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If you’ve settled on getting rats, you might be wondering where to buy them. If you’ve been doing some online research, you’ll likely see rat owners talking about the evils of pet shops, and might be wondering why.
When buying rats, you have the option of pet shops, rat rescues or breeders. We’ll explore each option and what the main differences are for rat and owner.
Buying Rats From Pet Shops
Many pet shops now sell rats, but before buying from any shop, you must do your research. Many popular chain pet stores keep their animals in less than adequate conditions, and breed their small pets in rodent mills. In rodent mills, the mothers are bred too often, too young and in very, very poor conditions. Buying a rat from somewhere like this means you’re supporting a very harmful industry.
A pet shop rat is more likely to have health and temperament issues, as they’re bred for profit, not to improve lines. On a purely practical level, an animal living in a tank in a shop will have been handled much less than a rat from a breeder, so will be harder work for you to tame.
An independent, local store may be better, but there are many who are just as bad as the chains. Do your homework on where the rats are bred, and don’t buy from anywhere that doesn’t keep them in the right conditions.
You can of course rescue rats too. People often have to rehome rats for various reasons, and there are some lovely ones out there looking for homes.
Join some rat Facebook groups (we love Rat Care UK), or rescue networks, (Rat Rescue Network is one of the best) and look out for rats in need of a good home. Again, do your homework and don’t take on a rat you can’t care for. If you’re a newbie, don’t attempt to take on an aggressive rat or one with health issues you aren’t sure how to care for.
Buying Rats From A Breeder
Most rat owners would always suggest getting your first rats from a responsible breeder. A breeder rat will have been bred for good temperament, health and long life, and will have been handled from birth. A breeder rat should be more confident when it comes to you, making taming much easier.
A good breeder will support you beyond picking up your rat too, and will often be on hand to advise if you have any problems or worries later on. Look out for a full post coming soon on how to find a good breeder!