Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Rat Qualities To Admire

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 image to enlarge
Dumbo the rat
Photo Courtesy Shellyane Bryan

Shellyane's rats Dumbo and Mouse are both becoming more affectionate and prefer to cuddle rather than run around.

What I love most about pet rats is how completely in love with them you can fall. A lot of people don’t realize just how intelligent rats are. Unlike hamsters — and don’t get me wrong, I love hamsters — rats love to be held and cuddled and squished affectionately.

My mum got it absolutely right when she said rats are a bit like dogs. Pet rats come up to the bars the second you come into the room, eager to say hello (although the late Leon the hamster also used to do this); they want to come out; they want to play and have fun.

My rats Dumbo and Mouse especially like to yank my clothes to get my attention or they will follow me around the room for hugs and cuddles. If I’m near to the cage, they try to pull me into it by grabbing hold of my clothes and yanking, licking when they don’t get their own way. I think the latter is one of the things that make them so doglike. Lick is a notorious show of affection for animals.

Dumbo has taken to quietly sitting on my shoulder, chattering away to herself while Mouse tries to nudge her way between her and my hair. I think they’re after the warmest spot the way they squeak and complain.

Just lately the two of them would rather clamber over my lap than run around on the floor — though I did shout at them recently for getting themselves into trouble by chewing wires that were minding their own business, unplugged and out of harm’s way. Obviously, nothing is out of harm’s way when it comes to ratties!

I love how, no matter what it is my rats come across, they must, must, must decide if it’s edible or chewable before they ignore it. After they decide it’s neither of those, it’s safe from their destructive clutches!

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