I didn't know that rats were EVER neutered.
And , are feeder rats different because they are not handled when young, or is there another reason they are not good pets?
Oh yes, rats can be spayed and neutered. In fact, it's highly recommended, even more so for them than with other animals.
Neutering males kills hormonal aggression, and buck grease, which is DISGUSTING. My youngest boy had it like nothing I've ever seen and I could've gagged cleaning him. Also when they're neutered you can have mixed sex group swhich tend to work out very well.
Females are highly prone to tumors, especially of their reproductive system and spaying highly decreases those chances, and the chances of the getting a UTI. Plus, again, you can have them in different sex groups.
The only real difference between a feeder rat and a pet bred rat is that feeder rats aren't loved. They don't get handled or played with or trained or taken to the vet. They mostly just get fed and are let to live until their day comes.
A feeder, especially a young one, can very easily be made a pet.
My first boy was technically pet bred (but in a petshop so... >.> ) and his entire family was bought to be feeders, except him because the employee liked him. He didn't get handled much but you wanna talk about a sweet heart. Sit in your lap and get scratched kinda sweet.
Both of my girls are feeders. Binx is a mink variegated capped, so she could've went as a pet, because colors are more appealing than PEWS (pink eyed whites). I had to bottle feed her from 3 weeks old because the girl who saved her couldn't keep her. I drove almost 3 hours to get this baby.
My girl's companion, Lumos, was bred and born to feed a snake. I got there the day after she arrived, put my hand in the cage, and whichever one didn't run was the one I picked -as long as it was female.
Lumos is A L O T bigger than Binx, and even has a longer tail. I'm not sure if this is the result of being a feeder (as sometimes they are bred more towards the bigger side) or because Binx was taken from her mother way way too early for another week didn't get any real nutrition.
Op, I would just let him live out his days. Almost 3 is quite old.