. My main concern however, would be doing proper quarantine with all the viruses going around now. If the rat appeared healthy and you do proper quarantine, then I'd think it would be OK (this is assuming you checked personality before purchasing it). There is no guarantee with rats about lifespan either.. I recently had an ~7 month old buck from a breeder die of unknown causes (heart attack, stroke, bad fall, there's no way of knowing). and I've had most of my "feeder" and rescue rats die less than 1.5 years old, but one girl is still going at over 2 years old now with no signs of ill health.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I went and visited them... and well one adopted me- his name is Petri. He climbed out on my shoulder and started giving me kisses and trying to stuff his nose in my mouth.

He appears to be very healthy, according to the shelter they were surrendered because their owner lost her job and couldn't keep her rats anymore.

However, he's rather frightened of Beadle. But I don't blame him, he and his brothers are average sized rats, and Beadle is nearly twice his size. Beadle is super curious about him though, but if Beadle goes anywhere near Petri's cage he gets agitated and adopts an aggressive posture. It's gonna take a while.. I think I will just keep them apart for a few days (moved Petri's cage to the other side of the room) before I let them meet face to face.
 
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