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  1. #1
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    Petco process to purchase feeder rats is insane.

    I've never had to buy rats at an actual pet store before as I've always had a dedicated breeder. Unfortunately he has just recently moved, I've just returned from vacation and my snakes needed to eat. When I arrived at Petco, I asked if feeder rats were available and the manager said they had medium and small rats. The medium rats were definitely not 'medium' by any standard I'd ever seen and they were a whopping $16.99 each. I needed 4 of them at that size @$64+. That's the first bit of insanity.

    Then the manager pulled out an iPad and asked me for my name, my phone number, my email address and my actual physical address. I wasn't purchasing a firearm, I was purchasing feeder rats. She explained that they needed the info for corporate compliance, but couldn't really provide any sensible reason as to why this would be a corporate requirement. I gave her fake information to get through the process as I value my personal information. That was the second bit of insanity.

    She proceeds to grab 4 huge boxes. I explained that I only live a short distance from the store, I only require one box. I couldn't understand why she seemed so hesitant to agree to a single box at that point, but boy was I in store for a show. She opened the cage, but the box into the cage and began trying to pick the rats up "gently" around their torsos rather than pick them up by their tails. After 8 minutes of watching one rat go into the box and another jumped back out, I asked her to let me get them. She said she could not because it was against store policy and if I got bit she would get in trouble. I could definitely understand that, so I asked her why she didn't just pick them up by the tail. She said that it causes them physical discomfort. My mind was pretty much blown as I reminded her that they were about to be fed to snakes.

    Her response was that there is no reason to subject them to additional discomfort before I feed to my snakes. I continued to watch for another 5m (I was checking my phone regularly) before I explained to her that I have been handling rats for over 20 years, even having bred them for a short stretch and that I could assure her that picking them up by the tail did not cause them any discomfort. She insisted that it did. I insisted that it did not because when rats are uncomfortable they bite you.

    Five more minutes of this madness and I was quite frustrated. I probably shouldn't have, but I told her how I knock the rats unconscious before putting them in the snake cages so they won't bite my snakes. Now she was REALLY offended, claimed that it was cruelty to animals and she would not sell them to me. She had raised her voice at this point and so I raised mine to match. I asked her what is more cruel, knocking them out so they don't have to experience their eyes popping out of their heads as they slowly suffocate, or knocking them unconscious first so that they don't experience any of this and they don't get a chance to injury my snakes?

    She then got another employee, laid out 4 separate large boxes and told the that employee to get me one rat in each box and stormed off.

    Nearly 40 minutes after entering an empty store, I had to walk out with 4 boxes stacked so tall I that could barely see over them. Total insanity all around.

    I really which my BPs would eat frozen.
    Last edited by Subflow22; 08-03-2022 at 06:41 PM.

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  3. #2
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    I feel your exasperation! Petco is insane about this stuff- that their rodents are all going to be pets, & that bit about picking them up by the tail... I can totally relate!

    Years ago I decided to buy 2 mice from them just for additional genes so my mouse colony of literally decades would not be inbred, after I noticed they finally had some nice mice in stock.

    I could hardly stand to watch this young guy trying to catch the ones I wanted without ever grabbing the tail, because "it's cruel & they're not allowed", & just like you, I offered to do it myself, but of course, that too was a no-go. Good Grief! He struggled forever to catch them.

    I do think larger rats are not comfortable being hoisted by the tail because they're much heavier-bodied- with mice, they're light & easy- and if you've ever seen a mouse leap to their death out of your hands when you DON'T have them by nature's "handle" (tail), you know which way makes sense & is NOT cruel at all.

    I'm very good at picking up my rodents by their tails (& I used to raise rats too) & the only reason any of my mice ever squeak (most don't) is just that they're young & new to being caught- it's a startle response, not pain- I know just how much pressure to hold them without pinching for a quick transfer. All my mice get quickly used to being picked up by their tails for cage cleaning- only the hoppers I have another technique for (quickly enclosed head-first in my hand) & either way, none of them bite me. But try to explain that to Petco people.... They're from another planet & they're just not allowed to trust anyone else or learn from them. I've raised a countless # of rodents for literally decades (& used to sell them too). Oh well.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  5. #3
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    Re: Petco process to purchase feeder rats is insane.

    I'm not surprised that they gave you the runaround. I surprised they sold them to you at all. If it became widely known that they sell live animals as feeders, the backlash from the animal rights crowd would cost them much more than they make from selling feeders to us.
    1.0 Normal Ball Python (2019 - 2021)
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  7. #4
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Petco process to purchase feeder rats is insane.

    Quote Originally Posted by Homebody View Post
    I'm not surprised that they gave you the runaround. I surprised they sold them to you at all. If it became widely known that they sell live animals as feeders, the backlash from the animal rights crowd would cost them much more than they make from selling feeders to us.
    Yes, you just have to play their game. Most of them certainly know that most rodents aren't going to be pets- at least not the mice & rats. I breed only fancy mice, & mine are actually much nicer than what they usually stock, that they pretend are "pets", lol. Sigh. But you're right, they're stuck in the middle- it's hard to keep everyone happy.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  8. #5
    Registered User Argentum's Avatar
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    Re: Petco process to purchase feeder rats is insane.

    Quote Originally Posted by Homebody View Post
    I'm not surprised that they gave you the runaround. I surprised they sold them to you at all. If it became widely known that they sell live animals as feeders, the backlash from the animal rights crowd would cost them much more than they make from selling feeders to us.
    This. None of the PetsMart or PetCo stores around here sell live without a written guarantee that you won't use them as feeders, including a copy of your ID. Same in the last place I lived. Fortunately, I was able to find a nice supplier not too terribly far away in both locations, who commercially breeds feeder rodents. Another nice feature of the one here is that they also sell for falconry supply and wild raptor rehabilitation (The latter is different; There can't be any human odor on the rodents, so it's a more convoluted process, since the birds are being released back into the wild once they recover). Not that I'm a falconer. I'll stick to admiring other people's birds, when it comes to that. Me... I just have tiny chickens. (Chickens are small dinosaurs. They eat ANYTHING, including hatchling cobras. Which I don't have here.)
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  10. #6
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    Yeah, former PetSmart employee here.
    If you say the word feeder and rat or mouse in the same sentence, we refuse the sale. You have to fill out the purchase agreements that even say do not use for food. Petco has the same policy

    They're probably just tired of arguing about it and figured I'd you were buying filet minion for your snake they'd just go ahead and get the paperwork signed.
    The employees at that store will get in trouble with the district if the fact they sold you "feeder rats" came out. That's a huge nono...

    PetSmart for example takes it so seriously that they can't feed the reptiles live mice or rats. That's how I ended up with a hatchling bp once. It needed live mice so they just adopted it out to me so it wouldn't starve.
    Last edited by Armiyana; 08-03-2022 at 11:26 PM.

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  12. #7
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    The employee was just following company policy, with eyes in the sky, she just wants to keep their job. You also purchased a “pet rats” and decided to feed them, so they each got boxed up as pets do… price reflects that.

    My local rat guys sells small rats for $2.50… and sells the same rats for $20 on Craigslist as pets.
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  14. #8
    BPnet Veteran Snagrio's Avatar
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    Meanwhile all of these same stores sell live crickets, roaches, worms, minnows and even goldfish (often right alongside "pet" goldfish) blatantly to be sold as feeders and nobody cares. Only because they don't have fur. Gotta love the never ending stupidity of double standards. People only care about "animal rights" if said animals look cute enough to them on a personal level. As far as they're concerned otherwise 90% of the animal kingdom either doesn't exist or isn't worth "advocating for" for whatever contrived reason.

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  16. #9
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    My local rat guys sells small rats for $2.50… and sells the same rats for $20 on Craigslist as pets

    My store stopped selling rats because we got ours from the same breeder P*co got the rat bite fever one from. I had to get my rattie fix from a couple of customers that came in with CL ratties.

    Meanwhile all of these same stores sell live crickets, roaches, worms, minnows and even goldfish

    lol, I would have parents so mad at me for refusing to sell feeder goldfish when I heard the words party or carnival mentioned. Plz don't suffocate your fish in a bag or bowl because you think it's a great party favor. Regardless of if it was meant to be a feeder or it was just 15 cents. A quick death to feed another animal vs needless suffering and teaching your kids that animals are disposable.

    I also had to chew out a coworker for not really checking the body over for a return where the mouse just mysteriously died after a couple hours. I was with another customer so they just did the return. I took one look in the box and said, "who originally sold this and why did you take it back after they fed it to a snake?" She was very confused so I had to point out that the mouse was gross with all the fur gelled back with dry saliva, reptibark in the box and the last nail in the coffin was when I went to pick it up and freeze it, there was a piece of snake skin stuck on the other side. The poor girl was a vegan and felt so bad after that she didn't want to sell rodents at the store for a while.

    Honestly I love comet goldfish. It sucks that they are what they are. I had some regulars who would hunt me down in the store I worked to have me pick feeder goldfish for their ponds. Those were the best customers. Or we would hand pick a few of the feeders for the main tanks when we had snail problems because they love to eat them up. I had to educate more than a few customers on goldfish for religious observances. Those were sometimes tough, but after a bit I had people coming back the next year to ask me for their lucky new year fish and sharing stories on how big the last year's fish got in a pond after. All that took was some explaining on aerating the water occasionally, adding a pant or two to help oxygenate or just small water changes over the week.

    TLR
    It sucks when there's people just there for a paycheck. Not enough people care sometimes.
    It also sucks to be a feeder critter. Double standards do suck.

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  18. #10
    BPnet Senior Member Albert Clark's Avatar
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    Re: Petco process to purchase feeder rats is insane.

    Petco’s price ranges for live mouse and rat feeders is just unreasonable and unsustainable in every way. Unless you’re really in a bind and need them for hatchling reptiles, it’s better to seek out a new source that is cost friendly. Here we have a rodent supplier who takes orders on the phone and delivers to a set location on a weekly basis. Check with some of the bigger reptile breeders in your area by phone or text message so as they may have options for you.
    Last edited by Albert Clark; 08-04-2022 at 05:56 AM.
    Stay in peace and not pieces.

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