This Animal Welfare Foundation two-part video tutorial is from expert veterinary staff demonstrating the correct procedures for handling small mammals for clinical examination and medication. Its aim is to show that the primary consideration should be for the the welfare of the animal. This video guide will show you practical animal handling for a rat.
The techniques used to handle small mammals vary slightly with each species, however many of the general principles are the same. When handling all small mammals, a firm but gentle approach is advisable. This tutorial will outline recommended techniques for handling rats. The adoption of these techniques will help to minimize stress for the animals and help reduce the risk of bite injuries to the handler.
It is important that animals are aware of the handler's presence before attempting to restrain them, particularly if the animal is initially asleep. This will reduce stress for the animal and help to avoid bite injuries.
Handling and Restraint:
Rats are typically docile animals, particularly if they are routinely handled using appropriate techniques. Bites from rats are uncommon and will typically only occur if the animal is stressed or in pain. To initially restrain a rat, the handler should gently grasp it around the shoulders.
The handler's thumb can then be placed under the rat's mandible, to prevent bites, and the rat's hindlimbs can be supported with the other hand. Restraint should be firm but not too tight as this will impede the animal's respiration.
The first video clip shows the correct methods for handling and restraint in the rat.
Handling for Injection:
The second video clip shows the correct method for subcutaneous injections in rats.
As with gerbils and hamsters, intraperitoneal injections may be made into caudal half of the abdomen with the needle directed along the line of the hind limb.
These videos were made by the AHWLA (Assessing the Health and Welfare of Laborator