Ouch

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Okay. So today I had a new experience. I read an article: scientists have successfully proved that simple sensory impulses can be transmitted between the brains of two different animals using the Internet. If you keep rats as pets, take a deep breath before you click that, the picture is a bit harrowing.

Now I’ll tell you something about myself, before I begin. I was brought up by a science teacher. Continue reading

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Never work with children or animals: how to photograph your rat

On the heels of yesterday’s photo-taking expedition I thought I’d write a quick owner’s guide on how to snap your rat in action and what to expect when taking pics 🙂

The most important thing is to understand what to expect. The photo you want to get is this one. (Stolen from a page on rat anaesthesia):

Perfect rat photo

See? Perfect focus. Handsome rat. Cute pose. Nice background. Manage your expectations, friend; you’re taking a snap of your own scruffy and not exactly camera-trained beloved pets, against the backdrop of your cheerfully cluttered home. And since most rats aren’t camera-trained and happy to sit still, the photo you actually get will be much more like this: Continue reading

Hollywood leaves the rats out of it for once

ImageWent to see Les Miserables today – and surprisingly enough for a Hollywood film set in slums, sewers and downtrodden city areas, it actually wasn’t full of rats. I understand that when rats are used in films they’re quite commonly coated in vegetable oil to make their fur spike and improve their scariness. Now that I own rats I find that hilarious since I’ve seen how fastidious they are about cleanliness (well, OK, never mind Salt sitting in a spoonful of babyfood and Pepper giving himself porridge eyebrows, but we all make mistakes, right?) I suppose there’s a difference between having a nice healthy silky-furred rat in your fake sewer to demonstrate how much good nutrition the negligent society above it throws away, and having a scary spiky symbolic disease vector to show how NASTY it all is…

Interestingly enough the one film I’ve recently seen which had a perfectly ordinary rat in it was The Book of Eli, in which a post-apocalyptic wandering man of faith shares his delicious meal of grilled stray cat with his rodent neighbour. I suppose once your human characters have reduced themselves to scavenging in garbage anyway, you can let the vermin off the hook for once.

What’s your favourite movie rat moment?

23/2/13 – rat diary

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Jeeves, another hot water bottle!

I think the best part of today was inviting my two ratty friends in for a cup of tea after we got back from Wood Green, and listening to the exclamations over how much their condition and behaviour has improved since the last time H met them (about a month ago, I think). She was also kind enough to pass on our local breeder’s remarks about me when I first went down to meet her rats – apparently she thought I’d be an excellent home. Now that’s the kind of thing that gives me warm fuzzy feelings 🙂 Continue reading

23 Feb 2013: Wood Green SQUEAK! event

Had a lovely time this afternoon meeting up with a couple of other local rat lovers at Wood Green animal shelter’s Squeak! event – free guinea pig health checks, kids’ activities to make small pet treats, and talks on keeping various kinds of small animals like gerbils, mice and rats, among other things. We of course homed straight in on the rodent room and were delighted to have the opportunity to stroke some of Wood Green’s adorable mice, not to mention a good long session cuddling the rats one of their volunteers (also a rat keeper and a member of the same web forum we use) had brought in to do ratty PR. 

It was obviously a great event for kids – the place was full of them and many had had their faces painted – but the rats were a huge hit since they’re so sociable and curious, not to mention big enough to be robustly handled. One little lad was very earnest about wanting to keep rats when he was older, although the rats mosty seemed to like making flying leaps onto his woolly hat!

21 Feb 2013

IMG_0216_resize_cropSitting on the sofa with the boys beside me as I type this, cosily ensconced under my (formerly rather nice) John Lewis green fleece throw. They’ve been on more antibiotics and their vet-recommended diet for a week and a half now and they already look far glossier and sleeker. They’re more energetic and bolder than they’ve ever been, which is lovely to see although everything is now getting much more copiously peed on as they gain confidence in marking their paths! Their diet is currently something like: Continue reading