- A home for rats and other benevolent creatures


Why I shouldn't breed

A testimony for would-be breeders.

Joanne loves her rats, and has spent over a year researching the viability of having an ethical rattery in her area. Unfortunately, the market for her babies does not exist. If you can't find trustworthy people to adopt your babies and stay involved in the maintenance of a pedigree, then you have the deck stacked against you.

What to do if you suspect your rat is already pregnant



Rats truly have a bad rap. Not only are they considered dirty and vermin but they are also used for all kinds of experiments.

Rats have everything done to them. They are used in labs exposed to horrible drug effects but yet, no drugs are found for how we can cure these sweet gentle animals.

Pet store rats are not better off than lab rats. In pet stores, they live in unacceptable conditions. They breathe toxins, they drink dirty water, they eat seeds and then, they have the most horrifying death one can imagine. Being eaten alive by a predator.

A rat mill rat is in no better conditions. They are housed in small accommodations, they eat less than adequate foods, they are removed from their mother at too young an age and then they go to pet stores.

These rats have diseases, unfavorable genes, hidden pasts, should they really reproduce? That great personality is not in the genes, it's because of your interactions with that rat. Rats develop their own personalities, that cannot be bred into a new rat, that new rat will have his own. Personalities develop with the help of his early years with mommy rat and then with his habitat and his interactions with human mommy and daddy.

A rat with a hidden past, can seem really sweet now, but he may carry and pass along the aggressive gene, cancer, zucker gene (obesity), megacolon (certain painful death), and mammary tumors. Should these babies suffer for our mistakes or accidents?

Accidental litters are hard to accept. For one, how can such an accident happen? For two, they are preventable. For three, what kind of babies will be born?

What I'm about to write is the hardest thing in the world for me:

A couple of years ago, I picked up two pet store rats. My beautiful Blue rex named Reef and a beautiful sweet PEW named Prin and bred the two together. I was ignorant of the facts, of genetics, of genes. I was plain stupid. I had done research on birth but not breeding. I put the two together and 3 weeks later 12 beautiful black/chocolate babies were born: Charlie, Pinto, George, Sven, Lex, Sullivan, Niko, Tanzie, Candy, Celia, Tiki, and Mitsou. These babies were wonderful. In fact, I was suppose to sell them to a pet store but decided against it when I saw their sweet little faces. BUT: when a couple of the boys matured, I noticed they became aggressive to people: they had the aggressive gene. Pinto needed to be castrated and a couple needed to be socialized and showed that alpha was the human. Meanwhile, Reef, the dad became extremely sick with myco, another extremely bad trait to pass on. Then at 15 months, Charlie dies of lung cancer. Sure enough, Mama Prin develops cancer herself. Now we know that the gene is passed along in her kids. Prin suffered immensely, while we just sat there and watched and wondered which other of her kids will suffer too. Well, it's sweet gentle Sven. Sven has indeed cancer, he has suffered through a really hard leg operation and may even lose his leg.

Never mind the unbelievable emotional turmoil we all suffer, there's the money thing. Prin cost Nic, my sister, well over $1000 just for treatments. Sven has so far cost my mom $600 and more if his leg is amputated.

I was STUPID, STUPID, STUPID. I didn't do my research, I didn't look into genetics, I was stupid. I wish I had have a bunch of people jump on me and tell me DO NOT BREED!

So there you have it:

Ethical ratteries:

Good ethical ratteries are here to help make the life of our beloved rats better. They are constantly trying to produce babies with the least health problems. They are not here to make money, they know they will lose money, but that's ok, if it means your rats will live longer and happier. Their time is spent on the rats, food, research, vets, habitats, climate, everything is for the rat. Above all, always looking for better, always researching and asking: why? or what can I do now to make a happier, healthier rat?

Please think long and hard before you make that very important decision to breed. Please think first about all the lost rats in shelters. Please, just think about these new lives you will be creating...



Animals are always going to be produced from accidental litters from mistaken pet owners/guardians. There are always going to be reputable, ethical breeders, too, who care about their progeny whether they win shows or not - and these people must be sought out, assessed, and supported when they make the grade. They don't place their animals by selling to pet stores. Nor do they make money at it. They consider the numbers of litters they need to produce to maintain a pedigree, and they are prepared to keep any that aren't adopted, take back any that need rehoming, and enforce their contracts. They join professional organizations, and they invest their money in their own education and in the environment their babies are born into. They cooperate in order to raise standards. They don't cooperate where those standards would be lowered. Reputable breeders are aware of their own reputation, and don't risk a bad one.So you have to choose from the pets who need rehoming, the accidental litters, and the ethical breeders who need your support. You do not need any breeders in between.

Petstores who cut out direct animal sales do pet owners and guardians and the animal services community, like shelters and rescues, a favour that should be rewarded. And those who don't care, don't care about getting our business.

What to do if you think your rat is already pregnant

Spay it. It is not too late until the vet tells you it is.

Some people in Ste-Hyacinthe may have thought that giving their rat a birth control pill would prevent or abort a pregnancy. Then they gave their rat away. The girl who ended up with her was informed that the rat was a boy. For two weeks, everything seemed fine. Then the boy started hemorraging, and she realized it was a girl. She took her to the vet, but the bleeding was so bad, it wouldn't coagulate, and the rat had to be euthanized. The vet performed a necropsy to see why she had hemorraged - she was pregnant, the pups were all deformed and dead, and her uterus and intestines were filled with blood. Probable cause: overdose of progesterone, from a contraceptive pill.
The cost of spaying a rat varies; in Montreal, it's about $170. Remember: once a rat is spayed, you never have to worry about her getting pregnant again. All other alternatives mean it could be a repeat performance.

Rats have litters from 4 - 18 babies. Healthy moms will have about 10 - 14.

The cost of a caesarian section should the birth go badly: $140 and up. Other assistance is additional, i.e. emergency hospital admission fees, because you don't get to choose the hour of birth. If a rat is in labour for more than 3 hours, she is in trouble! Do not wait!

The cost of euthanizing pinkies (termed culling), if you choose to go that route: $50 and up. Home culling is a crime. It is also very sad, as the mother will look for the babies she loses.

The cost of a second cage or two to house 5 - 8 males at 5 weeks of age: at least $100

The cost of upgrading the cage size to accomodate Mom and 5 - 8 daughters: at least $100

The cost of food and bedding for a period of six months, estimated duration to adopt all babies except one daughter for Mom's company: $75 more than before or otherwise

Realistic number of rats at shelters that don't find homes because your babies found those homes first: 4
– and an excellent chance that one of your babies in turn has babies, and those babies end up in the shelter.

The average cost per rat in treating mycoplasma or removing tumours, likely and predictable diseases, over a lifetime: $200

Cost of euthanasia at a shelter - AVAILABLE WHENEVER AN ANIMAL NEEDS IT: $2 - 5, paid by the shelter as people do not usually offer or agree to pay or donate for this service
Some municipalities pay the shelter for this fee, and the shelter responds to this money by refusing to partner up with rescue organizations to save lives - because if they don't euthanize the animal, they don't get the fee. Shelters cannot run on rain, sunshine, and goodwill alone.

Cost of a more humane (under sedative or anaesthetic) euthanasia at an exotic vet: $15 and up per animal, paid by the client

If you don't spay your potentially pregnant rat, you are still spending money, and spending other people's money. The chances of all babies making it into homes, where all their needs will be looked after all their lives, are not so good. Moreover, rats that already exist in the world deserve a better chance, and you can help them by being responsible right away. Make a wise investment in your pet rat. If she could be pregnant, take her to the vet and spay her. If she is young, she will derive benefits by reducing tumour occurrences when she's older. If she's older, it could save her life from a difficult birth.

Thank you for reading and considering this information.