Q: What do you do?
A: We take in rats and mice 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 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: 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: 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 use The Unusual Pet Vets Jindalee clinic! Rats are exotics animals, and in Australia vets aren't taught how to care for them by default, so seek a specialised exotics vet if you can.
Q: Oh my gosh, how do you afford it?
A: Since 2017 the rescue has mostly been funded out of pocket by Rachie and Chris, but is slowly making the vital transition into being self funded! As we moved into 2019 we began to have increasing contributions from our growing community and have been lucky enough to have several companies working with us, such as Digital8 who donated our website development! Currently donations make up a large portion of our resources, whether monetary or often not, reselling cages and accessories which come in with surrenders helps, as does the sale of hammocks sewn by our volunteers. Adoption fees contribute a small amount. Moving into 2020 with the shift into a proper charity, we have goals to work with sponsors, businesses and larger organisations, and to expand sales of hammocks and rescue merch.
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 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 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 email@example.com