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Breeding Rats


Poopsy Woopsy Luver
I've looked on several different sites and found some good information but I still have a few questions.

My BP and BCI take 2 mice each, once a week and my cornsnake takes a fuzzy a week *would take more if I offered*. Do you think it would be cheaper to just buy? I wanted to move the two big guys up to small rats but they are $2.99 at the petstore I go to.

Pretty much I'm just asking if it is worth it or not. I plan on getting either another BP or another cornsnake at the Western NY Herp show this September so that will be one more mouth to feed.

I'd really enjoy any opinions.

Some real questions... could I keep the rats in a rubbermaid container? A big one with newspaper as substrate? I was thinking of getting 3 females and one male to start...good or no?
I'd say if your BP and BCI are taking two adult mice, they could easily handle a young rat pup. And rats are nice in that they have more bang for the buck usually. More nutrition in the same size package.

The cornsnake on mouse fuzzies could take a rat pink, as they're just about the same size. Even with the hair and more solid bone, the mouse is a little less for nutrition than the rat pink.

I would think a 1:1 of rats could feed your snakes nicely. But I'd still worry about excess rats not being used. A rat can give birth to 10+ pups, so you factor in you have 3 snakes now..and maybe 2 more coming. So by the time some of them got grown to the size for BP or BCI size, they'd be close to popping more out. If you feed f/t, then just euthanize and freeze the babies as the size the snakes need or increases..and if the adults are producing too many, just get rid of them as well after you've stockpiled a supply in the freezer.

Of course, getting more snakes alleviates the waste issue. Must have more snakes to eat all of them mice. ;)

As for rats in a plastic tub, I wouldn't recommend it. They can chew through just about anything, and if they can get an edge, it'll have a hole in a few hours they can fit through. Not to mention tubs such as that hold in moisture and odor.

I would recommend a wire cage or a large aquarium. Rats are prone to respiratory issues and if not cleaned out often the ammonia in their waste can be a health issue. The best luck I've had is keeping them in a wire cage. Its easy to clean and provides good ventilation. You can build your own from a rabbit hutch design or buy like a ferret/guinea pig cage. Although you might want to buy some 1/4" to 1/2" hardware cloth to cut in sections to fit over the wire of the cage. The babies can fit through most wire cages available at Petsmart. I got a Midwest rat cage and love it.

These are rats, not snakes. They produce copious amounts of pellets and urine, newspaper I wouldn't recommend as a substrate for a variety of reasons. It is absorbant to a certain degree, but would need changed every day. The urine gets absorbed sure, but it doesn't really go anywhere. What with the incessant waterbottle drip, urine, etc.

Aspen litter or a paper based litter (Carefresh, PaPurr) works great. Its absorbant, deodorizing, and diggable. Rats like to dig and make nests, you'd quickly find your paper shredded and in one corner while they poo and pee on the bare floor. And the ink could get on the rats. Snakes don't eat the ink on the paper in their vivs, but I don't think that ink is recommended for food items generally.

And I'd recommend a 1:1 to start out. For all of their vicious nature that rats have, you can always add new females later on if you need more food. They're not like mice and fight to the bitter end. They'll have their "hen-pecking" initially, but it'll pass in a few hours once the newcomer knows where she rests. Or you can always raise up a female from the litter previously which I use often, as it avoids conflict.
Breeding rats (or mice) is easy and takes the whole herping experience to another level. I like the idea of producing my own feed as I am relatively sure of a constant supply of feeders. You can keep plenty in reserve just in case they decide to slow down, which they will do. I try to keep at least 3 months worth of feeders in the freezer, extras go to a friend who still buys his.

If you talk to a private owned pet store they often will help you with mouse/rat feed. I get them to order an extra 50lb bag and they charge me minimal mark up. Chain pet stores are not as likely to help out like this.

I strongly suggest as above, a wire cage or aquarium, they will chew anything they can get their teeth around.

Enjoy it, I think rats are cool, much better "personalities" than mice.
Thank you so much for all your help! I think I'm gonna go for it now. Wire cage and litter. Got it!
I can't back up using cat litter/shavings enough! I've had my rats for about 3 weeks now and at first I used n/paper. I had to change the stuff at least every 2 days, and even after a few hours it stunk. I now use shavings and it's made a massive difference. I can actually hold my head above the tank without wanting to :puke01: