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Old 03-09-2008, 12:05 PM
 
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Anybody ever have rats as pets? What do you think of them? I am considering some for the future, but I am afraid of how hard it will be when I am renting and dealing with landlords. Of course, I could sneak them in.
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Old 03-09-2008, 08:19 PM
 
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I've heard that they make really good pets, but they're definately not for me. Good luck with the landlords!
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Cumberland Co., TN
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We have had several rats as pets. They make great pets as rodents go. It started when my young son found a snake, brought it in then got a rat to "feed" to the snake. Well that didnt work out, the snake went and the rat stayed. My son had one rat he took to school with him. He carried it around in his coat pocket and could leave it in his car for hours. It would wonder around in his room and come when it called to it. They do however have very different personalities. If you keep the cage clean well I dont know why a landlord would have a problem with it. Good luck.
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Old 03-10-2008, 01:34 PM
 
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Petco sells their rats mostly as "feeders", it's sad because of the conditions they are kept. But this is true of all animals there.

The only reason I think I might have a problem with landlords is the common misconception that rats are dirty creatures who attract other ones.

I also heard they make wonderful pets. They are smart.
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:08 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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I've own a couple dozen pet rats over the course of the past 8 years, and rented will owning rats in the past 4. when looking for apartments, just ask the LL if they're ok with "caged pets". most LL's won't inquire more, but if they do, just say they are "clean caged rodents". if the LL really persists, just say they're rats b/c a LL that nosy/persistent is bound to find out anyways. most will turn their nose up at you, but if you mention that you'll keep their cages clean and, most importantly, the rats will NEVER run loose/escape (even if this is a a bit of a lie, since pet rats need at least a good hour of play outside their cages) they may let you slid. I would avoid sneaking them in (I did that once long ago and was promptly told to leave)

I remember owning 3 female rats a few years ago and one LL hesitated to rent to me, claiming he was worried about the rats multiplying, I told him that all my rats were girls and that if they did multiple it's either b/c he already had male rats present in his apartments or it was a case of immaculate conception (of course, my population did eventually but not via the old fashioned way).


I've own a lot of pocket pets growing up (a lot of hamsters, a couple of mice and gerbils), but rats are by far my favorite! they are truly like tiny dogs; they are easy to train (I thought one of my girls the "Mr Jingles" trick), respond wonderfully to you, and are the type of pets that seek out your company and are social (unlike say, a hamster, which are cuddly, but in my mind, really just furry fish). they require a good sized cage, and decent food, both of which are hard to find in pet stores (their "rat" cages are really hamster cages in disguised, and the rat food there mostly bites).

I would avoid buying from pet stores. the animals there have always been bred in sub-par conditions (there was a recent report about taped abuse at the place that provides Petco/Petsmart w/ their animals. very scary and sad). you could try a local shelter or try to track down a breeder and maybe seek out something more exotic (rats come in dozens of color/ear/fur types and varieties, like blue, chocolate, Siamese, Himilayan, Russian blue, Dumbo (large, low set ears), rex (curly hair/whiskers), hairless, even Manx (for those a bit put off by the tail thing)).

there's a great book out there written by Debbie "The Rat Lady" Ducunom (I butchered her last name) that gives some good info about rat care
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:37 PM
 
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Thanks for the advice eevee. It is very helpful.

I have two hamsters now and I love them but rats do seem smarter and more of a companion.

Also, for pet rats I would go to a good breeder or shelter. As for cages I would get a Martin. Martin's Cages Inc. - The source for all your pet cage needs.
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Kauai
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Rats are great pets! We had several when we were in our 20s, starting with one I liberated from a lab where I was working. She was going to be killed and they didn't mind, once the (relatively benign) experiments were over with, if we took them home with us. She was a baby and so cute! We named her Phydeaux (pronounced "fido") and had her for years.

Then we got a black one (Phydeaux was white), and had several more after that. They are smart and friendly.

It does matter what "line" you get. Different lines are bred for different things. I don't know what lines are typically sold in pet stores. Phydeaux was a "Sprague-Dawley" which was a lab rat bred for good disposition, used in behavioral experiments. There are other lines (can't remember the names now) that are known to be nastier. But I doubt you can find out this information about rats sold as pets anyway.

If you're thinking about a rat for a pet I'd say go for it. They're more fun than gerbils or hamsters, in my opinion, and cleaner than guinea pigs.
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Old 03-13-2008, 01:37 PM
 
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I had pet rats when I was young. I had a female white rat in college, who I saved from a trip to the biology department for dissection...the owner tried to unload an unwanted litter on the psych department, but they didn't need any more rats, so next stop was dissection! If you get them as pups and handle them, they are wonderful...far more responsive and intelligent than hamsters, mice, or gerbils. My girl Marco Polo would come when called, and would play like a puppy. I would sit on the couch and she would run behind me...I would wiggle my fingers and she would jump out and pounce, grab my hand, and play bite (gently mouth) and wrestle with my hand. She was wonderful.....
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ms_billie View Post
Petco sells their rats mostly as "feeders", it's sad because of the conditions they are kept. But this is true of all animals there.
How are the rats kept at your petco? The last one I went to the rats were kept well, much nicer then the last pet store I went to. A lot of the times they don't have the best condition for the reptiles and sell them to anyone no matter what.

The workers also play with the rats at this one. I know all are different so must depend on the store.


This is my most recent
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:51 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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it does tend to vary based on stores, but regardless of how well one particular petco takes care of their animals, I would never buy from there. just like how puppies in petstores come from puppymills, rats and other rodents in petstores come from rodent mills/laboratories and the conditions there aren't any better than puppymills

eta: your rat is very cute looking apbt-samara! reminds my of my old albino (of course, all albino rats reminds me of her!)

I always try to avoid lab breed strains unless I knew exactly what strain it was, like sweetbeet said. I know there's one strain purposely bred to become morbidly obese and have heard of some people who've ended up w/ these type of rats or descendants of these rats ( I do believe rats from these lines do end up in stores and are sold to the public)

Martins is a great cage- I had 4 R-695's before upgrading to 2 Ferret Nations
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