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Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Rats At War

By Shellyane Bryan
A rat owner from England shares tales of living with her first rat, Queen Dumbo Duncanson-Bryan, and a rat named Mouse.

Click to enlarge
Dumbo the rat eats a treat
Photo Courtesy Shellyane Bryan
Dumbo the rat showed a mysterious ability to heal her ear, leaving only a slight scar!

I had a really nasty shock this week. One night when I went to check on the animals before I went to bed, I discovered my rat Dumbo’s ear was torn completely in half. Needless to say, I was very upset. To be fair, there was barely any blood (unless she had cleaned it up before I saw it), and she didn’t seem at all concerned about what was quite a nasty wound. She was still bouncing around, eating and being her usual ratty self.

My main concern was one half of the ear being torn off completely, so I removed her from the cage (and the dangerous claws of Mouse, my other rat) and set her up in the old cage where she could have a bit of time to herself. My other concern was the risk of infection, but my mum assured me that it probably wasn’t as bad as it looked and that she would be fine, if a bit unusual looking from now on.

Imagine my surprise when I came down the next morning to discover that Dumbo apparently has some kind of super power. Her ear — which I stress was completely in half — had pretty much stitched itself back together, as good as new except for a thin, red line! It was pretty remarkable. I was expecting her to be deformed from now on and had no idea rats were actually capable of repairing themselves like this.

She stayed in that cage until I was certain there was no chance of the wound tearing again, something I felt very guilty about because she had been moping and lonely ever since I put her in there. She didn’t actually stay in there very long, because the wound healed very, very quickly and has only left a faint scar. The other thing I found interesting was that Mouse spent so much time licking it and cleaning it. I’ve since found out that animals often do this, because they have some kind of antiseptic in their saliva!

Understandably, this was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” I couldn’t hope that Mouse’s claws would start to wear down on their own anymore and had to almost be cruel to be kind and clip them, no matter how much she squeaked and wriggled and protested. Next time it could have been Dumbo’s, or even her own, eye, and I don’t want to take that risk.

Thankfully now, Mouse is well-manicured, and Dumbo is her usual self now she’s been reunited with her best friend.

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rebecca, naperville, IL
Posted: 8/13/2009 11:27:23 AM
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