Rat owners - a few questions


Biologist & Ecologist
I have been looking for another pet rat for a friend after he lost his to old age a few weeks ago. He's been left with just one male and needed to find another one but he wasn't having luck at the local stores. So I went to a store I know in a different city while visiting friends and was given two adult male pet rats for free, who had been given to the store as feeder rats.

I'm giving them to their future owner in a couple days when I get back, but I have a couple questions since I know he's not one to do a lot of research.

- If I want to give them a bath (they have what looks like dander, they're white fur is yellow, and they were kept in semi-gross conditions), will ordinary ferret/rodent shampoo work or should I use something else for the dander?

- Since all three rats are male, after these 2 are quarantined, how should they be introduced? Is there aggression amongst male rats if it's not handled properly? I rather ask than be sorry, since their owner would most likely just throw them in together.

- How much space do 3 adult rats need? This is important because the cage he has now is too small for all three, I'm sure, but I need more than just my nagging voice to tell him that.

Having kept rats back in the day, the unfortunate thing about buying "feeder" rats is that they are terribly inbred and prone to cancers and respiratory issues. Thus-a short life leaving you with a broken heart. Rodent shampoo should be fine. They are generally clean little animals, so a bath and clean conditions should get them to where they need to be. Male rats may or may not get along-depends on their personality. They really need more space than people usually give them. I would say optimally you would have 1 or 2 rats on something no smaller than a 40 gallon breeder tank, but even better would be one of the specialty cages with vertical space-allowing for climbing and tunnelling-much like ferrets.
From what we understand, they were pet rats (they are "fancy" rats) and the owner couldn't/didn't want to care for them any more so they gave them to this store. And the store manager didn't want to feed them off immediately, and we just happened to ask for them. So these rats got really lucky! Hopefully they have a good home for the remainder of their lives.

Thanks for the info guys!
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