by Debbie “The Rat Lady” Ducommun
If your rat disappears, he probably hasn’t gone far, depending on his personality and how much experience he has had. A rat who is used to exploring on the floor might go a lot farther than a rat who never leaves the couch or bed.
The first step is to look everywhere, even places you wouldn’t suspect a rat could fit. One rat owner finally found his rat wedged under a bookcase where he didn’t think the rat could have fit. Rats will usually hide under objects whenever possible, so check under every appliance and piece of furniture. Look inside boxes, and even in trash cans, and in cabinets where he might have been shut in.
Call your rat’s name and then listen carefully. Sometimes you’ll be able to hear her scratching or rustling. Also, don’t move around immediately after calling your rat. Stay in each spot for at least 1-2 minutes to give her some time to respond before moving on to the next location.
If you still haven’t found your rat, he or she is either having so much fun they don’t want to come back yet, or is too scared to come out. Put your rat’s cage on the floor near where you think the rat is hiding. If your rat lives alone, you can leave the cage open. Otherwise, put a hiding place, like a box, next to the cage. In or near the cage or box place some food that the rat can’t carry off, like a large corn cob or some soft food on a plate like baby food or yogurt. Hopefully, the rat will come to eat and get in the cage or box. Then, you can sneak up and cover the opening of the cage or box with a piece of cardboard and then pick it up.
The final option is to buy or rent a live rat trap from a feed store or humane society and bait it with peanut butter. For baby rats, use a live mouse trap.
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