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B Hackler
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I am looking at using a rat in my show and, from what I have read online, Rats are easy to take care of and easily trained. Has anybody used a rat in their show? If you have, which breed did you use? Can anybody recommended a breed? Any help would be great. Thanks
Alexo
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They are easy to take care of and are extremely tame, but you'll have to be careful with the effects you do because they are SMART. From my experience, I'd say they're much smarter than rabbits or guinea pigs and can figure their ways out of hiding places and trigger things prematurely. It's doable, but don't underestimate them.
I actually have a pet hairless rat, but he's not in the show; he's just my buddy. I wouldn't recommend that breed, however, since they are prone to skin problems. A "fancy" rat is usually the easiest to find. They're a bit harder to take care of than a hamster or gerbil due to size, but less hard to take of than a guinea pig.
Probably, the best way to use a rat in a show is with a routine that showcases their personalities and not as something to be produced.
To my memory the only use of rats I've seen is as a danger element. Both Margo and Dixie Dooley have used them in escapes as a race to escape before being eaten, but confidentially they almost never bite. I'm sure you can come up with something.
Skip Way
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Jeff Jones uses rats in his birthday party show and has had great success with them. He finds them easier to care for than a rabbit and the rats have much more natural personality. He's also trained his to perform certain bits within his act. He told me that they're very sociable around children and, apparently, less likely to bite when handled. The only downside according to Jeff is their musky odor. No matter how well he bathes and perfumes them, that odor comes out.

I raised fancy rats one year for a high school animal behavior project many decades ago. They were brilliant little critters that were easy to train and fun to work with. As with my current Cockatoo, they were always finding new ways to escape from their cages unsupervised. Smile
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
TheMagicMaker
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I, too, have heard that rats are very intelligent and much friendlier than their other rodent counterparts... My son had a hamster that bit him all the time, and I personally have been bitten by gerbils on more than on occasion...lol The only thing I could think of that would not make a rat a good idea for a magic show (other than their musky smell) is that most people are disgusted by rats and find them to be dirty and disease carriers. I don't personally feel this way, but this is the way most people I know feel about them. Personally, I think a guinea pig would be much better received, since they are a bit more cuddly and cute. Would it be inhumane to crop a rat's tail? That might make them look less like a rat...lol
B Hackler
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Thanks for the help.
GRMAGIC
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If you have doves, be careful having rats around. If they ever escape from their cage, they can, and probably will, kill the doves, and they can slip between the bars on a dove cage.
magic mike
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I would strongly advise not using rats in your act/show. As someone previously mentioned, rats, for most people, are not considered pleasant to look at or touch, let alone smell. If you are doing magic professionally, full time or part time, you should be aware that using rats in your act/show could adversely affect your income. I think I've said enough!
Channing Pollack is my idea of the perfect magician. For those of you that have not seen him perform, I recommend trying to get hold of a video of an old movie called "European Nights" made about 1959.
I was able to buy this video from Stevens Magic
Skip Way
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I think it depends on what you do with the rats. Tigers spray, parrots squawk, doves poop, rabbits bite, monkeys fling...but, with a level of showmanship, they all add something to a show. Rats can, too...and the stigma is no more powerful with fancy rats than a flop eared rabbit...especially when the rats outperform the rabbit.

Don't let the naysayers box you in. I would strongly advise trying new things and see where it takes you!
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Bob Johnston
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Quote:
On 2010-02-24 20:50, B Hackler wrote:
I am looking at using a rat in my show and, from what I have read online, Rats are easy to take care of and easily trained. Has anybody used a rat in their show? If you have, which breed did you use? Can anybody recommended a breed? Any help would be great. Thanks


Almost any rat you get will be a Norway (breed) rat. The hair and coloring can run the gamut. The names the different configurations of traits they have will overwhelm you.

When I have used rat productions, the reactions are wonderful. Some people jump back, but it only takes a few words about your rat to make them move back in. Children love ANY animal you present them with.

Rats are VREY affectionate, so much so that it is unkind to keep one rat unless you plan on handling it a lot. Two of more living together will fulfill their social needs, and make them better for you as well. They really need attention and will look to you to give it to them. Handling will also make them great for the kids that want to pet the rat.

If a rat smells, its cage is the problem as they are fastidious cleaners. Keep in mind that they only live 2-4 years. You are far better off getting one from a "Fancy Rat Breeder" as many pet stores could care less how hearty and healthy the rats they sell are.

Remember... kids and their parents Do Notice how you handle your animal helpers.

Note: Rabbits are not rodents.

Good luck,

Bob
B Hackler
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Thanks for all of the help.
Jeff Jones -"HI"
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Quote:
On 2010-02-26 10:34, Skip Way wrote:
Jeff Jones uses rats in his birthday party show and has had great success with them. He finds them easier to care for than a rabbit and the rats have much more natural personality. He's also trained his to perform certain bits within his act. He told me that they're very sociable around children and, apparently, less likely to bite when handled. The only downside according to Jeff is their musky odor. No matter how well he bathes and perfumes them, that odor comes out.

I raised fancy rats one year for a high school animal behavior project many decades ago. They were brilliant little critters that were easy to train and fun to work with. As with my current Cockatoo, they were always finding new ways to escape from their cages unsupervised. Smile


-"HI", yes, I really love these guys in the show. I never really tell the client about this (especially with the posh clients). They are so docile, and all age kids and adults like playing with them more then any of my other animals. I only use female rats because the genitals can be a bit unsightly and sometime proportionally larger than their heads. The only down sides:
1. Short term commitments -don't get too attached.
2. Smelly excrements -They tend to keep themselves clean, but I like to dab a little fragrance on the back of their necks. also, potty trained.
3. You must feed them like a dog, or they will eat eveything in sight.
(so, when you go on vacations, you have to find someone to take care of them)
I tried an auto feeder, but the clever little thing ate through to his entire weeks supply in a matter of days.
Rats are very smart and food driven, I let them out into our back yard on non show days, they always return. I love them and have several tricks that they work really well with.

Posted: Mar 24, 2010 3:58pm
Yes, I originally added them for a scary thrill to my Halloween run. I never expected such an amazing response. I believe how you introduce them and use them in your act will greatly influence the stigma of the animals. You want to appear it out of your mouth -its creepy. You want to have it help you make bubble gum -its playful and astounding on their intellect.

Posted: Mar 24, 2010 4:11pm
A few of my favorite trick ideas with rats.
1. I love the crystal dove box. -it makes a great travel case, and easy to clean.
-I have two large holes on the sides (with star flaps). This allows me to have large silks in the box prior to the appearance. The silks spell out the word S T A R. I get an adult up, make them into a star (with a boa and large glasses) as they hold the empty box. Once my kid helpers rearrange the letters R A T S, the adult helper is a bit more reluctant. -crazy fun reaction.

All of my animals have a way on being through lines throughout the show.

2. I finish this show off with turning the rat and its cage into the bunny rabbit.
I love this box animal and cage vanish trick made by Tora magic

Can't knock it till you try it... Try not to be too quick to judge without experience. You will never win the prize if you never run the race.
www.MagicBackdrops.com
"As you let your light shine it give others permission to do the same"
B Hackler
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Thanks for the help.
Chezaday
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Yuk .. rats, they are snake-chow as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway .. there is a chick in the Chicago area by the name of Samantha the Rat Lady or something like that. Yep .. amazinganimals.biz is her site, maybe she can steer you in the right direction.

I have to tend to my snakes now ...

Steve
Red Neck Magician
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I never thought of using rats in a show. I guess they would get a great reaction from the audience. I may consider using them later on.
SillverFoxx
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Try for a Dumbo Rat; they're known to be even gentler than the Fancy or Rex rats. I had one, and she was so cute and sweet she managed to win everyone over; even if they insisted they hated rats!

If you do get one, make sure to have it spayed; this will lower her risk of tumors and may allow her to live a longer, healthier life. I wish I had known to do this with my little one Smile
B Hackler
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Thanks for the help.
B Hackler
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Quote:


2. I finish this show off with turning the rat and its cage into the bunny rabbit.
I love this box animal and cage vanish trick made by Tora magic




Jeff can you tell me the name of the tora effect you are referring to in the post? Any help would be great.
TonyB2009
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I have nothing constructive to say except that I bought two rats for my kids for Christmas, and they are a huge hit. They are friendly, affectionate, playful, and cute. People who hate rats see them and fall for them.
I would love to use them in the act at some stage, though I do not use any animals. Definitely go for it.
B Hackler
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Thanks for the help TonyB2009.
Red Neck Magician
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I have looked at rats at the pets stores around my area and come to find out the rats make amazing pets and are very smart. I would have never thought of a rat as a pet.
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