A woman in St. Petersburg, Florida has hundreds of rodents running around in her home. She considers these rats family but admits they have taken over. With nearly 500 rodents occupying every room of the house located on 10th Avenue South, Florine Brown has come to understand she has a problem.
The SPCA has estimated there are anywhere from 300 to 500 rats living with the 29-year-old woman. She started out with just a handful of rats for pets about two years ago, but some escaped. The remaining rodents began to multiply and before she knew it a few turned into hundreds. Brown reached out to the SPCA for assistance a year ago, but they could not handle all of the rodents and their owner did not have the heart to fumigate. Brown said:
I want to save them, everyone hates them but I just want to give them love. Everyone says bad things about rats and I have never been sick or had any diseases or anything.
Now Brown’s house is filled with feces from the rodents and the odor has taken over. She does not know what to do. Ridding her home of the pets is easier said than done; she would like to find a way to humanely trap and remove them without bringing any harm to the rodents she considers family.
Brown is not alone in her love of rats. According to a woman named Laura, who runs Northern Lights Rattery, these rodents make really good pets. This company is a small rattery based in Wick, Northern Scotland. Laura has an entire site dedicated to the care, pros and cons, responsibilities and everything necessary for people to consider before acquiring these animals as pets.
The first thing Brown missed in this lesson is rats need to live in wire cages with at least two square feet of space per rat. They are very social so they require at least one hour of free-range play outside of the cage. Laura added:
Rats are very destructive, they will chew wires, curtains, bedding, carpets and furniture if given half a chance. They are also territorial and will “scent mark” their owner and their stuff when they are out of the cage. If you do not like the idea of rats peeing on you, then do not get rats!
According to Laura’s website, rats are very intelligent and can learn to follow orders such as use a litter tray and perform tricks. They each have a distinctive personality and are very friendly, said Laura. When they see their owner they climb the cage in excitement begging to come out. Even when they have the entire room to roam around in they still spend a great deal of time just climbing all over their owner. Laura added:
When I sit on the floor with mine during their free-range time they will climb all over me, on my head, shoulders and even in my clothes.
According to Northern Lights Rattery rats have a short lifespan of two to three years. Just like other animals they can suffer from a number of different ailments which can shorten their years such as respiratory problems and tumors. When they are not healthy they can rack up a large amount of money in vet bills.
Laura seems to understand how Brown feels. The rat owner stated she could not see herself without them; their friendly and mischievous little personalities have won her over. Florine Brown will no doubt miss these rodents immensely if she ever gets the courage to rid her home of these pets she considers family. They have taken over and she is seeking help to eliminate them from her home while saving their lives.
by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Main Photo Credit: Fox 13
Featured Photo Credit: Flickr Amanderson2