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Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Holidays For Rats And Battling Rat Stereotypes

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

Will Dumbo the rat (right) wear a tiara for Halloween? And what will Mouse the rat be for the holiday?

Halloween is approaching, and I’ve been thinking about the kinds of entertainment I can give the rats for the season. I would like to get my rats dressed up for the occasion in something that would make them look sillier than they already do; maybe a wizard’s hat and cloak with moons and stars over it, for Dumbo at least. Mouse doesn’t even need a costume — only joking! She will no doubt get a ridiculous costume, too, something to suit her personality like a tiny ninja headband. I suppose Dumbo really suits something a bit more regal, like a tiara.

One thing that has bothered me during the Halloween weeks is the amount of rat-related scare entertainment there is in shops and supermarkets. I recently saw enormous, squeezy rat toys with glowing red eyes and enormous teeth that are obviously intended to be horrible, filthy creatures to scare children and probably some adults. I don’t think I’ve seen many rats with flashing red eyes as of late. As if ratties don’t get a bad name enough as it is, there is no need to fuel such an unfair stereotype. I’m half tempted to have my rats Dumbo and Mouse on my shoulders when I greet the trick-or-treaters just to prove to them that rats aren’t the horrible pests they are made out to be. You’ve all heard me griping on about this before, but it’s something that always bothers me. If even my mum can warm to them ...

I’m excited about Christmas when I can get the cage decorated appropriately and let Dumbo loose on the Christmas tree again. She loved that last year; and this year Mouse is big enough to do the same thing, so everyone can expect some Christmas-related photos. I hope to be able to conjure up some Halloween poses for the coming weeks though and maybe even a ratty-faced pumpkin.

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