Wild vs. Domesticated
Basic Care
Lost & Found
Fostering Young
Wild Rats
Other Resources


So you think you've found a pet rat. You can't keep him/her but need to know what to do with him/her until you can get her to a shelter or a rat person or whatever. Fret not. Rats are very easy to please and chances are, lying around your house you have everything you need to make him feel right at home, at least on a temporary basis.

Basic care topics:


    If you've already captured him, you already know that it's best to be cautious, particularly since you know he must be scared and you don't know how long he's been exposed to an unprotected environment. Any rat who has been away from the comfort of a secure cage in a secure environment for any appreciable amount of time is very likely scared and may not react in the lady-like or gentleman-like manner pet rats are known for. As such, my advice to you is to proceed with caution, wear thick gloves, don't attempt to grab from above (if possible), and don't make any sudden noises.

    This is all situation-dependent, of course, but caution is very important when dealing with an unknown in any situation. So, if you need or want to handle him, put on some gloves, scoop him up from underneath (so he can see your hands coming and are aware of your presence), and hold him securely to you. Pet rats do like to be held, but of course, after such a traumatic experience, they may be more timid than normal so your goal would be to make them feel secure. And you'll know when they're comfortable with you as they will approach you!


    In general, it is best to place them in a fairly dark area. It is also best to place them in the most quiet area so that they can adjust to the surroundings. This will help them to become more relaxed...and in a shorter period of time.


    Rats are rodents. They have powerful incisors that can shred through a lot of things quite quickly. Boxes are one of those things. If you leave a rat in a box overnight, he will be gone by morning.

    If you have a cage lying around for whatever reason, that may be your simplest solution. Assuming the wire spacing is no bigger than 1" X 1" it should be more than enough to contain the rat without worries of him escaping. But most people don't have cages lying around their homes...

    If you have plastic tubs and/or chicken wire you can make a quick temporary cage.

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