Nine Steps to Find Your Lost Pet Rat
Losing a pet rat in the house can cause a lot of anxiety for both the owner and the rat.
Rats, by nature, investigate their surroundings carefully and will find every nook, cranny, and hole in their play area. There will come a time when you will wrap up play time and not be able to find one of your little friends. It can be scary, especially when they are very young or new to your home.
If you've looked in all the obvious hiding spots and still can't find your pet rat, don't panic. Chances are they are okay, but squeezed into a spot you didn't think to look.
Last week, I went to get my pet rats for their playtime and Mr. Bender wasn't in the cage! I had no idea how he got out, but after I retraced my steps, I realized I had gotten out of bed in a haze to get myself some water and stopped by their cage to give them some nuts. Mr. Bender must have been a total ninja when he slipped past me.
I went into immediate anxiety mode because other household members had come and gone, and he'd had free roam of the house for at least eight hours! He could be anywhere - including outside if someone had not been careful to close the door behind them and that was the night we were supposed to have our first freeze. I was really upset at myself, but I immediately set out to find him.
If you find yourself in a similar predicament, use these nine steps to find your lost pet rat:
1. Use Treats to Lure Your Pet Rat Out - Hopefully, by now, your pet rat knows the familiar sound of their favorite snacks inside their container. Go room to room and do whatever it is that makes them run for treatie time; rustle the bag of Yogies, shake the box of raisins, or use your finger to clink on their favorite dinner dish.
2. Do a Preliminary Search - If you know what room your pet rat is in, you've already won half the battle. You know the obvious hiding spaces, so check there first. Your pet rat will love a dark, quiet, and warm place like a closet, inside a couch or chair (even inside the cushions), or tucked under a piece of furniture. As you move from room to room, CLOSE THE DOORS BEHIND YOU. If your pet rat can fit under the doors, find a way to barricade the space under the door.
3. Remove Anything Harmful from Your Pet Rat's Reach - Remove anything harmful to your pet rat. This includes other pets, household cleaning chemicals, ant/cockroach bait traps, or any bags or boxes they could chew into.
4. Do A General Safety Check - Do a quick safety check of the household. Make sure your pet rat cannot get into the fireplace, out an unsecured dryer vent, or into any holes in the wall.
5. Keep Your Lost Pet Hydrated - Place a small container of water in each room. Your pet rat may be enjoying their freedom and napping in their new found hiding place, or may be cowering down in an unfamiliar area. They will eventually venture around their new surroundings and will appreciate the water.
6. Leave a Treat Your Pet Rat Can't Say No To - You have probably identified a snack your pet rat loves more than any food. For my rats, it's Yogies. Whatever snack your pet rat loves, leave a bit of each snack in every room or confined area your pet rat could be in.
For Mr. Bender, I placed three Yogies in two places in every closed off room in the house. I also placed several piles of three Yogies in the upstairs hallway, foyer, and open living room and kitchen areas. I placed the snacks close to the baseboards since I know Mr. Bender is likely to walk near the walls where he feels safe.
7. Leave The Area - Now for the hard part; you have to stop looking. If it's in the middle of the day, your pet rat could be sleeping and not even know you're looking for him. If he's awake and nervous, he may not come out while you're there.
For Mr. Bender, I had to go to sleep for the night and check for evidence of him in the rooms the next morning.
8. Check For Missing Snacks - A few times a day, check each snack pile you left for evidence your rat has come out to eat. Hopefully, this will narrow down what room they are in. Make sure you keep all doors closed and/or barricaded as you check.
Mr. Bender finally ate the Yogies in my sewing room; I was so relieved to see them gone!
9. Search the Room or Repeat - If you've narrowed your pet rat's location down to one room, you're lucky! If you've narrowed it down to a large area, you may have to try narrow the area down further, or tackle a search of the larger area. In your search, move each piece of furniture carefully and use a flashlight.
I found Mr. Bender in the back corner of the sewing room closet. However, had I not narrowed my search to one room, I probably would have missed him. I barely glimpsed him back there and he moved when I shifted positions to a place I had already searched! He would have slipped past me.
Hopefully you've found your pet rat by now. If not, you will have to continue to use this method, and also listen carefully for sounds in the walls or the ceiling. I have read about pet rats getting lost behind the dry wall and their owners having to cut escape holes and use humane traps to catch their pet rats.
Good luck on your search! Please let me know if you found your lost friend!!
Thank you for reading,
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