Bonding, Bruxing, Boggling

At just over a year old my rats have a strong bond with each other. No one seems to be left out and they are extremely caring towards each other. If one of the boys (who ever it is) has to go to the vets, when he arrives home, his cage mates run fondly to great him and begin to gently groom him. They seem to sense that he has had a bit of an ordeal. There are a few scuffles (to reinforce the hierarchy), on a regular basis, but it looks like play most of the time, and none of the rats have suffered any real injuries from it, except for a minor nick on Shy-Shy’s back, which could equally have been a scratch from his own claw.

Towards us, they are now much more at ease, and will positively race to me or Hannah if we call to them individually (probably expecting a treat or two!). They are all so trusting they will sit on our laps and eat treats, or run up my arm to the haven that is mum’s shoulder. To show us we are “accepted” members of their clan, they will give our hands a quick lick, and now and again Shy-Shy particularly will “groom” our fingers. Rocky likes to give my ear a light chew (not a bite!), and Shy-Shy’s favourite place to nibble is the tip of your nose! Of course they know their own names, and behave like little enthusiastic puppies sometimes, and playful kittens at others!

Stripe is always the first at the top of the cage, waiting to come out and “greet” me in his own ratty way. He grinds his jaws together, making a quick che che che sound, which is his way of showing excitement. It’s called bruxing and is often followed by an odd rapid bulging or boggling in and out of the eyes. It’s the weirdest thing! All the boys brux when it’s time to come out and play, but Stripe and Pip are the only two I’ve seen “boggling”. This morning I was cleaning out their cage while the boys slept in a tank. When it was time to wake them Maya and I stroked them gently, and Pip and Stripe bruxed and boggled. Shy-Shy was a bit disgruntled to be woken and made annoyed squeaks at us! He was soon placated with a few pieces of grape though!

Another sign that the rats are happy and excited is the funny little “hops” and “skips” they make when they’re running about. This sometimes turns into chasing and scuffles, and hyper rats!
All in all, I think we’re very lucky to have such a chilled group of rats that seem to genuinely look out for each other, and they don’t seem to think their human family are that bad either!

Stripe grooming Shy-Shy

Shy-Shy in sheer bliss just before succombing to a deep sleep

“Don’t worry buddy, your yoggies are coming soon”

Today my lovely rats have been mostly eating curly kale and grapes.

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3 Responses to “Bonding, Bruxing, Boggling”

  1. i reallly really really love rats and its so cool to read other people’s love and appreciation for rats and the cute things theyi do. i want more time to be with my rat. his name is jervis and he is a dumbo rat.

  2. i agree with kathy. it’s so great to read stories of other happy rattie familys. i have a tight knit family of 5 girls who all definitely treat me as part of the colony. it’s a wonderful feeling. today one of my oldest three boggled for the first time and it was so exciting to see how happy and content she was. :D

  3. Yes, it amazing how quickly you become attached to them.
    I’ve recently found out Rocky has a tumour, and he may only have a few weeks left with us, and I didn’t realise how hard it would hit me. His brothers seem to be making an extra fuss of him at the moment, so maybe they sense he is not feeling so well. I’m giving him all his favourite treats and he gets the first cuddle when I open the cage!

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