Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Rat Quirks

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.

Rats Dumbo and Mouse
Photo Courtesy Shellyane Bryan
One of Dumbo the rat's quirks is that she acts like a stranded turtle if she ends up on her back.

I really love it when rats kick sawdust. They don’t kick the way most rats do, scrabbling things backward. They kick things forward instead, in a rather erratic fashion. So, of course, I like to get on my rat Mouse’s nerves and intentionally barricade her in the wigwam or in the tube she loves, just so she kicks it out of the way. My rat Dumbo just barrels into it as if it isn’t even there.

It’s the great thing about rats — their personal, crazy quirks. For instance, Dumbo lets me gently pinch her bottom jaw to make her look like she’s talking (because I have nothing better to do than pretend my rats are talking), but Mouse shoves me off if I come anywhere near her face. Not only that, but she then runs around like mad, hops up onto the bars, jumps off, hops on again and then bounds up to my hand to encourage me to chase her around the cage. Like a true youngster rat, really!

I think Dumbo is probably a bit old for this kind of play, because if she ends up on her back when playing, she just rolls around like a turtle stuck on its shell, which is equally cute and amusing all the same.

She isn’t very fond of Mouse pouncing on her though, often letting out a protesting squeak to let her know she doesn’t like it, not that it ever makes much of a difference to Mouse. Mouse very much does as she pleases, regardless of her poor old sister’s feelings. That has never changed. Since the day Mouse arrived, she had been clambering all over Dumbo, much to Dumbo’s chagrin.

Mouse is due for another claw trim soon. I can’t say as I’m looking forward to it either, but it has to be done for the safety of both rats. I’m just glad Dumbo keeps hers well-manicured now that she’s older. I don’t think I could cope with doing two sets of ratty paws!

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