I know I know second post in one day but I didn’t want to mix two posts about two totally different topics.
This is about rats/mice and humane treatment of pets/feeders. I will first say this so nobody starts off on a bad note. Snakes have got to eat. What do snakes eat? They eat rodents. There it is people, they eat rats and mice. In the wild they eat them alive, don’t hate on snakes because of their diets, it’s not like they held a meeting somewhere and decided to eat cute cuddly critters just to be dicks. Mother Nature everyone, get over it. You don’t like that people feed their snakes rodents, well blame the first person who decided that it would be a great idea to keep a snake as a pet (or a lizard/reptile).
Okay back on topic. My issue is not with the snake, it is with the people who keep the live feeders and the feeder breeders. Let’s start with the breeders. Many of the rats you see in the larger pet stores come from a distributor that raises their rats in a rat mill. Do you know what a rat mill is? If you are appalled by puppy mill be prepared to have nightmares about rat mills. Rats are bred, give birth in totes that are kept on racks that are stacked one on top of the other. There is not much light and there is a hell of a lot of noise and a lot of smells. They aren’t really interacted with as much as they should be, I mean who would have time to handle hundreds of rats? Once they are big enough they are taken away from their mothers if they aren’t frozen alive or gassed for snake/reptile chow….or even worse selected to be fed alive as a pup. They make a terrifying journey to the pet store crammed in boxes and are stressed beyond words. This entire time they have probably never tasted fresh veggies, fresh meat and never played in the open. They’ve never been skritched, played with or ridden on a shoulder. Tote, box, tank display. The majority of the time they are priced as feeders. One of the most horrifying things I’ve seen is an associate at a large chain store grabbing rats by their tails to get them out of a tank. I freaked out and he told me was an “expert”….sorry bud if you are an expert then you are purposefully injuring those rats and are committing an act of animal abuse!!!! NEVER pick up a rat by their tail! EVER! Now if these cute little baby rats don’t sell either as pets or feeders often times the pet stores will send them back to the distributor. The breeder will then either breed these rats or gas them to freeze for snake/reptile food. Oh the life of a rat.
Now to the people who keep colonies at home who have very little understanding of rats and mice and view them simply as chow for their beloved pet. These rodents are smart. They are incredibly smart, emotional, social creatures. If you are going to be keeping them for any extended length of time I highly suggest you treat them humanely. They need room to climb, play, and investigate. Yes I understand they are going to be food, that doesn’t lower the value on the quality of life they deserve, hell that just might raise it! How would you like to be kept in a small dirty tank for a week or two with just a water bottle and food dish and that’s it? I’m sorry but their last days should be pleasant, everything’s last moment should be pleasant.
I have a sick rat and as of right now I have spent $150 on her. She cost me $5 when I bought her a few weeks ago. I discovered something wasn’t quite right with her so I took her to the vet. Inner ear infection. If this second round of medication doesn’t work we’ll have to have x-rays done to see if there was damage done. I can’t put her in the main cage because she walks like she’s drunk, she has no concept of up and down. It’s too dangerous for her and she’s tiny. If this doesn’t work and the wobble is permanent it means buying a safer cage for her and deciding which of my other girls to put in with her to keep her company. I think I already know which one, I have a PEW who is full grown and acts like a nanny to the smaller girls. She would be perfect. A lot of people think “why on earth would you put that much money and effort into a rat???” I do because when I brought her home I took responsibility for her life and her health. I didn’t say “I will take care of her UNTIL it becomes a burden and I don’t want to pay for it anymore”. I made a promise and I intend to keep it. I wish everyone thought it through before they get a pet, it’s not a decision to make on a whim. Treat any animal you have with love and kindness. If they are aggressive it means they need MORE love and attention, not anger and scolding. You are in charge and show them that, but also show them that you can be trusted and that you love them. I do that with mine and because of that I am the Alpha. I am in charge and they listen to me. My pets aren’t property, they are members of my family.