Others' Comments on My Rat & Mouse Pages

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Intro.  You may have heard that some people disagree with my rodent information.  You haven't?  Heck, I'll publish some of their comments for your edification.  I'm leaving out the ones with too many Anglo-Saxon expletives to edit.  And I probably deleted some as time and a half goes by.  Read them and make up your own mind.  As usual, I went thru them to correct their spelling and grammar (although it is sooo tempting to publish them "as is").  Enjoy.  LA

Bethany, November 6, 2006
I was reviewing your information on pet rats and found most of it to be incorrect. I can't even list all of the things that you said about rats that are wrong. To do so would take me a VERY long time and I'm sure plenty of other people have done so already.
The only articles I read were about rats but I have a feeling that a lot of
your information on other animals is probably incorrect. I know that I can't
get you to take your entire site down or anything, but I do think you need to
do your own research and post proper and correct information on your site if you are going to inform people about animal care.

Well, some others have written.  LA

Rosie, November 6, 2005
I just wanted to tell you how completely incorrect and incomplete your
rat information was.
You should NEVER pick a rat up by their tail. It is extremely painful to
You were right about Cedar bedding being bad for them, but pine is not
much better. Aspen, paper based cat litters (such as Yesterday's News and
Biocatlet), and rabbit pellets are the only suitable litters.
Hamster and Gerbil food is horrible for rats. It is much too high in
protein and fat. Rabbit food (when it is not full of alfalfa pellets)
is actually okay for rats. You also did not mention that many brands of
lab blocks are not good for rats. KayTee blocks (and all of their other
pet food) is horrible for rats. Most lab block brands are bad for rats
(Mazuri is okay, Oxbow is okay, and Harlan Teklad blocks are great).
Another problem with the mixes you buy at the store is that a lot of the
ingredients are not eaten by rats. Alfalfa, and the decorative seeds
are not edible, and most of the other food is very high in fat. You did
not mention the homemade mixes that are very popular and healthy
(Suebees and the Molasses Mix), or how important fresh food is.
You did not mention how large rat cages should be, and I doubt yours are
big enough (at least 2 square feet of space per rat). Aquariums are
rarely suitable for rats, and wire cages are the best option.
You explained the best way for rat mill breeders to breed. Not for good rat
breeders to breed. You should not be explaining how to make money by
irresponsibly breeding rats. You should not have more than 2 litters at
a time, or more than 9 in a year.
By keeping the male in with the females throughout birth you not only
risk the male killing the babies (many males are aggressive with
babies) but you guarantee that the females would become pregnant, while
they were nursing a litter, which would mean that they were raising
unborn babies, and nursing babies.
It is obvious that you know very little about rats, and should not be
owning them, let alone breeding them.

I do have to add that it amuses me that some people think their homemade mixes are superior to anything commercially prepared.  LA


Valerie, April 19, 2006
I am appalled by all the false information on your page. Being a small animal breeder most of my life, I know about 80% of the “facts” on your page are wrong wrong wrong!
General Small animal information:
Breeding Practices and Diseases:
On your hamster page, you say that “taking babies away from mom before 6 weeks will make them more susceptible to wet tail”. Any owners who don’t know any better could do that and *whoops* all their babies AND mom are pregnant before they ever should be. In fact, hamsters and other small rodents (mice, gerbils, etc.) should NEVER be bred before they’re at least 12 weeks old for health reasons. Studies have shown that rodents that are over-bred (result of keeping males and females together) or bred at an early age have much shorter life-spans due to unneeded stress of the litters! Not to mention that it’s like your 12 yr. old kid having babies (something that can cause so many complications that it’s not even funny.)
And another thing: unless they are dwarf hamsters (Roborovskis, Campbells, Russian dwarfs, and Chinese), hamsters should NEVER be housed with another hamster! Not only are Syrian hamsters very much territorial, they are solitary except during mating, and even then they separate pretty quickly once the female is pregnant. And speaking of pregnant hamsters, they do NOT tend to be more aggressive than the non-pregnant ones. Yes, you want to be careful and mostly leave her and the babies alone, but if she knows you very well (another reason not to breed before 12 weeks or later) then she will act pretty much the same as she always did towards you.
Hamsters should NEVER be forced to eat ONLY “Lab blocks”! They NEED their “variety diet” of seeds and other things provided in products such as KayTee hamster and gerbil food. Lab blocks should only be used for mice and rats, and that is in addition to a seed/vegetable diet!
Mouse Information:
If your cute little pet mouse escapes, it becomes a wild mouse in a few days.  Keep your mice well covered.  They’re determined little escapers.”
Not true! Pet mice (not ones caught from the wild, but bought from a pet store) are quite content to live in their habitats, provided there are enough things for him/her to do. And domestic mice do not become a “wild mouse” ever. In fact, they tend to die within a few days, due to the fact that their natural instincts are mostly bred out of them (including their ability to resist diseases).
“Males will also whup up on new females.  Females are less territorial but will often tear into new females.  If you mix populations, you will cause lots of needless fights.  Rats will argue when you mix them, but they seldom fight to the death.  Rats like to wrestle for dominance, but they don’t eat the losers.  Mice, on the other hand, are killers.”
Males generally will allow new females to come in (due to their wont to mate). Females won’t “often tear into new females” in fact none of my mice ever have (and no, I’m not just “lucky”). Rats DO end up killing each other when they fight IF it isn’t intervened in time. Mixing female mice won’t cause “needless fights”, but putting male mice together will. And once and for all, mice are not “killers”.
You obviously like mice more than I do.  I don’t like the way they smell.  I don’t like the way they bite.  I don’t like the way they destroy food.  I don’t like the way the males leave a little trail of urine where they run.  There were no dead mice on that page.  The pinkie crawled inside that peanut shell on its own.  No mice or other rodents were harmed or mistreated in the making of the Mouse Page.  Get over it. “
First off, mice don’t smell if you clean their cages properly and leave one item that has some of their scent on it so they don’t feel they have to mark their cage all over again as much.
Second of all, mice don’t generally bite. I’ve been bitten by hamsters about 40 times (approximately) and only “nibbled” at ONCE by one of my mice and that was only because I made a mistake and my hand smelled like food (and it didn’t even break the skin, imagine that!). Males of all species “mark” their territory, which includes male mice. And they don’t leave it all the time, only when they feel something needs their scent (like the insides of the cage or their special human friends).
And about Leah’s page: she’s right, you’re wrong, get over it and use her page to replace yours. Mice deserve the same respect as a cat or dog.
About Ball Pythons:

  1. They are too biters. I don’t personally own one, but my boyfriend has one and he has been bitten several times in attempts to remove it from his cage.
  2. They do NOT “ball up” when scared, they “ball up” because they’re in what herpers call “mouse mode”, meaning that he’s hungry and he/she thinks that you’re either food or going to provide food.
  3. “Ball pythons often come to pet shops directly from Africa.” Ok, stop right there. That is the main reason that any reptile should never be a pet. The fact that most of them come from the wild is the reason that many species are starting to become extinct!
  4. “Always provide a hide box.” They do not need one at all. They are perfectly content with a specialized “branch” to climb on and a clean corner to sleep in.
  5. “If you feed your ball python live prey, whack your rat before you give it to your snake” Many ball pythons never get big enough to eat any size of rat. And snakes should NEVER be fed live prey. Not only is it painful and traumatizing for the rat/mouse/rabbit to die this way, the snake itself can become seriously injured (and not because of “balling up” either.). Plus, you should NEVER “whack” a rat or any animal. If you did that to any other animal, you would have the ASPCA on your business and you would be put in JAIL!
  6. “Excess water gives ball pythons a blister-like skin infection that often proves fatal.” Not true. That would be from BAD water, such as polluted.

Needless to say, you should either take your page off the internet permanently OR take it off and do some research BEFORE putting it back up!! Any new pet owner could read this bullshit and take your advice and end up with a dead pet thanks to you. Do you want that on your conscience?

I guess having a boyfriend that owns a ball python makes you an full-fledged ball python expert.  I'll stop listening to those knuckleheads that breed them locally.  LA


Holly, November 6, 2005
The sections you have on rat care are really quite wrong and ill-informed. I can take the time to point out several totally wrong statements, however I will leave it simply put that it seems the person that wrote this fact sheet was very misinformed. I would advise the owner of this website to do a little research and get some better articles relating to proper rat care. I mean, how outrageous is it that someone thinks hammie food will suffice for a rat?! They're totally different creatures with totally different nutritional needs. And rats should not be kept on anything at all minus a few select brands that are the absolute healthiest. Pine CERTAINLY is not on the 'okay to use' list, and almost everything else contains phenols which can cause serious respiratory problems AND failure if you consider a rats disposition to upper respiratory infections.

'Treats' are a vital things for rats since they are omnivorous. They should have a constant supply of fresh daily changed water and lab blocks, with a daily supplementation of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and the OCCASIONAL bone, meat, egg or dog biscuit.
Dog biscuits were listed as okay by the person that wrote this article, but they didn't mention the side effects of an omnivorous animal eating a diet too high in crude protein. It can and will affect their health.
Your site should promote RESPONSIBLE breeding, and responsible breeding is not keeping males and females together while females have their babies. It is not using maximum amounts of females to pop out the most babies. Do you understand how many horrible people sell or give their babies to feeder stores once the 'glory' of breeding is passed?
And I can't even begin to wonder what possessed a captive rat to eat her baby! Only rats in the wild normally do this to protect themselves from predators. I bet that poor rat was feeling very afraid when she did that, or is an exceedingly temperamental rat that should not have been bred.
Speaking of breeding. where on your page does it say that people should not breed unless they know about disease and infection let alone GENETICS? Where are your links to vets for care? Where is your discussion of tumors? Why is there a hairless rat with babies, knowing full well most hairless are genetically prone to having problems with lactation?Guh. You need to hire someone with a better working knowledge of rat care to help you with your articles. Considering Pine is the WORST shaving you can put a rat on, I'm surprised cedar is only ever mentioned. That absolutely astounds me.
This site is very, very wrong and very misinformed. I will offer you the resources of my own website, and I offer to rewrite the pages concerning the rats so that people buying rats can actually give them the care they require to be healthy, happy and live the long lives that are said they can. Please visit www.bananarattery.com for information on proper bedding choices, feeding, and water requirements. Those are least should be mentioned. I hope you have a good ratty filled day :)
Thank you.  I nearly always have a good ratty filled day -- about 50 of the furry little guys on an average day.  LA

Rebecca, April 13, 2006
The information on your site http://aqualandpetsplus.com under Rats is inaccurate.  A link to your web site is currently being passed around the Rat and Animal Club communities with warnings to avoid doing business with your company as a result of this.  I suggest you update it.

 1)  The comment "you may not want to pick up a pregnant rat by the tail..."
you don't want to pick up any Rat by the tail, especially once they reach adulthood.  It can de-glove their tail and trust me when I say that it's not a pretty site and can be fatal to the rat.  You may also want to remove the photo of the pregnant rat being picked up by its tail!
 2) Pine is not recommended for Rats:
There is strong scientific evidence that pine and cedar shavings are harmful to the health of rodents.  Both these softwood shavings give off aromatic hydrocarbons (phenols) and acids that are toxic.  The phenols, which give the shavings their scent, are the reason that cedar repels fleas and moths and why pine-oil is the major ingredient in Pine-sol brand disinfectant.  In the laboratory, autoclaved pine and cedar shavings have been shown to inhibit the growth of micro-organisms (Reference 1).  When animals are exposed to softwood shavings the aromatic hydrocarbons are absorbed through the respiratory tract and enter the blood.  The acids given off by pine and cedar shavings are very damaging to the respiratory tract.  These acids can actually destroy cells that line the lungs and trachea (2).  This has significant implications for rats since the most common diseases in pet rats are respiratory infections.  Many owners of pet rats have reported the improvement of respiratory problems when they have switched their pets to a bedding other than pine or cedar shavings. 
For the full article see http://www.ratfanclub.org/litters.html 
 3) Here are some links to sites with accurate information on rats
There were more negative comments but I published them in my regular Q&A pages.  More below.  LA


Laura McConnell, July 22, 2008
I've read your rat care sheet and your patronizingly amused replies to attempts to correct your misinformation.  While I am certain it is a waste of time to try to convince you to educate yourself and remove your misinformation that may be causing well intentioned rat lovers to unknowingly cause harm to beloved pets, I simply cannot refrain from trying to persuade you to reconsider your decision to ignore all attempts to properly educate you on rat care.
Your assertion that rats are the only animals that you can pick up by the tail and still expect them to treat you with affection frankly sickened me.  Yes, rats, like dogs and other pets can withstand many forms of abuse and still express love and devotion to their humans.  That doesn't mean the rats enjoy the treatment or that it is not harmful.  I have been involved in animal rescue for many years, and I've had the displeasure of caring for rats who have been mishandled.  I currently have two rats in my care who have been seriously injured by their former owners picking them up by their tails.  One had to have his tail removed due to the degloving (the skin removal from the tail which exposes the tail bones and nerves and allows for bacteria to cause life threatening infections) and the other had his tail broken and since rats are rarely given proper vet care, the break healed badly and caused the rat such pain that I had to have his tail partially amputated as well.
Rats are scavengers and roamers, therefore a ten gallon aquarium will never provide them with the proper enrichment needed to ensure their happiness.  Rats need to be able to climb, run, and otherwise exercise.  They also need hidey houses and love to lounge in hammocks, which cannot be provided for them in the small confines of an aquarium. Furthermore, the ammonia from rat urine builds up quickly and aquariums don't provide the ventilation needed to prevent respiratory issues in rats, who as you have mentioned, have delicate respiratory systems.
Proper rat nutrition is extremely important to the health and longevity of pet rats.  Mixes made for hamsters or gerbils simply don't provide rats with all of their nutrient needs and are loaded with more protein than is healthy for rats.  I've taken in rats who have had scabby skin and extreme hair loss from the excess protein from the seed mixes.  After only a few weeks of proper diet, which includes lab blocks (though some brands of lab blocks are no better than seed mixes) and access to fresh foods including dark leafy greens and other veggies, fruits, whole grains and animal proteins in proper amounts those same rats no longer have itchy skin that causes them to scratch themselves to bits and hair began to regrow.  Your assertion that rat owners who make their own rat food mixes that simply can't be as good as what is available commercially is laughable.  Most commercial rat diets are the equivalent of humans eating all their meals from fast food
restaurants.  Rat owners who make their own diets have often done extensive research to make certain that they are meeting all the nutrient needs of their beloved pets.
There are plenty of resources for proper education available on the internet.  The American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association has a website with oodles of information on the proper care and breeding of pet rats.  Another great resource is the Rat Fan Club which is run by Debbie Ducommun, an internationally recognized rat expert.
Please, for the sake of ratties every where, either educate yourself and update your care sheets, or provide links to the websites run by rat experts.  Your misinformation borders on neglect and abuse and I doubt that you are intentionally miseducating people
Thank you for taking the time to read my e-mail.  Links to the sites I've mentioned are included below.

A:  I've added your requested links.  LA

Heather Quintner, Reading, PA, July 23, 2008
My god...does anyone there know anything about rats?  I read your "care information" and it's just about ALL wrong! 
1.  You say you can pick them up by their tails. Do you realize that if you do that, you stand a very good chance of sloughing the skin off of it?
2.  Not ALL rats are friendly.  The ones that have been mishandled, mistreated, or ignored can be mean, but only because of the way some humans treat them.
3.  You have a photo of a mother rat with a new litter (still no fur) and one from her "prior litter" next to her that only looks to be a few weeks old.  They can get pregnant the DAY they give birth, and they should NOT have that many litters. It is very unhealthy for the mothers.  If you are breeding this way, you are being abusive and cruel to them.
4.  Do you REALLY not know why they are called pinkies or was that a joke?  I'm inclined to believe that you don't know.
5.  You recommend gerbil or hamster food for rats. Those are TERRIBLE for rats to eat.  They are full of fat and things that rats do not even eat.
6.  A rat's teeth will NOT outgrow their mouth if they have nothing to gnaw.  They continuely grind their teeth to prevent just this from happening.
7.  Aquariums are awful homes for rats!  There is no ventilation, and besides, it looks like you have a dozen rats in one tank!  That is absurd!!!
8.  Corn cob is rough on a little rat's feet, they have soft pads and need soft bedding.
My rat cage has 2....yes....only 2 boys in it.  This cage is rated for 3 rats.  It is 24" long, 11" deep, and 36" high with 2 full levels and 2 half levels.  There are plenty of toys, treats, GOOD food, places to hide, and places to sleep.  Rats need room.
Please, for the sake of the people reading your site and taking its advice, you really need to do more research.  People look to you as a guide, please stop misinforming them.


A:  Very nice housing for a $3 pet.  LA




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