Rat Adoption from the Division of Animal Welfare

At the Division of Animal Welfare at the University of Bern, every now and then we have rats available for adoption. We normally work with these rats for a few months studying play behaviour, learning and emotion, and we would like them to go to a good retirement home afterwards.

Our rats are male Lister-Hooded rats who have been living in stable groups of either 3 or 4 rats. They have experienced extensive handling and are very well used to interacting with people. They are usually very friendly and playful, curious and explorative and love to learn new things (especially if there are treats to be gained!).

Since they have always lived together, we would be happy if they stayed in their groups, and went to someone with enough time and enthusiasm to encourage their inquisitive nature.

If you are interested in adopting or have any questions about our rats, please feel free to contact us (luca.melotti@vetsuisse.unibe.ch). We are keeping a waiting list of potential owners to be contacted as soon as rats are ready to be adopted, so we look forward to hearing from you!

Care of the rats after adoption

You can find the regulations for keeping pet rats under the Swiss legislation on Animal Protection (Federal Law n. 455 and Ordinance n. 455.1) on the Bundesamt für Lebensmittelsicherheit und Veterinärwesen (BLV) website

If you can meet these requirements, we’d be delighted for you to adopt our rats!

On the same webpage you can also download a booklet with helpful guidelines on how to care for pet rats.

The moving from our lab to a new environment may be stressful for the rats (the transport, the new environment). To help minimise the amount of stress, we prefer that our rats are not mixed with other rats, as this can lead to fighting and severe stress for the animals.

If you want to introduce another rat who would otherwise remain singly housed, we suggest that:

  • You introduce the rat gradually (e.g. initially for only a few minutes to increasingly longer periods of time) and in a neutral environment (i.e. not in the home cage) and always under supervision until you are sure they are ok together. If signs of aggression/distress are shown, you should refrain from mixing;
  • If you want to mix males with females, you should arrange for castration of the males before mixing;
  • If you want to mix adult male rats, castration may help reduce aggression.