Can Anyone Tell Me Anything About Pet Rats?

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Dec 21, 2009 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

I know, I already asked this question. I just want to get as much information as I can. So, I’m going to get a rat (pet, of course) and I want to know. The questions:
~What Pet stores have healthy rats?
~Does anyone know any breeders on Long Island? ( NY )
~ What store/s are/is best for buying pet rat supplies?
~What foods are best and healthiest for my rats?
~Any other tips or facts!

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  • Anonymous says:

    ~Petco and Pet Smart tend to have healthy rats, but not always a wide variaty.

    ~Maplewood Rattery on L.I., And Big Apple Rattery in NYC (both have websites if you’re interested

    ~Most pet stores sells a wide variaty of rat/small animal supplies, but again, petco and Pet Smart are where I found my cage and carrier, water bottle, litter box (they can be litter trained!), as well as toys.

    ~Rats need a varied diet, like humans. But food in the shape of small nuggets is a good filler.

    ~If you insist on only one rat, you will have to spend a LOT of time with him/her. Having two rats of the same sex will allow them to socialize with eachother when you are not around.

    I also suggest buying a training book, they often have tons of fun tricks you can teach your rat, and useful tricks, such as having your rat come when called. This is a great way to bond with your rat and teach him/her good behavior πŸ™‚

  • Peaches says:

    You shouldn’t get a rat from a pet store because most of the times they are not very healthy and are adults already. but if you go to the shelter they usually have babies and they are healthy and your saving the life of two rats (well actually four since you’re going to get 2 rats right?) You saved 2 rats life by adopting them and you saved another two because the shelter can take in more rats! Petco and Petsmart are good.

  • Hotblood says:

    petco has good rats and their cheaper than the mall, food I buy anywhere as long as it has dried fruits and nuts, and they love fresh veggies. I have 2 rats and the mom had 11 babies, so know this if you end up with a pregnant rat leave her alone this is the only time a rat will bite you. and if you get one rat get a girl the tend to poop and pee less when your holding them. oh and make a hammock they love to climb in and sleep

  • Chris says:

    -Pets Mart or Humaine Society
    -Pets MArt for pet supplies
    -Mazzuri Pellets, and Healthy Toppings for treats
    -Rats are socialable animals and must be out every day. They need to be bathed often becaus oil builds up on their skin. Good to clean cage once a week. Trim nails because you dont want them to get caught on anything.

  • jra60411 says:

    Try adopting 1st, a lot of shelters get rats in! Petco is great for rat supplies, they have every thing you need! As far as the food you have to try different foods, to see what your rat will like the best! Rats are very intelligent animals, they love to play and like plenty of attention!Good luck!

  • trothbet says:

    Mmkay. ;D
    So first of all, you can’t just get one rat. Trust me. ;3 If you only purchase one pet rat, then it will quickly become bored, depressed, and unhealthy. You need to buy at least a pair of rats, so that they can keep themselves happy and entertained while you are away. Also, be sure to get either two females or two males; and I recommend getting two females to start with. While males are a bit more docile then females, females get along with each other a bit better, and don’t stink as much. So while you’re getting used to that ratty odor, you should probably get the less potent females. :]
    Secondly, watch where you purchase your ratty babies. I can’t say specifically where you should buy them, since I live on the other side of the US from you, haha, but I can say that pet stores that sell animals in bulk often get their animals from breeders who run ‘mills’. Have you ever heard of puppy mills? Well, there are all sorts of ‘mills’ for all sorts of animals. Breeders who sell to pet stores often breed like crazy with no thought or concern given to the mama rat, or baby rats. They breed purely for the profit. I’m not sure about the abundance of these operations where you live, but this is just a word of caution. Not only are mills inhumane, but the rats that are born in such mills are often sickly, and more prone to tumors (which is a top killer of rats). They can also be aggressive or shy and if they have not been exposed to human contact enough as babies, may even bite out of fear.
    Be very, very careful when picking out your rats. :3
    I could probably offer some more advice, but I’m tired. I may come back later and edit this post. But for now, good luck, and congratulations on your decision to bring a ratty into your life!

  • Anonymous says:

    DON’T get A rat! You need at least 2 of them. (Always of the same sex or else you’ll have tons of rats). They need a friend. It’s one of the most important things about rats.
    They hate being alone.

  • Anonymous says:

    Alright… let’s start at the beginning…
    ~What Pet stores have healthy rats?
    *** I wouldn’t recommend getting a rat from a pet store. Many times you will find rats that are either retired feeder breeders and haven’t ever been handled, or you will find very young rats which come from a “rat mill”. Some rescues take in rats, and some of these rats are very nice, but most of these rats originally came from pet stores and haven’t been handled too often. There are some excellent rat breeders who genuinely care for their animals and this will show in the health and temperament of the animals they are selling and breeding.
    ~Does anyone know any breeders on Long Island? ( NY )
    *** I would check with the AFRMA (American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association) to find breeders in your area. They have a listing of breeders throughout the US and Canada who meet their standards and are not feeder breeders. Here is the link to their home page. You will also find a LOT of great information on rats there.
    ~ What store/s are/is best for buying pet rat supplies?
    *** Petco and Superpets are good, but really, pretty much any petstore is suitable for supplies. Some will vary in prices, but they usually all carry pretty much the same products.
    ~What foods are best and healthiest for my rats?
    *** I would stay away from the pet store seed-based mixes as there are usually a LOT of corn and sunflower seeds and aren’t really a balanced diet. I use laboratory rat diet for my rats. I also give them hard-boiled eggs, chicken, lots of fresh fruit and veggies as well as various grains. I also breed mealworms and they LOVE those as a treat every once in a while. Occasionally I will also add in some high quality lamb and rice dog food which they enjoy nibbling on as well.
    Avoid peppers, garlic, moldy or spicey foods! Chocolate is okay, in VERY tiny amounts.
    ~Any other tips or facts!
    *** Try to avoid rats that are panicky when handled, especially if they do not relax quickly, and also those that are overly quiet and calm (may be ill). Often a good choice is a rat that is curious enough to approach you.
    Rats should be alert and active.
    The rats body should be firm and well rounded. Younger rats are likely to be on the lean side.
    The nose, eyes, ears, and rear end should be clean and free from discharge.
    The coat should be clean and well groomed (healthy rats spend a lot of time grooming). The skin on the ears and tail should be clean and pink.
    The skin should be free of sores and not red or flaky.
    Watch the rat’s breathing to make sure it is not labored, and make sure the rat is not sneezing or having discharge from its nose or eyes (all signs of respiratory disease which is fairly common in rats).
    Watch for drooling or wetness around the mouth, which can be a sign of dental problems.
    There is a LOT of information I’ve missed, so feel free to email me if you have any questions! I’ll be happy to help you out.
    Good luck!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Bedding: Avoid using scented bedding products (like sawdust) or newspaper. Rats ingest a fair amount of it when they’re building nests and it can kill them.
    Toys: try to stick with metal toys as they’ll often gnaw plastics (once again, ingesting large amounts).
    Exercise: I’ve never owned a single rat that would use an exercise wheel. They’re lazy by nature so it’s best just to keep an eye on their diet rather than trying to get them to exercise.
    Male or Female: If you have a choice, get a female. Easier to handle, they don’t smell and they tend to be friendlier.
    Babies: Not a good idea trying to breed them as they can be VERY hard to re-home.
    Breed: Don’t bother wasting a fortune on a “special” breed of rat. All pet rats are of the species Rattus norvegicus (or Brown Rat) and the only real difference is in colour.
    Food: Variety is important. A good diet should include fresh greens (dandelion leaves are best), a small amount of meat (ham or bacon, rats need a fair bit of sodium), insects (like earthworms) if you can get them, and carbs (every rat I’ve owned has been NUTS about cornflakes, obviously without the milk!).
    Other stuff: Rats are VERY territorial so be careful when introducing a new one to the cage as rats can do a substantial amount of damage VERY quickly.
    Keep the amount of fat in the diet down. Don’t feed them junk food as it seems to cause tumors.
    Hope all that helps πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    One good place to find one is with an animal rescue, look in the phone book or go on line for places in your area. Pet store ones are fine also, but many keep them in wood shavings which is bad for them. Many are sick with allergies or a respiratory infection and need to see a vet to help them.
    They do need cages that are size appropriate for them which means a full grown rat needs a large cage like one for a ferret. They can be kept in large tanks, but I would recommend a cage of wire for best air flow. Cages with plastic may get chewed so keep that in mind. We use a 3 story hamster cage for a baby rat under 4 months old, just use one with no tubes after they are 8-10 weeks old (they will get stuck in them).
    Litter is a major consideration with they have allergies to pine and aspen. Cedar is never to be used, nor pine due to the chemicals in them both that when mixed with the urine create toxic fumes that cause respiratory infections and death in some cases. We use only a product like Care Fresh with all our small animals including our 11 rats.
    I have a food list for rats that I can email you if you will email me directly using your email provider, Yahoo Answers doesn’t provide enough space for my list and half gets cut off. Please email me at and specify “rat food list” since I get many requests for other small animal food lists. There are foods found in all small animal foods they can’t have and male rats can’t have oranges at all due to oils in the skins. I used my vet and the internet to come up with this list, it’s been approved by my vet for use with my small animal rescue. In the US, the produce with the most and most toxic pesticides are: strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, peaches, cantaloupe grown in Mexico, celery, apples, apricots, green beans, grapes grown in Chile, and cucumbers. Be sure to scrub these foods well or purchase them from a farmers market or private garden that doesn’t use them.

  • cynthia c says:

    I don’t live in Long Island so I can’t give you specifics. But what to look for when buying a rat – make sure the cage they were living in before is fairly clean. Look at all the rats – are their eyes clear and bright? Are they very active? Are none weezing? If yes, they are probably healthy.
    Stay away from feeder rats because they are not taken care of as well, and generally have poor lineage and inbreeding which can cause tumor problems later.
    If you are VERY concerned with health, contact a local breeder of show rats. They keep track of lineage and health because it’s important to breeding a healthy rat used for shows.
    Best foods are those labeled specifically for rats. Stay away from those big bags of seeds. Seeds are okay once in a while, but are not balanced. I used to supplement my rat’s food with fresh fruits and veggies every day. They also love boiled egg (give them just a piece of it, not the whole thing.) But be sure that they are eating their dry food and that the fresh food is just a supplement – we don’t want to raise spoiled rats! πŸ™‚
    Good luck – rats are a wonderful pet to have. I’m glad you don’t have a phobia about them like most people.

  • ixmissyo says:

    First of all you are going to get -two- pet rats. πŸ˜‰ Never should you keep a rat alone! They are much to social to be alone.
    ~What Pet stores have healthy rats? There is no such thing as a healthy rat. However I’d suggest you go to a shelter (Check places like or a breeder. You’re chances of a healthier, non-pregnant (If you want females) and more socialized rats are better.
    ~Does anyone know any breeders on Long Island? ( NY ) I don’t know of any but I’ll try and find you some. πŸ™‚
    ~ What store/s are/is best for buying pet rat supplies? I shop at Petco. xD Reggie Rat or Small World food is the best though you should also feed fresh fruits and veggies. I also feed mine cereals (Rice Krispies, Cherrios, ect.), baby foods (Organic), yogurts, ect. ^^ Don’t buy Kaytee brand foods! They have ethoydiquin in it and it’s bad for animals. NEVER use pine or cedar bedding!!! Aspen will work but Carefresh, Yesterdays News or something like it is best. πŸ™‚
    ~What foods are best and healthiest for my rats? *points above at food comment*
    ~Any other tips or facts! Keep them in pairs or more, rats are to social to be alone. Never mix genders unless one or both are spayed/neutered. Females tend to be more active, boys tend to be more cuddly. I perfer boys personally. Give your rats lots of toys to play with. You’ll need to give them 1 hour of out time with you a day to play out of the cage. Rats should never be locked up and left alone all day, they need human attention. NEVER EVER EVER EVER no matter what ANYONE tells you NEVER pick a rat up by it’s tail!!! It can and will break. Leading to infection, an amputation and a very high vet bill. Not to mention rats NEED their tails, it helps them balence and they sweat through their tails. (Reason I don’t like tailless rats.) Never let a rat get to hot or to cold. Try to keep it at a comfortible temp. Always give your rat access to fresh water, water bottles should be changed daily and if you get a plastic bottle, replace them every 6 months to keep from getting mold growing in them. Give your rats the biggest cage possible. They’ll appreciate it and be a lot happier.http://www.kristinewickstrom.homestead.c…
    Use that calculator to make sure the cage is big enough for your rats. πŸ™‚
    Males have huge “jingle bells” and no nipples, females lack the jingle bells and have nipples.…
    Boys -wont- fight. Well there are rare cases where a rat wont get along with cage mates (This can be in males or females) but out of the 22+ rats I’ve owned in my life I’ve never had a problem with keeping them together. Alpha fights will happen, this will be where the most dominate rat rolls the other one over, makes it squeek, “boxes” with it, ect. Don’t worry about it. Unless the other rats ripping off body parts, the rat is gushing blood, ect you don’t have anything to worry about.
    Always give your rats something to chew on like wood, being rodents their teeth never stop growing so they need something to chew on so that they don’t get over grown teeth.
    Rattie Links
    There is some good links about rat care and stuff. πŸ™‚
    If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me and I’ll help. πŸ˜€
    Got this list of NY rat breeders off the Rat Report. πŸ™‚
    Donna Payne-RFC & RMCA
    2891 Peters Corners Rd
    Alden NY 14004
    Breeds smooth and Dumbo, blue, fawn, agouti, platinum, Siamese, rex and patchwork hairless
    Darlin’ Dumbos
    Krissy or Nancy
    Buffalo, New York
    We breed dumbos and other rats. Our website contains both of our email addresses as well as information regarding ratties. Please check out our website.
    Great Pets Rattery
    Sheree Biroβ€”RMCA
    Middletown, NY
    (845) 341-0411
    dumbos, hairless and standards
    Lauren Wolfe
    Location: Williston, Park/Long Island, NY
    (516) 742-8551
    Rats and Mice available are rescues and show/pet bred. Rats inc dumbo,
    siamese, rex, capped. Mice inc satin, curly, siamese, merl. Also have:
    gerbils and hamsters. no shipping.
    rescues considered resources permitted and only if animal is in good health.
    memberships: RMCA and AFRMA
    Location: Long Island
    (516) 503-3434
    Pet and Show bred rats and mice. Rats inc: mink, lilac, silver, powder blue,
    russian blue, lavendar, coffee. Various markings, merls and Huskies.
    Hairless, velours, rexes. Mice inc: tan, gold, champagne, chocolate, blue,
    bew, cinnamon, banded/oreo, long hair, satin, rex and standard etc. Also
    have Spiny Mice. Shipping considered. No Rescues. Memberships: Mid Atlantic
    ratsRus Rattery
    Tammy Peck
    Hilton/Rochester, NY
    (716) 392-7012
    I specialize in lots of varieties. My ratties are bred for health and temperment before anything else. They are also bred for personality and intelligence. I will ship at buyers expense.

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