Rats are smart. You only need to search ‘rats doing tricks’ on Youtube (go on – you won’t regret it) to be assured of that.
Part of being a good rat mommy is allowing them, or helping them, to develop that intelligence.
I often worry about whether I am doing enough for my rats to exercise their brains. I don’t have the energy or inventiveness for devising games, creating mazes and so on. And I really don’t have the patience, or the time, to teach them tricks.
Luckily, for the most part, they seem quite happy with exploring a new cardboard box. Even having ropes in the cage that they need to climb or balance on can help.
One of the ‘games’ I like to play with them is one that rewards me too with a twisted sort of entertainment. You see, every now and then I like to let them work for their food.
I wrap up a little treat in some paper and watch the madness unfold as they try to unwrap it and get the food out, all the while trying to make sure that nobody else gets any. Unfortunately this time, they have a monster toy to hide in – and they made good use of it. I hardly got to see any of the crazy unwrapping action.
Okay, to be completely honest, if it takes them too long to get to the food, I do sometimes take pity on them and help out with my opposable thumbs.
But nothing is cuter than a rat that is trying to run away with something that’s actually a bit too big for it to carry and it has to lift its head up high as it runs. If you have rats, you know what I’m talking about!