MLWR Moonlit Waters Rattery

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Policies

The policies cover our ethics as a rattery, our adoption policies and the adoption process. Each one links to the expanded explanation of the policy further down the page.

General Policies

We do not breed on demand or to supply a market, there may be a long wait for rats.

We do not breed hairless rats.

We do not breed dwarf rats.

We do not breed Tailless rats.

We do not breed rats to be feeders, or adopt any to be used as feeders or to breed feeder rats.

We do not cull healthy animals.

We do support the humane euthanasia when needed to prevent suffering.

We do not ship.

We operate a closed rattery (for the safety of all in involved; us, you, and our rats!)


Adoption Policies

We do not adopt out single rats, or to mixed-sex pet households except under very specific circumstances. We only adopt rats in pairs (or more).

We do not adopt out any resident rats, whether breeders, retired breeders or pets only.

All rats are adopted under contract, and will be contracted as pet only, unless being sent with a breeder we have approved and are comfortable working with.

We only adopt breeding rats to breeders we have been talking to on a regular basis for a minimum of 1 year, and only to those breeders we feel comfortable working with. Under some circumstances we may adopt pet contract rats to breeders who have a good reputation, references, etc.

Breeding contracts will be required for any rats placed with other breeders, and may include stipulations regarding approval of mates, co-breeding approvals, placement of rats offspring or grandchildren of MLWR rats with other breeders, 2nd pick for litters, and the ability to revoke breeding privileges at any time if needed.

If a MLWR rat is ever bred (male or female), outside of a breeding contract, whether accidentally or on purpose, MLWR must be contacted IMMEDIATELY. In most cases that rat and all offspring must be returned to MLWR with no refund of the adoption fee.

All rats leaving MLWR will be no younger than 6 weeks of age, and in most cases will be at least 8 weeks of age.

Rats will not be adopted out older than 16 weeks of age except in special, pre-arranged circumstances.

In general, we only adopt to persons 18 years of age and older. Persons under 18 must have a parent or guardian who is willing and eager to adopt, sign the contracts, and be legally responsible for the proper care of the rat.

We require contracts be signed for all rats before they are adopted. No rats will be placed without signed contracts, and ownership of rats is retained by MLWR until contracts are signed. MLWR reserves the right to reclaim all rats if contracts are broken.

MLWR reserves the right to deny any adoption, for any reason, at any point in the adoption process. As stated above, we retain ownership of the rats until contracts are signed.

We focus on agouti and fawn rats, in dumbo ears, satin and satin rex coats, mostly self markings. We are also working on Russian Silver in standard ears and standard coats, with a future hope of adding burmese to this line. On occasion other varieties may show up in litters, but please do not email us requesting varieties we do not focus on or have available in a current litter - we do NOT breed on demand.

We select first and foremost for health and temperament, so all our rats are 'pet quality' first and foremost. Some rats adopted out may be good show candidates - this does not change their value as pets or adoption fee! We encourage our adopters to join Rat Fanciers of the Lakes and show their pets - we'd love to see them!


Adoption Process

All adopters are required to fill out an adoption application.

Adoptions are $20 per rat, regardless of color, gender, or variety. A $10 deposit is required to reserve a rat, and $10 at pick up (for a total of $20 per rat).

We will maintain a general waiting list for our rats. Approved adopters on our waiting list are responsible for keeping track of when litters are available for reservation. Adopters can request to wait for a particular variety, but must understand that may increase their waiting time.

In general, breeders we work with will get an opportunity to request rats earlier, to help all of us continue to improve the species.

Reservations will open at midnight the day listed, with a first come - first serve basis in most cases, for all adopters on a waiting list. We do not breed to supply the market, so we may not be able to adopt rats to all our waiting adopters right away, please be patient.

Once a valid reservation request is received for an available rat, they will be listed as 'voice for NAME' under that rat for 7 days. Once a deposit is received that will be changed to 'reserved for NAME. Deposits will generally not be refunded if an adopter backs out, however, if MLWR must back out of the adoption the deposit will be refunded.

We generally will assign names to baby rats based on a theme for the litter. These will be their registered names, though adopters are certainly allowed to give them nick names at home! If there is another name within the theme an adopter prefers, we may consider swapping names out in some circumstances.

We request that adopters with rats at home already do a proper quarantine for 3 weeks when they take our rats home, for the safety of all the rats involved.

MLWR requires updates at minimum weekly for the first month, and then at least every 3 months, for all rats adopted. This is IMPORTANT!

Adopters are required to keep their contact information up to date with us.

If at any time an adopter can no longer keep rats from MLWR, they are required to be returned to us.


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We do not breed on demand or to supply a market, there may be a long wait for rats.

We prefer to focus on producing a small number of rats and litters, so that we can give all the rats and babies plenty of individual attention and socialization, as well as enabling us to better concentrate on our lines, selecting only the best animals to continue the generations. Because we prefer to focus on quality, instead of just producing a large quantity of babies, there may be a long wait at times for babies.


We do not breed hairless rats.

Hairless rats have often been shown to have an increased likelihood of abscesses and a tendency to have eye problems due to the lack of eyelashes and protective hairs. Since our goal is to breed healthy animals, we cannot ethically justify breeding this variety with their greater chance of problems that will decrease their health and quality of life.


We do not breed dwarf rats.

While the long term health and well being of dwarves is still debated by some, we do not feel a need to risk potential inherent problems associated with dwarfism in our lines. In other species, including humans, dwarfism has been linked to significant health and development problems, as well as regular, even constant pain for the afflicted individual. Since rats tend to hide symptoms well, and since it may be a more or less constant discomfort for them, they may not display any noticeable signs of distress. Without knowing if it causes similar problems in rats, we feel we cannot ethically select for a mutation that may leave our rats suffering, and facing a potentially poor quality of life (whether or not we can detect it.) We also want to keep our focus relatively narrow and will be focusing on working towards exceptional standard sized rats.


We do not breed Tailless rats.

Rat's tails are an extremely important part of their anatomy, critical to their body temperature control as well as their balance. Manx or tailless rats often have significant problems with balance, climbing, and internal temperature. Additionally, there have been many reports of tailless rats being born with significant spinal deformities, and even open spinal columns, as well as deformities in their colon, and problems associated with it. With so many associated problems with this variety we do not see any reason to compromise the well being of our rats by introducing or selecting for this trait.


We do not breed rats to be feeders, or adopt any to be used as feeders or to breed feeder rats.

While we understand fully the need of carnivorous animals to eat, there are other sources that focus on breeding animals as healthy, nutritious food sources for these animals, raising them with the intent for them to be food. The work we are putting into our rats by selecting for health, good temperament, longevity, etc is to make them wonderful, loving pets. Our rats are pets first, and members of our family from the day they are born, and are never intended to be food for other animals. We do not believe it is ethical or beneficial to ever let food lines and pet lines cross, as the induced early deaths involved in food lines take away so much information that is critical to the selection and improvement of our pets, it is not possible to work towards improving the species without information on the long term health, temperament, and longevity of the animals in our lines. As such, they will never be adopted out to be used to produce feeder rats, or to be feeders themselves - these rats are pets!


We do not cull healthy animals.

As with the above statement, it is impossible for us to accurately make selections to improve our lines if we were to cull our animals. We rely on our careful monitoring of our keepers, as well as regular communication and updates from our adopters, to help us make sure that the litters we breed are making a step forward with the lines. We need to know if any problems show up at some point during their life, how long they live, etc to make these choices. Culling healthy animals would be counterproductive to these goals, and would destroy valuable information. Additionally, because all our animals are beloved pets first, from the day they are born, we find the idea of culling or euthanizing healthy, temperamentally sound animals to be disturbing, upsetting, and against all our ideals, morals, and goals.


We do support the humane euthanasia when needed to prevent suffering.

We understand and support the humane euthanasia of animals who have untreatable or unresponsive health problems, to prevent unnecessary suffering. It may also be considered for those with extreme temperament problems (irresolvable aggression, etc), as there is no good way to keep these animals happy, and keep our other animals safe - though for temperament it would be considered a last resort after other attempts are made to solve the problem (neutering, re-introductions, extensive socialization attempts). We believe that in extreme situations such as these, the animals ARE suffering. We only have animals euthanized using AVMA and AHA approved, humane methods, to try to do the best for our animals, even in those final moments.


We do not ship.

With even the best airline setups, there are many risks inherent to shipping animals, with potential pressure or temperature issues, as well as possibilities for mishandling or exposure to pathogens or other dangers. As such, we have no intentions of shipping our rats, and will only adopt to people who can meet us to get their rats in person. This also allows us to sit down and go over our contracts in person, and have a chance to interact with and get to know our adopters in a place other than the internet! We are willing to travel up to an hour to meet adopters, unless we are previously traveling further (such as to rat shows, trips or for other such things), in which case we may be able to make other arrangements. If you are unable to travel the distance to meet us to get the rats, please do not apply. Any exceptions to this policy will involve extraordinary circumstances and will be at our discretion only.


We operate a closed rattery (for the safety of all in involved; us, you, and our rats!)

Unlike dogs and cats, there are no available vaccines for rats to prevent some of the more contagious and dangerous diseases. These can be carried in on other animals, as well as people (on hands, in nasal passages, etc) and clothing, and some can cause major illnesses, litter failures, and even kill large numbers of animals or wipe out whole ratteries. Because of the risks of such things being accidentally carried in, we do not allow visitors inside our rattery. We want to keep our animals safe, as well as yours! Our rattery is also in our personal home, and for our own safety, as well as others, we do not wish to have many people coming to our home at all times. We will keep up to date photographs of our set up on our website, and will happily sent current pictures to anyone who asks, who wishes to see any of our rattery. We also hope to have a webcam up eventually so that people can see what is going on in our rat room each day, and be able to feel comfortable with who we are and what we do, without actually being able to visit.


We do not adopt out single rats, or to mixed-sex pet households except under very specific circumstances. We only adopt rats in pairs (or more).

Rats are very social animals and need the companionship of one or more other rats. Even if an adopter already has same gendered rats at home, we do not want our rats to have to go through quarantine and introduction periods alone, and prefer that they have a friend to help them get through so many changes. A pet household with intact rats of both genders is generally not advised, as it only takes one mistake to end up with accidental litters, which is not good for the rats involved, or for the species as a whole. As such, we generally will only adopt to pet owners who have the same gender or spayed/neutered rats, to prevent these problems and ensure the most enjoyable rat owning experience for them, and the best situation for our rats.


We do not adopt out any resident rats, whether breeders, retired breeders or pets only.

All of our rats are pets first, and breeding animals second. They are a part of our family, and those we have taken in or chosen to keep will have a lifetime home with us. Our residents are NOT available for adoption! They are all our personal pets, even our 'pet only' ones are special to us. Our breeding stock is important for the establishment and future of our lines, and our retired breeders have earned their right to a comfortable retirement in their home colony, with their friends, and not being uprooted. Please do not ask to buy or adopt our resident rats, as the answer will always be no.


All rats are adopted under contract, and will be contracted as pet only, unless being sent with a breeder we have approved and are comfortable working with.

We require all adopters, pet and breeders, to agree to and sign a contract when they adopt our rats. We need to make sure we are all in agreement with what constitutes proper care, treatment, etc. If anyone is unwilling to accept the terms of the contract, we are happy to discuss their problems with it, but reserve the right to refuse adoption to them. The contracts are necessary to help ensure the safety and well being of our rats as they go to their new homes. These contracts, unless to an approved breeder, will also stipulate that the rats be kept as pets only, and not be bred or put in a situation where they may end up breeding under any circumstances. This means no housing, play time, or ANY interaction at any time with intact rats of the opposite gender ever, and preferably no rats of the opposite gender in the home at all.


We only adopt breeding rats to breeders we have been talking to on a regular basis for a minimum of 1 year, and only to those breeders we feel comfortable working with. Under some circumstances we may adopt pet contract rats to breeders who have a good reputation, references, etc.

We put a lot of time, work, energy, and love into our rats. Breeding animals correctly takes huge amounts of research, learning, knowledge, and effort. We need to really know someone before we can entrust them with one of our precious babies to breed, as this requires so much more responsibility than pet ownership. We also would need to know we could trust the breeder to update us not only on our rat, but on their descendants for many generations, and know that the breeder follows ethics and practices that are compatible with our own. As such, we will only adopt to breeders we have been in regular communication with for at LEAST 1 year, and who we feel have similar goals and policies to our own. We may be willing to pet place rats with breeders we do not know, so long as they have good references, a good reputation, show themselves to be responsible and trustworthy and have similar ethics to our own.


Breeding contracts will be required for any rats placed with other breeders, and may include stipulations regarding approval of mates, co-breeding approvals, placement of rats offspring or grandchildren of MLWR rats with other breeders, 2nd pick for litters, and the ability to revoke breeding privileges at any time if needed.

In addition to the normal adoption contracts, we will have extra terms in our contracts for breeding animals, to cover the added responsibilities thereof. In many cases this will include approving of mates before a breeding takes place, since we often understand the background and lines of the rats we may have insights and feedback that can help ensure the best results for the pairing, and may be able to alert breeder to problems with a potential pairing. We also will reserve the right to approve co-breedings with a 3rd breeder, or placement of the offspring or grandchildren of MLWR rats with other breeders, as we wish to ensure that those other breeders also share our ethics. We generally expect to be offered 2nd pick from litters produced using a MLWR rat, to help with our lines, and make similar offers to breeders whose rats we use for our litters. We reserve the right to revoke breeding privileges of a rat we adopt out on a breeding contract at any time as we see fit, for any reason. This will often include changing the rat in NARR to non-breeding status if needed to reflect the change.


If a MLWR rat is ever bred (male or female), outside of a breeding contract, whether accidentally or on purpose, MLWR must be contacted IMMEDIATELY. In most cases that rat and all offspring must be returned to MLWR with no refund of the adoption fee.

It is extremely important, for our animals and the species as a whole, that rats who are not adopted on breeding contracts not be bred. This needlessly adds to the population of rats, when there are many in rescues as it is, without helping to improve the species as a whole. There also may be specific reasons why a rats was adopted out as a pet only, and it could be dangerous to that rat or its offspring if it is bred. Breeding rats and raising litters properly takes a large amount of work, which is why we so carefully screen breeders we work with. For the health of our lines, and proper tracking, it is absolutely necessary and required that we know of all breedings that happen with any of our animals - anyone unwilling to comply with this need not bother to apply to adopt. Breeding a pet placed animal is a violation of the contract, and our trust, and we can no longer trust those people to give our rats the care they deserve.


All rats leaving MLWR will be no younger than 6 weeks of age, and in most cases will be at least 8 weeks of age.

It is important that our babies not only are weaned from their mothers at a proper age, and not too early, but also that they have the opportunity to learn social skills from their mother, littermates, and other rats in our rattery. This socialization is imperative to them integrating well with other rats, as well as being happy, well adjusted pets. To receive this it is important that they have at least 1 week after separation from their mother and opposite genders to interact with other rats while still at 'home', with related rats and a familiar environment, and several weeks can be more beneficial. This time also gives us a last opportunity to monitor and observe them before they leave, to help us evaluate their continued development and use the information to make good choices for the line.


Rats will not be adopted out older than 16 weeks of age except in special, pre-arranged circumstances.

It can be very hard on older rats to adjust to a major chance in environment and social group. While all our rats will be selected to be friendly, outgoing, social animals, we feel it is unfair to them to tear them away from a home they have become established in if it is not necessary to do so. We therefore prefer to place our rats while they are still younger and better capable with dealing with a chance of environment and social group. In addition, some rats become hormonal between 5-7 months of age, and while normally this is not an issue if they are settled into their homes, it can be an added stress if rehomed during this time, triggering problems that wouldn't otherwise happen. While we hope that none of our rats will ever see such problems, for their sake, and the sake of our adopters, we do not want to risk the stresses of placement at this time. Some exceptions may be made for placing rats with other breeders who will be seen at a show after 16 weeks of age, etc, but as a general rule, we ask that all adopters arrange to pick them up before 16 weeks (this allows for a 2 month period to pick them up - please contact us if there is a problem, we can try to make other arrangements in some situations!)


In general, we only adopt to persons 18 years of age and older. Persons under 18 must have a parent or guardian who is willing and eager to adopt, sign the contracts, and be legally responsible for the proper care of the rat.

It is important that our adopters be in a position to take proper care of their pets. While we love younger adopters and their enthusiasm for animals, they are not always able to ensure care. They may not have a job to help pay for supplies and necessary veterinary care, or a means of transport to a vet. We also know, from our own life experience, that school can be intense and requires work and concentration, and there are many distractions and obstacles to conquer as people approach adulthood. For children, while there are exceptions, many are initially interested in pets, but later lose interest and the responsibility for care, socialization, etc falls back to the parents. It is therefore very important that the parent or guardian be enthusiastic about the prospect of having the pets and caring for them, and be prepared to be the primary caretaker. There is also the problem that people can not be held legally responsible for animals in most situations when under 18, and that responsibility falls back to parents or guardians. We need to have our contracts and ensure that the responsible adult in a situation is willing and able to provide lifetime care for our rats if needed. If you are under 18, your parent(s) or guardian(s) must read and agree to our policies & adoption contract and abide by all requirements described in them, and will be the primary name on the contracts. We are willing to consider setting up a contract that transfers contractual 'ownership' of the rats to the underage person when they turn 18 if older teens are applying and their parents and they agree to such a contract as well, and they feel such a stipulation is necessary or warranted. Households with children under 10 years of age should expect to be questioned, as it is important to make sure parents are prepared to supervise them properly and teach them proper handling, as rats are small animals and can potentially be easily injured, and when mishandled even the gentlest and best socialized animals may bite causing injury, so for the safety of all involved young children should always be closely supervised when interacting with any pet.


We require contracts be signed for all rats before they are adopted. No rats will be placed without signed contracts, and ownership of rats is retained by MLWR until contracts are signed. MLWR reserves the right to reclaim all rats if contracts are broken.

Our contracts are one of the steps we take when placing rats to help guarantee they will receive the love and care they need to thrive in their new homes, and that we will receive the updates and information we need to continue to improve our lines. We need to have signed contracts to show that all parties agree to provide these updates and care. If an adopters is unwilling to sign the contract, we are unable to place any rats with them. Reserving a rat or sending an application or statement of interest does NOT in any way change ownership of the rats, and MLWR retains all ownership until contracts are signed and the rats are transferred. In addition, if contracts are violated or broken, we reserve the right to reclaim all rats from MLWR.


MLWR reserves the right to deny any adoption, for any reason, at any point in the adoption process. As stated above, we retain ownership of the rats until contracts are signed.

While we hope that adoptions will go smoothly and our adopters will be able to take their newly reserved friends home with them, we also know that things can change. During any point in the adoption process, we may choose to deny the adoption. If something changes or new information about the adopter that makes us concerned about their ability to provide the proper home for our rats, we may choose to deny a formerly approved adoption. If something changes with a specific litter or rats in the litter that change their availability for adoption after reservation, we may deny that specific adoption and put the adopters back on the waiting list if needed (any paid reservation fee will be refunded if MLWR is the party that backs out of an adoption).


We focus on agouti and fawn rats, in dumbo ears, satin and satin rex coats, mostly self markings. We are also working on Russian Silver in standard ears and standard coats, with a future hope of adding burmese to this line. On occasion other varieties may show up in litters, but please do not email us requesting varieties we do not focus on or have available in a current litter - we do NOT breed on demand.

While there are a large variety of rats out there, and people may have specific ones they prefer, we feel a need to focus on a limited few varieties, so that we may better select to improve those varieties. As such, we do not have any and all types available, nor are we an 'ordering service' by which people can get whatever they want. We may at times have other varieties than what we focus on show up in some litters, and often these individuals will be available for adoption, but these are not diversions we will plan for or intentionally select to have. If you are not interested in the varieties we focus on or have specifically available at the moment in a current litter, we encourage you to check our links for other breeders we recommend and work with to see if they have what you are looking for. We will not breed litters just to produce a certain variety for adopters, each litter is planned to further our lines and the species as a whole. Please do not contact us asking for varieties we do not currently work with (and especially those we have specifically listed as NOT working with, such as manx and hairless), and please do not apply if you are not interested in adopting the varieties we do focus on. If your interest changes and you are no longer interested in the rats we produce or the varieties we work with, we also request you let us know that you are no longer interested in adopting from us at this time.


We select first and foremost for health and temperament, so all our rats are 'pet quality' first and foremost. Some rats adopted out may be good show candidates - this does not change their value as pets or adoption fee! We encourage our adopters to join Rat Fanciers of the Lakes and show their pets - we'd love to see them!

We have seen breeders of a variety of species who differentiate from animals they feel are 'pet' quality, 'show' quality, 'breeding' quality, etc. For some, I've heard of 'breeding' quality animals that 'won't make good pets', or similar situations. All of our rats are selected to be wonderful, loving pets, so all rats will be pet quality. All will be registered with NARR, and able to be shown at clubs accepting NARR registered rats shown by members. We are members of Rat Fanciers of the Lakes and encourage our adopters to join and bring their rats to the RFL shows - we'd love to see you and them there, and pet members are welcome! Some may do better in shows than others due to variations in color saturation, marking placement and type for any marked rats, coat quality, etc. For different breeders, different qualities may be desirable or undesirable in the rats, so 'breeding quality' would depend on the breeder's preferences. However, we have no intent of charging differently for our rats depending on if we think they have a better chance of doing well in a show, or performing well as a breeder, or being an extra special pet for someone. All of our rats are valuable us as individuals, and we do not feel it is ethically right to charge more to someone simply based on potential, since the primary purpose for all of our rats is that of loving pets for the home they are in.


All adopters are required to fill out an adoption application.

While we will want to communicate with all of our adopters one on one, to get to know them individually and not just through a form, the application helps give us some necessary base information that we require of all adopters. Rather than asking the exact same questions of each person, we use the application to get the basic information, and we can continue our communications from that point to get to know you better, and let you get to know us and ask questions of us as well. Think of it like an FAQ that you are filling out for us. Please ensure you fill out all information on our application honestly and openly - we do reserve the right to do research and even background checks if warranted to verify the information provided, and any discovered deceptions will be grounds for immediate denial. It is better to explain a situation you think may be problematic than lie about it - an explanation may result in a solution and an adoption, a lie will be a certain way to ensure you will not be allowed to adopt. Please be open with us, and we will attempt to be open with you!


Adoptions are $20 per rat, regardless of color, gender, or variety. A $10 deposit is required to reserve a rat, and $10 at pick up (for a total of $20 per rat).

As with the 'pet quality' vs 'show quality' etc above, we do not feel it is ethically right to charge more for a rat based on its appearance, etc. Every rat is equally deserving of a loving home, and its gender, color, coat type, etc does not change that fact. All of our rats have an adoption fee of $20, no matter what variety they are. We ask after a request for a specific rat has been confirmed (we will let you know) that you place a $10 deposit to reserve that rat. There will be an additional $10 at pick up (you may send the entire fee when you reserve them if you prefer), for a total of $20 per rat. If MLWR must back out of the adoption, the deposit, etc will be refunded. If you back out, deposits generally will not be refunded, though we may choose to under certain circumstances. The sooner you let us know, you are unable to adopt, the more likely a refund will be granted, though the deposit, as a general rule, is to be considered 'non-refundable.' The other exception to this is that, if on meeting us to pick up your rats you find a problem with the rats that makes you unwilling to adopt them (health issues, behavior, etc), we will refund the adoption fee (as per APHIS rules about allowing people to inspect the animals prior to taking ownership). This will NOT cover no-shows, changing your mind due to earlier availability elsewhere, etc. That remains at our discretion as far as refunding the deposit.


We will maintain a general waiting list for our rats. Approved adopters on our waiting list are responsible for keeping track of when litters are available for reservation. Adopters can request to wait for a particular variety, but must understand that may increase their waiting time.

We don't have a specific waiting list for each litter, or a specific order in which adopters are contacted necessarily, but rather, all approved adopters are able to request to reserve babies when reservations open. As a general rule, these reservations will be done on a first come, first serve basis, so we recommend that people send the top 3-4 babies they are interested in so we can try to accommodate everyone. If someone has trouble getting a reservation request in for litters before all the babies are reserved on multiple occasions, we may be willing to prioritize their request from a future litter (for instance, if people are unable to access their email, etc at the time that reservations open) - though we do not anticipate this being highly necessary, and won't be able to do this if too many people are in the same situation. Please make sure you keep track of when litters you are interested in will become available for adoption so that you can get your reservation requests in! If an adopter has been waiting through several litters for a particular variety to become available as a pet adoption, they may be given priority for that particular rat as well, at our discretion.


In general, breeders we work with will get an opportunity to request rats earlier, to help all of us continue to improve the species.

We always reserve first pick of our litters, as we need to be able to select the individuals that will best help us continue and improve our lines and the species. If either of the parents of the litter are from another breeder, that breeder has the option of second pick of the litter. Other breeders we work with are next in line. The breeders we work with have similar goals with their lines, and we generally will offer them a chance to reserve rats before the general adopters. This is not because we wish to deny any babies to our adopters, but rather a desire to help adopters and pet owners be able to have many generations of ever improving rats for years to come. The best way to ensure that the species continues to improve, and wonderful loving pets continue to be available, is for us to work closely with our breeder friends to make sure their lines and our own continue to grow and thrive. This does mean that some babies will be reserved for specific breeders before the litter is officially available for reservation, as we need to make sure to support each other so that we can all continue to have rats to offer you. Please understand that while this may seem to delay your ability to adopt, in the long run it will help you be able to have access to better animals!


Reservations will open at midnight (central time!) the day listed, with a first come - first serve basis in most cases, for all adopters on a waiting list. We do not breed to supply the market, so we may not be able to adopt rats to all our waiting adopters right away, please be patient.

We are located in Illinois, on central time, so that is the clock we operate on. At midnight (or 12:01 AM) on the date listed, reservations will open for that litter. We take reservations that come in starting at midnight on a first come - first serve basis. Reservations requests need to be sent AFTER registration opens. If you send them before (8pm the night before, etc) they will be treated as if they arrived at least 24 hrs after reservations open (unless a second request is sent before then, in which case the first will be ignored and the second will be taken in the order that it is received). This is to try and keep the reservation process fair for everyone, without people slipping in reservations early. If you are concerned about being unable to get a request in right away (if you will be out of town for an extended time near reservation time, etc), please contact us and we may be able to work out arrangements for you! (Its always better to contact us than not!)


Once a valid reservation request is received for an available rat, they will be listed as 'voice for YOU' under that rat for 7 days, and at that point you can send a deposit. Once a deposit is received that will be changed to 'reserved for YOU'. Deposits will generally not be refunded if an adopter backs out, however, if MLWR must back out of the adoption the deposit will be refunded.

This process will help us, and you, know where we are in the adoption process. We want to be able to mark the rats you have requested as for you before a deposit is received, until such a deposit is received (or, if we haven't heard from you within a week, then release the reservation back to the waiting list). The change from the voice to reserved lets you know we have received your deposit as well. Also, as said earlier, deposits are generally 'non-refundable' if you choose to back out of an adoption after reservation (but please contact us, depending on the situation we may make exceptions.) If MLWR backs out of the adoption for any reason, we will refund the deposit. If you do have to back out, please inform us ASAP - continuing to communicate will make it more likely that we will be willing to adopt to you in the future when things change, whereas just ending communications will hurt your chances of future adoption.


We generally will assign names to baby rats based on a theme for the litter. These will be their registered names, though adopters are certainly allowed to give them nick names at home! If there is another name within the theme an adopter prefers, we may consider swapping names out in some circumstances.

We have themes for our litters to help us name them, as well as help make it easier to track relatives quickly by hearing names, and to expedite the registration process by having names decided early, rather than having to wait until they are reserved and names are picked, so that we can get the registration paperwork processed earlier, rather than later. These names will be their registered names and what appears on their paperwork. Adopters are always welcome to give their own nick names (even totally unrelated to the registered name) to the rats of course! If there is another name within the theme that the adopter prefers, and the registration paperwork has not been submitted, we may consider swapping out names.


We request that adopters with rats at home already do a proper quarantine for 3 weeks when they take our rats home, for the safety of all the rats involved.

A proper quarantine entails keeping the rats in a separate airspace. This means not just a different room in the house, but a separate building. This is because ventilation systems in homes and the shared air moving between rooms can carry some viruses, etc. When quarantining its also necessary to wait 2-3 hours between visits from one location to the other, or a complete change of clothing, shower, blowing your nose (to remove pathogens you might be carrying in your nasal passages). These steps may seem like a lot of work, but are necessary to ensure nothing is carried or transmitted between the rats during this time. We take measures to ensure all our rats are healthy, and hopefully you won't encounter any problems, but quarantine helps to make sure they aren't incubating or carrying something that could cause problems (which could even be picked up in the trip home!). Its important to note that pet stores, or any store that carries rodents (rats, mice, hamsters, etc) can also transmit similar problems via our clothes, nasal passages, etc, and as a general rule its best to follow these guidelines when visiting such stores and coming home from them - at ALL times - to keep your rats safe from diseases that may be floating around the rodent populations at the stores. This article on pre-show quarantine was written specifically for rats being brought to shows, to help keep all the rats there safe, but has some good information on what an even stricter quarantine protocol is - note that rabbits and birds are included as possible suspect animals that could carry or transmit stuff to our rats as well. When in doubt - play it safe! Shower, change, blow your nose - we want your rats, old and new, to be able to live long, healthy, happy lives with you!


MLWR requires updates at minimum weekly for the first month, and then at least every 3 months, for all rats adopted. This is IMPORTANT!

These updates help us to make sure everyone is settling in at home nicely, and also help to build a habit of communication. Updates are what help us continue to make the best choices for our lines so that we can improve them - we need to know not only about the rats we keep, but about their siblings and relatives that live with you! We are here to help you with any issues you have with them as well, don't be afraid to ask. Good or bad, we want to hear what is going on. Contacting us with updates more often is always appreciated! We NEED to know how the rats are doing, if any problems are encountered with them, etc.-We always enjoy the good reports (and pictures!) too!


Adopters are required to keep their contact information up to date with us.

This is important so we can ask for updates, and inform you if there is any new information about the line/litter your rats are from that may affect you (in case a genetic problem is found, etc). We need to be able to get in touch with you and know where our rat is so that we can have an effective information exchange. This will help us and help you, so PLEASE - if you move, change email addresses, change phone numbers, etc, let us know!


If at any time an adopter can no longer keep rats from MLWR, they are required to be returned to us.

MLWR always reserves the first right of refusal for our rats. Our contract was with YOU, not with other friends of yours, your relatives, or that person on craigslist. In the contract you sign, we require you contact us FIRST, and we have the first right to take back the rats. We are willing to consider other options (perhaps your mom has fallen in love with your rats and wants to keep them there while you are at college, etc), and may be willing to recontract with the new home if we deem it appropriate. However we NEED to know who they are, have contact info, and go through an application and contract process with them as well, so that we can judge whether they will make a good home for the rats we have put so much love and work into. It is our job and responsibility to screen new homes, not yours, and we reserve the right to be involved in the process or have the rats back and handle it completely ourselves at any time in their life if you are no longer able to keep them. Do not be worried we will be mad if you contact us unable to keep the rats - PLEASE LET US KNOW! We will be far more upset WHEN we find out you have rehomed them through some other method rather than contacting us first. This information does have ways of getting back to us! We want what is best for your rats, so if there is any reason you no longer want or can have them, contact us immediately so we can figure something out!


3 boys


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