Taking Rats Outdoors ............. Or With You to Places

SQ

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Taking rats outdoors usually means putting their lives at risk.

A. There is danger from predators such as:
1. large birds of prey (eagles, ospreys, hawks, etc) who will swoop down so fast you will never see them coming until it is too late and your rat is gone
2. cats, dogs, raccoons, etc
3. snakes
4. weasels, ermines or stoats

B. from parasites or insects:
1. intestinal worms (pin worms, round worms, tape worms, etc)
2. fleas etc
3. ticks who may carry diseases such as Lyme disease
4. bot flies that may lay eggs under your pet's skin
5. spider bites

C. from pesticides

D. from disease from other animals, such as sendai virus, which has the potential to kill all of your pet rats if one of them catches it

E. from poisonous prey or plants (such as poison ivy or oak, etc)

F. from heat stroke

G. and by being startled and jumping off you or scattering, and being injured, killed, or never found

H. Injury from an accident, such as falling from a high place
This can cause a broken bone (leg, jaw, etc) and may mean that the rat will have to be put to sleep.

In addition, as prey animals, being outside of their territory:
1. it will stress rats and stress causes illness
2. it is not fun
3. being in unfamiliar situations can be terrifying

Quote: There are many outdoor dangers and a lot can go wrong, from pesticides to poisonous prey or plants to predators to heat stroke.
A very tame rat can scatter at a sudden sound and never find its way back.
Hawks see a rat a mile away and can swoop up to 250 miles an hour. Hawks have been known to take a rat off a person's shoulder.
Snakes hide in the grass or even come up from underground.
Rats can get the virus sendai from wild animals, which easily kills your whole mischief (all your rats and mice).

So while it can be a lot of fun and we each choose our risks, I want people to know there are very serious risks.

Also see: https://www.joinrats.com/Enrichment/Outdoors/
 
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SQ

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Taking Rats places with you usually means putting their lives at risk

Many of the previous points about taking rats outside also apply to taking rats with you to other places.
Unless you have a very good reason that is of benefit to the rats, it is always in their best interest to leave them at home.

While many or all of the items in the above post will apply,
taking them outside of the safety of their territory:

1. Will stress rats and stress causes illness

2. As prey animals, being in unfamiliar situations can be terrifying

3. As prey animals, it is not fun for them

3. They can catch airborne, often terminal, diseases from people or other animals
(such as streptococcus pneumoniae, SDA, etc)

4. They can become startled and jump off you or scatter.
This puts them at risk of being injured, killed, or never being found.
Or of needing to be humanly put to sleep if their injuries are severe enough (such as a broken leg or a broken jaw)

5. predators such as ermines, snakes, pets, etc that may be indoors without your knowledge
 
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judyariel

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SQ, this gives me something to think about. I have had rats for over 20 years, have taken them with me to various places, and there have never been any ill effects whatsoever. But of course, there's always a first time, which I guess I just witnessed with Claire. I was wondering whether her panicked-over-nothing behavior meant she had a pituitary tumor, but she's been acting completely normally since the scary incident. Thank you for your viewpoint. I appreciate it.
 
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Dena

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It could be that she had just had enough of all the excitement. Rats have bad days too. ;) I'd just be terrified of it happening again, and losing her forever. Image the panic you felt, times 100. Poor baby! Glad you found her and all is good.
 

SQ

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I was wondering whether her panicked-over-nothing behavior meant she had a pituitary tumor, but she's been acting completely normally since the scary incident. Thank you for your viewpoint. I appreciate it.

It could have been a smell, a shadow, a sound you couldn't hear, a small predator, another rodent ….
 

judyariel

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It could be that she had just had enough of all the excitement. Rats have bad days too. ;) I'd just be terrified of it happening again, and losing her forever. Image the panic you felt, times 100. Poor baby! Glad you found her and all is good.
Thank you! Yup, she was probably having a bad day :) And I am definitely terrified of it happening again, so she stays at home now, or in the carrier. (She loves the carrier). :)
 

ShelbyL92

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I feel bad because I have to take my boys to my work(pet store and nursery) and have my work babysit them for a few days. We have to have work done on our place and cant have them at home when its getting done. I feel so bad
 

SQ

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Is it possible to have them at a friends place and go there daily or twice a day to care for them and to make sure they were not ill?
or hire a pet sitter etc and visit them to ensure they are ok and not getting ill?
(Rats get ill and die fast. As prey animals they hide illness, so by the time we realise they are ill, they are well into a medical emergency)

My concern would be all the diseases etc they would be potentially exposed to,
and I know of people whose rats were accidently sold to people (or fed to snakes) when the pet store allowed their pets to be left there for a few days
 

ShelbyL92

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Well they'll be at my work actually(I work at the pet store).In their own cage. And all 4 of my co workers know they're mine. Plus there's signs that would be put on the cage saying we're babysitting. So I would be there during business hours. I work at a small mom&pop shop so I know they wouldn't be sold. It's only for 2 nights.
 

Skar

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I think you're paranoid.
I have taken rats with me for pizza through walmart on bike rides,
To my sons school, let them play in grass etc...

Living life scared of what if's no way to live.

Reminds me of buying rats and the employees telling me they can't sell them as pets because they carry the plague and salmonella!!

Oye relax
 

ViciousCurse

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Sort of off topic, but I am seriously against bringing any untrained non-dog animal into any public setting. A service dog is different as they are trained to handle the outside world. I will save my rant for bringing non-trained animals being in stores for later, but... Even I would not bring my rats into a grocery store or any fast food place.
1. I don't know if anyone could be allergic to the rats. Even service dog handlers are asked to move away from people with severe dog allergies.
2. You don't know how people will react if you have your rat with you. Even service dog handlers have had their animals abused by crappy people, I seriously fear for my rats' safety.
3. Personally, I think it's a little gross to bring my rats to anywhere with food. I love my guys to death and know they're healthy, but they do urinate and defecate and then step in it sometimes. While I may be used to those germs, other people may not be.
4. On the topic of germs, immuno-compromised people may not be able to handle the germs. My grandmother got a kidney transplant and she cannot touch my rats (or my dog, or my bird), no matter how clean and well taken acre of they are. They just carry some germs that she may not be able to handle naturally. I'm not saying my rats are gross by any means, my animals (including bird and dogs) just carry germs that could make her sick. You don't know the other people in food establishments.

I'd rather live my life in fear and make sure my guys are safe. Plus, I don't want anyone getting sick.
 

ShelbyL92

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Sort of off topic, but I am seriously against bringing any untrained non-dog animal into any public setting. A service dog is different as they are trained to handle the outside world. I will save my rant for bringing non-trained animals being in stores for later, but... Even I would not bring my rats into a grocery store or any fast food place.
1. I don't know if anyone could be allergic to the rats. Even service dog handlers are asked to move away from people with severe dog allergies.
2. You don't know how people will react if you have your rat with you. Even service dog handlers have had their animals abused by crappy people, I seriously fear for my rats' safety.
3. Personally, I think it's a little gross to bring my rats to anywhere with food. I love my guys to death and know they're healthy, but they do urinate and defecate and then step in it sometimes. While I may be used to those germs, other people may not be.
4. On the topic of germs, immuno-compromised people may not be able to handle the germs. My grandmother got a kidney transplant and she cannot touch my rats (or my dog, or my bird), no matter how clean and well taken acre of they are. They just carry some germs that she may not be able to handle naturally. I'm not saying my rats are gross by any means, my animals (including bird and dogs) just carry germs that could make her sick. You don't know the other people in food establishments.

I'd rather live my life in fear and make sure my guys are safe. Plus, I don't want anyone getting sick.
I work in a pet store... So thats the only store I ever would bring my rats into... But I never take them out side of the house unless I absolutely have to. Like going to the vet. My mom has a compromised immune system so I wouldnt want to put her or others at risk just because I wanted to take them outside.
 
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LMH

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When I used to work as a dog trainer, I met several people through the years who allowed their dogs off leash in various settings I considered dangerous, and whose dogs were killed by cars, drowned in pools, etc. Every single one of them said that the dog had been fine for years under such circumstances... until the day they weren't. If a human wants to decide to do something dangerous themselves, that's their decision to make. Do they have the right to make that decision for the animal they have the privilege of providing a home for and taking care of? I don't think so. Yeah, it's really fun to do... until it isn't.
 

ShelbyL92

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When I used to work as a dog trainer, I met several people through the years who allowed their dogs off leash in various settings I considered dangerous, and whose dogs were killed by cars, drowned in pools, etc. Every single one of them said that the dog had been fine for years under such circumstances... until the day they weren't. If a human wants to decide to do something dangerous themselves, that's their decision to make. Do they have the right to make that decision for the animal they have the privilege of providing a home for and taking care of? I don't think so. Yeah, it's really fun to do... until it isn't.
I agree. There are leash laws for a reason... And it only takes one time for something to happen... Murphy's law.
 

MinisterPumpkin

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Another great thread, SQ! Even those of us who don’t bring our guys and gals out often can benefit from a read through for those instances when it’s inevitable (like going to the vet) so we have a better idea how to plan. I really appreciate ViciousCurse’s contribution as well – particularly the bit about the potential for running into allergic or immuno-compromised people. I think that something that a lot of us might forget to consider.
 

Skar

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I don't understand the argument of immunocompromised or allergic people.

People that are immunocompromised are in danger from their entire surroundings.

There's no more hazard from a rat on your shoulder than a plastic bag blowing by.

Same thing with allergies, it's a far stretch to cause anaphylaxis reaction by being in the vicinity of the alleged allergic person.

A service animal would have a better chance of presenting a risk than a rat on your shoulder.

Which I've seen alleged service animals with aggressive defensive tendencies towards bystanders/ kids.
So I don't buy into the whole service animal thing.

It's up to these people to avoid germs (impossible) or allergies. It's not the general public's responsibility.
 

LatteTheRat

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I agree with Skar...people with serious health issues most of the time rarely go out of the house, plus it's not like if we take our rats to the store we aren't forcing people to touch or be close to our rats. People are scared of dogs, thats their problem. People are scared of rats, that their problem. Also, concerning the health of the rats, we aren't putting them on the dirty ground. I don't know what you guys think we're going to do with our rats when we take them outside. Rub them in grass? Shove them on people? Put them freely on the ground and try to make them follow us? Seriously, do you think that a hawk of any size would fly up to a gigantic scary human 10x their size and grab the rat out from our arms? Thats impossible. I for one do take safetly precautions to. I have a harness and leash. So for whatever reason Latte or Cookie decide to go balistic and jump out of my arms shes attached to me. Or if I drop one of them, they are attached to me. And dogs, wow. Yeah, sure if people have their rats on the ground (they really shouldn't!) a dog could run up and grab but... rat owners aren't completely unaware of our surroundings as some of you seem to think. We could see if a dog was running up to us and pick up or rat. Also, if stupid dog owners are dumb enough to have such and untrained dog that runs up to people and might jump up and grab the rat out of our hands, we could tell the authorities.
Diseases, pestisides, and poison oak and ivy. Lol. Why wouuld there be poison oak or poison ivy on a sidewalk?! We shouldn't let our ratties on the ground so how are they supposed to get diseases or prestiside poisoning? SQ really, you are going way off the rail thinking of the most outlandish reason. How would a weasel just run up to us and grab our rats? Plus, wealsels aren't even that big, most probably smaller then our pet rats.
Also, who goes on walks with their precious rats in a climate hot enough that they could get heatstroke? Heatstroke doesn't just happen silently and your rat is alive and perky one second and dead the next. While heatstroke is dangerous and I'm not saying it takes several hours to kill, but if anything is having a heatstroke, it's noticeable.
Snakes simply cannot grab a rat that is on a humans shoulder or in their arms. Don't let your rats on the ground.
And if anyone referes to the kid's mouse that got snatched by a hawk. That mouse was alone ON TOP OF ITS CAGE. Not in anyones hands!
Hawks, Osprey, Eagles, Crows, ect. Will not grab anything out of a humans hands. Not even a tasty little morsel. Humans are simply to large and powerful. Birds will not risk their life for something soo small inless perhaps they are literally starving to death. That is the most outlandish thing I've ever heard.
 

SQ

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LatteTheRat unfortunately you are not as knowledgeable as you believe you are
There are many dangers. Things do happen and have happened despite what you think.

Taking rats outside or with you places means causing them stress (stress causes illness) and risking their lives
It is important for people to be aware of this so they can hopefully make decisions based on the best interest of their pets
 

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