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Old 02-24-2010, 07:44 AM
6,475 posts, read 9,893,038 times
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Originally Posted by jimboburnsy View Post
The cons: It's a rat. People make jokes about chihuahuas being rats, actual rats are a little more difficult for some people to accept.
True. My family and friends freaked out when I told them I brought home my first rat and let her climb all over me. It was kind of funny to see them all grossed out.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:13 PM
Location: Chicago
6,021 posts, read 13,516,144 times
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Originally Posted by SheridanPDC View Post
One thing I have to bring up, because it's really bugging me...

My sisters & I got our first pet rats at a pet shop in Colorado when we were kids. We were told they lived 5+ years, and the woman who owned the shop had one that she claimed was 6 1/2... our own rats lived to be about 4-5... Mine passed away first out of the three because she was a bit older when I got her. Then years ago, I went to the pet shop here in WY to get a rat. They told me the rats they sold were not "pet quality", they were feeders, and so they would only live about two years. Sure enough, my little Mia that I bought died almost exactly two years after I had gotten her.

I see everyone here is posting that they live about 2-3 years... I'm wondering what on earth type of rat did I get when I lived in Colorado that had nearly double the lifespan of these other rats?? Has anyone ever herd of a particular breed with a longer lifespan?? All I remember is that they were hooded rats... mine was black & white, & my sisters were brown & white and blond & white. I know that's just in ref. to the markings, not the breed... This is really bugging me! If I ever get a rat again, I'd like to get the same kind I got way back when, because not only did they live about 5 years, they also seemed smarter & friendlier than Mia, the feeder rat I had here in WY...
rats aren't really broken down into breeds, more like varieties. AFAIK, no one variety lives longer than another. as far as pet stores go, there is no real different between "feeders" and "pet quality". with many pet stores, "pet quality" are merely the more exotic looking rats and feeders are the plainer ones. both can exist in the same litter (one pet store I used to go to listed all their blue, dumbo, rex, and hairless rats as "pets", everything else were feeders, even if they came from the same litter). some people who don't know anything about rat genetics will breed rats hoping to get something exotic like Siamese and blues and mainly end up w/ black berks, which would end up being sold as feeders. sounds like the rats you had were just average hooded or berkshire rats. I've had "feeder" rats that were awesome pets and I've had "pet quality" rats that weren't super friendly. it really depends on how they're socialized. the exotic rats can be beautiful, but regular looking rats can be good pets too (one of my top 5 fav rats of all time was an albino male)

as for life span, it's not impossible for a rat to live beyond 3 years. look how many dogs and cats live into their 20's. I had a couple of boys almost hit 40 months old (3.5 years). there's no real rhyme of reason to it. for the most part, rats from breeders can be healthier, but it's not impossible for a random pet store rat to live beyond 3 years, just like a random shelter mutt living for 20+ years. however, I'd be VERY suspicious of anyone selling rats throwing out the idea that rats typically live for 5+ years-hat's just plain wrong info, akin to to a dog breeder stating their dogs can live into their mid-late 20's
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