The boys being the boys (Rygel, Ben & D’Argo)
The boys being the boys (Rygel, Ben & D’Argo)
This week I’m writing about my not-so-attractive girl, Chi. Bless her, my breeder originally intended to keep her as a Mummy rat, but due to her small squinty eyes and bumpy tail she decided against it and posted about her to the group of owners to see if anybody would like her. I couldn’t help but take her in, much to Nick’s dismay. I have a soft spot for rats who are a little special.
Chiana is a blue agouti variety and she is the youngest of my girls. We got her in March this year. I believe that she is also now the biggest (and if she’s not, she’s not far off). She thinks that she is the alpha of the cage and challenges Zhaan on a regular basis, ten minutes later they’re cuddled up together so I’m never too concerned when I hear them squawking at each other, and my goodness do those two bloody squawk. They’re the noisiest rats I’ve ever owned! I have a feeling that Zhaan will give up her title soon, Chi still has some growing to do and can be just as moody!
However she’s a sweetie too and is super eager to please. She loves training and currently stands, walks and comes to you on command (well, the latter is when she’s in the right mood but she knows what it means!)
As I said before, I have a soft spot for special rats and she certainly is a special one 🙂
I missed last weeks Mischief Monday, I wasn’t really feeling great on the Sunday or Monday, late pregnancy insomnia/aches/pains just knocking me out a bit. So I’ll post this now instead to keep to the Monday theme (given that I seem to be failing with WIP Wednesday and FO Friday!)
On Thursday the 20th we woke to our darling, wonderful old boy, Howl, just not being himself. He seemed very ready to move onto the next great adventure but we didn’t want to be hasty, so we gave him some Baytril to see if that perked him up and I spent the morning having a lot of cuddles with him. He did seem to perk up a little in the afternoon so I cancelled the appointment I had made for that evening at the vet, knowing full well that we had a matter of days at most now rather than the weeks we had previously. Unfortunately he lost all of his energy for living by late Thursday evening and so we spent Friday letting him cuddle his cage mates and stealing some last cuddles for ourselves before taking him to the vets on Friday afternoon to be put to sleep.
We’ll miss him, the other boys seem to realise what has gone on and apart from Ben being a little more cuddly than usual they are otherwise their normal selves so we think that they’ve accepted it as well. This last of our Ghibli boys has gone, and one of our first pair. He did so well getting to nearly three years old despite his long list of health problems!
RIP Howly x
Sikozu was my compromise rat. I have always coveted silverfawn rats, they are a lovely orange colour with red eyes, I love them. In the summer before we got Kozu our breeder successfully bred two litters of silverfawns and intended to breed more from them; Nick and I agreed that I couldn’t have any from those first two litters but I could have one from the line that was supposed to follow later that year. Unfortunately they didn’t have any interest in making babies, but a litter of ‘buff’ coloured hooded rats were born to a rescue that our breeder had picked up, and Kozu was one of those buffs. After much ‘discussion’ it was agreed that we would have one instead of the silverfawns which weren’t going to happen and she was the one who charmed Nick by falling asleep on him in the shop
something she never did again! We got her at the end of October last year, it doesn’t feel like it was that short amount of time ago though!
Kozu soon turned out to not be a buff hooded at all, but actually a Himalayan (or siamese, I can never remember the difference). She’s also the smallest of our rats bar Rygel. It’s strange to look back on the early pictures of her as she doesn’t look the same at all! Kozu is mad. Absolutely, positively mad. She bounces around like a kitten, scales the furniture in seconds and is the fastest rat we’ve ever had, she’s ridiculously fast. Her first party trick was running up us and onto our shoulders in a ridiculously quick time with no warning what-so-ever, and then going back down leaving us wondering if we’d imagined it! She is still very quick and fun but can be very troublesome too. Her and Aeryn like to tag-team to see who can get into the most mischief each time they come out. She’s also ready to come out 90% of the time, sits at the door of the cage watching us and making it clear that she wants out NOW. A sleeping Kozu is a rare Kozu to be seen.
Malt Paste and dried fish are about the only food items that can convince her to do tricks, even then, they aren’t reliable!
Oreo was a rescue who we got in March 2015, when she was around 6 months old. She’s a generic black hooded rat with a broken line down her back. We were her third home after the pet shop, so likely at least her fifth ‘home’ if you count the breeder of her and then the pet shop, poor thing. As a result she has always been a little bit of a Scaredy-Rat, but she’s a very lovely Scaredy-Rat! She loves cuddles, as long as you don’t pick her up first 😉 She also likes her cage, she’ll free range for short periods but will often take herself home after 15 minutes or so, which is quite sweet really. I think she just enjoys having the cage to herself!
Oreo is now over two and unfortunately she is quite lumpy, when her first tumour appeared a few months ago we decided not to operate and to see how it progressed for the time being. We are glad that we made that decision as it has become a case of her having multiple tumours which are growing at different rates, so we are now in a position of keeping her happy and comfortable, which isn’t too difficult as she’s such a wonderful girl!
For the next Mischief Monday, I thought that I’d introduce you to our alpha girl, Zhaan, and her sister Aeryn. I’ve paired them up as I can’t really say much about one without talking about the other, they are a pair!
Zhaan is a big girl. She’s also the next oldest along with Aeryn. They were two in June. Aeryn and Zhaan came from a breeder who was local to us in Brighton, the breeder has a line of Big Rats and these two are part of it. Their Daddy was well over 800g and the boys from these litters generally are just as big as he was, that’s without being just fat as well amazingly! (Though a few are a tad podgy, like our Zhaan!)
They were our first two from that breeder and we’ve gone on to have 5 more from her too, all of whom have been wonderful additions to our Mischief and super friendly from day one. We actually had two female rats booked from the same breeder that we got Howl and Haku from and we were to pick those up a few weeks later, but we popped into the Brighton Breeder’s pet shop and she had a cage of baby girls there waiting to be taken home. All but two of them had been reserved and she told us to open the cage and have a play with them. Funnily enough, the only two who wanted to come out for a play were Zhaan and Aeryn and they were perfectly content running between us and being super playful. When we inquired as to which two were needing a home still and she said these two, we knew that we couldn’t leave without them! It felt like we had been Chosen by the girls to be their new owners!
If it wasn’t for A&Z I don’t think that Nibbles would have been so tame once her companion died a few weeks later. A&Z really calmed her down and put up with a lot of being dragged around the cage to nests Nibs had made! They were really good with her once Ruby died. At first Aeryn didn’t get along with Nibbles and Zhaan didn’t get along with Ruby, so we paired them off during intros and once each of the older girls had a baby they were all fine. A&Z would cuddle up to ‘their’ older rat and all was well, and by the time Ruby died they were all getting along fine anyway.
Aeryn is a big softie and has the most perfect derp face. She’s extremely cheeky but can be very cuddly as well. We have a soft spot for her as she had a period of six weeks a few months after we got her where she kept getting injured and needed to go in the hospital cage, so she was out with us in the snoods a lot of the time or just resting in a little nest we made her on our desks.
Zhaan is also quite cuddly when she wants to be, but usually just wants to explore when she’s out with the others. She’s also a bit of a bitch with the others and she gets really sulky when we leave her. Our poor rat sitter got the brunt of it whenever we went away, the only time I’ve ever known Zhaan (or any of my rats from Brighton Breeder actually) to nip has been when with our Rat Sitter, who is utterly lovely but Zhaan just does not like her. I think it’s more because we’d left her rather than being personal, until the last time in which I think Zhaan knew exactly where she was and apparently made it quite clear that she wasn’t to be disturbed until we got home. Little git. We get a couple of days of attitude and being ignored from her before she lets us start cuddling her again when we get home too! Luckily I don’t think that any more holidays are going to happen whilst Z is still alive, given her age and the fact we don’t want to travel with a small baby!
Aeryn and Zhaan are both quite intelligent girls as well actually. They’re both very quick to pick up new tricks and I regret not starting training properly sooner. We did hints of it on and off but life often got in the way, so they weren’t getting much out of it. We’ve only started regularly training them since July really, and we only really train our girls as the boys weren’t interested in it. Kozu is just not food motivated, Oreo doesn’t really enjoy it and Chiana loves it but is just a bit stupid so it takes her a long time to get a trick down, even then she struggles, bless her. A&Z are naturals at it though and absolutely love it. They’re great for teaching Chi how to do tricks as Chiana will copy anything they do. I do love my big girls!
After introducing you to my old boy, Howl, last week, I thought that we should go in age order. This week it’s Ben, he’s my other old boy (though not quite as fragile as Howl yet!)
Ben came to us in March this year as a companion for Howl. When Howl’s brother died in November we decided to keep him as a lone rat as we didn’t think that he had very long left and didn’t want to stress him out further. Unfortunately, it was a mistake on our behalf. Howl was okay at first but within a couple of months he was really starting to get down. So we asked for some advice on a local rat group, asked if our breeder/rescue had any old boys in to keep him company as a lovely woman who had actually offered Ben to us back in November got in touch again to say that he was still around, if we wanted to introduce the two. So we took her up on the kind offer and brought him home.
Ben and Howl hit it off immediately, which was a relief. They were in together from day 2 (day 1 being a day for us to suss Ben out and for him to suss us out!) and we haven’t looked back!
Ben is incredibly cheeky, a proper little Lad. Despite being neutered he is obsessed with the girls, he loves winding them up! He’s very friendly and sweet, I don’t think that he could hurt a fly! He is old, over 2 and a half now we think and he’s starting to lose some of his colouring and his fur is thinning as expected, but he’s doing okay mostly. He has a horrible respiratory infection that will not go away at the moment but we’re treating it and hopefully we can keep it under some semblance of control whilst he lives out the rest of his life.