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Discussion Starter #1
I know that it is better to get rats from a breeder and a rescue but there aren't any places around where i live that will have any rats for a while. I got a Petco and a PetSmart and a couple of breeders that already have their litters on reserve. So should I just get my rats from the petstore? How are the rats different from pet stores that from breeders?
 

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breeder rats are much more socialized, although i think most everyone here has agreed that petco rats are still better than petsmart rats. they are also properly sexed, which is sometimes the problem when rats are stuffed in a bin together, and you might end up with a pregnant female from a petstore. happened with a hamster of mine, and several people here have gotten rat litters that way. also, breeder rats tend to be healthier since they are not exposed to the overcrowded conditions of binned rats at petstores. many petstores also do not feed a proper rat diet or keep their rats on proper rat bedding, further adding to potential health problems. many petstores (i think definitely petsmart more than petco here) also get their rats from people who just breed rats for rats, and not for health and temperament, like breeders do, and you can end up with an anti-social rat that develops many tumors and has respiratory issues due to genetics. by getting a rat from an accredited breeder, you can help to reduce the amount of profit that those people make, and in the end, you'll have a better rat for a longer amount of time!

on that note, both my girls were from petstores, and admittedly, picasso had some sneezing and head-shaking when i first got her from petco. mozart was from a smaller store that bred their rats one litter at a time in aquariums, but has had no health problems to date. i was going to get picasso's friend from a litter, but i totally understand where you're coming from on how hard it is to get a rat from a breeder sometimes. one breeder didn't want to adopt to me because she thought i was someone famous, so i don't even know what the **** happened there...

ultimately it's up to you, but get a rat from a breeder if it's at all possible.
 

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OnlyOno said:
i think most everyone here has agreed that petco rats are still better than petsmart rats.
I actually prefer petsmart to petco. I have called animal control several times on petco. I think that rescue's are best but if that is not the case maybe you could let us know where you are and then we may be able to help. Remember petfinder.com is your friend. hope all goes well with your rattie search.
 

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The Petsmart in Santa cruz has had good ratsys. I allways ask to see them and I must agree that they SOMETIMES are not very social but lately the staff have been a little more dedicated to socializing the ratsys. :) And I've only found 2-5 in the past 6 years thet needed to be taken out because of a health isue or injury.

But you should question the staff and or manager to find your ideal ratsy and I hope it work out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I live in Lockport Illinois. Its a southwestern suburb of Chicago. Its like a 30 min drive to downtown.
 

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The consensus on the bigger rat forums is that Petco is much worse than Petsmart overall. Most of the sick rats and ooops litters come from Petco bought rats, but saying that it depends on each store as well.

Have you looked into oops litters on craigslist or have you posted you are looking on rat forums?
 

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Unfortunately rats aren't the most popular pet in the world so availability is rather had and takes some travel time to get a good rat. Today I'm driving 2 hours to rescue three rats that a breeder was given. Don't buy from pet stores, the last rat I bought from a pet store was brought home with a respiratory infection. :(
Are you sure you checked every rescue and rattery? And since you're southwest Chicago, have you looked for rats in indiana?
 

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I'll agree to going with a breeder or rescue for your rats. I got my first breeder girl this year, and her temperment is to die for. She's just like a little puppy. My petstore girls have come to have wonderful temperments with lots of time and work, it certainly didn't start off that way.
 

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the petco in my area is actually better than petsmart, the petco has a exotic animal vet come every two weeks to check up on all the lizards, rodents and fish for any disease and what not plus they handle the animals so much better. when i was at petsmart looking at rats the guy picked them up by their tails and dropped them in my hand and when i handed him over back to the guy he just kinda chucked him back in the cage. Plus the caging at petco had so much better ventilation and the rats all were more social and playful. i will admit a breeder is better for any type of animal but i couldn't find any breeders in my neck of the woods in VA so i feel better about myself buying Molly and Zombina from the store and saved them from ending up as snake food
 

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I believe everyone has said what I would, To try and adopt or rescue first. I wish you the best of luck and hope you can find someone :D. I live in a very small area and have a hard time finding homes but I press on. Odds are that you'll find a rescue out there looking for someone to adopt their hunnies.
 

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Most Petco's sell their rats as feeder rats, so Petsmart would be your best bet out of the two. But I prefer small, locally owned petstores that maybe only get in one or two at a time and are probably more socialized and better cared for than the big stores.

But I agree that if you can find an rescue center thats much better. And a longer drive shouldnt be an issue. If you want a healthy pet that really needs your help (being rescued) than having to drive a little further to save them shouldn't be that big of a deal. I mean you're gonna have them for a few years so that's always the best bet. But yes, a lot of people who don't want their rats anymore don't give them to rescue groups, so that might be harder to find.
 

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And there is always asking around on this ratty forum and goosemoose for a ratty train to get that rat closer to you. I can't drive half an hour hardly, let alone a four hour trip to Ypsilanti, MI but I just asked if anyone would help and low and behold someone drives half an hour from Ypsilanti to my town all the time! Always good to ask the rat community for help.

But yeah if all else is said and done, go ahead and buy from PetCo. I know they have more health/behavioral problems possibilities and you are supporting the petstore to carry more rats bred from the rat mills but odds are if you don't purchase that rat, someone else will. Most end up as food, some end up as throw away pets if they are lucky. A small portion of those rats go to homes that intend to care for them the way they should be cared for. So while it's not the best route either way you are giveing a home to a rat that needs it.
 

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I I would never buy rats from a petshop, my first experiences with rats are petshop ones....

You casn find a breeder if you really try, or wait til one has an available litter, it is worth it..
 
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