Where can I get my pet rats?

When you are considering adding companion rats to your family, you will need to give some thought to where to get them. There are a lot of things to consider in finding the right ones for you, for example:

  • Animal shelters such as the RSPCA and other reputable rescue organisations often have pet rats available for adoption.
  • There are rehoming groups that help rehome rodents like rats from research institutions.
  • Rat interest clubs hold regular meetings, and their members can be an excellent source of rats for purchase.
  • Breeders rarely advertise their rats but can often be found through word of mouth.
  • Pet shops often have rats available, but as they often buy them from multiple suppliers there may be a greater risk of bringing home a sick animal.
  • Online sales and social media groups can be a potential source of rats for purchase but may be unreliable and unsafe to buy from – especially if you are buying ‘sight unseen’ (which should be avoided).

Regardless of where you get your rats from, there are a few things to consider before purchase:

  1. Can the seller give you plenty of information on rats and their care requirements?
  2. They should want to make sure you are well informed and getting the right rat for your circumstances and that you are adequately prepared to look after rats. If they try to persuade you to buy a rat out of pity or for other reasons, this should raise red flags.
  3. What do the premises (e.g., house or shop) look like? Is it clean, with minimal odour? Does the housing appear good, and are the rats fed well?
  4. Do the animals seem healthy? A healthy rat should:
    • Be active and bright and interacting with other rats
    • Have normal breathing (no noise when breathing or excessive effort)
    • Not be coughing, wheezing, or sneezing
    • Not have any discharge from the nose or eyes
    • Have a clean shiny full coat (no hair loss, no diarrhoea/faeces stuck to their coat under their tail), bright eyes, clean ears
    • Be moving about comfortably without limping or stumbling
    • Have a relaxed posture with ears forward facing or reacting to what is happening around them
    • Be a good body weight (not over or under weight)
    • For more information about what an unhealthy rat looks like, see this article.
  5. Are there any obvious genetic issues e.g., hairless or tailless rats? This may indicate a degree of inbreeding, which may in turn affect the health of the rats you are thinking about buying.

Also Read

Updated on June 19, 2024
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