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 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!