Saturday, October 23, 2010
Rats - Snakes Eat Too!
Saturday is sort of a 'special' day for me. It is not my feeding day, but really my Feeder Day.
Any snake keeper will tell you that Rats are apart of our lives, regardless if you keep the smallest Garter Snake, to the largest Boa. Feeders are a necessity, and they also REQUIRE the same delicate care that we give our snakes. By 'our' I mean everyone's.
Rats are animals too, they deserve the same love, and care that we give any animal. Just because they are considered a pest, nuisance, or disgusting, doesn't mean you can treat them with disrespect.
Now down to what goes on with someone who breeds Rats!
There are a few things you need to know before you jump right onto the wagon and throw a few rats together. These things have babies far quicker than you can imagine. In the past week or so, I've personally had about 3 litters of baby pinks. A Mama rat can have as few as 3 babies, or as many as 18! Rat mothers are notoriously aggressive when it comes to their babies. Like any mother, their sole purpose to protect, raise, and nurture their young. They WILL die for their babies. I've been personally bitten, more than once, stealing rat pinks to feed my snakes. It HURTS. It doesn't matter how big you are, those little mothers will fight anything, for their babies.
Saturday's are special for me because its the last cleaning day of the week. I check on my animals daily, to ensure food/water are available, but today is my full fledge get my hands dirty to make sure Im breeding quality offspring. You constantly have to check to ensure they're cages are clean, and free of anything that will hurt them. It's doesnt take long, I have roughly 12 tubs that have rats in them, and I spend about 10 minutes cleaning, replacing bedding, and adding newspaper. After I finish with all of the tubs, I look at my rats. I pick them up, and inspect them for flea's, ticks, or anything thats not supposed to be there. That is the time consuming part, for 1 tub of 5 rats, it will take me probably 10-15 minutes to ensure they are healthy, and happy.
If you have the space available, and spend more than $100 per month on buying feeders, I highly suggest you breed your own. It costs me roughly NOTHING to breed my own rats. The ONLY time I have to spend money is to buy the initial rack materials ($50-80), more food, or bedding. For those 2 items, it's roughly $40, and that lasts me about 2 months.
$100 per month, or $40 every 2 months? You do the math.
I will post a 'How To' guide on breeding Rats in the future, until next time!