Borlu, the new guy

After having only Dexter and Lundy for a long time, always worrying about illness, and finding out eventually that I was paranoid and my rats are in fact healthy… I was scrolling through the Mischief Rat Rescue Facebook page and I saw there was a litter needing homes in Port Elizabeth! This is a pretty rare occurrence. I admit it didn’t take me too long to decide I wanted to get more rats.

So I contacted the owner. I would have liked to take two little boys, but only one was left – a siamese. I named him Borlu*.

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Siamese 'receding hairline'

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The difficulties were: that Lundy and Dexter have lived with only each other for so long, that little Borlu was alone in facing two much bigger boys, and that perhaps I rushed thing a bit in the beginning trying to introduce them.

It took three weeks before they were living together. Which is not so long really, but it was a stressful three weeks. The first neutral area was surely not neutral enough. It took a couple of times in the shower and a coincidental trip to the vet to get them huddling together. 

Finally, the three are living for now in my third cage, which had been unused. When Borlu is big enough, they will move into the big cage that Lundy and Dexter were in before.

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First day in new cage - Lundy still gets puffy!

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Eating together happily at last!

*Borlu is named after a character from China Miéville’s novel “The City and the City”.

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Fighting… and making up

Ever since Tyrion got to be a ‘big boy’ (read: teenager) and started throwing his 300g of weight around (he is still the smallest of the pack), he and Thane have not seen eye to eye. Tyrion pins Thane, perhaps even  gets a bit puffy in doing so, and then moves on with his life, happy in the knowledge that he is king of the neighbourhood. Later, when it comes time to go to bed, Tyrion will happily climb into the same bed as his subject, Thane, but Thane is not interested in sleeping with the enemy.

Hiss!

Hiss! Gerrofit!

Lately it seems to have calmed down a bit, and they are not fighting as often. It is so much cuter when they cuddle:

Put aside their differences.

Put aside their differences.

Thane really is a character all his own. He is the most timid of my rat pack; the most likely to stay in his cage rather than come out, the quickest to go back to his cage when he is out, and the first to run and hide at the slightest noise. He does have his own ‘curiosity time’, though, and it doesn’t seem to be on the same schedule as everyone else. He can be very curious at times and it is so much fun to watch his curiosity battle it out with his inherent fear of everything. I will leave you with this final picture, which is one of my favourite ‘Thane moments’.

Um... hello?

Um… hello?

Added sweetener

Some medicine for rats is awful. Baytril, for example, has to be hidden in some delicious treat.

Luckily, ViralGuard Junior is designed for human children. I give it to my rats to boost their immune system. A number of them have issues with wheezing and so on, so it’s an added boost to keep them healthy. And they love it!

I just had to take a video of how excited they get to take their ‘medicine’.

Not the face!

I may have mentioned before that some of my boys are at their hormonal ‘teenage’ phase, where they scuffle a lot. Generally it’s best to leave them alone and let them sort out their own pecking order, unless they draw blood. Well, Mordin has had his ear scratched open twice now – the second time just this week. It is still healing.

Now I am left wondering, well how bad does it have to get before I should get Garrus neutered? Should I get Garrus neutered or just keep them separate? Or just see how it goes. Okay, this time I didn’t actually witness what happened to his ear, but it is most likely from another fight with Garrus. I have made sure that they have stayed in separate cages this week (though they still get together at playtime), at least until Mordin’s ear heals.

But each time this pretty boy’s ears get damaged, I can’t help but think: “Not the face!”

Model Rat: Mordin is such a pretty boy!

Model Rat: Mordin is such a pretty boy!

Foot fetish

I have a confession: I love the silky soft texture, the tiny pink perfection. I love how each one is unique. Sometimes, I even like to kiss them!

Rat footsies are adorable! They really are different, just like people’s feet are different. Different rats hold themselves in different ways, perhaps tending to place their weight on different parts of the foot. As they age, too, they hunker down more and run around on tippy-toes less.

And here, a small museum of rat feet for your amusement…

Thane’s feet are small and rounded, kind of like Cortez’s feet were.

Thane's feet remind me of Cortez's.

Thane’s feet remind me of Cortez’s.

Godric’s feet are long and pointed, and the nails point upward.

Godric's long feet

Godric’s long feet

And yet it’s always Eric who seems to have a problem with long nails.

Eric's feet with his long nails.

Eric’s feet. His nails don’t seem so long at the moment.

Mordin’s back legs are a bit awkward, with the legs and toes always splayed wide as if he is always struggling to balance.

Mordin's awkward back foot.

Mordin’s awkward back foot.

The best part of all, though, is rat feet in action, doing what they do best – distracting me from getting anything done, unless you count ‘taking photos of rats’ as getting things done.

Godric sleeps

Godric sleeps

Stretch!

Stretch!

And best of all, with his little foot in his mouth…

Toes!

Toes!

What part of your pet do you find just oh so cute?

Just enough to wet the toes

The water is just shallow enough for us not to notice our feet have that awful watery stuff on them.

The water is just shallow enough for us not to notice our feet have that awful watery stuff on them.

My boys are not water babies. None of my rats have been really. Mostly they view any body of water deep enough to touch their belly fur with a fair amount of suspicion (especially those that have experienced The Bath – I don’t think any of my current boys have, though).

Yesterday was a very hot day and so I decided to give them their first ‘swim’ of the season. I happened to choose a shallow tray which could not hold so much water, and was pleasantly surprised to see them walking about it in, completely unfazed. So yesterday evening and this evening the rats received their helping of peas and corn sort of submerged.

I was very chuffed with Thane, standing there so bravely, with both feet planted in the water.

The result of terror is… kinda cute

Eating in defensive formation.

Eating in defensive formation.

It was just one of those evenings. One of those weeks actually, as it turned out. Perhaps it was because my afternoon work for that week was at a house with dogs and cats. It’s not like I went there and rolled in dogs and cats, but nevertheless – the rats could smell it on me. Or at least that is the only explanation I can come up with.

I must say, it is pretty insulting to come home and your rats want nothing to do with you. I mean, are these not the hands that feed them? And while we are on the topic of things the rats were still open to…

I decided to try the old faithful – a snack to help them to feel more comfortable (food usually has that effect) – so I got them each half a grape. This was quite welcome but, as you can see, not terribly reassuring.

Each rat took his little grape half and went off to hide somewhere and eat it, far away from the big bad mom. Garrus, Mordin and Godric were taking cover in the gap between the cages, and they stayed right there, huddled as far back as possible so they could eat their little snack while still keeping a watchful eye out.