The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the woman bought the rats from a pet shop in Sandwich to save them from being food for a snake and she contacted the society about three months later when the number of rapidly breeding rats ballooned to 71, the Boston Herald reported Monday.
"She realized she was in over her head, and she drove to Boston," MSPCA spokesman Rob Halpin said.
Halpin said the incident took place only days after a Lawrence man brought in 94 hamsters that resulted from his adopting only two.
The spokesman said the hamsters will likely have better luck finding new homes.
"There are many more homes for hamsters than there are homes for rats. It is a smaller audience of enthusiasts for rats," Halpin said.