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  #11  
Old 03-16-2010, 01:23 AM
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Crowsfeet Crowsfeet is offline
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If you think you might be into ratties, check out Goosemoose Pet Portal - Home

It's the Chaz of rats

I just adopted two more boys today.

And, very much like dogs, there are strong ethics and standards in the rat world. A lot of reputable breeders and rescues morally disagree with tail-less rats, as rats need their tails to regulate their body heat and use them as an extra appendage for balance. Someone breeding tail-less or hairless rats is basically breeding handicapped animals.

If you adopt ratties and get them a powder-coated cage(like a Martin's[martinscages.com] or a Critter/Ferret Nation), and clean with something like a vinegar/hydro-oxide combo, and be sure to spot-clean, you seriously may not smell them at all. I have four boys, one of them being neutered, and they really don't bother any of my roomates, or my nose for that matter, unless I leave the cage uncleaned for longer than a week. It's also highly recommend to get the little guys speutered, as in the long run, it can seriously(at a higher rate than dogs, but lower than rabbits, I might say) assist with tumors and behavioral issues. But yeah, if you know what to do, they're incredibly rewarding little animals, and I really love their company!

At that, definitely check out some rescues/breeders in your area. Ratster.com is pretty great, though, my favorite breeder resides in MI -> Bao Varakhii Rattery, Grand Rapids Michigan rattery, established 1995
Ratties like I've never seen! Seriously, have a look just to say you did.

Also, if you get the opportunity, these breeders are also really wonderful:

TEK rats, though unfortunately I think they're no longer breeder. While the breeder did have manx in the lines, I'm not sure if it was intentional.. even so, their rats are astounding! They also have a mentored rattery I'm going to list, too.
Tekka Maki Rodentry

Odyssey Design, mentored by TEK. Gorgeous ratties.
Odyssey Design Rattery

Pretty much, any rattery attached to NIRO(The Northern Illinois Rat Organization) is usually pretty astounding.

Aaand, while I'm at it
Rat Fanciers of the Lakes, RFL, Fancy Rat Show Club in Michigan, Knowledge, Fellowship, Ethics - Quick Guide to pet Ratties.
the Rat Report -The Case Against Single Rats
Breeder Red Flags
And just a generally great source of info, from in my opinion, the best breeder on the west coast -
Links

Ya know.. in case you're bored... or you reeeally like to study.
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  #12  
Old 03-16-2010, 07:42 AM
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To hijack slightly. We have always just gone with petstore rats (bad I know, many stores who would never sell cats and dogs will sell rats and hampsters) Mr Ratikin (our current rat) has lived longer than most. Its heartbraking when they live only a year. This is why Mr Ratikin is a single rat, his brother died 8 months ago. He's not looking great. His attitude is bright, but he is starting to look old.

My question is, is any rat breeder going to sell a pair of rats to a person who has a house full of JRTs? We have never had a problem with the Jacks and the Rats. The dogs know that screaming at the rat cage is a no no. lol its the 'safe' zone. (ok well Kat is still kind of learning this, she screams if Ratikin has a 'whee' moment in his cage and we are upstairs)
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  #13  
Old 03-16-2010, 07:53 AM
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I vote for rats

As of Saturday we have two "store rats" where I work (they are not for sale, they are store pets), and MAN are they sweet! I've always wanted a pair of rats, but Matt refuses vehemently. This way I get to snuggle and have fun with them, without having them at home where Matt has to deal with them.
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  #14  
Old 03-16-2010, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dekka View Post
To hijack slightly. We have always just gone with petstore rats (bad I know, many stores who would never sell cats and dogs will sell rats and hampsters) Mr Ratikin (our current rat) has lived longer than most. Its heartbraking when they live only a year. This is why Mr Ratikin is a single rat, his brother died 8 months ago. He's not looking great. His attitude is bright, but he is starting to look old.

My question is, is any rat breeder going to sell a pair of rats to a person who has a house full of JRTs? We have never had a problem with the Jacks and the Rats. The dogs know that screaming at the rat cage is a no no. lol its the 'safe' zone. (ok well Kat is still kind of learning this, she screams if Ratikin has a 'whee' moment in his cage and we are upstairs)
Is his name from the Great Mouse Detective? Cause that would be awesome.

See I'm curious if they'll sell to us to. Admittedly we don't have JRT's but the mutts are overly interested in squirrels and rabbits. I plan to work on them on it (a lot) and if we can't get them to the point where they're ok with it we can keep them separated.

Nilly - My Matt was against them too...lol. I won him over with lots of research! I'm still kind of surprised it worked.

ETA: Thanks for all the info Crowsfeet!! I can't get to it from this computer but I will check it out when I get home tonight.
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  #15  
Old 03-16-2010, 09:11 AM
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the cage you posted is nice, ive found the shelves on the super pets tend to be a little hard to clean simply because they have a lip all around that "gathers" yicky. size wise its pretty good
for that kind of price though id probably be tempted to go with Martin's Cages Inc. - The source for all your pet cage needs. the R-695. (martins are great cages) add some cheap lino to the shelves (i dont like wire shelves) and its a perfect cage with lots of room for toys (belive me, theres no such thing as too big lol)

you can sometimes have good luck with petstore ratties...and canada may be better than here in the us, but i do like knowing my ratties "pedigree" to get the longest life possible out of them lol. (dekka ive never had a problem with breeders refusing to sell to terrier people )

wodent wheels brand are awesome, (never had a squeeky wheel lol) and id suggest saving your money, buying fleece and making your own hammocks out of quares of fleece, people are suprised when they find holes in their hammocks and the rats bedded down in the "fluff" theyve collected by chewing through them lol.
you dont have to spend a fortune on toys...i like to scour the bird section too, a good manzanita branch or thick peice of grapevine often makes a favorite climbing/chewing spot.
a plastic plant pot bolted to the side of the cage right way up makes a fun bed. hammocks are a must... mine loved pouches so i typically made my hammocks so they could climb inside them.
none dyed cotton rope strung about is fun to climb on and chew up ect.
the cardboard tube out of the center of a toilet roll makes great fun to chew up...

one of mines favorite times of the week was "hide and go treat" day, id take craisins and other small dried fruits and hide some around the cage, some in thier plant pot, roof of their little hidey house, on a little skewer form the top of the cage so they had to work at it...but their favoirte was when i took those cardboard tubes put treats and plain paper inside and they had a blast pulling the paper out and ripping the tube apart to get to the treats.

pvc pipe also makes fun play tunnels and hidey spots.

youll LOVE the ratties, i realy hope you can go see the ones at havens and make some good friends there, belive me, after you spend time with some great ratties youll be addicted :P
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  #16  
Old 03-16-2010, 09:51 AM
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Oooooh. I like that cage Foxy! Ok so next question! Lol. What do I need to start? I know the basics, cage, food bowl, water bowl (or jug thing) and obviously food but what else? What kind of litter, what kind of litter pan, what kind of bedding should I use, and so on and so forth. I don't want to get carried away but I do want to have everything I'll need beforehand. I actually have a ton of leftover fleece that I can use for hammocks and bedding and I'd love some ideas on stuff that we can make ourselves! We're both pretty handy so any suggestions that way would be awesome.
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  #17  
Old 03-16-2010, 09:54 AM
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I used carefresh bedding. I also used litter boxes with the bedding and the rest of the cage just had fleece down on the floor. they used the boxes pretty well. I made hammocks and stuff out of fleece. i used a lot of empty cereal boxes and other boxes for them to hide in and play in...and wicker baskets...cat and baby toys
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  #18  
Old 03-16-2010, 10:27 AM
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agree with pam, carefresh is definatly my fave.
aspen is also doable but ive found it very dusty
pine and cedar tend to cause respitory issues so avoid those.

depending on how you want to do it, ive used both methods, method 1 being the main floors of the cage have a whipe clean or a remove and wash material (ie line it with lino, or fleece clipped to the walls) and have the tossable bedding only in potty areas...
if doing this method remmeber they can be potty trained to some extent so id put a small litterbox on each level of the cage (as they wont nessicarily "hold" it for that long lol)
i love using a lightly textured linolium over fleece when using this method because it can literally just be whiped down, going with a fleece or material means making multiples to fit the floor of the cage and rotate/washing. both methods are failry popular.

the other way of simply filling the bottom of the cage with a litter like carefresh, is also widley used, and works well too, like with the litterboxes it woudl mean spot cleaning their favorite potty spots and then a deep clean once a week by removing all the bedding
ive had no problems using either...and when doing the full bedding method i still like to line the bottom tray of the cage with linolium incase i change my mind (and rat pee can be very corrosive on metal over time...)

food, id personally suggest a good quality lab block or subees mix
ratsrule.com - suebee's rat diet
and then supliment with lots of fresh foods, rats are omnivores and will eat pretty much anything, mine LOVED berries of any kind and go gaga over yoghurt and chicken flavored baby food...each ratty is different.
avoid the seed mixes sold in petstores for rats, like many grocery store dog foods there mostly filler. use a bowl that clips to the cage or a heavy duty ceramic bowl to avoid spillage...
and dont be suprised to find food stashed in random places on cleaning day, ive never met a rat who doesnt hoard lol.
a good waterbottle is also important, ive had many issues with leaky ones, ive had the best luck with lixit brand bottles.

treats, ratties are increibly smart and can be trained to do tricks...anything can be a treat of course (again they will eat pretty much anything lol) but yoghurt drops, cherios, and unsalted pretzels have always been great "training" treats for me because ther dry and easy to handle for short training sessions.

people always look at me funny when i say they can be trained, but im soooo serious. mine knew their names, stay, come, sit, up, my first female had a veriety of tricks that we put together in a squence called fireman...
we set up a dolls house and my brothers toy fire engine and ambulance (which had doors in the back that opend) and a little doll on the top floor...
i trained her bit by bit and it took a few months but b the time wed put it together you shouted "fire" and shed run up the ladder of the fire truck to the top floor, pick up the doll in her mouth, carry it back down the lader put it in the ambulance close the doors and push the ambulance away...

then shed come running to me and sit pretty for her cherio!

if you have the time to put into it they can be trained just like a dog...though female rats tend to be better learners at the more advanced tricks because they tend to be more acitve...
males will usually learn the basics and then spend most of their time snuggling in your pocket or grooming your hair lol.

toys are generally fairly simple, cat toys (mine loved the balls with bells or rattles inside) tubes, boxes...
they play alot of chase and wrestling games and mine would run in and out and wait foreachother pouncing as they came out of tunnels and boxes.

and one thing i do suggest for any ratty enthusiast is a dig box.
sterile potting mix, a tupper tote (deeper is better), fill it about 1/2 way, i liked to sprinkle a hand full of edible seeds and beans, keep it moist untill it germinates and let them have at.
they dig, eat the sprouts, generally get covered in dirt and absolutly love it.
i always put our dig box in the bathtub because even only 1/2 full they still got some pretty good kick on the dirt.

wed have once weekly sessions they LOVED it.

as a side note there also quite the puzzle solvers, make sure the door to the cage clips securly, i love matrins cages as in my experience the doors seem to be escape proof...
mine figured out how to open doors VERY quickly and the martins cage was the only one i didnt have escapees! lol
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  #19  
Old 03-16-2010, 05:06 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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I know some people have had good experiences with "store rats" but I wanted to share the exact opposite experience with my rats and people I know. My friend (who I house/pet sat for) has had rats for years, and all of her pet store rats have gotten huge masses (cancer) and they all had to be removed, and eventually put down because of it. Her rats from breeders were all VERY healthy (she says NO to pet store rats, ever again! and I agree!!) A big number of them had malocclusion - and this is my experience as well. I have to take Bella in to the vet everyother week to get her teeth trimmed. She HATES the whole experience, and fights it so bad she has to be anesthetized for them to be trimmed (which is why I have to take her in VS doing it myself). They grow crooked and into her own gums, cheeks, etc. Hers comes on pretty fast and messes with her eating... it has NOT been fun.
Health Guide: Malocclusion

just had to share

but I totally agree with Foxy!!
They seem to looove small puzzler toys. I honestly get the ones made for birds. It keeps them busy, and out of trouble!
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  #20  
Old 03-16-2010, 07:33 PM
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My pet store female came to me pregnant. I had 2 neutered males from the humane society and then the female had 9 babies. I kept them all--just separated the sexes and had large cages. They really were fun pets. The mama rat was the loviest little thing.
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