Your Pet Rat Escaped? Here’s What To Do!

Your pet rat escaped? Don’t worry, everything’s gonna be fine. Pet rats are sneaky little creatures and will take any occasion to escape. It’s normal, they’re curious and want to explore new places. But we’ll help you get your rodent friend back home!

The best way to bring your pet rat back is by trying to lure them with some treats and along with a good hiding spot. They’ll smell the treat and will also welcome a dark and safe place. Once they’re lured, bring them back home!

We’ll be going over some more tips and ways to get your pet rat back home in much more detail. More than that, we also have some ideas to prevent your rodent friends from escaping again. So let’s get to it!

Catching A Pet Rat That Escaped

Most of the time, the space our girls have to walk around is pretty limited. They have a makeshift bridge that goes from their cage to the sofa. We have 2 sofas in our office, so that’s all the space they have to play, sleep and walk around.

Still, our girls manage to get into a place we thought was impossible to. One day, one of the girls simply disappeared after cleaning their cage.

Looked everywhere and nothing!

Now, as I said, they have two whole sofas to roam. The sofas are a bit high and they’re not bold enough to climb down of them. But hey, still we looked everywhere. And still nothing!

We even went through the trouble of looking for her in the rest of the house, since the door was open. In the end, we found her underneath the sofa! Turns out she figured out a way into the sofa leading to the floor!

So while we were crazy looking for dear Freya, she was having fun exploring the floor beneath the sofa and its surroundings.

Pet rat being grabbed by owner
Here’s when we caught our own rat escapee!

Now we learned a few things from this experience and I’m more than happy to share them with you!

The first thing you should do is: Keep calm! Don’t start moving things around and running through the house.

We got very alarmed and I think this might’ve scared Freya at the time. It was the first time such a thing happened and we were afraid she would start chewing on cables, ending up hurting herself.

We’re pretty sure she was having fun and just calmly roaming about until we started freaking out.

Now after taking a deep breath, let’s see a few more steps and tips to bring your pet rats back into they’re cage!

Dim Your Lights

Or turn them off entirely, only leaving a lamp or two! If this happened during the day, close the blinds.

Pet rats don’t like bright lights, so they’ll try to hide from it. They’ll try to hide underneath furniture, other darker places and even find a hole in the wall you didn’t even know existed!

By darkening the room, they’ll be more comfortable to leave a hiding place and roam about more easily. This way you can find them and put your sneaky friends back in their home.

While doing all this, it’s also important to close the doors of the room they’ve escaped. It’s unlikely that your pet rat will leave the room to another since they’ll try to find a hidden spot.

This way they won’t have another place to go, and so it’s a smaller space for them to feel more at ease.

Put Their Cage On The Floor

If you have their cage on top of some kind of support stand, bring it closer to the floor, with the door opened.

If they’ve been at your home for some time now, the cage should be a familiar place and they’ll sniff it out and go back to it sooner or later. After all, that’s where the food, water, and bed is so they’ll feel the necessity of their home!

Try to not stand near it, nor move a lot throughout the room. Even if they’re already bonded to you, chances are your pet rat is scared of their surroundings. Extra movement and noise will make them scurry away even more.

The best to do is to stand still in some corner, at your desk, sofa, whatever is closest. Then wait it out, instead of actively looking for them.

Most of the times, that’ll only make them run further away from you!

Leave their cage in an accessible spot, so they can come back to it easily. If you suspect their hiding place, put the cage near that spot, so it’s easier for them to come back!

Lure Them With A Treat

If you do wish to try and call them to you, then having some food is the best way to go! Any animal will feel more attempted to leave their “safe” space if there’s food involved.

This works better if you already know where they’re hiding. Instead of grabbing them (which will be hard), try to make them come for you with their favorite treat.

In the case that you just brought your new rodent friends home and don’t know yet what their favorite treat is, here are some suggestions:

  • A piece of apple or other fruit like grapes
  • Dry treats proper for pet rats like Yogies or Baked Apples from Kaytee both on Amazon
  • Small bits of cooked sweet potato, pasta, rice, and even eggs
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cooked veggies

If the treat you’re using has some kind of smell, that really helps, since they’ll follow that. So that’s why I highly recommend dry treats like the ones mentioned or cooked food that is safe for pet rats.

Now that you have your delicious treat ready, it’s time to lure them. Crouch down near them, stick your hand out and call them.

Let your pet rat come to you and not the other way around. Once they’re close enough and feel safe, it’s time to bring them back home!

You can also just leave a small plate with the treat and wait for them to come if they’re still not too used to you. This might make it easier for them to leave their hiding spot.

Create A Hiding Spot For Them

If you have some kind of pod like the Lixit Critter Space Pod (link to Amazon), bring it to the floor. If you don’t have an igloo or pod, you can always use a cardboard box, these are always handy!

Pet rat relaxing in a hammock
Pet Rats feel safe in hiding spots!

Fill the pod or box with bedding or accessories with your pet rats’ scent. Clothing is usually a good thing to add here if you tend to use it as bedding.

If not, simply grab some of the cleaner bedding from the cage into the box.

Bring some water and food close to this temporary enclosure as well. This will make it feel familiar to the pet rat and they’ll feel tempted into coming close.

A warm and familiar place, with food and water, is better than some cold hiding place they found on the floor!

Now, just as with the options mentioned above, let them come and feel secure. Once they’re settled, you can bring the box or pod back into the cage!

Keep An Eye Out For Droppings

Even if your pet rats are already litter trained, they’ll be most likely scared. This means they’ll leave a trail of their droppings.

We always know when our girls are in a stressful situation. They never left lots of droppings around unless when they were scared.

Lookup for droppings. If you find some, your rodent friend is more likely to be hidden nearby!

Relax And Take A Deep Breath

It doesn’t happen just to you. Everyone had this kind of experience at least once in their lives. Accidents happen.

We get distracted for a second and they take the chance. It’s normal! Pet rats are very curious and want to explore new places all the time.

So the best thing to do is to calm down, prepare a good place for them to come back to and they’ll be back safe and sound!

They need food, water and a comfortable place to live, so your rodent friends will want to go back to that safety.

It’s always better to keep calm and collected so that they also feel safe to come back to you. If we’re nervous, walk around the house, moving furniture and everything around that will be stressful for them too!

You’ve got this!

Keeping Your Pet Rat Cage Safe And Escape-Proofed

Alright so your pet rat escaped and you want to be sure it doesn’t happen again! Maybe it hasn’t happened to you yet, but you want to avoid that from happening.

So here are some tips to keep the cage safe and so that your pet rat doesn’t escape and goes on an adventure without you knowing:

  • Be sure your pet rats can’t fit through the cage bars: this is especially important when they’re young since they’re smaller. Most pet rat cages have too much space between bars and your pet rat will very easily pass through it. A good rule of thumb is that if their head fits, the rest of the body will too! For that reason, I usually recommend getting some extra Grid Storage Shelves or Hardware Cloth, both on Amazon, so they can’t pass through the bars.
  • If you open their cage be sure you’re present at all times: This is especially important if you don’t have a limited perimeter where they can walk and play in. But if you want to let your pet rats have some freedom, it’s important to always be vigilant. Pet rats are really smart and will find ways to escape and explore new places!
  • Set up a time and a playground space: Even if they’re cage is big, it’s important to let them get out and play in an open space. Set up a playground for them and let them go there for about an hour or so. Be sure they can always go back to their cage anytime they feel the need to though!
  • Do you have other pets? If you have other pets at home, try to keep them in different divisions of the house. It’s a good idea to have them meet each other. Pet rats get along perfectly with other animals such as dogs and cats. But these meetings should be gradual and always in a safe place, under your supervision. Your pet rats might get scared and will try to escape. However, if they’re with you and in a limited space, they can’t go far and you can get them back in their cage, safely!
  • Keep doors and windows closed. If you’re thinking of opening their cage, either to do something or to just them leave for some time, be sure to have any door of the room or even furniture closed. This also goes for windows, especially if they can be reached by your pet rats. If they escape, they can’t leave the room. This way you only need to search for a room instead of the whole house!

Alright, these are the most important things to have in mind. I think it’s always a good idea to keep your pet rats in the same room you’ll be spending most of your time. For us is our office, but for you, it could be a living room or even the kitchen!

If they’re in the same space as us you can always have an eye on our rodent friends. Not only that, but they also enjoy our company and we enjoy theirs.

Being in the same room will help create a bond between you and your pet rats, so I highly recommend it!

And remember, even if your pet rat manages to escape, everything’s gonna be alright! Just give them the necessary tools to be back home and help them out.

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