Well my very first rarts were Beavis and Butthead, they were feeder rats, but just as sweet and lovable as any other. My second pair of boys are Jay and Selient bob, which I had gotten after my oldest, Beavis, had died. My BF couldnt stand me being so sad after he passed that he surprised me with a new baby, Jay, from Petsmart and then we got him a friend a month later, Silent Bob.
oops...voted wrong: Breeder AND rpet store/rescue(not sure which one it is)
I got my first rats ever(two does) from Aunty B's Rattery(who no longer breeds now).
Ginny died at a year old : ( (bad respitory issues) so I needed a companion for Tibby so I went to Petco and was looking at the rats for sale and one of the employees told me that they had rats up for adoption(free) due to various reasons. They had a female who had a litter of 14(they were already weaned) that was about the same age and size as Tibby! So we got her. There was also a lone male there who was about 1yr or more even and he had scabs/no fur on his back because of scabies I believe?. After we got the female(Mamma) we were walking out to the car and could'nt leave the sweet boy there so we ran back in and got him!
So theres my story!
Note: I however no longer have them because I moved out of my parents house sooner then I thought and could'nt bring with me so gave them to an experienced rodent owning family.
One of my rats I got myself from a pet store (Jellybean). Two of them, my sister got from a pet store and then had to give them to me (Sakura and Bella). Two of my girls are from shelters (Coconut and Magic). One was a feeder, but she was given to me when the snake wouldn't eat her (Kismet).
I'm hoping to someday get rats from a breeder, but there are none anywhere nearby - so that'll only happen if I can convince my boyfriend to take a road trip for some rats ^_^
after 4 years of rat ownership i can safely say i've gotten rats from all the sources.
my first rat, Pocket i got from someone that had an accidental litter, then i got her a friend, Lyiint, from the pet store.
my next two, Dust and Myght were given to me by a friend for christmas, she got them from a pet store.
the next one, Nezumi, i rescued from a horrible situation (she needed immediate medical care for a partial tail aputation to get rid of gangrene).
the next two, Spider (avatar picture) and Snicketts were bought from a pet store shortly after Pocket's death and three weeks later gave me 24 more (all of which i was eventually able to find homes for but it was a real pain in the butt).
i knew i was losing Nezumi and Myght due to illness so i had set up to adopt from a friend that had a petstore pregnancy (we lost our friendship over it in the end) and i ended up bringing home Kakushi, her mother Iedani and her aunt Titania (who i couldn't keep and went to a, at the time new rat rescue).
when i lost Nezumi, Dust, Myght and Snicketts within just a little over a one month period i bought Twix and Tween from a pet store. i had intended to get from the rescue but after losing so many so suddenly i couldn't handle it and went to get new babies the same day the fourth one died. i'm not proud of my actions but i love my small little rats (they stopped growing at 5 months old).
then came christmas and my boyfriend gave me Sweetipie, my dumbo eared hairless who he bought from a pet store. i was able to pick her out though cause the boyfriend didn't know how to tell age and i didn't want another pet store surprise. she was the only good thing about going to see the movie eragon (great book, horrid move).
then i sort of rescued a rat named Violet. her previous owner was very new to rats and didn't know very much. she had Violet living in a hamster cage on ine bedding and off of hamster food. she was afraid of Violet because when she "introduced" new rats violet was violent with the new rats and tried to bite her. she has never once ever bitten me. i agreed to take violet and work with her to get her to be a friendly happy rat then give her back. well i had to take violet in to the vet for mite treatment ($50) that the original owner didn't want to pay for (but we had worked something out anyway). then Violet developed a tumor that was growing fast. the owner didn't want to pay for the surgery so gave the rat to me instead, knowing i would take very good care of her. Violet went in for surgery shortly thereafter and is now the second in the colony.
next i was bribed with a rat! this was my first boy that i get to keep and of course i named him Bribery. it was st. patty's day and i was having a party at my new apartment. only one person showed up. one of the other people that was supposed to show evenutally called up and wanted to bring us to her house. well i didn't want to go but she wasn't going to come for just one person. so he (did i mention he had a crush on the caller...) asked if i could be bought! of course i seized my chance to get a neutered boy for free! ...the next day at school (after already agreeing to getting the near $100 rat) it was discovered that i could have been bought with his really cool looking $20 pants too... Bribery was gotten from a breeder who now no longer breeds.
when i went to expand the cage i was in the pet store and saw an adorable face all by herself. so we brought Babydoll home as well.
by this time i had given Iedani away to a person that could better handle her temperment issues and spider had died so i went to the rescue that had taken in Titania looking for a red eyed rat. i went there for one and ended up coming back with Eyes (her eyes are so red there is just nothing else you can call her) and Ink (her coat looks like she's just been splashed with a bottle of ink) and my friend went home with Cinder (a baby that was born at the rescue).
i was under the belief that i was fostering for a rescue when i got Stewart. but there was some miscommunication and the rescue thought stewie was somewhere else. when they learned he was with me i was asking for permission to have him neutered and to keep him. (at the end of the 3rd week of september he will be able to meet the girls!).
finally i rescued Sookie, a himi dumbo. when i was visiting my friend in another city we were walking downtown and i saw this girl (aged somewhere between 12-14) playing with this adorbale little ratty. so of course i had to go over and make a fuss over the sweetheart. that's when i learned that she was saying goodbye to her rat and was about to let her "go free" because her mom had found her (apparently she had been keeping the rat a secret from her mom for a while and when mom found out she said to get rid of it now or she was going to kill it). so i took her home too.
so i've rescued, bought, adopted and was gifted. i've only had rats a short time but you can really learn a lot in that amount of time. i've rasied babies, nursed sick rats back to health on occasion but lost most of them. i've seen the results of poor breeding to temperment and the results of horrible abuse both unimaginably forgiven and held onto forever. i've also seen the joy and unmittigated trust in their eyes of rats that have never known a store and the fear and distrust of those that knew too much. i've seen them grieve over the loss of colony members and tend to their sick. they are truely amazing little souls no matter where they came from or the history they've had to deal with.
My first three came from Pet Stores. The fourth was a feeder, and the fifth came from a pet store. Sixth and Seventh were pet stores too. Eight and ninth (Hard to believe I've had nine rats over my lifetime) were from a girl on Craigs List who was moving out of the country and couldn't keep her rats.
Like many have said, I now know better and will not get any more rats from pet stores but rather from a rescue or a breeder.