Where did you get your rats?

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New Member
Jun 17, 2018
I am not ready for rats yet. But I am planning to get some in the future. I am from rural Ontario, Canada. My question is: Where do you get your rats from?

Here are basically my options
- In my town there is a Humane Society. But they only get rats maybe every couple of years.
- There is a reptile store that advertised "live feeder rodents." I don't know if that means rats. But if it does I may be able to go there.
- Rarely someone will post on Kijiji trying to re-home their rats. Again, that is very rare.
- Pet Smart usually has a pair of Male rats available. (They do not have females because they don't want to cause pregnancy. They are more expensive than most rats to deter people from buying them as feeders.)

Obviously, I would prefer the local humane society but I also do not want to wait years for rats. I would also prefer not to buy PetSmart rats because I would prefer to save a life.

Where do you guys normally get your rats? Out of my options where would you recommend getting rats from and why? Are there any special needs I should be aware of when getting rats from certain places? I am new to this so any advice would be helpful. Thank you


Senior Member
Jul 24, 2007
Victoria BC
You can google 'animal rescue' and your city, maybe there is an independant Rescue near... or do you have SPCA? I see you're in canada, you could put your city in here https://www.used.ca/


Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Jul 21, 2007
central New Brunswick Canada
Depending on where you are located, there may be good rat rescues etc within driving distance.
What province are you in? I am asking because there may be people in your area who have advice about rescue rats specific to that general area.

Where do I get rats?

Since 2004 most of the rats I have gotten have been rescue rats - rats that need help but do not create a demand for more rats to be born
I get them from:

1. people rehoming their rats (kijiji, social media, word of mouth, etc)
- because they do not want them anymore
- because they bought a rat that was pregnant and they need homes for the rat and/or the rat and her babies
- because they were breeding rats for snakes, are going to stop doing that, and are getting rid of the remaining rats

2. people whose snake did not eat the rat so they want it gone

3. rats in shelters like the SPCA

4. I do not get rats from Rat Rescues but they are a good place to get rats because:
- you are helping rats already here without creating a demand for more rats to be born
- a good rescue will have quarantined the rats so you will know that they do not have one of the highly contagious and often terminal rat diseases such as SDA or Sendai virus http://ratguide.com/health/viruses/sda.php http://ratguide.com/health/viruses/sendai_virus_sv.php
- a good rescue will be a resource for help because they will be knowledgeable about rats, will do their best to match people with rats, will do their best to help with transportation if possible, will have provided rats with needed vet care and meds, will make sure rats adopted out are socialized, will let you know about any issues the rats have, and will take rats back for any reason at any time.
A good rat rescue is concerned about finding good loving homes for rats and if they can not find good homes then they will provide the rats in their care with a good home for the remainder of their lives - of course if rats do not find homes, then the rescue will not be able to help more rats because they will not have room. A good rat rescue is not a business to make money and they actually lose a lot of money by providing the rats with good care. A good rat rescue is in it solely to help rats that need help because they love rats.

5. A couple of years ago, I bought the last 4 rats left in a horrible pet store that was going out of business. (The store did not make a profit from my purchase and did not replace them as they were closing their doors.)

6. Rats adopted (ie free, not purchased) from local pet stores
- a terrified boy whose owner dumped him at a pet store because he was no longer wanted
- a seriously handicapped girl (as the result of not receiving proper medical care) who could not be sold by the pet store so they gave her to me

Here is some info that might be helpful https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/thinking-of-getting-a-rat-things-to-consider.32306/

*** This is a Rat Rescue forum so it is against the rules to endorse breeders or promote ratteries or promote buying rats from stores.
The internet is full of other sites where information on buying rats from breeders etc can be accessed or shared
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New Member
Jun 21, 2018
I got my rats from a local mom and pop sort of pet shop that does reptile and exotic rescue and rehoming. They also sell pet rats and feeder rats due to the nature of their rescue operations. People can surrender their exotic and small animals (no dogs or cats) and they get vet checked and then adopted out from the store. They have everything from tarantulas to roosters that people can't handle anymore. I bought my two youngest rats from them as just weaned feeder rats so that I could get them used to me early. I bought my older guy as a pet rat.


Mar 28, 2018
British Columbia
I have gotten rats from pet stores before I knew that you could rescue rats, and most recently the SPCA. If you feel comfortable sharing your province and the general area you're in, maybe some fellow members somewhat close to you who do have access to rats needing homes will be able to find you a pair or trio and then they or you could transport them. In BC, we have several branches of the SPCA and I have quite a few of them within hours of me if you're in the area and want me to be on the lookout for you. The SPCA has a great website that shows all of the available animals in all the branches in your province, or you could pick the few closest to you.


Loving rats since 2002.
Staff member
Jul 21, 2007
Northeastern Ontario
I usually get mine from kijiji or other online places but I make sure they aren't backyard breeders so most of my rats are older. When I do want babies, I check out a couple of rescue people in Toronto or even Ottawa. Ottawa has a great rat rescue called Ottawa Pet Rat Rescue.

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