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I have 2 pet rats, both about 2 years old now, with no health issues. This depends almost 100% on WHERE YOU GET YOUR PET FROM. Many stores don't manage their breeding well, and you end up with a lot of inbreeding. The store I got mine from, for example, did their breeding in store, weaned them properly, and kept records of who the parents were, and separated their animals by gender to ensure inbreeding wouldn't occur, and they kept breeding pairs separated from the general population. They also mixed litters together after birth to socialize them well.Neither of my girls have any tumors or dermatitis, their feet are perfect little rat feet and have healthy coats. I also keep them in a clear plastic tote with aspen bedding and one of those wire modular shelf sides (Such as: http://imgur.com/lKnZLXT) leaning against a side which i affix the water bottle to. There's no cover. The girls like it in their cage, and we even have 2 clawed cats. Then again, the rats rule the roost. The one time one of our cats got too close, one of the girls gave him a bite on the nose, and the cat decided he'd had enough of that.As with any animal, the care in breeding and keeping the animals prior to sale is what you should care about if you love pets.Rats are still the dogs of the rodent world. They are cleaner, gentler more intelligent, and have more personality than any other rodent you will find. This article is truly anecdotal and should not be taken as universally true by anything. ASK YOUR PET STORE QUESTIONS AND DO SOME RESEARCH!My favorite anecdote: I had the window cracked by their cage one night, and forgot to shut it. A cold front came in over night and made the room very cold. We had a box of tissues on a table near their cage, and one of their little igloos was outside on the same table, as I had forgotten to put it back in the cage.In the morning, I had noticed how cold it was and that the window was open and the rats were gone. I panicked, looking for them, and then i noticed the Igloo was upturned, on its back, and it was filled with tissues. The rats has climbed out of the cage, flipped the igloo, and pulled tissues out and filled it up to make a nice snug bed for themselves. When i pushed some of the tissue aside, sure enough there was a little black tail. They shuffled a bit, and when they smelled it was me, 2 little rat heads popped up. I never made that mistake again, but I'm glad I made it that time.The following morning, I noticed the rats were gone.
Whoops that last sentence was a typo.
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