Katie Costanza: animal breeding to the big screen

 

Katie RatKatie Costanza has taken her love for animals to the big screen. The sophomore studying animal sciences breeds rats, some of which gained role in the local film Eat. Brains. Love. 

Costanza's animal breeding journey began when she was 14 with two boa constrictors and 20 corn snakes. She began breeding feeder rats, which served as food for her many snakes but eventually grew into her business, Kritters By Katie.

When Costanza realized the increased market need for feeder rats she started attending reptile conventions with her local pet store in Gonzales. After breeding at such a high volume, she took note of the breeding period. 

“The short breeding period was essentially instant gratification. In three weeks you could have all different colors, temperaments and types,” Costanza said. This “instant gratification” sparked and supported her interest in animal genetics.

Costanza soon began breeding companion animal rats in addition to the feeder rats.

“My main focus is to produce pets with exceptional temperament and health, but I often breed for certain colorations or coat and ear types as well.”rat

With all her breeding success, Costanza gained recognition in the animal breeding community. She was contacted by the Amazing Animal Production Agency requesting use of 30-40 of her rats in a local film.

For more than two months she worked with black/brown dumbo and top eared rats on the set of Eat. Brains. Love. Working on these scenes ultimately gained her credit as an Animal Trainer for the movie.

After the experience, Costanza said she is interested in working on more movies with her critters.          

She also breeds hamsters, degus, gerbils and mice. You can learn more about Kritters By Katie on Facebook or contact at her at ratskrittersbykatie@gmail.com

Costanza also is a member of the Les Voyageurs, the College of Agriculture ambassador team. She said she plans to attend graduate school after finishing her undergraduate degree. 

"My main interests are genetics, biodiversity, and animals in general, so I'd like to eventually have a job that incorporates all of that," Costanza said.