Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

The Other Shoe Crashes to the Floor

Filed under: Daily Life,Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 3:45 pm on Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It’s over. Saw the doctor yesterday, and she’s concerned that continued exposure to the rats, even on a minimal basis, could put me in the hospital.

Mainely Rat Rescue is, fortunately, able to take most of the rats in to foster and be re-homed. Leo, Isabella, Laurel, Laura, Trixie, and Bailey will be collected tomorrow and transported to their next stop.

Marbles and Mia will stay with us for the moment. Marbles has his special diet, and it will take a little longer to find a placement for them that can handle his needs. But they will move on as soon as that next position is found.

The newest arrivals, Dusty and Toby, will go back to their previous owner. D&T were surrendered to us when she realized she had to downsize her colony to a single cage. Since then, her own colony has seen a couple of losses, and the cage she has is large enough to bring Dusty and Toby back to without needing a second one. She’s going to be very happy to see them again, she talks about how she misses them all the time. I imagine they’ll be happy to see her, too.

I am heartbroken. Gryphon and I have always said we’d never be without rats again. And now, they’re all going to leave us.

If you wish there were a way you could help, there is. Mainely Rat Rescue is  struggling with their cash flow a bit at the moment, and could use cash donations desperately. If you visit their home page HERE, you will see a DONATE button at the bottom of the right hand sidebar. This is a direct link to PayPal, and you will be able to donate whatever amount you desire. No amount is too small, anything you can spare will be gratefully received, and will help tremendously.

If you care to, please add in the notes for your donation that it’s in honor of Jenny’s Ratties. I’d love for them to see how much my readers care.

No more rats for me, then. As you might imagine, the blog will likely be changing after all. I’ll have to think about that and see what direction I come up with.

Meanwhile, Gryphon and I will still be doing what we can to help Mainely Rat Rescue. This doesn’t change our love for the little furballs, and our respect and admiration for the work that MRR does only continues to grow with each passing day. I’m currently acting as a diet researcher and counselor, and Gryphon is doing some behind the site IT work, helping to keep their web presence in good order.

I may also find that I have the time to occasionally make something for some of their fund-raising raffles. I’ll be sure to let you know when I do.

I’m sad, but I’ll recover. It helps to know that the rats will all find good homes, and new people who will love them as we do.

Thank you for being here. The support of my blog friends helps tremendously.

Stick around – soon enough we’ll see whatever my life evolves into next!

Folkcat & Gryphon, Plus Seven, Plus One

Filed under: Daily Life,Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 7:06 pm on Friday, February 20, 2009

I seem to drift further and further between posts. Things have just been very hectic for us lately.

I’ve been meaning to get to the main subject of this post for almost a week now. But before I do, I should talk about today.

Today, February 20, is our sixteenth wedding anniversary. Gryphon and I talked this afternoon about how neither of us has ever managed to keep anything – a job, a friendship, anything – going as long as we’ve been together. I think I’m safe in saying that we love each other more with every passing day, that I am his reason for getting up in the morning, as much as he is mine.

We’re going to celebrate quietly at home. Going out takes more money than we can spend, and besides, these days we’re too worn out by excursions for it to seem like a happy thing to do for fun. No, we’ve bought a couple of gourmet chicken pies at the local supermarket, and a prettily decorated rum cake to have for dessert, and we’re going to bask in each other’s company and spend time with the rats.

Speaking of the Seven Little Ratties, I’ve taken some pictures this week that you might enjoy.

We have an exercise ball for the rats, but it’s never been a success. At least, as long as we tried to make them use it as an exercise ball.

Turn it into novelty bedding, however, and they pile in:

Only four rats are visible in the photo, but by my count there were six rats in the ball at this moment. It’s so tricky getting them to hold still for a photo I had to take what I could get!

Meanwhile, if you’ve wondered just how Lola works her magic on me and gets me to take her out for a snuggle anytime she desires, feast your eyes on this photo:

Believe me, it’s absolutely futile to attempt resisting that look!

Lola herself turned two years old on Wednesday, making her officially our oldest rat yet. She shows few signs of slowing down, although she is more inclined to desire time out of the cage without those young whippersnappers climbing all over and walking on her head.

At last, the big reveal!

And now, the news we’ve been sitting on for almost a week.

Hold on a sec.

Darlin’, could you turn around please?

That’s better! Everyone, this is Isabella. Isabella, these nice people are going to become your newest fans.

Here’s the story. Gryphon and I were so taken with Persephone, the little “going to be Siamese one day but now looks like a PEW” girl who was adopted along with our Perignon, that we started thinking. Pink-Eyed White rats (PEWs) have a hard time finding adoptive families. A lot of people find their color boring. Others think their pink eyes are creepy looking.

MRR deals with this by having a policy that PEWs in their care are always adopted out with a more colorful rat as a partner. They also occasionally offer specials on adoption fees for adopting rats with pink-eyes.

Gryphon and I decided we had room enough, and love enough, for another rat. We made up our minds that we would do our bit by always trying to include one PEW in our rat family.

I went looking at the available animals on the MRR site, and spotted Isabella.

Isabella’s story is special. She was rescued from a laboratory when she was only 21 days old. That’s only about a week after her eyes would have opened. She would have just started eating solid foods.

The young woman who rescued her is a college student. She clearly took good care of Isabella. ‘Bella lived in her human friend’s dorm room for the first part of her life, allowed to free roam. She became very attached to her person, and is very friendly with every human she meets.


Isabella explores her new home

Sadly, her human’s circumstances changed. As her person went to school in New York City, she wasn’t able to bring Isabella with her. Isabella learned to live in a cage, at her grand-persons’ house.

Her human came home whenever she could, and gave Isabella a lot of attention. But the grand-persons’, as much as they like her, weren’t able to give her as much socializing as she was used to. ‘Bella’s human decided the right thing to do was to let Isabella go to another home that could play with her as much as she deserved.

Isabella is an older rat (1-1/2 years), a pink-eyed white, and a solitary rat. She hasn’t even seen another rat since she left the laboratory, though I’m told she once met a pet rabbit and tried to play with its nose! All of these qualities make it harder to find a home for her.

Until Gryphon and I came along, wanting a pink-eyed rat to love.

We first saw her listing on Thursday. Saturday afternoon, Valentine’s Day, we met Isabella’s owner, and collected our new Rattie.


Grooming my fingers

All the photos you see of Isabella were taken within the first ten minutes we had her home. I played with her in my arms and on my shoulders while Gryphon set up her temporary cage. In no time at all, she was licking my fingers, and when I made little clicking noises with my tongue, she turned her head and gave me kisses on the lips.

It is our hope to have Isabella move into the main cage with the Seven Little Ratties. It’s a slower process than usual, however. As an older rat, she is considered a larger threat than a younger one would be. And as a rat raised in isolation from other rats, she has some social instincts, but no practice at inter-rattie social skills. She probably comes across as “odd” to the other rats.

So we’re taking the integration as a slow, steady process, trusting our instincts and making small improvements where we can. One day, they’ll all be together.

Of course, we’ll have to stop calling them the Seven Little Ratties then. How does Octo-Ratties sound?

Whew!

Filed under: Daily Life,Gryphon,Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 5:12 pm on Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I know, I know – I’ve been conspicuously absent from this blog. Well, I’m here now, and ready to bring you up to date!

Things have been busy here. A couple of Sundays ago, we had the Great Rat Baby Exchange, passing along babies from Brynn’s litter who were destined for other foster homes, and collecting a little girl from another litter, Persephone, who would be paired with Perignon for adoption.


Perignon and Persephone

That’s our Perignon on the left, and Persephone on the right. ‘Seph, as we came to call her, looks like a Pink-Eyed White (PEW) rat, but she’s almost certainly going to grow into Siamese markings. Right now, she’s a lovely cream color, with soft pink eyes. I used to be put off by the appearance of PEWs, but now that I’ve met a rat who, at least for now, is one, I actually find them quite attractive.

Peri and ‘Seph didn’t stay for long. Even before we brought Persephone home, an adoption was in the works for these girls. This past Sunday, one week after ‘Seph came to stay with us, we delivered the pair to a delightful 11-year old girl. Their new human is already head over heels in love with these little ratties. Their new names are Ginger (Peri), and Nutmeg (‘Seph). Which are so darned cute I wish I’d thought of them! I just might have to go to the spice rack for the next litter I raise.

Over the last week, we also delivered the remaining members of Brynn’s family, including Brynn herself, to their new homes. Everyone was just thrilled with them, and I am getting regular e-mails and photos telling me how well they’re doing. We made some people very happy, with Brynn’s help!

In other news, I’ve been stepping up in my role with Mainely Rat Rescue. I’m in training to become an adoption counselor. I think I’ve reached the probationary period – they had me make first contact with a potential adopter for the first time last night! If this pans out, I’ll be right on the front lines, so to speak, helping people who love rats connect with the rats who need them most.

I’m also operating a Twitter feed for Mainely Rat Rescue. I’ll be providing links to featured rats for adoption, newly available rats, and perhaps unknown features of the MRR website. If you’d like to keep in touch with what’s going on at MRR, you can follow the Twitter user @MaineRatRescue and get all the news. (www.twitter.com)

On the subject of our personal health – Gryphon finally got to see a neurologist last week, who agreed that he does have a neurological issue. There are a few possibilities – none of the options include cancer or such, thank goodness. He’ll be undergoing some testing soon to rule out possibilities.

And then there’s the Seven Little Ratties. They seem much pleased by the gradual disappearance of all those strangers in the cage next door. Lola particularly has been demanding extra time with her humans – I often look over to the cage to find her laying on the shelf closest to me, with her nose stuffed into the space between the bars, and gazing longingly in my direction. At which point I always laugh, open the door, and take her out for a snuggle.

Lola is happy. She has me well trained!

Counting the Days…

Filed under: Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 9:49 pm on Saturday, January 24, 2009

We’re approaching the final countdown with Brynn and her litter. The babies will be four weeks old on Tuesday. We separate the boys from the girls on Friday. On Sunday next week, the four babies that we won’t personally be delivering to their adoptive homes will be transported to the foster parents who will make that final connection.

Since I last wrote, Chardonnay has been spoken for. That just leaves – are you ready for this? – Dom and Perignon. Yup. Dom Perignon.

domperignon.jpg

Being a boy and a girl, they won’t be staying together. Instead, each will be paired with an odd baby out from another litter born around the same time. So everyone will have new friends and happy homes! If you were interested in either Dom or Perignon, you can still get in touch with Mainely Rat Rescue to inquire after them, and learn who their new buddies will be.

The babies are hardly babies anymore. They still throw themselves under Mom’s belly now and then for a suckle, but Mom’s body is changing and I think the milk is tapering off. For the first few weeks, when you picked Brynn up it felt you were holding a hand ful of hot coals. Now her metabolism is shifting back to more normal rattie temperatures. Biology wins over all, the babies will be weaned soon whether they want it or not.

Not that they risk lacking for nutrition. They’re eating like little pigs! Any food put in the cage is descended upon as though we’ve been starving them, and soon disappears. Some of the more greedy little ones have found that the best spot to sit for dinner is in the dinner bowl – you have the most convenient access to the food, and can control how much your siblings get to. Everyone gets enough of everything, though!

These babies sure love their togetherness. I’m beginning to think I should have spent more time taking them out of the cage individually, instead of in a crowd. I put them all out on a little table with rugs and a couple of props yesterday, and here’s what happened:


Mommy?
The four on the left, clockwise from back left: Asti, Champagne, Clairette, and Dom.
The four on the right, front to back: Korbel, Tattinger, Chardonnay (under kitty’s chin) and Perignon (only her rump visible under Chardonnay).

Everyone immediately grouped together, and went to the Beanie Baby kitty for comfort. Which, now that I think of it, makes sense, since it’s about the size of their own Mom.

That’s not to say they’re timid rats. Just that when they’re presented with a new situation, like all rats, they like to find a way to feel safe while they figure it out. Before long, they were milling all around the table like nobody’s business. Here’s my favorite picture from that:


Exploring the Mug, Inside and Out
Dom in front, Champagne behind him. No way to know who’s in and on the mug!

After the group photos, I decided to take some shots of Dom and Perignon together. It was interesting to watch how alike, yet how different, they are. They’re both mellow, snuggly little ratties. But then, Dom’s a boy, and Perignon’s a girl, and rattie society is much like a pride of lions. The boys stay home, lounging around, while the girls go exploring and bringing home dinner.

That was evident when I watched Dom and Perignon, and how they interacted with the little world of the table top. Both explored, both snuggled with the beanie kitty, both sought each other out for contact and reassurance. I took twenty-five pictures while they did this, and noticed that in nine of them, one or the other was staring down over the edge of the table, wondering what more there was and how they could get to it.

In only two of those pictures, the rat peering over the edge was Dom. In all seven of the others, it was Perignon. Peri, the girl, is the more adventurous of the two, while Dom is quite content to look, but leaves the genuine exploration to his sister.


Perignon peers intently over the edge…


Which is just fine with Dom, who will hang back and wait for her report.

And finally, when they’d settled down a bit, Dom found a cozy spot inside the mug, while Peri came and stared at me, demanding to know, “What’s next?”


Dom in mug, Peri out front.

A week from tomorrow, next Sunday, four of the babies will be moving on to other fosters, then to their final adoptive homes. The remaining babies and Brynn will be delivered to their new homes over the week after that.

And our world will be down to the Seven Little Ratties, our Perma-Ratties, which will thrill Lola, Leo, Yuri, Lily, Laurel, Laura and Trixie no end, as they’ll once again have our undivided attention.

Until the next foster ratties turn up on our doorstep, that is.

Three Weeks Tomorrow, and Almost Like Real Rats

Filed under: Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 3:35 pm on Monday, January 19, 2009

It’s astonishing to remember that, three weeks ago tomorrow, these little kids were brand-new, pink, grub-like wrigglers.

Today, they really look and act like little rats!

They’ve developed a fondness for nesting inside a tissue box.


Didn’t see their backs to say who’s who, but the different colored baby in the center is probably Champagne.

They come running excitedly to the door when it opens, because they want to see what good stuff it means.


Again, can’t identify anyone without seeing their backs!

And when a hand is offered, they climb right on, looking for people time.


Here we have Asti way out front looking up at me.

Mom Brynn, who is little more than a child herself (only around 4 months old now), has found that the kids have grown enough to play with. This morning I observed a lively game of tag on the bottom level of the cage, Brynn and three babies chasing each other around. Eventually, Brynn decided the game was over, grabbed a baby, and carried them to the top floor, with the remaining two kids running close behind her.

So, how do I know it was a game of tag, and not just Mom saying, “Get yourselves back home, now!”?

Because as often as Brynn was running after babies, hopping and popping as much as the little ones were – as often as she was the chaser, she turned around and ran the other direction, and let them chase her.

Given how much she seems to miss the siblings she grew up with, I am so glad she’s starting to find her own babies can be suitable friends and playmates!

Adoption Update

Within 24 hours of my last post, the first time you all got to see the babies’ little faces staring lovingly at you, five – yes, five – of the little ones had been spoken for. Not only that, but Brynn herself is going to be adopted along with a pair of her daughters. Out of the nine fosters, then, two-thirds – six of them – are already destined for forever homes.

Who’s gone, and who’s left? Asti and Korbel will be going to a couple in a nearby city. The babies were born on their wedding anniversary, and they loved the way the sparkling wine names add to the celebration!

Tattinger will be adopted along with one of his first cousins, who was born about two days earlier than he was to Brynn’s sister, Winter.

Brynn, and her daughters Champagne and Clairette, have found a home in another New Hampshire city. They will be first rats for this couple, and I can tell by my correspondence with them that they are well prepared and greatly excited about becoming owned by rats.

That just leaves one boy – Dom – and two girls, Perignon and Chardonnay. I have a feeling they’ll find places pretty quickly, though!

If you, or anyone you know, is interested, you know what to do – hop on over to the Mainely Rat Rescue website and fill out an adoption application!

Brynn’s Babies – In Your FACE!

Filed under: Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 6:36 pm on Thursday, January 15, 2009

The babies are sixteen days old today, Thursday. They opened their eyes late on their two-week birthday on Tuesday. Yay!

Here’s what they look like when they’re looking back at you. Yes, YOU. Each of these little ratlets is peering deep into your soul and saying, “Love me! Take me home!”

For the best, most heart-wrenching effect, do click through on the images for the full-size version. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Dom, Beige Hooded Male

Dom is turning out to be a husky little bundle of love. He can usually be found near the top of the baby pile when they’re sleeping, but he’s not shy about burrowing under his siblings if he wants to feel ultra-cozy.

On his back, there’s a small peninsula jutting out from his hood, with an island just off the tip.

Asti, Beige Hooded Male

There’s one in every bunch – Asti is the most daring explorer in the litter. For several days now, if you saw a single ratlet wandering far from the nest, sure enough, it’s always Asti.

On Asti’s back, the sea of white makes a small, pointed inlet into his hood, while the island spots form a thin, curving archipelago.

Korbel, Beige Hooded Male

Korbel is a snuggly lovebug. When you skritch his head and neck, he raises his nose to the sky and starts working his mouth like he’s nursing. He really loves it!

The fur down Korbel’s head and neck forms a bit of a cowlick in the center. He has a little inlet in his hood as well, with a larger group of islands.

Tattinger, Beige Hooded Male

Tattinger is another husky boy. He’s our precocious watcher – his were the first eyes I saw open in the litter on Tuesday evening.

Tattinger’s markings are almost more like a continent, with a few tiny islands scattered around one large spot.

Champagne, Platinum Hooded Female

Champagne is a cute little flirt. She pretends to be shy, but really likes playing and snuggling. As with Asti, there’s one in every bunch – Champagne is the baby most likely to lick my hand all over when I hold her! After Tattinger, she was the second to open her eyes.

Her platinum color gives her a softer look that sets her apart from her beige siblings. Her spots form a crescent-shaped island grouping down her spine.

Clairette, Beige Hooded Female

Clairette almost looks like she’s laughing at the camera! She’s a lively explorer and snuggly baby.

And wriggly! I had to hold her pretty securely to get this photo of her back. Her spots are interesting – a pair attached to the hood at the top, several others scattered near her rump. I still think the larger one on her rump looks like a maple leaf!

Perignon, Beige Hooded Female

Perignon is turning out to be an explorer, like her brother Asti. She’s a chubby-faced little wriggler!

She has a little notch of white in the base of her hood. Below that is a long string of spots. Since her markings developed, I’ve had a fantasy in my head that, if you turn her to face to the right, the spots are her name, written out in pen and then badly smudged.

Chardonnay, Beige Hooded Female

Chardonnay is another little flirt. She can often be found snuggling into the middle of the baby pile – or climbing over the top of it!

The base of her hood is shaped like a graceful, inverted “V”, with a pair of spots lower on her back.

As a Whole

Overall, the babies are coming along rapidly! They have taken to humans very nicely – when I handle them, they often voluntarily climb onto my palm and snuggle up to sleep there. Same thing if I lay them on my chest – they crawl under my sweater collar along my neck and snooze.

They come to the sound of my voice when I talk to them. These kids aren’t going to be people shy at all!

We moved them into a larger cage on Monday. Brynn finally decided the babies belonged on the third, top floor, and moved them all up there. We’re offering a shallow dish of soy formula for everyone now, and a little pile of dry kitten food. Some of the babies found their own way down to the main food dishes on the second floor, and have been nibbling at the Red Mill grains and chopped fruits and vegetables.

It’s interesting to see how different this litter is from Net-Net’s. Net-Net’s babies were hyper enough they were climbing the walls to the ceiling of the cage two days before their eyes even opened. Brynn’s babies seem to love the companionship of the nest so much, they don’t venture far from it. Most of the time, that is. I suspect after the wandering I saw today, that’s going to start changing. Poor Brynn! She seems conflicted about the babies wandering off. I spotted her finding a baby far from the nest a couple of times this afternoon. She would get agitated, and pick them up, only to just swing around 180 degrees and put them down again rather than take them back to the nest.

Her babies are growing, and she wants them to still be babies! But she wants them to grow up and leave her! But – no, they’re her babies! It’s a universal issue of motherhood, I imagine!

If you want to Adopt:

Whether you want one of Brynn’s babies shown above, or any of the other – five? six? I think it may be seven! – litters currently available from Mainely Rat Rescue, just visit MRR’s main site at: www.mainelyratrescue.org. They have a well-designed and orderly website that makes it easy to see all their Available Animals, as well as to find adoption information and applications.

Hurry! These babies are so cute, we already have people inquiring about them!

Meet the Babies!

Filed under: Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 6:25 pm on Thursday, January 8, 2009

The kids are growing! They have fur enough now that we can identify their colors and markings.

Here are the boys:

All handsome, strapping, beige hoodeds.

And here are the girls:

You’ll notice the girl on the left is a different color than the others. The three on the right are beige hooded like their brothers, but the girl on the left is platinum-colored! She’s also hooded, but her colored fur is a soft, shiny silvery-gray.

Now, ideally, if these kids were true hoodeds they’d have a solid color stripe extending from the hood and down their back to the tail. If they were the variation known as “variegated”, they’d have the hoods with spots evenly distributed all over their backs.

We’re going to call them hooded anyhow, since the spots they have are mostly along the line where the stripe would be.

I had originally thought a couple of these babies would be bareback – hood, but no markings on the back. Turns out their spots were just lighter, and took a little longer to show. Especially the platinum girl!

Okay, so we’ve got easily identifiable babies – how about names? A great big No-Prize goes to Carol, who guessed “Champagne, Flute, and Bubbly” as possible names. While only one of those is actually being used, the theme is correct – sparkling wines! Perfect for a New Year’s Celebration.

Without further ado, then, allow me to introduce Brynn’s Babies!

The Boys


Dom, a beige hooded. Dom has a mostly bare back, but a pair of spots high under the hood add distinction.


Asti, beige hooded. A small series of spots run in a thin archipelago down his back from the hood.


Korbel, beige hooded. He has larger spots – I can’t quite tell if there’s just one big one, or three. At the top of the spots, there’s also a little notch of white extending into his hood.


Tattinger, beige hooded. One big spot on his back.

The Girls


Champagne, platinum hooded. Champagne has a large crescent-shaped spot high on her back, and seems to be developing a couple of other small ones below it.


Clairette, beige hooded. Clairette has several small spots on her back, but the most distinctive is the large one shaped like a maple leaf that points at her tail.


Perignon, beige hooded. Perignon has a series of beige spots on her back, and a little notch of white in the center back of her hood.


Chardonnay, beige hooded. While the wine known as Chardonnay is not normally sparkling, the Chardonnay variety of grapes is one used to make sparkling wines. Chardonnay has a couple of small spots on her back, and the bottom edge of her hood has a v-shaped indentation.

Whew! That’s a lot of photos and a lot of blogging. I need to go rest now, I’m still getting over some sort of bug. Enjoy!

One Week Old

Filed under: Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 3:48 pm on Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It was one week ago, in the wee hours of the morning, that Brynn’s eight babies arrived. They’ve already grown a lot!

As you can see in this picture I took yesterday, their markings have started coming in. That’s what’s making their heads look more gray than pink. All of these babies will be beige hooded, just like mom. There are a couple that may be the bareback variety, which means no spots or stripe on the back.

I’ve been testing myself by taking individual photos of the babies two days in a row, then seeing if I can match the pictures from day one with those from day two. The markings are distinct enough for me to consistently identify the individuals! I have names in mind, too – a New Year’s-related theme – but I’m not going to match them up to babies until these little rat stars get their fur and look more ready for their close-ups. Feel free to guess in the comments what theme I’ve gone with – there’s a great, big, “No Prize” in it if you guess right!

I took this picture through the bars of the white cage just a few minutes ago. For all that she’s so young, Brynn is a very good and attentive mother.

She’s also extremely relaxed about us and the babies. Last night, Gryphon noticed that one had been accidentally dragged from the nest when Brynn came running to the cage door for attention. He reached in, picked up the baby, and offered it to her. She wasn’t phased a bit, looked at the baby, then came back to the door. I guess she trusts that we’ll take care of them properly!

I’ve been fighting some sort of bug for several days now. Although I’m still doing everything I can to socialize and care for Brynn and the babies (not that mom needs the socializing, she’s a little social butterfly!), blogging may slack off a little. I’ll make sure you still see the important highlights, however!

Baby Walruses

Filed under: Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 11:57 pm on Thursday, January 1, 2009

I thought we were raising baby rats. If you look at this picture, however (click on any image below to embiggen), you might think we’re raising miniature, pink, baby walruses.

Look at those muzzlepowshes! Those little whiskers! The itty-bitty ears!

Can’t see the whiskers yet? Try now:

Other details are starting to come in, too, like the toes and claws:

p1010539-copy_edited.jpg

I have taken another good look at the genders – need the practice with babies this small! – and I’m convinced now that my initial count was correct. Four girls, four boys. How orderly!

Here are the girls:

And here are the boys:

*sigh* We could just die of the cute, couldn’t we?

Bellies Up!

Filed under: Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 7:35 pm on Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gryphon and I took an opportunity last night to look the babies over again. For those of you who may be wondering just how big a brand-spankin’ new baby rat is, here are all eight of them, lined up on my hand. They were about seventeen hours old at the moment we took this photo.


Eight Bellies Up

The picture is a little on the blue side, the flash didn’t fire because they were under an Ott Lite.

As you can see, they vary in size a little. So far, the runts are every bit as lively as the big’uns.

That whitish crescent you can see on their left sides (right side of each as you look at the picture) is called the milk line. That’s literally the milk they’ve consumed, visible through their skin. It’s a handy way to make sure that the newborns are getting fed enough. Some of these little ones have obviously filled up more than others, but they’re all eating.

By our best evaluation at this moment, we seem to have an evenly divided family: four boys, four girls. We’ll see if that holds up as the genders become easier to tell.

Meanwhile, Mom Brynn is absolutely at ease with us. She seems to have no issues about us handling the babies at all, though we do still move her to a carrier in another room when we go in for a big, look-everyone-over session. But every now and then, I’ve had occasion to notice that one baby has wound up away from the nest – probably still attached to mom when she came rushing to the door for attention. Just today, I reached in and picked up the stray babe, and held it out to Brynn on the flat of my fingers. She calmly picked the baby up, took it back to the nest, then came back to me for a quick skritch.

Calmest darned mom I’ve experienced yet. I’m not going to delude myself that all mom rats will be like Brynn – Net-Net sure showed us that. But she’s being an absolute delight, loves us being around, and still is giving her babies very good care.

Brynn has bonded pretty heavily with Gryphon, too. Her cage is on a little cart with wheels, so we sometimes wheel her right over to our chairs and let her come out and snuggle, climb over us, etc. Gryphon did that yesterday, and she had a grand time. But when it was time to put her in the cage, she plastered herself to the walls inside and chewed the bars, climbing everywhere and making it clear she wanted to come back out.

I think my husband has a new girlfriend! I had Brynn out for a similar session this afternoon, and she wasn’t anywhere near as frantic when I put her back. Should I be jealous?

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