OC Dumbos FAQ

Reserving and Adopting Rats

Do you EVER sell ANY feeder rats (I.E. for snakes to eat?)

No, we never, ever sell any “feeder rats.”  We only sell rats for pets, period. And, in case you are curious, that means we also won’t sell you “breeding pairs” so you can grow your own “feeder rats” (and, yes, people have asked us.) Yes, I understand that other animals need to eat, too, and some of them like to eat baby rats or mice.  We don’t hate those animals, and we don’t blame you for wanting to own one.  Humans eat other animals, too.  But you will need to purchase food for them from a different breeder, because we won’t sell you any. We personally know and love every single one of our rats, including our babies, and it would be like feeding our daughter to a lion.  I hope you can understand and respect our wishes.  Please don’t ask us about this, even (especially not) as a joke. This includes Roof rats and Wood rats, by the way.

How can I pay my adoption fee when I pick up my rat?

We accept cash or Venmo.

I reserved a rat from you: what comes next?

We will be contacting you in the next few weeks to make an appointment to come adopt your rats.  Of course, you can call or email us at any time to check on the timing of your litter and which mom and dad it will likely be.  You can even visit us to see the mommy and daddy (and maybe baby) rats in person!

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to prepare for your new arrivals.  You will need a cage with furnishings, toys and food.  If you haven’t already ordered all of that, and would like some advice or a ready made cage and starter kit, we are happy to help!

How do I adopt a rat from you?

Due to the high demand for our baby Dumbo rats, and limited breeding, they are mostly all reserved in advance.  However, we do breed Roof rats more frequently, so the waiting time is usually much shorter.

If you would like to reserve one or more baby or adult rats, please fill out the online reservation form.

You will then be contacted us regarding the next steps.

Adult rats are also sometimes available on a first come/first serve basis.  If you are open to adopting either an adult or a baby, or if you prefer an adult, please indicate your preference on the reservation form.

The wait for Roof rats might be shorter.  You can contact us, in case we might have Roof rats available immediately, or to ask us questions regarding our rats, rats in general and our upcoming litters.

Do you have any baby rats for immediate purchase?

Generally, no.  Due to the popularity of our rats, they are generally reserved in advance.  The waiting list is currently 5-7 weeks, but we are trying to shorten that, and occasionally people do cancel.

If you would like to reserve our babies, you can do so online.

How old are your babies when they leave their moms?

We keep all of our babies with their moms until they are 5 weeks old.

If you have reserved some rats from us, we will contact you when the rats in your assigned litter are about 4 weeks old, and ask you to make an appointment to come pick up your rats in the coming week.

How much do you charge for babies or adults?

Norway Rat Babies are $35 each.

Roof Rat Babies are $20.  You can get 2 for the price of one.  Adult Roof Rats are a free gift from us.  You must convince us that you know what a Roof Rat is, why you want them, and that you are capable of caring for them.

Adults Norway Rats are $20 for former breeder males or females, or $10-$15 for rescue rats.

There is no charge or deposit to get on our waiting list for rats.  You cannot pay for them in advance of picking them up.

I need some baby rats immediately: can I jump the queue ahead of others to get them?

No.  That wouldn’t be fair.  But sometimes one sex or certain colors have a shorter queue, so if you are flexible you might be able to shorten the wait.  If you are also willing to consider adults and rescues, even better.  Finally, most people adopt 2 or more rats, but there are occasionally odd numbers of males or females in litters, so if you are willing to adopt just one rat, or perhaps adopt from multiple litters, you can often get your baby(s) faster.

When you reserve your spot in line, let us know your situation, and how you are willing to be flexible to get your rat(s) faster, and we will try our best to accomodate you.

Do you ever let people adopt your adult rats?

Yes, all of the adult rats will generally be available for adoption eventually.

Usually, when females have had 3-4 litters (around a year old), they will “retire” and get adopted by some nice family as a pet.

Males will also get “retired” from time to time, to make room in the “boys’ cage” for new fellas.

We charge $20 to adopt one of “our” adult rats.  If you are interested in an adult, you may join our waiting list for an adult by specifying that as your preference.  You can also specify which adult your prefer (if you have a preference.)

 

Do you ship rats?

Yes, we can arrange to have your rats shipped to you through TLC Pet Transport.

Please see rat shipping information for more details.

If you do not live in a location serviced by TLC Pet Transport, here is a random, unrelated video you may enjoy…

Do you know of any other breeders in the area?

We do not currently know of any other local breeders that we can recommend.

If you are a breeder and you’d like to trade links, please get in touch.


Rat Rescue

I found an orphaned baby rat. Can I keep it as a pet or should I release it?

Yes, you can generally keep it as a pet as long as it is tame, and it was still very young when you found it.

If it’s eyes were still closed and it had little fur when you found it, it is very likely that it will view you as a friend when it grows up, and unlikely it will have any parasites (internal or external.)  As with any animal in the wild, once it has fur there is the chance it could have external parasites, and once it is no longer protected by antibodies from it’s mother and her milk, and starts eating solid food, it can be exposed to internal parasites, viruses and etc.  As a general rule of thumb, the dividing line is around the time it’s eyes open.

If it’s eyes were already open when you found it, it is not totally hopeless, but you should probably have it checked by a vet.  At that age, it should be able to easily escape (and it will normally want to) unless it has some injury or illness.  After you treat the underlying issues, then you can evaluate what to do based on it’s behaviour.

Once it’s eyes are open, and both you and the rat will need to decide its future.  Mostly the rat will decide:  If it seems to want to run away, then find someplace to release it safely.  You will both be happier.

But, if it seems to like being with you, doesn’t seem fearful, accepts handling and isn’t trying to escape, then you should consider keeping it as a pet.  It will probably live a longer, happier life with you than in the wild and, besides, it has developed feelings for you at this point.  Rats are intelligent and social animals.  Although they are small and their lives are sadly all too short, they are capable of love and friendship just like us, and if your rat has developed an emotional bond with you, turning it out into the wild to fend for itself would seem, well, inhuman.  So, if your rat loves you (and you’ll know if it does), my heartfelt advice is to love and care for it for the rest of it life if at all possible.

If you need a friend for it, and you are driving distance of Orlando, let me know!

Do you EVER sell ANY feeder rats (I.E. for snakes to eat?)

No, we never, ever sell any “feeder rats.”  We only sell rats for pets, period.

And, in case you are curious, that means we also won’t sell you “breeding pairs” so you can grow your own “feeder rats” (and, yes, people have asked us.)

Yes, I understand that other animals need to eat, too, and some of them like to eat baby rats or mice.  We don’t hate those animals, and we don’t blame you for wanting to own one.  Humans eat other animals, too.  But you will need to purchase food for them from a different breeder, because we won’t sell you any.

We personally know and love every single one of our rats, including our babies, and it would be like feeding our daughter to a lion.  I hope you can understand and respect our wishes.  Please don’t ask us about this, even (especially not) as a joke.

This includes Roof rats and Wood rats, by the way.

What is a big-eared woodrat (Neotoma macrotis?)

Woody and Snoopy are both Big-Eared Woodrats (Neotoma macrotis.)

They are the native “rat” species of Southern California.  I put “rat” in quotes, because they are actually more closely related to Hamsters than “old world” rats, like Norway Rats and Roof Rats!

In fact, Chinchilla or Rabbit food is better for them than Rat food, and they also eat Hay, Grass, leaves and other forage.  However, like rats, they will eat grains, seeds, nuts, berries and other fruits.  Woody and Snoopy’s favorite treats are mealworms (which we hand feed them when it’s playtime!)

Also, they like taking Dust Baths like Hamsters or Chinchillas.  Have a look at Snoopy taking a dust bath!

Here are some more videos of Woody and Snoopy playing and generally being cute!

Woody, the woodrat ignores pesky Snoopy to get her neck massaged

Woodrats playing and taking a dust bath

Snoopy the big eared woodrat
Snoopy the big eared woodrat

What is a Roof Rat? How are they different from Dumbo rats?

A Roof Rat, official name Rattus Rattus, is the native rat species in warmer, coastal parts of the USA.  Norway Rats (Rattus Norvegicus, also called Sewer Rats or Fancy Rats) are the native rat species in the other parts of the USA.  If you see a wild rat here in Florida, or discover an abandoned litter, chances are they are Roof rats.  Dumbo Rats are Norway Rats with funny ears.

Roof rats share a common ancestor with Norway rats, and there are many similarities in their behaviour and appearance.  However, Roof rats have some distinguishing characteristics:

  1. They are smaller than Norway rats, more petite, longer tail, larger eyes and ears, and a more pointed nose.  They have subtle markings and different shades, but right now they are all basically agouti. update: we now have black and pale gray Roof Rats!  They are also all top eared.
  2. Roof Rats are more playful, gentler and less aggressive than Norway rats, so they are a better choice for people who are fearful of rats.  We prefer to breed and own Roof Rats.  We’ve found that once people own a pet Roof Rat, most prefer them over Norway Rats.
  3. To promote Roof Rats as pets, adoptions and no obligation are 100% free of charge.
  4. Young Roof Rats are more active and athletic for their size.  They are better at climbing and jumping, and than Norway Rats of the same age.
  5. Adult Roof Rats mellow out and get lazy.  The activity level of both male and female Roof Rats is similar to that of an adult female Norway Rat.
  6. They are generally healthier and longer lived than Norway rats.  They are less prone to tumors and obesity.  Unlike male Norway Rats, male Roof Rats do not become excessively fat and lazy with age.
  7. They are probably more intelligent than Norway rats.  They can be taught tricks, like coming when called, if you can properly motivate them.  Nuts seem to work as will social interaction once your rat has bonded with you. We easily taught Roofy tricks that felt like fun and games for her.
  8. Roof Rats are so smart that they can learn to do tricks all on their own!  They love playing in water, and some learn how to push the little ball up in their water bottle so they can enjoy a shower!  They let the water run down their bodies, and scrub themselves clean like a tiny person!
  9. Wild Roof Rats are shy and skittish but not aggressive like Wild Norway rats.  Our domesticated, pet quality Roof Rats enjoy human contact, and are very gentle and friendly.
  10. All of our Roof Rats are descended from Roofy our amazingly tame Roof Rat.  She had a tameness mutation which was passed on to many of her offspring, which we selected and bred.  These rats also have noticeable white markings on their face and even white tipped tails!
  11. Roof Rats were challenging to breed in captivity, until we learned their specific behaviours.  For example, they exhibit some interesting tail wiggling mating behaviour which appears to be different than Norway rats.
  12. Although they are different species, Roof Rats and Norway Rats can play together.  Their behaviors are similar, but notice that the Roof Rats spend more time climbing on and interacting with Qiong in the video?  This is because Roof Rats are more playful and vertically orientated than Norway Rats.  And they tend to be more attached to their owners.
  13. We feed our Roof rats basically the same food as Norway rats.  They are skinnier and more active, so we continue to give them Teklad 2018 as adults.  We also supplement their diet with nuts, seeds and bits of fruit.
  14. Roof Rats look similar to Norway Rats, but they are not the same species.  Their energy level can be higher when they are young and they can be more timid until they know you.  You are welcome to visit and play with our baby and adult Roof Rats, and we will answer questions about their personalities and care.

You are invited to take our online training course: Rat Care and Ownership. This course contains accumulated knowledge and advice drawn from our many years of experience and research about Roof Rats. There is simply nothing else like it available on the Internet! It’s free for a limited time only.

Our complete collection of Roof Rat Youtube videos.  Watch us feeding them by hand, playing with them, showing them mating, exercising and other behaviours.

I found a litter of baby rats, what should I do?

  1. Keep them warm and safe.  Pinkies, especially, are hairless and cannot regulate their body temperature, so put them together in a box with a clean soft towel, cloth or tissue.  Cover the box, leaving a gap for air, and keep them as close to body temperature using a thermostatically controlled heating pad or by holding the box close to your body.
  2. Feed them goat milk or (ideally) replacement formula such as fox valley day one 32/40 with an eye dropper or (ideally) syringe with mini-nipple.  You will need to feed them every 3 hours, day and night.  After feeding, you will need to clear they bottoms to stimulate peeing and pooing.  In our youtube channel, we have several videos demonstrating feeding and care of rescued litters.
  3. Most importantly, don’t worry because we are here to help!  Contact us anytime, day or night with any questions you might have.
  4. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept or care for any baby or adult rats, regardless of circumstances, unless they originally came from us.

I have a rat I cannot care for. Can you help?

We are not an animal shelter or animal rescue.  We cannot care for or rehome any adult or baby animals that did not originally come from us.  Hopefully, a Google search can help locate an animal shelter than can help.

However, if your rat originally came from us, then we will help you rehome it.  Just bring us the rat together with the cage and etc., and we will match him or her with a family that will love and care for it.