Information about Animal Adoption

Before deciding to adopt a laboratory animal, please read the following information and consider carefully whether you are willing and able to be responsible for the care of the animal.

If you decide to adopt a laboratory animal, you will be asked to comply with the following Animal Adoption Agreement:


I accept the adoption of the animal described above, and I agree to each of the following:

  1. Reason for Adoption. I agree that this animal is to be a pet for my immediate family and myself.
  2. Condition of Animal. I accept this animal in its present condition. I understand that there are no expressed or implied guarantees relative to the health or temperament of the animal.
  3. Responsibility for Animal. I assume all responsibility of owning, possessing and caring for this animal and understand that it can neither be returned to the Psychology Department nor housed temporarily or permanently in the Psychology/Neuroscience Vivarium for any reason. I also understand that this animal cannot be sold, given away, released into the wild, or otherwise released from my care unless extreme circumstances require it. If the animal must be released from my care, I will make every attempt to secure a satisfactory home environment for it.
  4. Care of Animal. I already know how to care for this animal, or I will learn about how to care for this animal. I will take care of the animal in a manner that is considered appropriate for a pet of this species.
  5. Assumption of Risk. I agree to hold harmless from liability the Psychology Department or its agents and Westmont College or its agents, for any claim that may arise from the adoption of the animal.
  6. Acknowledgment. I have read this Animal Adoption Agreement and fully understand its terms. I voluntarily sign this Agreement with full knowledge of its significance.

Equipment and Supplies Required for Care of Animal (available at pet stores or on the Web)

You will also need to prepare for the care of your animal. Before taking him home with you, acquire the proper equipment to house, feed, water, and entertain your animal.

Equipment Needed:

  • Secure cage or other ventilated environment for animal with latched opening
  • Metal or glass water bowl or bottle with sipper tube
  • Metal or glass container for food


  • Bedding
  • Rat or Rodent Chow

Toys (running wheel, tunnels, plastic figures, metal can lids, etc.)

Information about Caring for Rats

You should also have access to information about caring for rats--types of cages, food, bedding, and toys that are good for your rat--as well as information about keeping your rat healthy or how to tell if he is ill. Information is available on the Web. The following are some links that are helpful. You can also find your own sites by searching on "rat care."

Rat Care Articles by Robyn Arthur (2002)

Providing a Home for a Rat (Merck Manual)

Rat Care (ASPCA)

Pet Rat Care Information

In addition, there are affordable, printed resources available. The following books (among others) can be purchased at, for instance:

Ducommun, Debbie (2002). Rats: Complete Care Guide. Bowtie Press. Author is a veterinary technician with a degree in animal behavior.

Cardinal, Ginger (1997). The Rat : An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet. Howell Book House. Author is a judge for the American Rat, Mouse and Hamster Society.

Himsel Daly, Carol (2002). Rats (2nd ed.). Barrons Educational Series.

Somerville, Barbara, & Bucsis, Gerry. (2000). Training your Pet Rat. Barrons Educational Series.

Before Picking Up Animal from Psychology/Neuroscience Vivarium:

You must bring a secure container in which to transport the animal. It should be made of metal or plastic and have adequate ventilation. (For short trips, a heavy cardboard box with adequate ventilation is acceptable).

Spread 3/8" to 3/4" bedding in the bottom of the container to absorb urine or water.

If the trip is more than one hour, you should bring a suitable water container.

If the trip is more than one day, you should also bring a suitable food container with food.

If you will be flying with the animal, contact the airline beforehand to find out their policies and requirements for traveling with animals (acceptable containers; whether reservations are required, etc.).

If you want to submit a request to adopt a lab animal, download an Adoption Agreement Form to complete and turn in to your instructor (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Adapted from:

ANIMAL ADOPTION AGREEMENT including WAIVER AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS in use by the Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin System on behalf of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

ANIMAL ADOPTION RECORD in use by the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

Laboratory Research Animal Policy in use by the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

Laboratory Animal Adoption Program in use by the Division of Comparative Medicine, University of South Florida

Rev. 08/23/2004