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Question
Hey ! I had recently bought a pet rat from petsmart and he passed 4 1/2 days after. He died 12/4/14. I had taken him in the emergency care but they sent us home with antibiotics (liquid) for a respiratory infection. I don't know if he was contagious or anything but how should I clean and disinfect my apartment? I want to get two new rats from the shelter here but I don't know if its safe to bring them home. What should I clean everything with and how long should I wait to get our two new rats? Today it is 12/11/14. Also I live in an apartment and we get a cold draft through the door and plan on finding something to hold it out but what temperature is safe for a rat? It gets cold but we are willing to turn the heat up to whatever is best for our new soon babies.

Answer
Hi.  I'm so sorry to hear that you lost your pet rat.  Happy that you are considering adopting from a shelter and providing a good home.  

As for how long you should wait to bring new rats home, it all depends on what the cause of death was, and you probably do not know.   Therefore I will just give you the basic guidelines.

The rule of thumb for quarantine (for example, if you have rats and wish to bring in a new rat to join your others), you need to keep the new rat in a different air space (say, a friends house) than your resident rats live in (not just another room).  Therefore, Dec. 25 would be a safe time to bring new rats in.  You don't need to disinfect your home at all.  Any contagious germs would die within 3 weeks if there were any.

Also, fyi rats don't generally contract human illnesses so if you are ill, you don't have to worry about your new rats getting that germ.  I believe strep throat however is something that they could contract, but I'm not 100% positive.

Rats should live at a comfortable room temperature.  Not too hot and not too cold.  70 to 80 degrees farenheit would be fine.  Any colder, you should consider a space heater for their area.  Any hotter, then an oscillating fan (not directly blowing on their cage) should be kept about 10 feet away from them.  A humidifier is a good idea if they are in an enclosed room.   Also, make sure the room is not drafty.   

I hope this is helpful.  Good luck with you new babies and please don't hesitate to write me if you have any questions.

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Irene Murphy

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I can answer a variety of questions regarding adoption and care of pet rats throughout their lifetimes, including questions about their health and well being, temperment, diet, bedding, cages, toys, etc. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a timely manner and I have an abundant amount of resources to help me to help you with your pet rats. I love rattie pictures, so include pics with your question if you can. You may ask me medical questions, but please be advised that I am not a vet. I may use my resources to answer some medical questions, however, I will need to refer you to your local vet with medical questions that I feel I am not qualified to address.

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I have been a huge rat enthusiast for many years. Since becoming a rat owner, I have educated myself in all areas of pet rats from every resource I could find including the internet, books, conversations with local exotic vets, as well as several local rat breeders.

Education/Credentials
I have a college degree but not in the area of animals. I have obtained my extensive experience and knowlege of pet rats all on my own because in my eyes, pet rats are the most interesting and fascinating creatures you can ever imagine to have as pets. I also am saddened by how mislabeled and misunderstood these amazing and extremely smart animals are by the majority, and my mission in life has become to educate and change as many people's perceptions of rats as I possibly can.

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