The thing is, there is no difference between "fancy" or "feeder" rat. They could come from the same litter, but just born a different color. That's the ONLY difference, that "feeders" are PEW rats...
Also, as far as I know, Petsmart isn't that bad. they only offer animals of one gender, so you're pretty much guaranteed that you won't get a pregnant girl (IF they sell girls. the one near us only sells boys, and they don't sell rats or mice at all). Also, Petsmart doesn't sell feeder mice, rats, gerbils, or rabbits. That's a plus as well.
The problem is that these animals come from mass breeders. They're like a puppy mill and buying from a petstore is supporting the mass breeder. the whole "save one, two more replace it" deal.
HOWEVER, I do know that I have had special rats from pet stores... that for one reason or another I HAD to get. One was my late Mel, who was picked up by his TAIL in the pet store by an employee.. only to have his tail degloved in front of me and the customer buying him!!!! I wound up getting him (and demanded to talk to the manager, who told me they come in every week, and freeze them each week to make room for new live feeders...), and taking him to the vet the next day. My 2 dollar feeder rat became a 200 dollar pet in a matter of two days, LOL!!
Where do you live? There are tons of breeders everywhere.. and there are also rescues out there, many who transport. I help along the east coast, traveling as far as Maine, New York, PA, NJ, MA, all the way down to North Carolina. There are plenty of others out there who do the same just to find a rat the perfect home. I live in Maryland and helped out with a transport that originated in California, once!
/edit- yeah that was another point! You don't know their genetic background annd MANY MANY of them will wind up with tumors, etc... or territorial aggression.. or other problems due to poor breeding. I had a little 4 1/2 week old rat just weaned, I wound up getting from a Petco, who suddenly blew up HUGE and died.. She had megacolon. it's not a pretty death.
Last edited by DragonTamer; 01-27-2005 at 04:54 AM.