Julia Rentsch, Reporter-Herald
Two of about 80 pet rats rescued from Fort Collins natural areas Thursday and Friday climb the bars of their cage Friday. Though some of the rats spent a night outdoors in frigid weather, the majority seem healthy and energetic.
LOVELAND — The Larimer Humane Society in Loveland became the beneficiary of more than 80 domesticated rats Friday after animal control officers rescued the rodents from two Fort Collins natural areas.
A concerned citizen called the Larimer Humane Society on Thursday evening to report about 30 apparently tame rats at the North Shields Ponds Natural Area in Fort Collins, officials said.
Humane Society officers rescued some of the rats Thursday, and then another call came in Friday morning that echoed the concerns of the first: The caller had found dozens of friendly rats at Riverbend Ponds Natural Area, about six miles away from the first location.
The rats ran up to passersby and begged for food, even climbing up a person’s leg, said Jason Downs, one of the animal protection and control officers who responded to the calls.
“They were cold, and they wanted to eat,” Downs said.
Downs said he used some peanut butter cookies his children had made for him to lure the rats out of the bushes. It took officers about an hour to round up the rats with nets and by grabbing them by the tails (“politely,” Downs said).