Petshop vs Rat Breeder

Where to get your rats from?

If you are thinking about getting rats for the first time or thinking about expanding your current "collection" then think seriously about where to get your rats from.

Out of the 7 rats that we got from petstores 4 of them came to us with mycoplasma (a respiratory disease) 2 of them have had tumours and 1 of them died after having several strokes and living for a while with headtilt.

The 3 rats we got from a breeder have all been fine healthwise (so far, fingers crossed) and are a lot more social and "outgoing" that the others.

There are a lot of pet shops out there that are fine and look after their animals very well and sell strongly healthy rats but as with most things there are others that keep rats under bright lights in cages that are way too small. I would strongly suggest avoiding these petshops. There is a sense of rescuing these rats sometimes but remember that if they manage to sell their rats then they are likely to get more in. This is a very difficult situation to be in sometimes and very hard to resist, but follow your instincts.

If you decide to look for a rat breeder then have a look in our links section. Have a look through their websites and the conditions they keep their rats in and possibly even ask to visit the rattery and see how the rats are kept if you are local. If you find a breeder that you like the look of but they are a couple of hours drive away then ask in the message board or join a yahoo group mailing list and see if you can organise for a "rat train." This is where fellow rat fans collect the rats for you and transport them to a show nearer to you. PLEASE NOTE: only do this if you trust the individuals involved to transport the rats securely and to take good care of them.

The bottom line is that some pet stores are fine, while others don't look after their rats very well. The same goes for breeders!! I would suggest looking around and talking to the breeders. Don't be afraid to ask questions or possibly even ask if you are able to visit (some breeders breed in their own home and may not be happy to let you come round). Look at the conditions that the rats are being kept in and ask about the history of the line of rats. (most good breeders will know at least 2 generations back depending on the rarity of the breed). Use your own judgement and common sense and you shouldn't go wrong :o)

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The information posted on this page is not set in concrete, it's only advice. See your vet for the correct advice for your rattie.