I got my first pair of rats when I was fifteen from a family friend who was an actual rat breeder. They were two male fancy hooded rats and I loved everything about them. I lived in a small town in Oregon at the time, and I was even able to bring them with me when I moved to Texas later that year. I had the boys for about 3 1/2 years, until both passed away due to stomach tumors. RIP: Tom & Paul.
Around my first semester of college I got a female rat. Just one, which I know you're not supposed to do. I got her at PetSmart where the workers there said she had been alone in their tanks for about 6 months, and that anytime they tried to put another rat in there with her, she wouldn't take well to them. I figured, hey, I don't have a big cage, I might as well get her if she likes to be alone. Well, I had her for about 6 months myself, and felt like, man, she seems pretty damn lonely. So, I bought a baby rat, again from PetSmart since it seems to be the only pet store around this whole place. She's an albino red eyed dumbo rat. They took to each other VERY quickly. So, I think maybe PetSmart either, lied to me, didn't try very hard, or they attempted putting a rat the same age as her in the cage instead of a baby. I'd read from multiple places online that getting an older rat a baby is very helpful especially if it's an adult female. So, a few months later, I bought another rat. A brown, black, white, dumbo rat, also a baby. They both took to her just as quickly.
I recently decided to buy a baby rat again for what will be my final rat. I bought a solid brown dumbo rat, with a grey and white chest. I introduced them and eventually moved them all into the cage. Everything was fine, until the next morning. I woke up early to get ready for my Philosophy class, and as I do every morning I opened the cage and said good morning to all my girls. That was when I noticed the new baby was gone. I searched the whole cage, couldn't find her. I was devastated. She must've slipped through the bars. I searched my room, which granted was hard, I've been going through one of those papers and books everywhere slump. I couldn't find her. I didn't know what to do. It was 10:30AM by then, and I needed to be heading up to campus, a 15 minute drive depending on traffic. So, I took a towel, covered the crack to my door, hoping she was still in my room. I came home that evening and still couldn't find her. I moved my bed, moved my desk, checked behind the dresser, everywhere. I left food out that night for her, but she didn't eat it.
Day 2: I found her behind my dresser today.. after she'd eaten some flip flops under my bed, and completely gnawed on my xbox remote on my end table.
I have her in my old cage right now because the bars are closer together. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep her, or take her back yet. I like her and I hope I can work this out though.
Being a rat mommy is total trial and error, 24/7, 365 days a year. I love having rats though. They are the sweetest companions ever.