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Collecting Gambian pouched rats in Key Largo?

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Collecting Gambian pouched rats in Key Largo?

Postby TexasYankee » Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:38 am

It occurs to me that people in the US who want Gambian pouched rats have two problems which could cancel each other out.

  1. They're banned from importation thanks to a monkeypox outbreak and apparently nobody's breeding them, considering that I never see them for sale on exoticanimalsforsale.net
  2. They've become invasive in Key Largo, and the FWS is therefore almost certain to ban their trade across state lines at some point soon.
Is there a reason nobody seems to be collecting the rats from Key Largo to sell in the pet trade elsewhere in the US?
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Re: Collecting Gambian pouched rats in Key Largo?

Postby pat » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:38 am

I never heard of pouched rats before.

personally, I do not like rats, guess cause I have the wild rats here cause of my animals. they breed like crazy. I would think a pouched rat wouldn't breed like the regular rats. unless it has a mate :shrug:

thank you for the interesting post.
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Re: Collecting Gambian pouched rats in Key Largo?

Postby TexasYankee » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:22 am

It turns out that they're actually on Grassy Key (in Marathon) rather than Key Largo. The fact that Grassy Key is small and they haven't spread to other keys via the highways suggests that they breed slowly and should be relatively easy to eradicate from Grassy Key if anyone wanted to take the time and money. Resources seems to be an issue. It seems to me that this would be an opportunity for someone with time and the resources to travel to Grassy Key to make a buck. And if it was an exotic keeper who did it, it would give us another conservation success to point to, like with the cotton-top tamarin. The problem is that I don't currently have the time or money to go to Grassy Key and collect them, nor the space to breed them once I did. However it seems like such an obvious thing to do to me that I'm wondering why nobody's done it.

Gambian pouched rats do seem from YouTube videos to have similar personalities to fancy rats, however they're a little more dog-like (licking and rolling over for belly rubs). They also seem even smarter than normal rats. Despite not liking dogs, I find Gambian pouched rats adorable. Also, I've read that unlike fancy rats (which can often be nippy, particularly females), I've heard that they basically never bite.
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Re: Collecting Gambian pouched rats in Key Largo?

Postby pat » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:51 am

they do sound much better than the wild rats and rather interesting and intelligent.
never heard of them until you mentioned it. I am done for now with animals, I have too many now.

thank you for your info.
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Re: Collecting Gambian pouched rats in Key Largo?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:57 pm

It'd be nice to see someone do that but if they did it would be for love of the species and not profit. Pouched rats are actually kind of fragile. When the UK exotic forum used to still exist I followed all the Pouched rat talk. They can live up to 8 years or so but many died young from going into clinical torpor. If they had been easy breeders and keepers there wouldn't have been a problem with imports being stopped. There actually is not much incentive to get some from the wild to breed them since it will be a lot of work and money to adapt fragile feral creatures to domestic breeding, a large number will likely die no matter what from the stress. Not really a big money making proposition.
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Re: Collecting Gambian pouched rats in Key Largo?

Postby pat » Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:38 pm

Good point Mary, maybe that is why there are not many breeders. I didn't know their life span was that short, heck, never heard of them before until Texas Yankee mentioned it.
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Re: Collecting Gambian pouched rats in Key Largo?

Postby TexasYankee » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:00 pm

Mousebirds are easy to keep and breed, and imports are still legal, and yet they're very difficult to find in the US because several major breeders got out of the business almost all at once, and nobody wants to go through the expense of importing new bloodlines for a bird that's similar to a cockatiel but with a more finicky diet and a shorter lifespan.

I had figured something like that might account for the decline of Gambians in captivity: they're just not as profitable as fancy rats, which breed wicked easy and at a young age.

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