Pet Shop Vs Breeder – and what to look for when you buy your Fur Babies
There is no right or wrong way to go with this one, it’s all up to personal preference.
When you buy a rat from a pet shop you really have no idea what you are getting. As in who the breeder is and who the parents are, what genes and diseases they carry, if there are any issues in the line they come from, if they are even from a line or just a random breeding.
When you buy from a good breeder you get all that information. In saying that not all breeders are good, some shouldn’t even be breeding at all!
So here is what you should look for:
Always check their cage conditions, make sure the cage is relatively clean, meaning looks like it has been cleaned in the last few days/week depending on the amount of rats in the cage, Check the size of the cage they are in, Check what type of litter or floor covering they use and check if they have access to food and water.
Always check their eyes and nose for any signs of porphyrin (red stuff coming from the nose and/or eyes) and hold them up to your ear so you can listen to them breathe to check for any respiratory issues (rattling,wheezing, weird noises), check for Lice or any other skin issues (keep in mind that DRex and Patchwork rats can look like they have mange)
And here are things you should ask:
Who are the parents?
Are they from a line or a random breed?
If they are from a line are there any issues in the line?
How far back does the line go?
Has the rat shown any signs signs of being sick?
What types of food are they fed?
What types of litter are they used to?
How often are they handled?
What is their temperament?
If you can come and look at their rattery before you buy or if it is done on line if you can see pics of their rattery?
Most pet shops wont be able to answer a lot of those questions, but a good breeder shouldbe able to. If they can’t then I would probably look at another breeder. Also be careful not to fall for the to good too be true trap! I have and I now have quite a few fur babies that have issues and some that may have issues. A good breeder should be able to answer all these questions and then some, and answer them honestly. Any breeder who tells you they have NEVER had any issues is not being honest. It’s better to hold out for happy healthy fur babies rather then the first ones you see. I strongly suggest joining a rat forum and getting to know the breeders that are in your area or the breeders that freight. Then asking around about the ones you are thinking about buying from.