Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rats 101: What is a Rattery

Many people are used to seeing rats for sale in pet stores and while a lot of people choose places like this to get their rats and other small animals from, I don't because you run the risk of getting an animal from a back yard breeder or mill type breeder that sells to pet shops. A rattery is usually run out of a persons home and simply put, is a room where a person breeds rats and raises them until they find suitable homes for the babies.

How To Find A Rattery
A lot of times a person will list their rattery or rat rescue site in rat forums. It's a good idea to join a few rat forums on places like Facebook and ask people who have already adopted rats from ratteries where they found them and how they liked them.

The North American Rat Registry also has a huge list of ratteries and a database with information on rat lines, siblings, ancestors as well as birth and death dates, which will give you a more complete look into a rats family history.

How To Select A Rattery
Some ratteries have a lot of rules about not touching any of the rats and the only way you can pick one is by seeing pictures of it. Some people won't even let you in their home when you come to pick up your rats. While I can understand the need to be careful so their rats don't pick up mites or other diseases from people who might carry things in on their clothing or hands, I will not adopt from a person who runs a rattery that won't let me interact with the rats and see where they are living.

Being so secretive makes me believe they have something to hide. They could be a backyard breeder that really has no idea how to raise healthy babies or they could have hundreds of babies in their rattery in bad living conditions. Unless they will let you see where the rats are living, you have no idea about their living conditions or how many baby rats they have.

A good rattery will let you see pictures of the babies so you get an idea of what they look like but will also let you interact with the rats so you get an idea of temperament and personality. I pick my rats for their personality and temperament. I like happy, excited to see me rats. Not shy, scared rats that try to run away from me when I try to pet them. You should be able to tell if the babies have been socialized, meaning they have been handled and played with and are not scared of human hands and try to run away from you.

If the person running the rattery you choose won't let you interact with the rats, see where they live or the rats act like they are unsocialized, you should turn right around and leave. They either have something to hide or because they are so cautious and paranoid you're not going to get a rat with the personality you might want because you weren't able to interact with any of them to find the perfect one for you.