IckyButt's unfortunate name came from his behaviour the first few days after he came to live with us. (See, that's him hanging over Cappy's head in the middle.) Whenever someone came near the cage he'd be hanging off the side of it, little hands grabbing at the air. He'd fly from side to side of the cage, following you--it seemed like he never used the floor. The "IckyButt" part came from my rebellion at my husband's choice of name--he wanted to call him Ichabod, after Ichabod Crane because he was so jumpy. I didn't think Ichabod was a good rat name (and yeah, I know IckyButt is, right?) So there he is, my little IckyButt. Still hyper, and always happy to see ya.
Bailey is just sweetness personified. He's gentle, loving, patient, and just plain adorable. Bailey is a rescue from a couple hours south of where I live. There was a huge number of domestic rats dumped in a conservation area--roughly one hundred. Our domestic furries are not equipped for life in the wild like their wild cousins. When an animal is domesticated, generally docility is selected for, and as a result survival tactics are also bred out. Someone had left Pokey and Bailey's momma out to die. Thanks to some wonderful people, Pokey and Bailey came into my life. Born in a crowded shelter, narrowly missing death in the wild, I am blessed with the most gentle creature I have ever known, and his brother, who drives me nuts.
This is Pokey, doing what he does best. Overacting. (And looking cute.) He is the biggest ham in the known rat-world. Should another rat accidentally brush past him while he is busy doing his "unjustly imprisoned" routine, he will issue forth the most pathetic, whiney squeak you've ever heard.
This bar chewing business has one of three meanings.
1. I'm hungry.
2. I want to play in my ball.
3. I'm hungry.
Open the door and Pokes just marches right out onto your arm and looks at you. The look on his face says "Entertain me. By feeding me. Now."
Bailey gets the same results by hanging back and looking sweet.
How could you not give this cutie a treat? My dainty old men share some yummy chocolate Ensure. (That's really good stuff for skinny old rats. Any skinny rats, really--and rats aren't like dogs, they can have a tiny little bit of chocolate now and then.)
The "Baby Babies" move in. Cappy seems happy, but Pokey, IckyButt and Bailey want outta this situation. Moke is hiding in the igloo.
This is Moke, aka Mocha. He so shy and hesitant, though, he seems more of a Moke, especially when there's a Pokey to compare him to. He's a good boy, who likes to settle in one spot when he's out, and watch the world go by, which, around here, is about as exciting as watching paint dry. And that's just how the Mocha-man likes it. IckyButt, (in photo on right) tends to bring Moke out of his shell. (A warning about the purple rope houses you see in the background of that picture--because there is only one exit, a rat can become trapped should the string by which it is hung get chewed through and the whole thing falls face down with a sleeping rat in it. PLEASE remember to cut an escape hole in it. There have been known rat deaths because of accidents like that.)
Baby pictures! Icky, Moke and Cappy. Grown up pictures! Moke Icky And Felix
How many rats can drink out of a bottle at once? Three?
How about FOUR!
The devastatingly handsome Felix finally smiles for the camera, apparently surprising the hell out of Icky-Butt. Felix was a late addition to the group. And I made a mistake that could have cost the lives of ALL my rats. I didn't quarantine.
I could have given all of my rats SDA or Sendai. I didn't know any better then, and now that I do, I thank my lucky stars. But I will never, ever rely on luck again. Any additions to my family will have a minimum eight week quarantine; somewhere with a separate air source, such as a separate building on the property (properly insulated, of course) or even better, at a ratless friend's house. This is because these diseases are passed through the air, and can even hang out in your sinuses for a while--even if you don't touch the new rat. Because of that, you should leave at least 2 if not 3 hours between seeing your new rat and your current colony, washing up and changing your clothes in between as well. I know its going to be a pain in the butt, but its the least I can do. I could be saving lives.
Felix's Day at The Office
Posing pretty on the scanner.
Or, since he's Canadian, here:
Felix gives mummy a heart attack.
Back home safe.
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Ratty background courtesy of the lovely and talented Bella