Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Rat Introductions

So I apologize for not being around YET again. I have been incredibly sick and busy with a job, so I haven't been able to update and I feel horrible!

So today I wanna talk about something that someone has asked about: Introducing a new rat to others. Now first of all, you should quarantine the new one(s) as to make sure they have NO sicknesses. This means totally different airspace, I know this cannot always be accomplished but if you can, you really should. If you cannot then at least keep them in a different room, in a separate cage. I'd keep this arrangement for around 3 weeks, ample time to make sure everything is safe! Another consideration you want to have is how old is your current rat? If they're older you may want to pair them with another older rat as sometimes the older ones are too slow for a new baby and it drives them up a wall. However, they can get along, it really depends on your current baby.
Introducing them can take a while, some rats take time to get along with each other. The best thing to do is put them all in a neutral space, no smells from either group. I usually use the bathtub, because it's easy clean up, and the smells don't linger from the rats for long so it's always neutral. Put them all together and watch them like hawks and see how they get along. I suggest that you don't put them in together if they seem to be getting along at first. Really they need time to establish dominance so putting them in together immediately is normally not recommended.
So the best way to decide how big of a cage you will need is simple! Use this calculator. Rat Cage Calculator You put in the dimensions of the cage and it will tell you how many rats you can acceptably put in that cage. I normally do a minus one to what they say just because its a little better. I outfit my cages with hammocks and tubes and ramps and chew toys ALWAYS. They need these things so they don't get bored!

Question of the Day: Who was your first little ratty and what did they make you do to fall in love with rats?

My Answer: My first rats name was Chii and she was a blue dumbo eared girl. She was the love of my life and was just an all around sweetheart who loved to be right next to me no matter what. She was also sassy enough to put my dog in her place and let people know she would only tolerate so much from anyone but me. She knew her name, loved to play little ratty games and I can never replace her but I know she's in a better place now! She wasn't a baby when I got her either, she was at least 8 months old, a BIG girl and completely the opposite of all the girls that you hear about, she was active but not too active, she was a layabout for sure!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Comic Ratties

So I apologize, I have been out of town for a bit, I'm glad to be home, I missed all my babies! But now on to some fun!

I'd love to see if people have comics or funny ratty pictures! I love a good laugh and I'm sure everyone else does too. Here's one of my favorites!

At the moment I'm so tired I don't have much to say so I will leave you with this question of the day!

Question: Males or Females? (no seriously people have preferences!)

My Answer: Personally I love boys more because they are more cuddly and squishy, and they're much more laid back. Case and point, my boy Jinx, no one is as laid back in my clan as him! I do have one girl who is quite sweet but in general my girls are MUCH more active than the boys.

Isolde - she's a blue berkshire dumbo eared girl. I love her to death and she's absolutely crazy! I took her in with Howl, as she caught my eye and I know the girl who had them really needed help. She was however from the other litter that the girl had, so her and Howl are not related at all. She popcorns all over the place, she knows her name and is the first one to the cage door and wants to be up in my face. She loves to snuggle with her "sisters" and loves to groom them even when they don't want to be. She has a LOT of character and has grown from a tiny little scared girl into a very confident BIG girl. I never thought she'd grow at the rate she did, but she got big quick and I have loved seeing her grow up into the girl she is today, scary part is she hasn't even stopped growing!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Power Grooming or Fighting?

It's interesting to watch. They get so riled up and the dominant one it always seems is the smaller one.
What is power grooming? Well it's just like it sounds! One rat grooms a recumbent rat's belly. May be an attempt to reach the neck, which is the goal of play fighting. A question people have frequently is how do you tell whether from the power grooming, is it play fighting or really a bad fight starting. The rats could be playing, trying to figure out who is dominant or having a small disagreement (even best friends don't get along all the time). But at any rate, there's nothing to worry about unless either of them is bleeding. Rats will take a "boxing" position when they are threatened with one another. They stand on their back legs and will put their hands up in front of them. This is a common stance for pre-fighting. A fight will include them basically on one another, biting, scratching, it will look like they are in a ball. However if they are grooming one another there's normally not going to be a fight.
The best way to describe it all is "No blood, no foul" and they can sort it out themselves, so it's best to let the dominance be established. Grooming is not fighting!

Question of the day: What is your weak spot in ratty looks when you're trying to find (or fall upon) a new buddy?

My Answer: I have a huge soft spot for hairless and double rexes. Every time I see one I about fall apart. I have three of my own, Nigel, Flit and Olivia. I wouldn't trade any of them for the world. I also had a bad rex named Elsbeth, who developed a horrible URI which came on suddenly, and had to be PTS after my vet Dr. Hunter did everything he could to save her. She was a wonderful sweet little PEW dumbo girl (PEW stands for Pink Eyed White). Also if you look them up, there is something called a Patchwork Rat, that means they have spots of fur and bald spots, those are not common but absolutely cool looking!

Howl - He's my grey masked, dumbo eared boy. He came to me when a girl had two litters that she was trying to find homes for. They weren't intentional litters and she didn't have the room to keep them all. My friend Meaghan and I both took a rattum from that litter as we both fell in love with the beautiful markings and when we actually met them, completely fell in love. Howl has grown so fast, he's a HUGE boy for his age and I love it! His sister Yoppo is not nearly as big, or growing at the rate that he has, so it's interesting to see the difference. He is most definitely the dominant one of his little group, he makes sure everyone is in their place. He's an incredibly funny boy!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Early Morning Awesome

So I woke up to my phone ringing like mad this morning. My dad called to inform me that our vet, Countryside Vet Clinic (most amazing vet for rats in the world by my standards) had a rat cage for me to come and pick up to help with my rescue work. So I immediately called them and said YES I wanted it and ran over there. It's a cage good enough for two ratties, in a bit of rough shape BUT I cleaned it up and it's great now. I have my two foster girls Maybe and Perhaps in it. They're having a ball. I just want to shout out to Countryside Vet Clinic on Ridgefield Parkway for their work and help with all my babies. They're really the best and I will never go anywhere else because I trust Dr. Hunter with my life! If you have rats and you need to take them to the vet for anything at all, go there, they will take awesome care of you AND they don't charge an arm and a leg.

Question of the day: If you have rats, how often do you hear people say "Ewwwww you own rats?" And if you don't have you said it before?

My answer: Yes, I've heard it MANY times, in fact there are people that won't come to the house because they are even in the house, safe in their cages where if you don't want to see them, you don't have to. It's upsetting to know that people are that creeped out by them, but as I have stated, I will change everyone's minds! Also in the end, if someone really is uncomfortable around them or any of my animals, I will keep them out of sight and confined so that the person in the house is ok!

On a totally seperate note, just wanna add that my African Grey Parrot is really starting to talk, it's exciting!

Jinx - he's my agouti hooded, standard eared boy. Came in with his brothers Matthias and Chicken. Now this boy went from being scared to basically being my anytime, anywhere, anything rat. He wants to be with me, he sits in bed with me and cleans my hair and snuggles into my arms, goes on car rides with me and LOVES to be around anyone. He's the first one to the cage to greet me, he knows his name and comes to me as soon as he knows I want him to come. He's just surprised me in SO many ways and he's become the love of my brood. Whenever I don't take him out with me people ask me where he is and why he's not with me now. It's so funny to have to disappoint and say he's at home. My friends all love to come and play with him because he is SO social. He also has decided that he needs to type for me when I'm on the computer, so when friends IM me, sometimes they get a dose of Jinx wisdom, something like ashfohrewio thwret vrwhvtierh itsriethyier. Yeah at this point they all know if something like that pops up, Jinx has something to say....we've never tried to decipher it, but one day we will.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My News Article In Style Magazine

I have my article up online!!!! Everyone please go check it out!

Let me make one change though, the Fin & Feather I go to is NOT the one on Lakeside Ave, it's the one on Broad Street. They are amazing and I only go other places if they don't have what I need, but normally if they don't and I don't need the product immediately, they will order it for me so I really don't go much of anywhere else. If you go in there, tell them Mae sent ya!

Rat Rescuer: Friendly Rodents Misunderstood

Questions and Answers

I know through this a lot of people are going to (hopefully) ask me questions and I'll be able to help out with what you need to know. But at the same time I want to pose questions to my readers to get you all involved. So today I want to know this: When did you get your first rat?
I got my little girl Chi, my first heart rat, back in 2006, she was already a big girl, but she was WONDERFUL and she's the reason I love rats so much. She came to her name, she loved to be out with me, ride around on my shoulder and would always greet me whenever I came into my room, even if I had only been gone a second. I will never forget her.

So let me hear what you all have to say, and even if you haven't ever had a rat before, lets know why you are interested in them!

Also I'm HOPING my article comes out today in Style Magazine, so if it does, you all will get a second post today about that!

Matthias - He came to me with his two brothers, he's a beige hooded standard eared ruby eyed boy. He was surrendered to me because the lady said she had allergies but I think she just couldn't deal with them as they were all a bit skittish. He also came to me with a huge bump under his chin which turned out to be an allergy to celery. He's now a lot happier, very exploratory, still a little apprehensive to being picked up but once he is out, he's a happy boy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It Starts!

So I've now been convinced to start a blog about my family of rats. I help with rescue efforts, I foster and I have a good few of my own. I think out of any small furry animal that anyone could own, these guys are the BEST! They're social, loving, love attention, don't smell (I've had ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, etc. before as well and the difference is astonishing), and most of all they're just SO cute. I know a lot of people have some serious misconceptions about rats and I want to be a shedder of light, so to speak, on the subject and manner of your average pet rat. They are not the rats you find in the sewer, yes they have some crazy tails and teeth, but they don't have fleas, and from personal experience I can tell you they'll do anything to make you happy! I will be introducing my ratties individually at some point, as well as my foster kids that need new homes, and also any rescue efforts that I will be part of or there is help needed with. I want this to not only be a place for me to brag about my rats, but for people to learn about them and share their stories and information!

Nigel, my hairless dumbo boy. He was a rescue of a rescue. The people I took him from didn't have him long and were scared of him being a biter, he IS in fact a biter BUT he is also a sweetheart and he's just got his own personality!