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  #11  
Old 03-20-2012, 02:42 PM
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I'd go with the first option. Lots of ventilation. If the rat spends lots of time outside and have a play area, that will be best. You can put toys and such in the cage. Provide lots and lots of enrichment.
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  #12  
Old 03-20-2012, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravennr View Post
I'd go with the first option. Lots of ventilation. If the rat spends lots of time outside and have a play area, that will be best. You can put toys and such in the cage. Provide lots and lots of enrichment.
Yup, they'll be handled as often as we can and I plan to cycle through toys and things to keep them stimulated. I'm going shopping tomorrow and will be picking up some things for them. I'll keep an eye out for a bigger cage as well and I'll get one as soon as I can.
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  #13  
Old 03-20-2012, 09:57 PM
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Oh those poor babies Good thing you came along!

Can you put them up to your ear and listen to their lungs? A clear airway will be obvious. I will be surprised if they show no respiratory disease symptoms from the housing they have been kept in thus far...if they don't they're very resistant. See, all rats are born with Mycoplasma pulmonis, which causes a respiratory disease called Mycoplasma. The only way to get rid of it is if the babies are birthed through c-section. This bacteria in the lungs usually isn't harmful to them, unless it is aggravated by poor ventalation or a dirty cage, and sometimes just old age and a weakened respiratory system, which can then lead to a slow, painful death with fluid lungs (which develop scars and some rats die because of the extreme scar tissue) or it can develop into pnuemonia quickly. Their respiratory systems are sensitive as it is. This is why many older pet store rats have head tilts and red stuff coming out of their eyes and nose. This is a HUGE concern for rat owners. I clean my boys' cage every other day, with the ladies I only cleaned it twice a week. They don't pee or stink nearly as much as the boys. I have spent hundreds of dollars at the vet for this because pet store rats develop the disease easily and are usually not resistant to it. The goal of any good rat breeder is to breed mycoplasma resistant rats... I have NEVER had any problem with rat health besides this respiratory disease which often develops with old age in rescues or pet store rats, or rats keep in poor housing.
My last two rescues died a horrific death gasping for air from it after emergency vet and antibiotics. Once it gets bad and you notice it, it goes down hill FAST. One day it can be minor sneezing, chattering, not being active, and then the next day gasping for air. The only other health problem I've had is mammary tumors, extremely common in female rats...
I'll attach some links you can read up on Mycoplasma, its important to be educated on as a rat owner I have had many heart wrenching losses due to Mycoplasma and one day would like to have a c-section done to create a Mycoplasma free strain of rats (there are only 2 or 3 Mycoplasma free strains in existance, in research labs).

As far as the cage goes, I'd decorate the rabbit looking cage you can buy with tons of toys and ledges. There are studies that show rats with enriched enviornments actually have different brains than those who are kept in a cage with no toys or enrichment! If you use the glass cage you need to clean it A LOT. I'd get a ton of hammocks from the pet store and some shoe boxes with blankets for them to hide in..

Also bedding is a concern...even a slight amount of dust can cause a Mycoplasma flare up, believe it or not. Even that Care Fresh bedding won't do them any good. Use shredded paper, newspaper, and if you want to have a litter box use YESTERDAYS NEWS nothing else...I pour it in the litter box in a different room...I know I'm a freak, but wait till you lose a few to Mycoplasma, it is horrific. After losing my boy Monkey a few months ago, I am being EXTRA careful...

My baby girl, Star, she was a rescue...dumped outside a feed store with her babies! She was outside of the box her babies were in and sat there in the rain until someone picked them up! I worked with a rat rescue at the time and adopted her. She was such a sweetie. Potty trained, came when she was called, slept with me, and cleaned my hands, face, and hair! She continously developed mammary tumors and eventually had to be PTS.

Olympus 017 by ohmanlookatmylife, on Flickr

Java, my other FAVORITE rat...I got her when she was 3 weeks old from the pet store. She also came when she was called, slept with me, potty trained, had free range of the house, etc. One day she started peeing blood and I took her to the emergency vet, 6 tumors the x-ray found at only 8 months old Due to horrific feeder breeding

33ddd56c by ohmanlookatmylife, on Flickr

And my baby Monkey

Uno 020 by ohmanlookatmylife, on Flickr

Uno 014 by ohmanlookatmylife, on Flickr

Uno 003 by ohmanlookatmylife, on Flickr


Here are some great articles on it...
http://ratfanclub.org/resp.html
http://www.ratbehavior.org/AmmoniaMyco.htm
http://www.ratbehavior.org/Broderson1976.htm

And the one good forum I have found so far...
www.fancyrats.co.uk
You have to go to the link to their new forum some where on there (I have to get back to my homework, just saw this thread at school and figured I could help a little!)
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  #14  
Old 03-21-2012, 10:10 AM
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I'll definitely be sure to check their respiratory health when I pick them up tomorrow, but from what I am aware of, they are healthy. Can't say I've ever listened to them breath, but their eyes/nose are clear of any discharge, their coat and weight is good, and they're active.

On that note, I'm picking them up tomorrow!
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  #15  
Old 03-21-2012, 10:32 AM
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So excited for you! Please post pictures! I've always wanted a rat but my parents won't let me
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  #16  
Old 03-23-2012, 10:06 AM
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No pictures yet (well, two crappy cell phone pictures but no way to upload them yet), but I has the rats!

Picked them up yesterday afternoon. I had to take them in to work with me and everybody in the clinic was in love with them. The techs took turns carrying them around in their scrub pockets. My boyfriend really likes them as well, and can't get over how big and friendly they are. He was used to a little speed demon gerbil, so these are a nice change of pace for him, as he likes to handle them and interact with them.

We aren't 100% certain they can't get out of the wire cage as the bar spacing is an inch and the girls are rather small, so they're currently staying in my boyfriend's bin cage as it is way bigger than the tank they were in. We're hoping they don't decide to chew it, and we plan on rotating the wire and bin cage to give them different environments to play in and such, but they stay in the bin when we can't supervise. They're both in great health, super inquisitive, and really smart! Whenever they hear us talk or we walk by their cage they come over to investigate what is going on. I <3 them, and now I'm super bummed that mom never let me get rats before. Heck with dwarf hamsters, rats are much more fun. LOL I didn't realize their tails were so muscular and useful. I just thought they were kind of drug around with no purpose, but when you hold them they really use it as a form of balance.

They're both dark chocolate and hooded. The bigger girl has more markings down her back, and we've named her Choco. The smaller girl with less markings has been named Bee. So we have Chocobee (Shin Chan reference), as well as a Chocorat (Fable III reference).
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  #17  
Old 03-23-2012, 12:14 PM
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Lol love the names! I can't wait for pictures! I'm super jealous!
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  #18  
Old 03-23-2012, 05:38 PM
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How are they
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  #19  
Old 03-24-2012, 01:24 PM
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Some pictures I took! (Crappy cell phone pictures, sorry.)

Choco says, "Hi!"


Hi, again:


Both of them (they loved that little tunnel/hammock thing):


Now Bee says, "Hi!"


Bee can indeed get out of the wire cage (we left them in it and went out last night, and when we came back Bee was running around on the table), so we'll only be using it as a playpen/exercise cage for when someone is home and awake to supervise. If we're out or asleep, they will be staying in the bin cage (and hopefully by switching them in and out, they won't get bored in the bin cage and decide to try to chew through it).

We've also discovered that Bee is a LOT more spazzy than Choco. We had them out last night and were letting them run around on our laps and in the reach of our arms on the floor, and Choco was content to do a little exploring and a little chilling. Bee was on crack and tried to be everywhere at once.

Mike loves them, though. He can't get over how intelligent they are, and how docile they are (compared to his gerbil).
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  #20  
Old 03-24-2012, 05:48 PM
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aww they are adorable.

I really want a pet rat, unfortunatly they are illegal to own in AB, but BC they are legal to own, but I have no idea what I would do with them when we go home to AB to visit family.

They just seem like amazing, loving pets. And even if they dont live long. It sure seems worth it!
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