Rat Slideshow (All of our photos)

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Little Tony

Poor little boy - he tried to live, but finally his tiny body couldn't carry on and he lost his battle yesterday at 10:20pm, dying in MummyRat's hands. Another sad funeral and heartbreak for loving "parents". The one good thing was that it was very peaceful - he curled up and went to sleep, and that was it. We only had his company for three weeks, but it was enough to ensure the tears.

His brothers are lively and healthy, however, as are New Woolie and New Grissom - the day before Tony died he was playing with his brother Splinter, with his nursery-cage-mates Shovel, Gibbs, Horatio and Malone, New Woolie and Grissom, and big boys Simon, Taylor and Joey and generally running riot and causing chaos and leaving mayhem in his wake.

This is the memory we'll hold of him - playing happily and enjoying his tiny life.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Nightmare on Roman Street (well, the A46, anyway)

Last week was a loving MummyRat’s week from hell; first of all there was a bug going around Rat Towers that appeared to affect most of the older rats in residence, and second there were sadly two fatalities as a result – first of all my lovely Nurse Grissom, and then the big, strong Woolie who went from being nearly 600g in weight to 350g in less than a week. Grissom left us on Friday 17th April, after Mummy and DaddyRat had taken a coach-full of students to the Gadget Show in Birmingham. Upon returning home, there was the sad little body of the loveliest rat in the world waiting to have his little funeral, with Woolie dying in MummyRat’s arms the day after. Two little bodies, two funerals. So sad. The good news is that the other boys appear to be recovered from the bugs they were host to; Delko spent Sunday curled up being a Poor Sick Rat on MummyRat’s knee, but perked up after a bit of spoiling.

The new batch of six boys are still in their little cage awaiting their transference into Rat Towers; all appear to be really friendly and extremely intelligent people, with Shovel (Spade is his Sunday name) consistently outsmarting both devoted parents with ease. Little Tony (beautiful white rat with pink eyes) isn’t doing too well, sadly – he’s still tiny and isn’t putting on any weight – but he seems happy enough. If he doesn’t improve within the week, he’s going for a Trip To See The Vet. He’ll love that.

Well…. It had to happen. After the loss of Grissom and Woolie we had two vacancies in Rat Towers to fill. A trip to Pets at Home was made yesterday… and two more boys were selected to join the throng. First of all a little brown and white boy was appointed to replace Grissom (a very hard job of work to do) but in this case he’s a dumbo and Nurse Grissom wasn’t. Second, a comparatively big boy was interviewed – he’s a big round brown dumbo and is the new Woolie. He spent an hour this morning on MummyRat’s knee, and managed to charm the entire household by being loving, friendly and extremely TIRED requiring a nap at frequent intervals. He is probably one of the sweetest natured little rodents to employ Mummy and DaddyRat as owners.

On consideration, probably the reason that Woolie was so Tired was due to the journey home from Lincoln to Grantham – thirty hectic miles in which Woolie managed to eat his way out of the box in which he was inserted with considerable lack of dignity in the Lincoln store, and after incorporation into Grissom’s box was a good way through snicking his way out of that too. MummyRat had to blow into his nostrils in order to get him to behave in an orderly fashion – that gave him cause to think for a nano-second before normal service was resumed and chewing recommenced. By the end of the journey both new boys were sitting on a piece of box the size of a postage stamp surrounded by chewed pap and MummyRat was blue through lack of oxygen.

Interestingly, when we were introducing the new boys to some of the older boys, New Woolie and Simon went shuffling off into a corner and were whispering together, clearly hatching some devious plot. Five minutes later, Simon – who is the Rat Towers Raffles in that anything that is shiny is INSTANTLY desirable to Simon and therefore must become his property (there was an unsavoury occurrence where Simon and DaddyRat had a tug of war over an empty crisp packet that Simon was determined to own and DaddyRat was equally determined that he himself would keep) and the cunning Simon had clearly made a snap assessment in that New Woolie would be a worthy ally in his quest to denude MummyRat of all her jewellery; New Woolie is the Ideal Straight-Man to Simon’s Stand-Up. Ten minutes later, MummyRat noticed that she’d lost two bracelets, three earrings, one ring and a necklace and Simon was peering through his magnifying glass at the hallmarks on his plunder.

MummyRat has the feeling that she’s going to be shopping at Accessorize rather than Goldsmiths in future…

Friday, 10 April 2009

Toothpick, anyone?

I'd forgotten how lively baby rats are..... Not that I should since I appear to be nanny to a new clutch of chicks every three months or so, but each time we get new boys they seem smaller and livelier than the last lot. DaddyRat and myself will marvel at how tiny and how perfect the babies are, and each time we say "these must be the smallest yet!" whilst being aware that this can't realistically be the case because if it were we'd be nurturing baby rats the size of microbes by now.

The new six are EXTREMELY lively - I've just been refereeing a bout of fisticuffs between Splinter and Gibbs II, then between Splinter and Shovel (Spade - poor little boy was destined never to be known by his given name) and then between Splinter and Horatio III. Spot the common denominator? Splinter is a bundle of laughs without a shy bone in his body. We should have realised what he was like when he arrived and unpacked his "Rocky" dressing gown.

Speaking of Not Shy... there was an unsavoury incident two nights ago involving Simon and DaddyRat. DaddyRat had been eating some really potent-smelling Pringles with some disgustingly red dip and had stunk out the living room with it - and remember that the living room plays house to three cages of rats so MummyRat's tolerance of smells in the living room is pretty high - to the extent that the rat population were sending texts and emails asking for goodness' sake PLEASE open a window Before We All Die From the Noxious Odours. Simon started doing his usual trick of running his metal cup along the bars of his cell to alert the warders' attention to the fact that he was Ready To Come Out NOW. DaddyRat rushed to open the door for Sir Simon, allowing him to effect his egress. All fine, one would think. However, when DaddyRat and Sir Simon sat down there was a determined progress on the part of Sir Simon towards DaddyRat's mouth, followed by insistent and exceptionally strong little pink fingers prising open said mouth. Next thing was Sir Simon vanishing up to his shoulders into DaddyRat's mouth, picking out the bits of dead Pringle from between DaddyRat's teeth - as MummyRat said at the time, she didn't know what was the most disgusting - Sir Simon for wanting to actually DO that or for DaddyRat to LET him. Whichever, the net result was one MummyRat lying on the floor in the shape of a disgusted swastika pleading for them to Stop That NOW and Sir Simon having a free second-hand meal. Rat Towers' inhabitants didn't seem to see a problem.... They suggested that the next time DaddyRat feels the need for a scale and polish then he should Let One Of Them Do It because it would be Cheaper. Especially if he'd been eating something particularly savoury, since rats love a savoury snack... they don't seem to mind if it is a pre-chewed snack....

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Malone and his posse

Prior to his death he made some new babies feel welcome and tried to keep some form of order.

New babies video

Well 2 out of 6 anyway as I think Mummy Rat would have a nervous breakdown if all 6 came out at once. And now we don't have Malone to baby sit we are having to interview for a replacement.

Pulp Fiction...

Yes, DaddyRat is full of the stories about how I (and I stress here,"I") am apparently pining away for wants of a good clutch of new little chicks to look after....

I admit that I was extremely upset about the passing of two of our boys last week - first of all Horatio who looked to have died during the night of April 1st (either that or it was a REALLY poor April Fools joke) so we had to have a little funeral for him after he'd laid in state for the day while we were at work, then for my poor old man Malone, who was dead when I went to look in Rat Towers after the Horatio funeral. Both boys looked to have had really peaceful deaths because they were both curled up as if asleep, and it was hard to realise that they were actually dead. This makes Fitzgerald the official "Grand Old Man" now, after the loss of his twin Taylor and now Malone. Mind you, I don't think anybody has actually took the trouble to explain to Fitz that he is now Old and should behave in a Respectable Manner. Last seen he was shinning up the bars of Rat Towers ready to knock seven bells out of somebody who had offered him the Loan of a Walking Stick, or to apply some Ralgex in places where he has rheumatism. Hm. He could get old age a bad name if he carries on behaving like the cage Don Corleone.

So yes, ok - new rats were in order since we'd got down to 20 in Rat Towers (and LB still Doing Time in Solitary and Considering the Error of His Ways) which isn't enough when you've a rodent addiction to feed. We went yesterday to the local Pets at Home to get some more rat nuggets and carpet sweepings for the bottom of the cage (I don't think they're REAL carpet sweepings but that's what they're called in our household) and I just happened to see a lady who works there and the question "do you have any dumbo baby boys?" was out of my mouth before I had time to think what I was doing. She (very reluctantly to give her credit) fetched the ones that were In The Back because they were New for us to have a look at. Big mistake - two little black and white dumbos with one being the runt of the litter - I always love the runt of the litter - one little black boy (just like old Taylor!) and a lovely creamy siamese boy looked back at me. Big BIG mistake. They were ordered for collection by us at 9am tomorrow (i.e. today) when the shop opened and the boys had served their time in quarantine.... and I made the horrendous mistake of allowing DaddyRat to go to the shop On His Own because I had to wait for the gas man to come and service the boiler. A rather shame-faced DaddyRat appeared half an hour later with a box large enough to house an obese Rottweiller being hauled in from the car. I suppose I was lucky that he'd only brought back SIX new boys - had they had two HUNDRED and six in the shop he'd probably have had to have hired a pantechnican to bring the load back.

So now the nursery cage is all set up and there are six little noses peering out between the bars at me... the big boys have all been to have a look but appear as yet to be unimpressed by their new comrades-to-be.

Word on the street is that Fitz has got a contract out on DaddyRat....

Daddy Rat in trouble

Well................... Mummy Rat has been a bit down recently with the sad passing of several of her little bundles of joy. So it was decided that we needed to get some new babies, simple solution yes, no, it was decide that yesterday we needed supplies from the pet shop so we went and spoke to one of the assistants asking about little fur balls and she said we do have some but you can't have them until tomorrow.

After much begging from Mummy Rat (and that is a sight to see) the lady assistant brought out 4 little budles of fur which were immediately sold to Mummy Rat.

So today comes and I find that I am going on my own to pick up the 4 little fur balls, Upon being let into the shop having arrived 20 minutes early I found that not only did they have the 4 I went to pick up but 2 others that just begged to be given a home at Rat Towers.

What could I do? what should I do? If I had left them I would have been in trouble but bringing them was also a problem as we now have 26.

Photographs and video will follow later this week, but you tell me I did wrong when you see how cute they are.

More soon

Daddy Rat