AusRFS Rescue Service
The AusRFS takes its animal welfare role very seriously and our Rescue Service is one of the most important aspects of our Society.
Because we promote rats as pets, we believe we also have a responsibility to provide a safety net for pet rats if things go wrong.
To date we have taken in & rehomed over 9,600 rats.
The usual average is around 300 per year,
some years we go well above that number.
Our Rescue Service is totally funded by donations and fundraising.
Where do the rescue rats come from?
Unfortunately, like cats and dogs, pet rats can end up without a home for a variety of reasons and through no fault of their own. They can be lost or abandoned, their owners might surrender them because they are no longer able to care for them or because they simply don’t want them anymore.
Changes in family circumstances and owners moving house are the most common reasons for surrender. We also get a lot of calls for help from people who have bought female rats from a pet shop only to discover that the rat was already pregnant.
The majority are surrendered directly to us by their owners, but many animal shelters in Victoria, also pass on pet rats to us for rehoming.
How does the Rescue Service Operate?
All rats that come into the Rescue Service undergo a basic health check and parasite treatment and receive medical treatment if necessary. Then they are either housed with our Rescue Service Co-ordinator or fostered by club members for a while so their health and personality can be assessed, and to be sure that females are not pregnant, before being offered for adoption.
What sorts of rats are available?
We usually have variety of rats, but it’s the nature of rescue that numbers fluctuate and the ages, sexes, personalities & colours available varies.
Since pregnant or nursing females are frequently surrendered, we often have babies which have either come to us at a very young age or been born in our care. But we also have older rats. These lovely oldies still have a lot of love to give and deserve a second chance of a forever home.
We always do our best to find homes for all our wards, but rats are only ever adopted into homes that are appropriate to the particular rat and visa versa. If we don’t have a rat that is suitable, the person can be placed on a waiting list, as things can change from day to day.
Adopting from the AusRFS Rescue Service
All rats are adopted directly from the AusRFS, never via a third party. New owners complete an adoption agreement and receive full care information and ongoing support. The small adoption fee goes back to fund future rescues. We have a full return policy for the life of all rats adopted from us.
Do rescue rats make good pets?
Yes ! Rats are very adaptable and naturally bonded to humans, even those that have been abandoned or come from bad situations, settle into their new homes very easily. Some owners even say that rescues are more loving, and seem to be grateful for their new life. The majority of rats brought to AusRFS displays to meet and greet with the public are rescues that our members have adopted. Rescues also win just as many prizes at rat shows as those from top breeders. In fact the winners of the 2015 Rat of the Year Awards in both Junior & Senior Divisions were adopted from our Rescue Service.
Unfortunate pasts & happy endings
Over the years we have saved rats from some terrible situations. Left abandoned in their cages with no food or water, in flats after their owners have moved out, put out on the nature strip for hard rubbish collection, in a rubbish skip, in a box on a park bench in over 40o heat and left out in the cold & rain.
On a few occasions we have been called on to take in large groups from animal hoarders. Either after the people concerned have realised that the situation has got out of hand, or after the animals have been seized by the authorities. The three largest groups consisted 300, 147 and 119 rats varying in ages from newborn to elderly.
Dealing with these large groups is a big stretch on the society’s financial resources as well as involving a lot of work, time and emotional commitment by our members who provide special care, socialisation and training where needed. But we always put the welfare of the rats first and each is treated as an individual - that’s what the AusRFS is all about.
RESCUES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
The rats available for adoption changes from day to day as rats come into rescue and others are adopted.
Some of babies from the group of 147
rescued from an animal hoarder,
where they had been kept in horrific conditions.
Some of the babies from the photo above,
all grown up and happy in their forever homes.
Above: Bolt & Scrat.
HOW TO ADOPT
Julie McInnes, AusRFS Rescue Service Co-ordinator
Via email to
or by phone on 0414 864 278.
If there is no answer then please send a text
with your phone number and name and Julie will get back to you asap.
The information required to find your perfect match:
• Phone number
• How many rats you were thinking of adopting?
• Male or female, approxiate age.
• Do you need the rat to be desexed?
• When were you thinking of adopting?
• If the rat is for a child – how old are they?
• Will these be your first rats? If not - what experience you have with rats.
• If you currently have rats – what do you have.
• Do you have a cage? If so what sort/size. If possible please send a photo of your cage.
(If you don’t have a cage, and can give advice on cages, we also have a few cages available for purchase. If you are new to rats then please contact the AusRFS before purchasing.)
Please let us know anything else that might be helpful.
Julie is located in Cranbourne but we can often make arrangements to drop rats off to their new homes if distance is an issue.
$50 desexed male
$60 desexed female
(The AusRFS subsidizes the cost of desexing our rescues)
Donations of any amount are always gratefully received.
Any money donated to the AusRFS goes into our Rescue Service account to be used solely for food, housing and medical treatment for the wards of our Rescue Service.