Farewell My Lovely Rats

noses

It’s been a few months since my last two lovely boys passed away. It was November 26th and Dublin was getting very feeble and off his food. Jinx took a bad turn during the night, and we were very upset to find him barely moving in the morning of the 27th, so I had to make the harsh decision to put them both to sleep. I knew that Dublin would only decline very fast without his brother so I thought it was kinder to let them both go together. It was not just the end of days for these two wonderful little guys, but the end of an era, I had decided not to bring any more rats into our lives for the time being, as it is not so practical having to house them in the garden shed (a consequence of my partners allergies), not to mention the heating bill. So I will make this my last post, a farewell to my sweet pixies Dublin and Jinx, and a tribute to all our rats gone by. To the Rainbow Bridge my little ones xxxxxxxxxxxx

Irresistibly Cute Dublin's 1st Day Home

Irresistibly Cute Dublin's 1st Day Home

I is a Mouse, honest

I is a Mouse, honest

Baby Dublin Fluffyness

Baby Dublin Fluffiness

Wassat?

Wassat?

Peek-a-Boo!

Peek-a-Boo!

I Gots it

I Gots it

Old Boy Dublin

Old Boy Dublin

Dublin in his Prime, a Handsome Ratty

Dublin in his Prime, a Handsome Ratty

Baby Jinx's 2nd Day Home

Baby Jinx's 2nd Day Home

Pixie Rat!

Pixie Rat!

Hi!

Hi!

Cute Jinxy

Cute Jinxy

How Whiskery Am I??

How Whiskery Am I?

Jinx on the Sink

Jinx on the Sink

Cuddling Rocky

Cuddling Rocky

Old Boy Jinx

Old Boy Jinx

Adorable Jinx

Adorable Jinx

The Big Boys

The Big Boys

Snuggly Shy-Shy

Snugly Shy-Shy

A Rat Party!

A Rat Party!

Sniff Sniff

Sniff Sniff

Today My Lovely Rats Say Bye-Bye

More Baby Rat Pictures

Here’s a few more pics of the new little boys. Also a big huddle of the older bucks with Hannah.
As you can see the new ones are black hooded dumbo rats. Dublin has a longer “hood” and a stripe widening at the tail, while Jinx is smaller and has black mottling on his back. Jinx has white on his chin, and two strands of white fur on his head, which distinguishes him from his brother.
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Today my lovely rats have been mostly eating bread in Lactol

New Baby Rats!

Oh yes! We couldn’t resist! These two little 8 week old bucks came home with us on Saturday.

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Jinx and Dublin

They were a little freaked out, but very very sweet. I think they’ve been handled, because they were from a local lad (accidental litter) but they’ve had to endure a pet shop environment for a few days, so they are understandably nervous. It’s only been four days, but they are already curious about us and will sniff my hands, and run in and out of my clothes! They didn’t like being handled at first, but today I was very pleased that both of them went slack when I picked them up (a good indication that they trust me). They live in their own cage (a Ferplast Tubeline Mary) for now. Once they are used to me and my daughters I will begin introductions with the big boys. Here they are: Dublin and Jinx.

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Jinx

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Dublin

Dublin is the biggest of the two, and more friendly so far. He comes straight up to us for a sniff, and he already runs to me for safety if there is a strange noise that spooks him. He even gave me a little lick today, which means he is accepting me (or I taste good!). He’s already posing for the camera!

Jinx is a little smaller and more skittish. He seems to like his food though, and will take treats straight out of my hand which is a good sign. Both of them are adorable as you will see by the photos. The older rats are not at all bothered. They know there are some strangers in the room, but seem curious rather than upset.

Today my lovely rats have been mostly eating EMP

Gallery

Here’s some cute photos of my lovely rats. Click on the thumbnail to see the larger picture.

The Bucks

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As Babies

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Baytril

Shy-Shy was still sneezing last night when he had play-time. I rang the vets’ surgery and the vet has prescribed more Baytril for him alone. One good thing has come out of this – feeding the rats medicine in some food on a spoon has definitely made them tamer. They will seek me out now when they come out of the cage. Shy-Shy and Rocky will eat from the spoon on my hand or lap, and last night Stripe climbed inside my glasses and stood on them! Pip is still a bit reticent though.

Stripe demonstrating that young rats sleep a lot!

Baytril is the most commonly used drug for mycoplasma infections, and I have read that it can be used as a long term treatment with few if any ill-effects. It’s not advisable for pregnant or lactating ratty mums, or young rat kittens.

Today my rats have been mostly eating chopped up sprouts and scrambled egg.

Rats Refuse Medicine

Oh dear! The rats are on a water strike. They haven’t drank any of their water since yesterday morning! They obviously object to the taste of Baytril in their beverage. I have had to call the vet and was advised to give the medicine (a different dose) to Shy-Shy straight into his mouth with a syringe. Easier said than done! In the end I opted for adding his dose to a little soft food. I used yoghurt and the little sweety licked it right off the spoon for me. It was easy and painless.

Shy-Shy eating his egg custard with medicine hidden inside.

Today my rats have been mostly eating yoghurt and banana slices.

Vet Visit

I was quite surprised at how relaxed my four boys were going to the vets. I carried them in a plastic tank with plenty of bedding to hide in. Most of the time they were clamouring to have a sniff at the inside of the car, the big world outside and even the vet’s waiting room. The vet thought that they were all in very good condition, but due to Shy-Shy’s sneezing she prescribed some Baytril (an antibiotic) as a precautionary measure to mix with their water.

Shy-Shy showing his fine white belly markings

Today my rats have been mostly eating cooked green beans and sunflower seeds.

Gaining Rats’ Trust

The rats are 8 weeks old today, and this week has turned up a few surprises. The ongoing taming of the rats is going better than I had expected. When I walk into the room Stripe and Rocky eagerly race to the bars of their cage to sniff me out! Shy-Shy follows shortly afterwards and Pip is usually a little reticent, and hangs back until the rest have calmed down. Pip is a lazy sausage though, he likes nothing better than to snooze in his tube.

Pip flat out again!

I am continuing the regular handling regime, only I have cut it down to 15 minutes per rat, and have started to let my daughters hold their individual rats in a “rat slipper” or fleece hat, so the rats have a little security and don’t feel too exposed. This is a brilliant way to handle them, because they don’t tend to struggle away and often become so relaxed that they fall asleep. When I pick any of the boys up now they actually stay still and relax into my hand which I think is a real breakthrough! Rocky and Shy-Shy have discovered there are interesting things outside of their cage, and will run along my arm to get to the exit! Stripe and Pip are still not sure, so another thing which I have started, when it’s fairly quiet and the rats are active, is to lure them out of their cage with food! This is a great technique to use to gain ratties’ trust which many rat-carers recommend. I attached a blanket from the cage door to my lap and gradually coaxed Rocky out onto the blanket with yoghurt on a spoon. I made sure he sniffed my hand first to let him know it was me bringing the goods! Next Shy-Shy had a go, and I had an idea to put my hand palm down just in front of the spoon, so he had to walk onto me to get to the yoghurt. He wasn’t sure at first, but once he had done it, he kept coming back for more! Stripe was holding on to my hand with his little paws to get more comfortable, while he licked all the yoghurt off the spoon! Pip tried a little but I could only coax him to the spoon, not onto my hand. Then quite unexpectedly, Rocky jumped up from the floor onto my lap, and sat there eating the yoghurt, nonchalantly!

I have read that another method to socialise shy rats is to put their cage onto your bed and lie there till they come out and explore you!

Yesterday I tried the boys with freshly cooked sweetcorn while they were in a box on the floor and they were crawling on my hand again to get to the food (all except Pip). After the corn was gone I was a bit nervous that they would try nibbling me, but they just sniffed me and were very relaxed when picked them up for a short while before returning them to their cage.

I have a terrible dilemma! This week we also found out that my partner is allergic to the rats! We obviously don’t want to take the ratties back, so we are looking at other options: Possibly an insulated rat shed, strict cleansing regime and/or an allergy filter system…

Today my rats have been mostly eating fresh carrot and broken up Bonios.

Rat Diary

After four days of intensive “enforced socialisation” handling of my rats (that’s 20 minutes each times four!) they are slowly beginning to trust me and will sit my palm for a few moments and sniff my nose. It’s been difficult finding 80 minutes in the day, since I’m a mum of three girls, and work part-time too! The only buck who seems to be reluctant to accept me is Shy-Shy who insists on finding a corner of my clothes to shoot out of and scarper off onto the floor! For the other three rats it seems to be working, and my daughters get to play gently with them in a big box on the floor, (but they are not supposed to pick them up yet – although my three year old has different ideas!).

Sleepy Pip

It was clean-out day today. Rat’s cages should be cleaned out thoroughly once a week, and new litter/bedding put in. I do a “spot check” every day to remove any of the previous day’s fresh food that might have spoilt (mould is harmful to rats), and a quick swap of very soiled bits of litter with a new portion. When I did the whole cage I put the young ratties in their “travel tank” (a plastic tank with air holes and a lid), they just snoozed away as it was the morning and rats are nocturnal which means they are more lively during the evening and night. It took me a couple of hours to clean out, but my three year old daughter was “helping” so it probably took longer than normal. I have a Furplast Furet Extra Large cage which is really huge and brilliant for lots of rats (it will house up to six bucks comfortably). On the whole it’s a great cage, the rats love the space, but it’s difficult to get to them, so I have to coax them all to the bottom of the cage, and lift the whole top off. This wouldn’t be a problem with tamer rats, as they would probably just come out by themselves. Hopefully ours will be doing that in the next few weeks.

Today my rats have been mostly eating fresh garlic and herb pasta parcels with (cooked) sweetcorn (maize).

Look at My Lovely Rats!

Welcome to my new site all about the little whiskery fellas.

my lovely rats

Stripe, Rocky, Pip and Shy-Shy at 6 weeks old.

This site is dedicated to my four naughty bucks: Rocky, Stripe, Pip and Shy-Shy. They arrived home on Saturday the 5th May 2007, very timid and freaked out at their new surroundings and being away from mum for the first time. We found them in a rescue centre where they had been born unexpectedly from a very young and shy doe.

shy-shy rat

Shy-Shy snuggled up to Pip.

Three days later, the boys are still skittish when we walk into the room, but soon settle down, and since I have been trying the “enforced socialisation” method, they have been a little more relaxed with us, and Rocky the bravest (and we think the boss) will come up to the bars of the cage and have a good sniff at my nose! Enforced socialisation is not as bad as it sounds! It just means that you handle your rat and let him walk up to your shoulder or under your shirt and periodically lift him gently into your hands, but keep him in direct contact with you for twenty minutes. Don’t let him run off, or he will get more stressed out when you try and retrieve him. I found that for my most nervous ratty, Shy-Shy, who hates to be picked up, I had to keep him inside my jacket, let him calm down, then every once in a while lift him gently with one hand and let him down again. This way he will (hopefully!) gradually learn to trust me and get used to being picked up in an environment he feels safe in.

rocky tiny rat

Rocky looks lost in his huge cage.

A lot of well-respected fancy rat breeders handle rat kittens from birth, and unlike other rodents, mother rats very rarely harm their babies when they have been handled. In fact it is probably better for them if they get used to human contact from at least 3 weeks old, the earlier the better, because then they will be less stressed by human hands later on (which to a little frightened rat look like big predators swooping down toward them!).

7th May 2007

Today my rats have been mostly eating slices of banana and broken up Weetabix!