Meet the Rats: Adso and Fingermouse

Sorry about the radio silence, folks – it’s been a hectic few months. However, I am now delighted to announce that two gorgeous young men from Zephyr Rats have joined Salt and Pepper, bringing me up to a proper mischief of four rats in total šŸ™‚

adso1Zephyr Adso of Melk is a very handsome chocolate dumbo, which for those of you who don’t speak rat-fancy means he’s been carefully bred to be brown and have silly-looking ears. He’s a laid-back personality who always has time to come and say hello, and if the size of his feet (among other parts of him) is anything to go by, when he’s all grown up he’s going to be huge. He was named for the character Adso from Name of the Rose, because his ears make him look like a monk whenever he stands up.

FingermouseZephyr Fingermouse is a colour known as quicksilver, which is a pale even grey with ruby-red eyes. He’s a stunning-looking rat, and although at the moment he’s still very much a baby it’s easy to see what a looker he’s going to be. He was named Fingermouse because of an amusing photo Mary the Zephyr breeder posted of him investigating her finger, which gave me an instant earworm of a kids’ TV theme I remember from my youth. He’s very rapidly acquired several nicknames – in the following order, he’s now more usually known as: Fing, Pingermouse, Ping the Merciless, and the Ping from Outer Space. Ping is another piece of rat fancy slang – a “pingy” rat is excitable and never sits still, and Fing is the definition of pinginess. I’m almost looking forward to him growing out of it.

These two have been long awaited – the reason I got Salt and Pepper at all was because Mary had such an immense waiting list for her litters. Although having done that I found my rescue boys so rewarding that I know I did the right thing. Introductions between the two pairs haven’t gone completely smoothly; partly I rushed things a little due to inexperience and put them in the big cage too soon, and partly Pepper has seen quite a bit of the seamy side of life and doesn’t have an enormous amount of patience with Fingermouse’s antics. In any case, whatever the cause it all led to me finding Fing with a large patch of fur torn off behind one ear a few days ago, so all four of them got plonked back in a smaller cage without any toys or hammocks to force them to focus on each other and sort their ideas out. As of the last couple of days there’s been a contented heap of varicoloured fur in the corner of the introductions cage each morning, so now I move on to a cautious hammock and once that’s OK, consider putting them back in the big cage.

Bag of surprises

jes2kits21dayskWell, Mother Nature never ceases to confound everyone’s expectations. The Zephyr saga continues: a couple of Mum no. 2’s kittens have turned out to be buff and topaz, or in layman’s terms beige with dark red eyes and ginger with dark red eyes. These are doubtless going to be two stunning rats, but they’re also unexpected colour varieties; that they’ve popped up at all means Mary has a rogue gene hiding in the depths of her line that doesn’t fit her breeding strategy. Mum no 3, bless her valiant heart, swelled up like a balloon a week and a half in and has produced a mighty twelve brand new little sausages today; four of those are boys, so there are now 12 boys in total. Theoretically that’s enough for everyone with a couple over, but the unexpected genetic quirk means Mary will likely be keeping more rats than she thought so she can make some test matings and find rats in her line that don’t carry the rogue gene she’s trying to drop. So the Zephyr stalker contingent is on
tenterhooks: the Great Elder is reshuffling her future breeding plans, deciding who to keep and working out who’s getting babies from these litters and who’sĀ not. I’ve been told over jolkits15daysiand over again that Mary’s waiting list isn’t strictly linear because some people want specific colours to show or breed from, and I know I’m not fussy about colour – I’m after certain personality traits to help balance Salt andĀ Pepper out. But there are also people on there who’ve been waiting inordinate amounts of time, and as a relative neophyte I also don’t want to tread on toes!

So for now I’m contenting myself with stalking the adorable progress pics of the two older litters (a couple of which I’ve included here because they areĀ far too cute) and reading up on rat genetics in the hope of having more of a clue what’s generally going on.