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Choosing A Pet Rat

Signs of healthy rat and the different color varieties available.

By Audrey Pavia

Choose A Healthy Pet Rat
Several good sources offer pet rats. Rats are available through pet stores, local breeders and local rescue centers. Some veterinarians know of rats for adoption.

A healthy rat has bright clear eyes, good thick fur (except for hairless rats), and no nasal discharge. Red flags include puffed up fur, swelling around the face or neck, drainage around eyes or nose, sores, noisy breathing, sneezing, a foul smell from ears or mouth, or scabs on the body.

Rat Varieties & Colors
There are six different varieties of rats:

  • Standard
  • Rex
  • Tailless
  • Hairless
  • Satin
  • Dumbo

Thirty-three colors are recognized by the American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association, including beige, black, blue, blue-beige, champagne, chocolate, cocoa, lilac, mink, platinum, Russian blue, Russian dove, sky blue, black-eyed white and pink-eyed white.


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Choosing A Pet Rat

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Reader Comments
I don't think I'd ever buy from a pet store because the usually don't give them good care and buy them from rodent mills. The rat might also be sick or give birth because some pet stores mix males and females. Those rats are commonly feeders. Also theres dwarf rats (no, there not mice!) that are really cute!
M, HB, CA
Posted: 6/25/2010 12:03:15 AM
I like Harley rats. They are adorable :)
Asa, Wisconsin, WI
Posted: 3/24/2010 2:35:14 PM
I got a baby rat that was barely weaned from its mother, she was so tiny, and I bought some mother's milk and soaked dog food in it, and gave that to her to make sure she was still getting proper nourishment since she wasn't completely weaned from mom. I started handling and cuddling her right away, and I had her for 5 years, and she was extremely attached to me, I think she thought I was her mom. She would go to my daughter reluctantly but when I was anywhere around, she would see me, and would do anything to get back to me. I loved her so much.
Michelle, Fresno, CA
Posted: 9/7/2009 2:08:11 AM
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