Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Rat Long Jumps

By Shellyane Bryan
A rat owner from England shares tales of living with her rats named Mouse, Slinky and Diddy.

Click image to enlarge
Rats Slinky and Diddy
Photo Courtesy Shellyane Bryan

Slinky the rat (top) likes to jump, but her buddy rat, Diddy, isn't inclined to jump at all.

You might remember that my rat Dumbo was quite an expert at jumping. When she was a few months old, she learned to jump about half a meter, and the gap increased the older she got. It was something I did have to teach her, but initially it had been something she worked out on her own (and with those enormous back feet rats have, it’s no surprise they’re such expert grasshoppers). You also might remember that she once jumped in a sink full of soapy water, something she no doubt regretted later. It may have soaked her fur, but it didn’t dampen her spirits!

Well, now I’m awaiting the moment Slinky the rat does something very similar. Today, when she was sitting on my shoulder, she launched herself a good foot in the air and landed (not very gracefully) on the side of the cage. Of course, being a baby, she nearly fell off, but I caught her just in time and returned her to my shoulder, only for her to offer a repeat performance a few seconds later.

Now that she knows where the treats are, she is utterly obsessed with getting to them and digging around in the box until she finds exactly what she’s looking for. The moment said rat treats are between her jaws, she scuttles off to hide behind the cage where I can’t get to her. If I try to take it from her, she fights tooth and nail to keep it. It’s cute and all, but I don’t want any of my rats to start getting chubby. Or chubbier in Mouse’s case.

Neither Mouse nor Diddy are the jumping sort. Diddy will do it if she has to, but I don’t think Mouse even understands what jumping means. She’s never been a fan.

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