Friday, 25 December 2009

pet ratties !

It wasn't until I met Sarah that I discovered what pet ratties were all about it. I'd always thought that the value in keeping rats as pets is that they run up and down the length of your arms, across and around your shoulders, and that they're "intelligent". Well I was wrong. Pet ratties offer so much more to their owners and carers, and those who love them in general. I know now that there's a world-wide community of rat lovers who love keeping ratties as pets.

Last weekend we drove up to Newcastle to visit a 17-year old girl who's offered to take Sarah's rats from her as Sarah is moving out from her apartment. We'd visited Hannah some weeks ago to inspect the environment and TLC factor, and everything was at or above expectation. And she was such a nice, decent girl too who obviously loved rats, and her family were amazingly lovely people too. This trip was to be the deliverance trip, taking the cage and the toys and the food and the ratties on a two-hour drive up the freeway to Newcastle.

Hannah has two cages, one for the males and one for the females. She had four boys and two girls. And now, with Sarah's ratties, Xou Xou & Minka Binks, she has an even four females to match the males. The male cage is 3-4 levels high, the female cage is two levels. The cages were built by Hannah's dad who did an excellent job with the construction of the kennel and the hole & staircase within the wheeled cage.

I didn't take a photo of the boy's cage. I wish I had. Boy ratties (bucks) are quite obviously different to girl ratties (does, pronounced like "doze"). Aside from the oversized balls that hang beneath their tails like two large sacks, or walnuts, the boys are a lot larger than the girls, with courser fur. Bucks also eminate a most masculine energy; they're a little roguish just like a football team. You could easily imagine the buck cage becoming a beer barn, with miniature beer cans flying about the place constantly. They are lovable rogues mind you, more like good blokes than anything villainous.

As Hannah was holding one of her bucks I found myself stepping back and looking at the situation objectively. If I had those running around my kitchen I'd be crucifyingly alarmed!! There's nothing worse than seeing a rat, particularly a huge buck, scurrying along the kitchen floor, or table, as you drift by in the late of night to collect a glass of water. In the context of pet-keeping however, rats seem lose their power of menace and revolt, as if these rats are totally different to those rats. The pets become adorable, actually. I still harbour a little bit of reticence towards those big bucks, but the girls are much sweeter and nicer, and its those girly rats I tend to gravitate towards. I still remain reluctant to pick them up though!

Sarah was concerned that the ratties would fight when introduced to each other so she and Hannah decided to let them slowly sniff each other out atop of Minka's & Xou Xou's cage, a relatively neutral zone for all the rats.
Not only did the rats get on fine, they acted as if they'd known each other all their lives. All of them perked up and seemed a lot livelier, more emboldened for each other's company. It was amazing to watch. Does are cuter and sweeter (and smaller) than bucks and to me are the more endearing of the rattie gender. This is not to say they don't fight or squabble or peck, but they're generally more agreeable. It was great to see the ratties all interact with each other.

It was wonderful to watch Sarah's rats adapt to the new environment. They quickly learnt how to climb up and down the stairs and drink from the water dripper. They found the food in the rat's kennel and duly ate it, making themselves very much at home very early in the process. (Above is a picture of Minka Binks conquering a piece of Wheat Bix!)

We could've watched these ratties for hours. They are so lively, so attuned, so intelligent and so frightfully almost-human, that they're just naturally captivating and endearing. We made our way to the car without the rats, and Sarah was reconciled with the fact that her ratties were happy in their new home, and that Hannah was more than delighted to take them, either temporarily or permanently. We couldn't have thought of a better carer than Hannah. I'm sure Sarah is missing them tremendously though. At last report they're all getting on just fine, with all of them sharing Xou Xou's & Minka's igloo that Sarah added to Hannah's cage.

Newcastle is a good place to live. It's cheap compared to Sydney and is close to all amenities, including lovely beaches, and has a far more laid-back vibe. It's a fairly large city that was originally built around steel-works. Nowadays it's a little more gentrified. I'd be happy to live there, one day.


JuanRa Diablo said...

Hello Ross

I wrote a comment some weeks ago asking for your friend Mary (The knitting songbird)as she's not writing in her blog anymore.
Could you tell me please if she's alright?
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I can't justify the Iphone when the camera is only 2 megapixels. I'd prefer 5 megapixels. Any word that an improved camera on the Iphone could be coming or will I have to go with an LG or Nokia to get a decent cameraphone? Thanks.

[url=]unlock iphone[/url]

Ross B said...

i don't know what my phone is but it definitely aint no iphone,

Juan - Mary as I know is absolutely fine...I think she gave up writing because music is taking up much of her time. She's doing some great things, here are a couple of her websites:

Druyd are doing very well...look out for them!!

Paul Hewson shooting star

i'm in the sunshine A mate of mine produces a monthly songwriter newsletter which goes out to a hundred or so mainly Sydney-based...