Adopting lab rats

Holosexual Triceratops, Life / Saturday, May 26th, 2018

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As the tenure at my current institution comes to an end so does many other things at in university. One unrelated end would be the lives of the psychology department laboratory rats. One of the senior students decided to help save these rats by putting them up for adoption. Over the past three years these rats lived beside my research lab so I would peak in on them from time-to-time.

One of my research students adopted one and we knew the unadoptable would be euthanized.  So, we gave in and adopted two of them. The timing couldn’t have been better. Greg’s daughter was really wanting a pet – so she got two of the cutest lab rats. Meet Pham and Rhino!

The rats are old and have an array of issues. We chose the first two that really struck a soft spot with us. It turns out the one rat ate half of his own tail and the other rat was dropped or closed in the cage door and is unable to move one of his legs. So these guys are out little geriatric rats.

Adopting the rats was very easy. The cage was free, the food was free. I lined the cage with paperboard so the wires wouldn’t hurt their little feets. We purchased them an edible cage from Walmart for only $5.00.

The rats met the day we took them home. It was a little stressful at first just knowing how dominate male species are and that they could fight or kill one another. BUT, they didn’t. They’re best friends. They get along amazingly! They sleep during the day and you can see them cuddled up in their little house.


I was really worried we would kill them. I know nothing about rats and the only rat experience Greg has was working in a rat lab in college. But a month later and they’re still living. They actually chew on toilet paper tubes and are pretty easy to care for.

Rats are great pets! These little dudes are really easy to care for, easy to handle, and so smart. They peak their little heads out every day to say hello. Olivia even puts them in her hoodie and they just hang out.

Olivia bought them a rat purse carrier and the rats when on an excursion with us yesterday.

And the best part, they chew up all of my unneeded business cards. ; ) 

What’s your opinion on having a rat as a pet? So far we are pretty happy with our little rats.

*Update: Both of our rats passed away. Rhino passed this summer we believe due to a blood clot and Pham developed a gigantic tumor overnight and passed a few months later. We believe they experienced a very spoiled, loving last few months of life.

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