One day, a llama runs loose in the foothills. Another day, 80 rats leave tiny footprints in the snow while in search of warmth and human companionship.

This year, apparently, has been the year of domestic animals traipsing through Fort Collins natural areas and keeping rangers and animal control officers busy.

After back-to-back calls from concerned residents last week, Larimer Humane Society animal control officers rescued more than 80 rats that were left at two Fort Collins natural areas.

"This is a pretty novel rescue," Larimer Humane Society spokeswoman Kaylene Weingardt said.

She said the rats likely would have died without the calls and subsequent rescues.

"This is the first time here in my 5 years here," said animal control officer Jason Downs."They're adorable."

His first time rescuing almost 80 rats from the bitter cold. Downs says the used to be someone's pet.

He got the calls last week when someone dumped the rats guys outside in two different Fort Collins locations.

And while you might think, 'So what? They're rats,' The Larimer Humane Society thinks otherwise.

"This individuals who abandoned these rats may be potentially looking at up to a count of animal cruelty per rat," said Weingardt. "Yea, potentially 80 counts of animal cruelty in this case."

Each count could come with a fine of up to $1,000.

The shelter says they have heard from dozens of people who want to adopt the rats, and help find whoever abandoned them.

"We're taking phone calls almost on a daily basis," said Downs.

If you are interested in adopting the rats, you can find out more on the Larimer Humane Society Animal Control website ( or by calling 970-226-3647.