Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Pondering Rats And A Plea For Help

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 Mouse and Dumbo
Photo Courtesy Shellyane Bryan
Rats Dumbo (right) and Mouse would be unhappy separated, but how else can Mouse be prevented from bothering Dumbo?

I don’t know what it is about rats, but the bigger and fatter they get, the cuter they are. Don’t get me wrong; Mouse was still cute when she was small, sleek and babylike, but now that she’s gotten a lot bigger and has put on healthy weight, she looks even more adorable.

I think both my rats Dumbo and Mouse are getting winter coats, because they have a distinctly fuzzy appeal to them at the moment. The same thing is happening with my friend’s rats, Arthur and Gilbert. They are male rats, so they’re even bigger! There is something so nice about having an enormous, fluffy ratty to hold. They’re cuddlier.

On the subject of that, I am beginning to wish my rats’ sizes were the other way round so I could offer Dumbo a little hidey-hole away from her cagemate. For quite some time now, Mouse has been yanking Dumbo’s ear with her teeth. It obviously hurts, because Dumbo squeals — though saying that, she squeals at pretty much anything. I wouldn’t be too concerned, because I’ve no doubt it’s a dominance thing, but I don’t want Dumbo to one day tug her head away and end up with a torn ear again!

I have no idea what I can do to stop Mouse from doing it though, other than separating them, which would depress both rats because they would be alone and one would have to have a small cage.

Things I’ve read have said that the dominant rat — Mouse, of course — might not have enough space; but their cage is honestly huge so I don’t see how that can possibly be the reason. Other things I’ve read suggest that some rats are just a little bit aggressive, and Mouse has always been that way.

I feel terrible for Dumbo, because all she wants to do is sleep, really. She doesn’t want to be constantly hassled by a mean teenager pouncing on her for 24-hour attention. I wish Dumbo would stand up for herself a bit more, maybe even give Mouse a nip to put her back in her place.

I just don’t know what to do. Does anyone have any ideas?

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al, main st, UT
Posted: 10/12/2009 4:17:06 AM
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