This article is from the Sep./Oct. 1996 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Iwould like to start a rat club here, and produce show-quality pet rats. Most people in this area are only familiar with the black and brown hooded and white rats. I have The Proper Care of Fancy Rats by Nick Mays. Taking this book with me, I have searched for and found the more uncommon and less known types.
Please send me any information that would help me market and sell rats, and start a rat club. Thanks!
AWe would love for you to start a club in your area, and we will help in any way we can. The best information we can give you on starting a club is contained in the article that was in the July/August issue of AFRMA Rat and Mouse Tales, and continues into this one.
Marketing and selling our critters is one of the most difficult things for most fanciers. We know that we have these wonderful, special animals for sale, but no matter what we do, people still go to the pet stores to buy their rats. I usually only breed two or three litters a year, since that is the number of babies I can reliably sell to good homes.
One way of advertising, that I have found to be effective and inexpensive, is to take advantage of the bulletin boards put up in local pet shops. I use professional looking flyers with color pictures (Kinkos color copies are very cheap since you can get six to eight pictures on a page). On the flyers I say something like “Pedigreed Fancy Rats For Sale.” I then go on to list whatever colors I have, and mention the fact that they are handled from birth, bred for health and temperament, and make wonderful pets.
Once you start your new club, you will find that it is easier to sell your rats. You will have the opportunity to sell to other fanciers, and to new people just entering the fancy. You will also find yourself putting on displays, and talking to many people. This inevitably leads to people asking you the question “Well, if I shouldn’t buy from a pet shop, where should I get my next rat?” Needless to say, this is the time to have a business card in hand.
Pet shops are of course the other alternative to selling your rats. Many are very happy to take your excess stock, and some will even pay you for them. Unfortunately, most pet shops consider all rats to be feeders, and your critters could end up as snake food. A few pet shops will take the more unusually colored rats and set them aside to sell as pets. Unfortunately, these stores are few and far between.
Does anyone else have a different way of marketing their critters that works well? If so, we would love to hear about it. Drop us a line and let us know.
Kathleen Madere, LA
QWhat is the average life span for a mouse? The book I read said between 1½ and 3½ years (rarely seven years). That’s quite a gap it seems to me?
AOur members have found over the years the average life span is 1–2 years for mice. It would be the exception rather than the rule if you had mice live longer than 2 years.
Bryce A. Hammer
QToday, my brother and I are now the proud owners of two hooded, 4-week-old rats. So far they’ve been great fun!!! We bought all what a rat could want. Also, we bought a rat book which my question relates to. It said in the book we have to clip and trim their nails and teeth. I’m sorry, but no matter how friendly and cute they may seem, I will never cut a rat’s (young or old) teeth—or nails! Is there any way around this problem? Thanks.
AYou should not need to trim your rats’ teeth unless there is a problem such as something happening to the jaw to where the teeth then grow crooked and don’t meet like they should. In this case they could grow right through the roof of the mouth. A vet would need to be consulted in a case such as this and he could trim the teeth for you at that time. If you look at your rats’ teeth periodically and know what they normally look like, when something goes wrong you will know it.
As far as the nails, many people will carefully trim the tips off since they can be very sharp! You will need one person to hold the rat, the other to trim the nail. Some people have found they can trim the nails themselves without help. Baby nail clippers work well. You just trim the very tip off being careful not to cut into the blood area (looks pink under the nail). Some rats don’t like being held for this procedure, so just give it a break in-between every couple of nails. Some people have found if they put a brick or piece of cinder block in the cage, it will keep the nails short just by them jumping up on it. Karen Robbins
Tim Waters, CA
QLast week I bought two baby feeder mice, just weaned from their mother, as my pets, and I have a few questions.