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’.

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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.

The gift that keeps giving back to me

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.

As soon as I get my head out of this tube again I will show you how smart I am!

As soon as I get my head back out of this tube I will show you how smart I am!

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.

Lemme at it!

Lemme at it!

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.

Are your sure it's all gone? I'm just gonna check...

Are your sure it’s all gone? I’m just gonna check…

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!

Add to the fun by tying up the parcel, pinata-style. This photo is from last year some time when Eric and Godric were still little.

Add to the fun by tying up the parcel, pinata-style. This photo is from last year some time when Eric and Godric were still little.