Soon, your house could be blessed with the pitter-patter of little feet. Very, very little.
Two thousand rats were recently rescued from a home in southern California, and now they need a home. The rodents were discovered by the the A&E reality show "Hoarders," which documents people whose obsessive collecting behavior crosses the line into dangerous. In this case, a homeowner started with just a few of the animals, but didn't separate them by gender. Naturally, they bred. And after several generations, they overtook the entire building.
The rat hoarder is now receiving mental health care.
While it's dangerous and irresponsible to allow pet rats to breed in such quantities, they actually make excellent pets. The Humane Society has set up a shelter for the furry friends at Andy's Pet Shop in San Jose, and will care for them until they are all adopted.
Domesticated rats are generally social, friendly, and affectionate with humans, and their size makes them ideal for apartment-dwellers. Bred to be docile and tidy, they're not like scary city-rats.
Pet rats may not be as substantial as a cat or a dog, but caring for them does require some work. You need to let them out of the cage to run around for an hour or more a day, and that means rat-proofing at least one room of the house. They like to nibble on just about everything, so wrap your cables and wires in tubing and cover wooden furniture with plastic guards. The only thing rats usually won't bite: humans. They recognize their owners, and enjoy spending time with the humans in their lives. One study even showed that rats make a "laugh" noise, imperceptible to human ears, when tickled by our hands.
The bewhiskered army will soon be ready for adoption. Contact Andy's Pet Shop in San Jose to schedule a time to drop by and visit.
Since rats need exercise and company, it's best to get at least two so they can play together. Just make sure they're all the same gender.