The Ontario SPCA has teamed up with PetSmart for an adopt-a-thon for close to six hundred rescued domestic rats.

Gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs are the typical pets, popular with children. But the Ontario SPCA and PetSmart say rats can be cute and cuddly too.

“Super intelligent, super social, very loving, says Michael Bernhardt from the Barrie PetSmart. “You can teach them tricks, they respond to their names. Great first pets for boys or girls.”

In December the SPCA removed almost 600 pet rats from a North Bay Apartment. The rats were distributed to SPCA locations across the province.

“After spending some time checking them all out we are definitely getting them up for adoption,” says Kallie Milleman with the Ontario SPCA.

The Pet Smart in Barrie is one of fifteen locations that have rats ready to go to new homes. Families are encouraged to adopt more than one because they are highly social animals.  It is also recommended to keep males and females separate.

“They are fine if you have multiple boys together or multiple girls together. You definitely don't want to mix them,” says Bernhardt.

So far, nine rats have been adopted from the Barrie location. The hope is to find homes for fifty rats over the next few weeks.