The Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) recently coordinated a substantial rescue effort involving 158 baby rats discovered behind a Marana grocery store.

The rescue operation, conducted in collaboration with Town of Marana Animal Services officers, aimed to address the fragile condition of the young animals.

Upon arrival at HSSA facilities, the baby rats faced significant health challenges, with six found deceased and two requiring humane euthanasia due to their poor condition.

The HSSA team promptly initiated intensive care protocols, including syringe feeding, daily health assessments, and bi-weekly weight monitoring, to support the surviving rats.

Karen Hollish, Chief Development Officer at HSSA, highlighted the extensive care efforts undertaken by the organization.

“Our staff members have been dedicated to providing round-the-clock care, including taking some of the rats home for specialized attention,” she said.

Despite diligent care, further losses were incurred, with 16 additional rats succumbing to their fragile state. However, HSSA remains committed to providing the best possible care for the remaining rats.

Community support has played a crucial role in the rescue operation, with Marana Animal Services contributing resources to create rat habitats, and partnerships formed with organizations such as Pima Community College’s veterinary technician program and Dr. Walter Merker, DVM, from Orange Grove Animal Hospital.

In an interview with KGUN 9’s Eddie Celaya, Hollish provided insights into the unique characteristics of pet rats and emphasized the importance of adopting them in pairs or trios to meet their social needs.

As the baby rats approach readiness for adoption, HSSA encourages prospective adopters to undergo a thorough adoption process to ensure the rats are placed in suitable homes.

The HSSA’s response underscores its commitment to animal welfare and the vital role of community support in such rescue efforts. For those interested in fostering, donating, or adopting, HSSA welcomes contributions to support its ongoing mission.