Pet Rats/Questions about getting new pet rats
QUESTION: Hello, I just a few quick questions, my daughter and I are wanting to get a couple of rats. The availability of pet rats in our area is fairly limited, but she found one at a Petco store. She is beautiful female that looks young and healthy and is very friendly. we are not interested in the other two that are in the cage with her as they look older and are not friendly at all. I don't want her to be alone, and I have a new cage that I am building, but I don't want her to get territorial over it while we try to find a new friend for her. What would be the best way to get her and still find a friend over the next few weeks? Keep her in a temporary cage until we get them both and then introduce them both to the new cage? Thank you for your time and I look forward to your advice. Terry
ANSWER: Hi Terry, sorry for my delayed reply. Have you tried looking for a local rat breeder in your area? If you'd like, I can see if I can locate one for you through my connections, and if you tell me what city and state you are in (or nearest large city). Going with a breeder would allow you to get more than one rat at the same time if available, and guarantee a better quality rat who is handled from birth for a socialized rat, that is assuming that the breeder is a reputable one.
If you already searched for a breeder or are sold on adopting the Petco rat for sure, than go ahead. Even pet store rats are entitled to a loving home. If she is very young, say under 3 months old, then it's not as likely that she would be terrirorial about her cage. However, it may take you longer than a few weeks to find her a cagemate, so you can do one of two things: Either put her in a temporary cage until you find a friend for her, or let her live in the large cage but before you add a roommate, thoroughly clean the large cage to remove smells and change around all the toys, hammocks, etc. so it appears to be a new home.
One thing I always strongly recommend to all rat owners is to consider adopting more thann 2 rats. 3 rats at minimum is ideal and I will explain why. For one thing, rats are extremely social creatures and thrive in groups. Secondly, and more importantly, they become very attached to one another, like humans, and the loss of a lifelong companion can be devastating, often causing severe stress and depression for the remaining solo rat, which can sometimes cause illness and even death. I have lived through this sad experience twice and have vowed to never keep less than 3 rats. If you have only 2 and one passes, you will find yourself scrambling to find her a cagemate and may have no luck. If you have 3 rats and one passes, the other 2 have each other. At this point, you should always add one more rat to make three again. Does this make sense? I truly hope you will consider getting a total of 3 or more.
Please let me know your location and I'd glady help you locate a breeder. Thanks for writing to me and let me know if I can help with anything else.
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QUESTION: Thank you so much for your response. And I am open to the idea of 3 for sure. The cage I am building will be big enough for that many easily. And I talked with my daughter about the one rat at petco and she is ok with waiting to get some together. As far as breeders in my area, I haven't found anyone yet, and the only people here that I have found only have limited knowledge about rats. I live in Grand Junction, Colorado, And It looks like maybe Denver would be the nearest place to find a good breeder, but driving 4 hours is kindof a stretch right now, but may be the way to go. I really do appreciate your response and help. I hope your week is off to a good start. Terry
I am so happy to hear that you will be able to house 3 rats at your home. The most well known and reputable rattery in Colorado is Camarattery, but are in SW Denver. I've contacted the breeder there on your behalf asking if she knows any good breeders closer to your city and if not, if she's willing to meet part way.
Here is her website and facebook page. And oh my, are her ratties ever adorable! Check out some of the photos :)
I will let you know when I hear back from her.