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Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Rats With A Taste For Treats

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

rat
© Courtesy Shellyane Bryan
Slinky the rat is quite a bit thinner than her cagemates, which is going to make it a challenge to get her more calories without letting the other rats gain weight.

It's always entertaining to watch my pet rats bicker over things I put in their cage; it could be a new toy or some new food or something as simple as a yogurt pot.

My ratties like nothing more than getting leftovers (my mum loves giving them a little bit of our Sunday dinner every week, something they snap up without a pause for breath, usually), especially leftovers of the sweet variety. Put an emptied yogurt pot in their cage and they pounce, but it's amusing to watch them all attempt to get their heads inside one small pot. Usually Diddy will do the devious but sensible thing and pick up the entire thing and amble to a safer area. Of course, there are no safe areas where rats are concerned; Mouse and Slinky will inevitably follow. Luckily, Slinky isn't very greedy, so once she's had her fill, she tends to back off and wash her nose and whiskers free of yogurty goodness. Mousey, on the other hand, doesn't know when to stop eating, so there have been a fair few scraps over the pot with Diddy.

On the subject of their diets, Mouse and Diddy really could do with cutting down on the amount they eat! The difficulty with that is leaving Slinky with less food; unless I feed her separately, she's going to lose out. She's already very sleek and thin (though she does have an adorable little belly on her these days), and I have no wish for her to lose any more weight.

I've been thinking about expanding Slinky’s diet with some more fruits and nuts, and hand-feeding her those things instead and cutting down what the other two rats are nomming.

There's something adorable about a tubby rat on the other hand, but I would rather none of them ended up being overweight, because it's obviously not good for them. Having said that, maybe a bit of blubber will do them good as it's gone so cold over here!

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