Catching a Rat on the Loose|
Sometimes you can take every possible precaution and still have a rat escape. This can be a very scary experience for both the rat and the care giver.
To be helpful in case this situation arises, we recommend that you teach all your rats to come to the sound of their name. (Learn how to do this by going to the "Reviews" section of this site.)
Once You've Discovered the Rat is Missing...
Lock up any other animals in the house that might cause your rat harm, into the bathroom, after you've checked it to make sure your rat is not in there.
Tell everyone who lives in the house to not wear shoes, and to be highly cautious when walking, sitting, or closing doors.
Do not let anyone sit on any furniture that your rat could have climbed into, such as couches, upholstered chairs, etc..., because your rat could get crushed if they are in there.
Be cautious when opening drawers. Your rat could be in the inner workings and again be hurt or crushed.
Keep the lights dim. Your rat will feel more comfortable coming out into the open in a dimly lit room.
Keep all the doors and windows of the house shut so that wherever your rat is, they stay contained in that area.
Turn off any thing that makes noise - TV, radio, kids... You want the house to be silent so that you can hear your rat moving around.
If it is during the day your rat will probably seek out a warm dark place to sleep. Rats are more active at night, so if you can't find them during the day, look again at night.
If you know the room your rat is loose in, get a flashlight and start searching for them from one end of the room to the other. Search everywhere you think they might be, and then search everywhere you wouldn't think they could possibly be. Every nook and cranny. Rats are good climbers, so don't forget to check high up places too. Pause often to listen for any movement from your rat. They love getting inside of furniture, under the fridge (or in the fridge pan underneath), in laundry piles, and any place which is cozy, dark, and warm. Bring in a treat container that they know the sound of and shake it, calling their name. It might help, but most rats are too scared to be interested in a treat when they are loose.
If you don't know what room your rat is in, do the above in every single room, closing doors behind you.
Once you find your rat, they might be too scared to come out of their hiding place. Use a dark tube, box, hiding den, or bag and try and coax your rat out into it. Put some of their bedding from their cage in there, and some of their favorite treats. You want it to be more inviting then the place they are hiding in. It could take some time before they come out so be patient. If and when the rat finally does come out into your tube/box/bag, be careful picking it up, because the movement might scare your rat and they might try and jump out falling to the floor. Cover up the openings before picking it up.
If you can't coax your rat out, try setting up a little home next to their hiding place using a travel cage or small box. Put food and water in the box/cage and litter from the rat's cage and cover it with towels if necessary to make the place dark. You want it to be an inviting, little, familiar home that will appeal to your rat. Hopefully they will crawl into the home and go to sleep.
If you don't know what room your rat is in, you can try setting up these little homes for them in several rooms and check them periodically to see if you can catch your rat sleeping in one.
If you have tried everything and still can't find or coax your rat out, then the only thing left to do is get some live traps and bait them with some yummy treats.
When you eventually find your rat, they will be scared, so put them right back in their normal home and let them settle down in there for several hours - to a day. This will help calm your rat and let them feel safe again.