Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Dumbo The Rat's Sudden Personality Change

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

Dumbo the rat looks the same, so why isn't she acting the same?

Dumbo the rat has not been herself just lately. It's difficult for me to simply put this down to age, because on the surface she is exactly the same as usual — fat, fluffy and cuddly. She is still eating and drinking, cleaning herself and generally acting like a rat, but this past week she has very suddenly stopped being affectionate altogether.

Ask anybody who has met little Dumbo, and they will tell you she is notorious for licking anyone and everyone, even when she's just passing them by, clambering over shoulders or wandering around by their feet.

In addition to that, she is bruxing far more frequently than usual — she pretty much does it constantly now! She is also always the first rat to the cage door in search of love, attention and treats before she refuses to go back in.

Apparently, not anymore. As of last Monday, my rat Dumbo hasn't been her usual, affectionate and sociable self. She is no longer interested in jumping up to the door to get out despite being completely capable of managing to. For her age, she is still a very spritely rat.

I was concerned she was ill, but aside from her very unusual personality change, nothing is different. My other rat, Mouse, hasn't changed. This is a positive sign, but it doesn't offer me any clues into why Dumbo's behavior has suddenly and dramatically changed.

I am aware that some rats, like most creatures, can suffer from senility, but without more research into the subject I couldn't say for certain. I'm reluctant to attach this label to her anyway, because the change was so incredibly sudden.

Either way, I will keep everyone posted about her during the coming weeks and will pray she gets back to normal soon. It's almost like having a completely different rat and though I will love her regardless, I don't want to let go of the silly, bubbly furball she was only a week ago.

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Tommy, pocatello, ID
Posted: 1/20/2010 8:13:18 AM
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