We are based in the Stellenbosch Farms area in Western Cape

We are willing to meet you at an agreed upon area at the adopters cost. (R5 per km as per AA rates)

We are able to fly rats, however there are a lot of costs and effort involved. We would rather refer you to one of our sister ratteries if you are looking for rats in their area.

On occasion we may fly rats to and from our sister ratteries, in the event of this we will put up a notification for adopters if they are interested. However, please note that the specific breeders adoption applications will still apply.

Information on flights and estimated costs:


  • Shipping is often done through an airline. The rats are flown in cargo of a plane just like other animals.

  • One of our sister ratteries will be responsible for collecting the rats from the airport. The adopter will then have to schedule a time to collect the rats from the breeder.

  • Flights can be upwards of R500 per flight.

  • The adopter would have to rent a crate for the flight which can be an additional R500 – R1000.

  • The breeders will also charge you for their travel to and from the airport (R5 per km as per AA rates) as well as their time. These fees can start at R300.

  • To fly a pair of rats you will be looking at a cost of R2 500 or more.

  • Flying rats is a lot of effort and only really worth it if more than one adopter wants rats. We would rather refer you to a breeder closer to you.

Please have a look at our Prices and Varieties page

Yes, our application is in place for a reason. Failure to complete the application properly will result in an immediate DENIAL. No one gets to skip the process.

We only sell our rats to APPROVED adopters.

Return adopters, if purchasing another pair of rats within 6 months of their first pair, do not need to complete the whole application. They will, however, be subject to a screening questionnaire.

We will share pictures of the available babies to approved adopters first, once we have made our own selections.

Yes, we will continue to share pictures to our pages and websites, BUT, the first time we confirm the AVAILABLE rittens will be to approved adopters.

We cannot share these pictures with you beforehand because we are often still in the process of making our selections.

Please don’t. Obviously we understand that we cannot stop you if you choose to breed the rats. But you WILL be BLACKLISTED with ALL the URC Breeders in South Africa and Internationally.


We are always willing to work with new breeders. Please just disclose this to us and let us know that you are interested in breeding. That way we can ensure that we give you better breeding stock and help mentor you on the line.

We always want what’s best for the rats, so let us give you the tools you need to thrive and produce well-bred animals.


No. These are our private residences. We do on occasion allow individuals to come to our homes, but by invitation only. We have collection points for a reason.

All of our pricing can be found here

Short answer, no.

Long answer, there are multiple reasons why we don’t give out discounts when asked. One of the most common reasons for asking for a discount is the inability to afford the adoption fee. If you cannot afford the adoption fee, how do you expect to afford ongoing care (food, bedding) or vet visits.

The other reason people ask for discounts is if they do not believe the rats are worth the price. Which means that our work is not worth the price. Which is quite rude.

For repeat adopters, we may OFFER a discount at our discretion, but please do not ask.

No. Available babies will be sent directly to approved adopters to choose from.


Yes, we will share lots of pictures of the babies on our websites and pages. But these may not be the babies that will be available to pet homes.


Our timeline works as follows:


  • Each breeder will make their selections at 6 weeks old.

  • Sister ratteries and other breeders will then have the option to choose rittens from the litters.

  • RETURN ADOPTERS will be able to choose from the rittens offered to pet homes.

  • Rittens will then be offered to APPROVED adopters to choose from.

  • Rittens will be shared/advertised to our website/pages, approx 3 days after they are offered to approved adopters, for the general public to choose from. NB: individuals will still need to be approved before they can purchase rittens.

No. Rittens will only be allowed to go home after 8 weeks of age. The exact age may vary according to the line, and this will be communicated on a case by case basis.

We are aware that some breeders do allow their rittens to go home earlier than 8 weeks. Babies can be a lot of work! They eat a lot of food, take up space, make a lot of mess, and some breeders just want to get rid of them ASAP to make room for other rittens.


Baby rats need to be given the time to grow, not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well!

From weaning to 8 weeks of age, rittens are learning about how to be “good” rats and how the dynamics work in a colony which will help set them up for life. We prefer to set up our rats for success from the beginning, instead of taking short cuts.

Our contract is in place to ensure that everyone is protected. Regardless of how we may feel personally about our pets, in the eyes of the government, animals are seen as property, and the process of adoption is a sale of an item. A contract proves the agreed upon terms of the sale.

It ALSO makes sure that everyone on both sides of the transaction know what is expected of them from the moment the rats are handed over until the day they pass away.

We only sell rats in same sex groups of 2 or more. Often people are confused by this rule, especially if they already have rats at home. But we have some very important reasons for this:


  • It is always advised to quarantine new rats before introducing them to your mischief. Quarantine needs to be done in a separate air space for at least a month. This will be discussed later. But during this time your new baby will NEED a friend. They cannot live alone for this time. It isn’t fair on them.

  • While your rats are colony animals, age groups can influence the overall social dynamics of a cage. Rittens are often hyperactive and full of games, whereas older rats can be a lot more laid back and lazy. On occasion, the babies may annoy the adults with all their excitement and this can lead to fights in your mischief. Babies need other babies to play with so that they are able to achieve their own social needs and establish their place in the colony.

  • Sometimes introductions might not go as planned and your older rats may attack/reject the new babies. If this happens you will need to set up a separate cage for the babies while you work on introductions. This may take quite some time, and while you are working on this it would be unfair for a new baby to live alone. Taking home more than one baby ensures that the baby always has a friend to play and cuddle with while you are busy with introductions.

  • The same thing applies to if the older rats allow the baby to live in the cage, sometimes the older rats may bully or not allow the new baby to cuddle with them. If your new baby has a friend, not only do they have back-up, but they also have a friend to cuddle with and receive that all-important social and emotional support.

  • Moving to a new home/environment can be scary. It is normal for some rittens to be a bit nervous for the first few days, although this is definitely influenced by their breeding too. If you have 2 babies they will feel more secure and will adapt more easily to their new home then if you only had 1. Rittens can also imprint on the behaviours of the other rats in the cage. This means that if you add a single baby to a cage with skittish adults, the chances of the baby becoming skittish is high. However, if you add 2 confident babies to a cage, they will likely take cues from each other and they might even encourage your older rats to be more confident.

Husbandry & Care

I will always first and foremost recommend a pelleted diet of Monty and Me Essentials or an alternative low fat, low protein pellet I feed my bucks, which I sell on my shop, Calico Pet Supplies

If you do not want to feed a pellet for whatever reason, then I recommend the URC Basic Mix for a low protein diet or if you feed fresh daily, or the URC Owners/Maintenance Mix for a stand-alone diet. These can also be bought from myself.

Please note that I will not adopt out to anyone using the Burgess Rat Pellets, and homemade mixes will be heavily scrutinized by myself.

The overall best bedding in terms of cost and effectivity is Kiln Dried Pine (KDP). You can purchase this through Cat Box Pet Hyper or ourselves in roughly 10kg bags, or purchase Marltons pine from most pet shops.

We do not recommend buying marltons as it is extremely expensive for very small quantities. Pine does not go “off” or “stale” and therefore buying a bigger bag will never be a waste.

If you are using KDP, the main base should be cleaned once a week (or 1 day before you are able to smell it). All levels and baskets should be wiped down and cleaned out 1 day before you are able to smell it.

The metal portion of the cage (ie bars, stand, etc) should be washed every month or 2 with F10 or a diluted bleach solution. All bars must be scrubbed (we recommend a nail brush for this). DO NOT use vinegar on cage, it will erode the metal and cause rust.

Rats eat roughly 1 shot glass of food a day. Rats should not be free fed, unless they are babies (under 4 months) or elderly.

The optimal way to feed rats is to scatter feed daily, and have 1-2 days a week where you do not feed them. This is called a “lean period” which has been shown in studies to increase life span.

Rats drink roughly 10ml per 100g bodyweight a day. That being said, your rats should always have access to clean and fresh water.

Our recommended vet is Dr Coetze at CARE.

Pellmeadow Estate, Protea Road, R44 Klapmuts, Cape Town, 7625

021 875 5063

Often owners will take their rats to the vet at the first sign of a sniffle. While we understand wanting to be safe, rats are very sensitive to changes in the environment and a whole host of things can cause sneezes and sniffles, that do not need a vet.

-Rapid temperature changes
-General seasonal changes

Assuming your rats chest is clear- our first recommendation for sniffles and sneezes is to wait a day or 2. If it is still present, offer Bisolvon Linctus and Allergex once a day for 3 days. If it is still present, a vet visit may be necessary.

No. Available babies will be sent directly to approved adopters to choose from.


Yes, we will share lots of pictures of the babies on our websites and pages. But these may not be the babies that will be available to pet homes.


Our timeline works as follows:


  • Each breeder will make their selections at 6 weeks old.

  • Sister ratteries and other breeders will then have the option to choose rittens from the litters.

  • RETURN ADOPTERS will be able to choose from the rittens offered to pet homes.

  • Rittens will then be offered to APPROVED adopters to choose from.

  • Rittens will be shared/advertised to our website/pages, approx 3 days after they are offered to approved adopters, for the general public to choose from. NB: individuals will still need to be approved before they can purchase rittens.

When getting your first pet rats you MUST get a MINIMUM of 2, however, 3 is normally best.

That way, if one of your rats passes away, the other 2 still have a friend while you look for another addition to the family.


Don’t purchase too many at once. Rats don’t live for very long, and while some can live up to 4 years, on average they only live until 2 or 3.

When acquiring your first 2 rats, consider adding another 2 babies 6 months to a year later. That way you won’t feel disheartened if your rats all pass away at the same time, as this can be incredibly heart breaking. These little animals have an amazing way of burrowing their way into your heart, and it can be devastating when they pass away.

Fleece does not neutralise ammonia, nor does it absorb liquid very well. 

Because most rats do not have very good litter habits, they pee in their hammocks and continue sleeping in them for days. The pee is only absorbed through the rats lying in it and walking through it.

This means that unless you are changing out your hammocks daily, your rats are quite literally sleeping in their own pee with no neutralising properties in the vessel, which causes URIs and lung scarring.

Most people are not willing to change out their hammocks daily, and therefore we simply suggest using baskets filled with kdp instead.

If you need help in sourcing and decorating with baskets, please contact me and I will assist.

Rats are naturally fossorial. This means that they enjoy digging and foraging, and making tunnels. When you provide your rats with a deep base and loose bedding, you provide them with natural enrichment in a multitude of ways, as well as making your life easier in terms of cleaning.

If you are unable to provide your rats with a depp base, we insist on at the very least a dig box being provided.

I am able to custom make deep bases for any cage, if provided with the correct measurements.

Our Practices and ethics

We prefer to breed does around 6 months to ensure we have had enough time to monitor them for possible temperament faults and health issues, however with some lines or in unique circumstances, we may need to breed does younger in order to ensure the line is able to progress.

Regardless of at what age we breed our does, we never breed a doe that is not in good health and condition.

Here are some links to articles which explain the science behind our choices:

My does are usually retired after the first litter, however on occasion I may need a 2nd or 3rd litter from a doe.

I only pair a doe a second time if:

  • She produced only bucks in her last litter

  • She is of better temperament than her daughters

    -I may consider pairing the son to both mother and daughter, even if she was not as good as the mother. Occasionally environmental factors can affect the perceived temperament of a litter, and evaluating the litters from both does may help in gathering extra information about the line.

  • I need to re-pair to confirm genetics.

    -Whether you are starting with rats from a breeder or a pet shop, it is always best to confirm your own genetics. Many breeders, including myself, have received pedigrees from “established” lines that are littered with errors.


The above hold true for bucks as well. The best way to move forward in a line is to breed better rats than the previous generation. You can only go so far with the same buck over and over again.

No. Not all rats are equal, and not all rats are amazing.

Unfortunately if a rat is not pet quality, we will not adopt it out.

All rats that are unsuitable for pet homes are humanely euthanised according to the latest AVMA Guidelines for Euthanasia, and donated to local rescue & rehab centres. Our preferred centre is the Spier Eagle Encounters.

On occasion we may feel comfortable lending out a rat to an adopter with an older rat who wants to then return that rat to us after their rat passes.

Overall we prefer to keep our breeders until they pass away in order to ensure we have an accurate representation of health in the line.

Lone rats

Rat’s are incredibly social animals. They need friends. This is why we DO NOT support keeping lone rats.

This is why rats make such amazing pets. They have the ability to form strong connections and bonds in these groups. They are naturally social creatures and crave companionship.

There is evidence that shows that rats who are keps alone can become depressed and this has major negative effects on both their mental and physical health.


Rats have very specific needs and if you cannot meet these needs then they are not the pet for you. Mental/emotional health is just as important as physical health when it comes to caring for your rats.

Sure, rats may be able to live or survive on their own in your home. But they will not THRIVE.


So no, you cannot keep a long rat even if you claim that you can give them all the attention YOU THINK they need. You are not an exception to the rule.

You are not a rat. You do not speak rat. You are not able to fulfil the social needs a rat has. Only their own species can do this.


For more information on social needs please see our website:



Rats are social and they need friends by Calico Rattery: 


No. As discussed above, rats are social animals and thus, they are able to develop bonds with more than one individual. Rats need their friends in order to be happy and healthy.

When your rat is happy and healthy they will then develop even deeper bonds with you.


Every rat will have their own personality. And if they are given the chance to thrive, these personalities will shine through. You may feel that you develop stronger connections with one rat than another, and this is perfectly normal. The important thing is that you always give your pets the opportunity to thrive so that they can be the best “them” they can be.



Nevermind the fact that you don’t speak rat nor are able to provide all of your rat’s social needs. But it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to provide your rat with round the clock attention.

What happens when you sleep? Or got to work? Or get sick? Or have other plans?


I am going to quote an analogy from Once Upon a Mischief Rattery which really resonated with me:


“Imagine you are starving. Not just missed a meal but literally close to death starving.

Someone comes and offers you a meal of the most disgusting slop that you would never in a million years normally eat. But you are starving! So you eat it up and even lick the plate clean as if it is the best meal you have ever eaten!

If I just saw that, I would think you loved it! Look how happy you are eating that! It must be your favorite!


This is the same as it is for the rats. They are starving for attention, for companionship, for attention. And the little sprinkling of time you give them they will eat it up and seem so happy for it. But the rest of the time? They are suffering.”


Read the full post here: https://www.onceuponamischief.com/single-rats?fbclid=IwAR0wGQdxrIek_fCX8w0-KSItKg6IMCTDjwzsT576mG8cN_HwjySZHEHfRmg

This comparison is illogical.


The people who preach this are often the ones with an extremely aggressive and skittish rat that doesn’t even like humans either.


Sure, some people are introverted. But they still have family and friends they socialise with. They aren’t confined to their room 24/7 with ZERO human contact.

To force your pet rat to go through this isn’t only unfair, it is completely unethical.


The need for companionship is written into the rat. Yes, some rats may be more social than others. But none of them truly want to be all alone.

If the rat is so aggressive and fearful that it is unable to coexist in a group, you have to think twice about what’s causing this behavior.


Sometimes these causes can be hormonal Typically rats will experience these hormonal surges between 6/9 months of age.

The rats may also have not had the opportunity to learn about social dynamics when they were younger.


There are a few key phases in a baby rats development where their mother and the colony will teach them about these social dynamics and behaviour. When purchasing from a pet shop, feeder bin, oops litter, or an irresponsible breeder, the babies may not have learnt these behaviours and thus they may experience issues when they are older.


It is YOUR responsibility as the adopter to NEVER purchase a rat that is younger than 6 weeks of age.

Most ethical breeders will only rehome their rittens at 8 weeks MINIMUM. This is done so that they can properly assess genetic temperament. Many breeders will even hold their rats back until 12 or 16 weeks.


It is important that your experience with owning pet rats is a positive one. You don’t want to have to trust-train a brand new pet. The rittens you get should be of sound temperament and good health. You can achieve this by purchasing from a good ETHICAL breeder.

Then perhaps a pet rat isn’t for you. Explore other alternative options for solitary pets. There is very little difference in the cost of keeping 1 vs. 2, or even 3, rats.


The cost of vet bills might be higher. But if you purchase from a reputable breeder, feed your rats the proper diet, maintain good husbandry, then you shouldn’t have a multitude of vet bills.


This doesn’t always apply to buying rats from feeder bins, pet shops, oops litters, or unethical breeders as these rats have zero genetic history and may indeed cost you a fortune in vet bills.

While ethical rescues do their best to only adopt out healthy animals, it is also possible that these rats may experience issues too. It’s the risk you take when rescuing an animal.


Make sure that you put aside some money each month for a vet fund, in case your rats ever need medical attention.

Talk to your breeder about any issues or concerns you have when you have the rats in your care. We are always there to help you.

This is something that we often see and it breaks out hearts. Why wouldn’t you want to keep your rats forever?

Their lives are so short and they develop such strong connections with you during this time.


When an older rat loses their friend it takes a massive toll on them, they often become very sad and you become the only familiar face they remember.

If you then choose to re-home them they then lose ANOTHER individual who meant the world to them and they often become very confused and even more depressed.


So please, don’t just give your rats up because they are old. The good news is that no, you don’t need to go out and get 2 more babies and start the cycle all over again. Offer to foster or adopt a rat of the same age. Rather keep your rat to live out their days with you, especially if they are older.

If you truly do not want to keep your rat anymore then return them to the original breeder or contact an ethical rescue to take them. If the remaining rat is very old or sickly, then rather humanely euthanize them. You don’t know what kind of life they will receive if you give them away.