300-Plus Pet Rats Take Over Florida Woman’s Home

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Dec 12, 2014 in Rat News | Subscribe

It all began in 2012 with five pet rats.

At first, they were good company for Florine Brown,
Tampa Tribune
reported. The four females and one male gave her something to
focus on following the death of her grandfather.

Those rats, however, began to multiply – quickly. The male
impregnated a female and then escaped his cage. It wasn’t long before a female
also got out and the pair began breeding outside the cage.

Fast-forward to 2014 and Brown’s home is overrun,
. It’s estimated some 300 to 500 pet rats have taken over the house,
living in the walls, in rooms – anywhere they’ll fit.

That many rats is too many even for Brown who told
WFLA  she enjoys the pets.

“They’re in every room pretty much around the
house. They’re in the kitchen, they’re in the stairs, they’re in my room,” Brown
told the station. “It got really out of control, but I still wanted to
keep them.”

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The unusual menagerie was discovered when a family member of
Brown’s called local animal rescue groups. SPCA Tampa Bay and the Humane
Society of Pinellas have since both stepped in to help the woman not only
remove, but also save as many of the rats as possible. The hope is to put them
up for adoption and find them new homes. Removing them from the home could take
weeks, officials estimate.

Brown won’t face animal cruelty charges related to the
infestation. As she explained to the Tribune, she’s done the best she can for
them and the animal services agencies seem to agree.

While some might be squeamish at the idea of keeping pet
rats, it’s estimated a half million American households have them, according to
Rat Assistance Teaching
. That organization offers information for those who seek to keep
pet rats and operates with the mission to ensure “domestic rats should be respected
as pets and treated as humanely as any other pet.”

It is currently unclear how soon the rats taken from Brown’s
home will be available for adoption.

Patch file photo

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