Breeding rats

Breeding rats is not just a case of putting a male in with a female. While there are many things you need to consider before breeding, I think there are 3 main rules:

Are the parents healthy, friendly, and free of problems?

You should never breed rats that are aggressive, unhealthy, or have any deformities such as odd-sized eyes, club feet, kinked tails etc. Only experienced breeders should breed manx and hairless rats, as they have special needs. Aggression can never be "bred out" of rats, so even if you have a stunning rat with fantastic bloodlines, she shouldn't be bred if she is known to be nasty to humans or other rats.

Will I have time to properly handle and socialise the babies?

Rats that are handled from birth are more comfortable with humans

If you are careful, you can handle baby rats from birth - just be careful to distract the mother first, as some mother rats can be very protective of their babies. It is a myth that mother rats will kill and/or eat her babies if you get your smell on them. A mother rat will only do that if the baby has a severe deformity, is stillborn, or if she is so undernourished from the pregnancy that she is forced to eat the baby to save herself. If you are able to distract the mother to handle the babies, it can be very beneficial.

By handling and playing with the babies, they will be used to humans from day one, and make much better pets. Rats that aren't handled early, or are mishandled or hurt by humans, will either be very timid and frightened of humans, or may be aggressive.

Will I be able to find good homes for all of the babies?

This is VERY IMPORTANT. If you don't know where you will home your babies, or you assume that you can send them to the local pet store,


When I breed my rats, I always make sure that people want the babies first. I will always have several people waiting for my babies at one time. If I can't home all of them, then I am prepared to keep the rest - I am a responsible breeder. I won't send my babies off to bad homes, and I don't send them to pet stores. Pet stores, although it is illegal, DO SELL BABY RATS FOR SNAKE FOOD. Even if the pet store is responsible, and refuses to sell rats for snake food, snake owners can easily pretend to want to buy a rat as a pet, and get away with it. "Live feeding" is illegal in Australia, but it still happens. I refuse to let my babies become food.

Remember, breeding rats is not something that you do for fun. It needs careful planning, and a lot of work.


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