We have rats!


May 1, 2013 by rebelwithalabelmaker

On purpose.  Like, as pets.

They are the Best Pets Ever.  They are very sociable.  They do not require walking.  They are smart.  They eat almost anything.  They have limited life spans.  And they are absolutely adorable.


There are only two downsides:

1)  The cleanliness.  Rats are very clean.  They even litter train.  But they do chew stuff, which means we have to keep the play area very tidy.  And Gary may be somewhat allergic, which means we vacuum.  Also, after you play with them, when you put them back in their cage they start frantically scrubbing the human-stinky off of them, which can give you a complex.

2)  The boys’ hair.  The boys have insisted on growing their hair out now, because they love how the rats will snuggle onto my shoulder (rats love to feel hidden away).  I tried to veto this decision, and they started singing “My body’s nobody’s body but mine… You run your own body, let me run mine!”.  Thanks, Carlos.  Now, my children look like unkempt ragamuffins.  Eric promises to tell everyone that it is not that his mother doesn’t take good care of him, it’s just that he’s growing his hair out so that the rats can nest in it.

Best. Pet. Ever.


6 thoughts on “We have rats!

  1. Rats are excellent pets. Condolences on the hair… but as you say, rat lifespan is short. Which is kind of heartbreaking when you have one or two really great ones, but a blessing when you have oh, say, seven because the little girl you bought to keep the (neutered) male company was already pregnant and you could only find homes for two of them. I wish you great rat happiness, and am enjoying my own complete freedom, now, from cages to clean.

  2. canadiangranola says:

    so the rats can nest in it! thanks for the giggle.

  3. Carlos says:

    I was an undergraduate long enough ago that students in the Learning course at UBC still got one rat each to train in a Skinner box.* My rat, named Lily, quickly learned to do 32 separate actions in a specific sequence (ringing a bell, climbing a ladder, pushing the bar and so on) to get her rat biscuit . The class star, a male, reached 36 actions, but Lily, being female, was much more consistent and reliable. She was also very sociable: we played a game in which she would stay still on a table for a moment, and then venture out, and if she crossed a line drawn on the table I would tickle her back and she would run back to her starting point.

    These rats were destined, after the learning course, to go to Physiology where extremely unpleasant things would happen to them. I could not bear the thought. I took Lily home and she was a great pet. Eventually it was time to give her away. I took her on an Air Canada flight to Ottawa, and let her out to sit on my shoulder in the cabin. People all around me, and the flight attendants, were charmed and everybody wanted to pet her. A year later, I had another rat, another Learning veteran, and tried to do the same thing on the plane. Disaster! The flight attendants had a fit, and told me if they had known I had an animal I would not have been allowed to board the plane, and that I had to keep the rat out of sight. I got quite a tongue lashing.

    *Too bad we couldn’t assign one baby each to you and the other undergraduates in my child development course!

  4. Mike Diakuw says:

    Perhaps this would be a good time to read them “Dirt Boy” by Erik Slangerup. I just did it for story time today. http://goo.gl/RMPX0

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