Q: Is the rescue accessible?
A: The rescue is wheelchair/mobility aid accessible. The driveway is short and smooth (concrete) up a small hill, there is street parking available and if needed you can use the driveway to unload mobility equiptment. There is a toilet located onsite, unfortunately it is not an accessible restroom (there is a small step and no handrail) but it's available for all volunteers and visitors. Service animals are welcome, please let us know if you have a service animal attending so we can make sure Nellie (our mental health officer/dog) doesn't bother you, if you are unsure whether your service animal may be reactive to rats please let us know. If you have sensory/social needs that mean attending the rescue out of regular hours when it's quiet makes it safer for you, please let us know so we can accomodate your needs. If you have any acessibility needs that we haven't mentioned here, please let us know, we are committed to having a inclusive space.
Q: What do you do?
A: We take in rats needing homes, get them all happy and healthy with vet care and a lot of love, and then find them permanent homes! We also have a strong focus on educational work, and work with the community to improve the quality of life for rats and mice through education.
Q: Where are you located?
A: Sunnybank Hills, in Brisbane Australia!
Q: When and how can I come and visit?
A: As the rescue is also the home of Rachie and Chris, visits are by appointment only, and the best day to visit is Saturday! Please get in touch by email to arrange your visit even if you've been here before, as a matter of safety, privacy and respect.
Q: What days are you open?
A: The best time for the public to visit is Saturdays 9-4 by appointment, or the same hours on Tuesdays for those who work weekends.
Monday: CLOSED (Day off - no visitors please, we're resting)
Tuesday: OPEN to public 9am - 4pm for Volunteer Day (By appointment)
Wednesday: CLOSED (Emergency visits negotiable if we're working on site that day)
Thursday: CLOSED (Day off - no visitors please, we're resting)
Friday: OPEN to volunteers 9am - 4pm for Volunteer Day (Foster visits encouraged)
Saturday: OPEN to public 9am - 4pm for Open Day (By appointment)
Sunday: CLOSED (We'll be working on or off site, often at a rodent show or hosting a rescue event)
Q: Oh my gosh, how do you afford it?
A: When the rescue started in 2017 it was primarily funded out of pocket by Rachie and Chris. The transition into being self funded started picking up speed in 2019 as we built an incredibly supportive community around us and became lucky enough to have several companies working with us. Community donations make up the largest part of our resources, both monetary and not.
In the last two years we have made even more incredible community relationships and received sponsorships from some fantastic companies which has helped us immensely (See a list of our partners and sponsors here). Our awesome team of volunteers resell cages and accessories that come in with surrenders and they sew and sell hammocks. We also work with some amazing artist contributors who create and sell art and merchandise both onsite and online.
We are 100% volunteer run so every dollar we receive goes directly to the care of our residents.
As of 2022 we have received deductible gift recipient endorsement which means eligible donations to our rescue can be claimed as part of your annual tax return! We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of our vollies, sponsors, partners, and community members.
Q: Can I claim donations on my tax return?
A: Yes! We are a registered charity with deductible gift recipient endorsement, this means eligible donations to our rescue can be claimed as part of your annual tax return! Please send any queries to email@example.com
Q: What are your euthanasia policies? Are you a no-kill shelter?
A: Euthanasia in a rescue should only ever be done for quality of life purposes. We promise to NEVER euthanise an animal for lack of space or for being 'unadoptable', we never have and we never will. Our euthanasia criteria are:
For health: Only when an animal has or is approaching low quality of life and all viable treatment options have been exhausted.
For temperament: Only when an animal has shown to be so temperamentally unstable and unhappy that there is no way to maintain an acceptable quality of life without endangering other rats or human carers.
Q: How do you cope with caring for so many old rats? Aren't the constant losses crushing?
A: It never gets easier to lose an animal, all you can do is get better at understanding and coping with it. Some rats certainly hit harder than others, often the most difficult are the enexpected losses, the long term permanent residents, or new arrivals dying from poor living conditions that we can't save. In a practical sense, having an experienced social worker on the team is an unbelievably valuable thing, keeping the mental health of our team in check and helping talk us through difficult losses. Personally (it's Rachie speaking here) I always ask myself the same thing my Dad used to ask me as a young girl when I'd lose a pet mouse: "Did you do your best every day to give them a good life? Well then, they're a lucky animal to have had you. Miss them, be sad if you need to, but you don't have anything to regret."
Q: Which vet do you use?
A: We work with several wonderful vets!
The team at The Unusual Pet Vets Jindalee clinic, who are a specialist exotic clinic.
Michelle and her team at Vetkind Arana Hills up on the north side.
Teresa Stock, who is a home call vet and euthanasia specialist. (Unfortunately for the public, Teresa is a busy full-time mum and not currently taking new clients, and we’re so grateful that she takes so much time to help the rescue.)
Q: Do we freight?
A: No we don't unfortunately! Being able to support you and your ratties for as long as it's needed is important to us. Sometimes life throws a curveball so bad that people literally can't care for their pets any more. And rarely, issues arise later in a rat's life with health or temperament that mean they just aren't safe where they are, eg. hormonal aggression arising in a rural area where no vets are able to neuter. We are always happy to recommend places all over Australia, and there are so many other ways to support the rescue from afar.
Q: Help! I need medical advice!
A: Please go to your vet! If you're just looking for more context on a possible issue, try searching RatGuide, which has a lot of helpful information.
Q: Are you pro or anti breeder?
A: The conversation is not black and white, I'd say we're all for breeding when it's done for necessity or the benefit of rats! The reality is that thanks to poor breeding, many rats suffer from genetically poor health, and that's something no rescue can help, only good breeding. So we support ethical, health and temperament focused breeders, and we want to educate unethical ones.
We NEED good, ethical and health/temperament focused breeders because:
Good breeding is the only way to improve genetically based health and therefore better quality of life for our rats. No rescue can help rat genetics other than by educating and being educated.
There are so few rat rescues in Australia. Without ethical breeders, most owners would be forced to buy rats from pet store "puppy mill" situations or feeder breeders who don't select for safe and happy pets. Not the kind of thing we want to encourage.
Rats and mice are an important food source for zoos and native wildlife rehabilitators, as well as reptile owners. Feeder rats are NOT going away whether we like it or not, meaning we need to advocate for good welfare and treatment for the rats WITHIN these systems, not just for our pets. It is more helpful to the rats if we promote and educate ETHICAL, HUMANE feeder producers and push business away from neglectful ones.
What we DON'T NEED, and what is damaging to animal health and welfare:
Backyard breeders throwing rats together for fun and profit - creating animals with nowhere to go.
Ratteries who "breed for the bench", selecting for aesthetic at the EXPENSE of health and temperament for the sake of winning ribbons and accolades. You can select for pretty rats while still prioritising the right things, but creating animals who only exist to be shown is unethical.
Mass production breeders who supply pet stores or the public without good education on selection and low quality control - when profit is the goal, rats aren't held back often or long enough to select against health issues and temperament problems down the line.
Feeder producers who don't treat rats and mice as animals during their lives. All animals should be treated humanely and with good animal welfare no matter what their purpose, and if being used to feed another creature, humanely euthanised with the same regard as any other rat, and NOT sold for live feeding. Good animal welfare can absolutely be achieved on a mass scale, it's just a matter of willingness to do so.
Q: What’s the youngest rat I can adopt?
A: We do not adopt out rats who are younger than 8 weeks old. This allows us to best screen for health and temperament issues and socialise them with adult rats to teach them rattie social skills. We want to give them the very best start in life so we ensure that they are happy, healthy, well socialised, and ready for their furever homes before we adopt them out.
Q: Do you also rescue and rehome mice?
A: Unfortunately we don’t have the capacity to rescue and rehome mice. We focus our attention on making sure we are able to provide the best care we can to rats and that has meant limiting our services.
We have a few suggestions that might help if you are looking to rehome a mouse. The Queensland Rodent Fanciers can sometimes direct you towards people who can help and you could also try a local mouse Facebook group (you’re welcome to copy/paste our adoption application form when screening people who are interested in adopting your mice from you, so you can be more confident they’re going to a good home.) Otherwise we recommend you contact The Animal Welfare League.
Q: What should I feed my rat?
A: Short answer: Go get a fortified rat pellet, Vetafarm Rodent Origins is a safe bet, other safe options include Selective Rat food, and Oxbow Garden Select ONLY for rats over 8 months.
Long answer: A much more detailed breakdown is in the works, keep an eye on the blog!
Q: I’m new to rats, what kind of cage do I need?
A: There are a few factors that go into making a great cage, the size, layout, hides, hammocks, food and water access, and enrichment are just some of the things that are important.
We highly recommend reading this brilliant post from The Liberty Foundation. It is an excellent resource to guide you on setting up a great cage.
As a rescue we also often sell appropriate donated cages as fundraising. Let us know if you would like to purchase a cage when you adopt your new rats and we will do our best to find you a cage that suits your new mischief (or gives extra space to your existing floofs). Getting a great deal AND supporting the rescue in one!
Q: I found a wild rat, will you take them?
A: We are a domestic rat rescue. While you will sometimes see wild rats featured on our socials we do not have the capacity to rehabilitate and house wild rats.
If you find an injured or sick wild animal or abandoned babies, please contact a registered wildlife carer! We have about 60 native rodent species in Australia which need to be identified and cared for by a registered carer, as well as two very prolific invasive rat species and one invasive mouse species which unfortunately can look identical to native rodents as babies. You can also contact you local vet as they may be able to offer assistance and humane euthanasia if required in the case of invasive species.
Unfortunately once hand reared, invasive wildies cannot be released back into the wild - if you hand rear something, be ready to commit to keeping them for 2-4 years!
This section refers to wild rats. Not abandoned domestic animals. If you find domestic rats in need please contact us.
Q: I have other questions, or suggestions for topics to cover!
A: Fantastic! Use the search function to make sure we haven't already tackled it, and then feel free to get in touch via email with the 'contact us' button, or at firstname.lastname@example.org