Rats make great pets for the right owner. They are intelligent, social, and can bond strongly with their human companions. If you’re considering getting a pet rat, one of the first questions you likely have is where to actually buy one.

PetSmart is one of the largest pet retailers, so it’s a logical place to check. However, PetSmart’s selection of small pets can vary by location. We’ll take an in-depth look at what types of rats you can expect to find at your local PetSmart.

If you don’t have time to read this full article, here’s a quick answer: PetSmart sells fancy rats, which make excellent pets. However, they do not sell wild rats.

An Overview of Pet Rats

When it comes to small pets, rats are often overlooked and misunderstood. However, pet rats make great companions and can bring a lot of joy and entertainment to their owners. In this article, we will take a detailed look at pet rats, including the difference between fancy rats and wild rats, their ideal habitat and care, as well as the various breeds and temperaments available.

Fancy Rats vs. Wild Rats

It’s important to note that pet rats, also known as fancy rats, are not the same as wild rats that you may find in the streets or sewers. While both belong to the same species, Rattus norvegicus, fancy rats have been selectively bred for generations to have certain desirable traits, such as friendly and sociable personalities, as well as a variety of coat colors and patterns.

They have been domesticated and are bred specifically as pets.

On the other hand, wild rats are not suitable as pets. They have not been bred for friendly temperaments and may carry diseases. It is always best to adopt a pet rat from a reputable breeder or a rescue organization to ensure you are getting a healthy and well-socialized companion.

Ideal Habitat and Care for Pet Rats

Pet rats are highly social animals and thrive in environments where they can interact with their human owners and other rats. They should be kept in spacious cages with plenty of room to climb, explore, and play.

The cage should be equipped with toys, tunnels, and hammocks to provide mental stimulation and enrichment.

Rats are intelligent creatures and require mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom. It is important to provide them with opportunities for exercise, such as supervised playtime outside of the cage and interactive toys that encourage problem-solving and exploration.

In terms of diet, rats should be fed a balanced and nutritious diet consisting of high-quality rat pellets, fresh fruits and vegetables, and occasional treats. It is important to avoid feeding them foods that are toxic to rats, such as chocolate, caffeine, and certain types of fruits and vegetables.

Common Rat Breeds and Temperaments

There are several different rat breeds available, each with their own unique traits and temperaments. Some popular rat breeds include the Dumbo rat, the Hairless rat, and the Rex rat.

The Dumbo rat, named for its large ears that resemble those of a Disney character, is known for its friendly and docile nature. The Hairless rat, as the name suggests, is hairless and has a warm and affectionate personality.

The Rex rat has a curly coat and is known for its playful and energetic nature.

When choosing a rat breed, it is important to consider your own preferences and lifestyle, as well as the temperament of the individual rat. It’s always a good idea to spend time with a rat before bringing them home to ensure they are a good fit for you and your family.

What Types of Rats Does PetSmart Sell?

Fancy Rats

If you’re looking to bring a rat into your home as a pet, PetSmart offers a variety of options. One type of rat commonly found at PetSmart is the fancy rat. Fancy rats are domesticated rats that have been bred for their gentle temperament and attractive colors and patterns.

These rats make great pets and are known for their intelligence and social nature. They are also relatively easy to care for, making them a popular choice for many rat enthusiasts.

No Wild Rats

It’s important to note that PetSmart does not sell wild rats. Wild rats can carry diseases and may not have the same temperament as domesticated rats. PetSmart ensures that only fancy rats, which are specifically bred for pet purposes, are available for purchase.

This helps to ensure the health and well-being of both the rats and their owners.

How to Find Rats at Your Local Store

If you’re interested in getting a pet rat from PetSmart, you can easily find out if your local store carries them. Simply visit the PetSmart website and use their store locator tool to find the nearest location to you.

Once you’ve found a store, you can call ahead to inquire about the availability of rats. It’s always a good idea to check with the store before making a trip to ensure that they have the specific type of rat you’re looking for.

Remember, rats can make wonderful pets for the right person. They are social, intelligent, and can form strong bonds with their owners. Before bringing a rat into your home, make sure you are prepared to provide them with the proper care, including a suitable cage, nutritious food, and regular veterinary check-ups.

If you’re ready to welcome a new furry friend into your life, consider visiting PetSmart to find the perfect rat for you.

Buying Your First Pet Rat from PetSmart

Choosing Your Rat

When it comes to buying your first pet rat from PetSmart, it’s important to choose the right one for you. PetSmart typically offers a variety of rat species and different coat colors to choose from. Take your time to observe each rat and interact with them to see which one you connect with the most.

Look for a rat that is active, curious, and has a shiny coat. Each rat has its own personality, so it’s essential to find the one that matches your preferences and lifestyle.

Necessary Supplies

Before bringing your new pet rat home, make sure you have all the necessary supplies. This includes a suitable cage, bedding material, food and water dishes, as well as toys and hiding spots for enrichment. PetSmart offers a wide range of rat supplies, including cages specifically designed for rats.

It’s important to provide your rat with a spacious and secure environment to ensure their well-being. Additionally, don’t forget to purchase a high-quality rat food that provides all the necessary nutrients for a healthy diet.

Vet Care

Just like any other pet, rats also require regular veterinary care. Before bringing your rat home, it’s a good idea to schedule a visit with a veterinarian experienced in small animal care. They can provide you with valuable information on diet, health concerns, and general care tips.

Regular check-ups are important to monitor your rat’s health and catch any potential issues early on. PetSmart often has a list of recommended veterinarians in your area, so be sure to ask for their recommendations.

Remember, owning a pet rat is a long-term commitment, so it’s important to be prepared and educated before bringing one home. By choosing the right rat, providing necessary supplies, and ensuring proper vet care, you can have a happy and healthy companion for years to come.

Other Places to Buy Pet Rats

While PetSmart is a popular retailer for pet supplies, there are other places where you can buy pet rats. These include:

Local Breeders

One option is to purchase rats from local breeders. Local breeders are usually passionate about breeding rats and can provide you with healthy and well-socialized rats. They often have a variety of rat breeds and colors to choose from.

You can find local breeders through online forums, rat clubs or by asking for recommendations from other rat owners. Buying from a local breeder allows you to support local businesses and get personalized advice on rat care.

Rescues and Shelters

Another option is adopting rats from rescues and shelters. Many animal rescues and shelters often have rats available for adoption. These rats are usually in need of a loving home and adopting from a rescue or shelter can be a rewarding experience.

Additionally, adopting from a rescue or shelter helps reduce the number of animals in need and supports their mission to find homes for abandoned or neglected animals. You can search online for local rescues and shelters that have rats available for adoption.


If you are unable to find local breeders or rescues/shelters in your area, you can also consider buying rats online. There are various websites and online platforms where you can find reputable rat breeders who ship rats nationwide.

When purchasing rats online, it is important to do thorough research and ensure that the breeder has a good reputation. Look for reviews and testimonials from previous customers to ensure that the breeder is reliable and that the rats are healthy and well-cared for.

It’s important to remember that when buying or adopting pet rats, it is crucial to choose a reputable source and ensure that the rats are in good health. Rats can make wonderful pets, and by choosing the right place to buy or adopt them, you are giving them a safe and loving home.


PetSmart sells fancy rats in many locations, making it a convenient option to pick up your first pet rat. Be sure to choose an active, healthy rat and provide him with a large habitat, toys, and proper nutrition. Most importantly, spend lots of playtime with your new pet!

With the right care, rats can make remarkably intelligent and affectionate companions.

Do you have experience buying rats from PetSmart? Let us know in the comments!

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