A quick photo session

Yesterday I worked at home for the last hour or so of the day which meant it was still warm and sunny when I finished work. I took a few pictures in the garden (which will end up on my other blog) and then took some of the ratties. And then realised these were the first rat pictures of 2016, which is very bad of me.

Cosmo was very pose-y but most of the others couldn’t be bothered.

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Dotsie was up and about and didn’t run for cover the minute I opened the cage door:

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But Keepsake and Dimity stayed very firmly in the hammock (though I did get a close-up of Keepsake):

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Drumknott and Lias weren’t much better, and refused to get out of the cube – Drumknott thought about it at one point but changed his mind.

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To be fair they did look very comfy!

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Nearly showtime again

Yes, next Saturday it’s the next Heart of England Rat Club show. Handily it’s not far for us to travel, which is always a bonus, and I’ll be busy in the kitchen providing teas, coffees, bacon rolls etc.

Last time (in Feb) I got some very cute pics of ratties in their show tanks so I’m hoping for some more on Saturday!

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We’re not showing anyone this time, but it’s always fun to see lots of gorgeous rats and covet them😉

So if you’re in the Northampton area, come along and say hello! And a Happy World Rat Day for tomorrow:-)

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Burials, at last

The last three of our old ladies have been patiently waiting for their resting places for some time. Today we finally bought some plants for them and gave them their burials. Sirocco and Scarecrow get a hebe each, while Misty gets a little Prunus (flowering cherry).

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Sirocco

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Scarecrow

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Misty

Misty’s Prunus looks a little bare from a distance but up close you can see the buds and a few small flowers:

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So I think it’s going to look lovely.

If you’re a gardening fan you can read more about our garden here: The Random Gardener

Love to you and yours!

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Past rats: Magna and Chira

Two little black hoodies who joined us in April 2008. We thought that they would be good company for the tearaway Roxie but she hated them on first sight and there were several months of tensions in the group, at least partly because of her animosity to them.

They were, as it happened, fairly laid-back girls who got on fine with all the others and after their initial wariness of Roxie they came to realise that the others would not let her hurt them, and grew in confidence quite rapidly.

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Soon after arrival – still babies, really

(Their names came from the pages of 2000AD, specifically from the Nemesis the Warlock series, for those of you who meed to know such things!)

By May 2009 they had been with us for just over a year, and employment needs moved us to another part of the country. We moved with five rats – our first boys, D.R. and Quinch, and the three remaining girls, Magna, Chira and their erstwhile enemy, Roxie.

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Chira

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Magna

Grown-ups now, and much happier in a smaller group, the three were quite contented together. Then in the July Roxie died, leaving just the two sisters. Shortly after that Chira started to show signs of respiratory infection and though we did what we could she died in early December, a month short of her second birthday. Magna became quite dependant on us, and though I was keen to find ratty company for her this took longer than anticipated – a local rescue had a girl who had been kept alone but she needed a good deal of treatment for mites and it was a month before she could come to us.magna and domino

But eventually she arrived and we named her Domino and introduced the two to each other. After a few days of tension and Mexican standoffs over food bowls, they seemed to decide that life was better if they were friends and after that they were pretty much inseparable.

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Sharing a chew toy

May 2010 saw us on the move again but by now Magna was starting to show her age. We weren’t too sure of Domino’s age but thought she was about a year younger than Magna. Magna had respiratory issues and hind leg degeneration, and meanwhile Domino had gone blind, so they were quite a pair. I kept getting the impression that Magna was forcing herself to keep going because she didn’t want to leave Domino alone, so to avoid a gap while we tried to find cagemates I put out an appeal on a rat forum and was immediately offered two younger girls by a local breeder. We went and collected them, put all four together in a new cage, and they all got on just fine. And Magna died the next day. So I remain convinced that she didn’t want to leave her friend, and held on until she knew Domino wasn’t going to be alone.

Sometimes Magna and Chira feel like afterthought rats, fitting in between others who were bigger personalities and left bigger memories behind. But the period when we had them was one of upheaval and change in our lives for a number of reasons (we changed jobs several times, moved around the country twice, and there were family bereavements) so when I think of those times there are other concerns crowding out the rat stuff. This does them an injustice – they were lovely girls, despite their unpromising start in life (as I recall, an accidental litter due to pet shop mis-sexing, rescued from being dumped by a friend of mine). They also had to compete for attention with our first boys, which would be hard on anyone.

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Misty, from first to last

We have just said goodbye to little old lady Misty. She had slowed down in the last few weeks, and today we knew it would not be long. Reunited with her sisters Sirocco and Boots and her friends Sam, Susan, Ragweed, Scarecrow and Biscay.

The first photo I have of her, at only about 4 weeks old:

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The first photo I took of her, on her first night at our house a few weeks later, with Boots and Sirocco:

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And the last photo, on Christmas Day (I have been bad so far in 2016 and haven’t taken any ratty photos):

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Night night, sweetie.

 

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Past rats: Roxie

We are overdue again for a Past Rats post – I wrote about Tallulah and Zelda in August 2014. Disgraceful.

Well, Roxie was a lot of rat in a very small package. She came up for rehoming on a rat forum a few days after Tallulah’s untimely death in January 2008 and being the soft touch that I am, I jumped. She had been alone, mis-sexed and then taken on by someone who only had boys but thankfully discovered the mistake before attempting an intro. She was about 6 months old, and that was all we knew.

So we took her home, and put her with Tau who was bottom of the heap and very accepting of everyone. Over the next few weeks we introduced her to one or two of the others and it all seemed to be ok, until we tried her with the whole group. At which point she challenged Zelda, who was over twice her size. Zel swiftly put her in her place and we thought that would be fine.

Roxie took a real dislike to Sigma, who was now Zel’s second-in-command. A few times I had to take her out of the cage and give her time out with one of the others because I found nasty injuries on Sigma. After a few months Halo had died and a friend had two little girls looking for a home so we took them on thinking Roxie could boss them around and she’d be happier, but she hated them and tried to bully them. I well remember having them all out on our bed and seeing Roxie chase one of the babies up onto J’s shoulder, only for Zelda to get between them and face Roxie down. The other girls accepted the babies, no problem.

Over the summer both Tau and Evey died, leaving Roxie having to get on with Zel, Sigma and the babies (now named Magna and Chira). Sigma and Zelda both died in December 2008 and Roxie just had to get on with it – which to her credit she did, though old age probably played its part. By the time she died, in July 2009, she was as well bonded with them as we could have hoped, and we rather missed our little firebrand.

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Before it gets too late

The kids did have their presents on Christmas Day and I did take some photos, and yes it has taken me this long to get round to posting them. Cosmo and his girls got some new chew toys, the two boys got a new willow ball, and my mum also bought some wood chews with tasty treats inside. And between those two groups and little old lady Misty, there was a stocking full of individual treats to share.

Drumknott and Lias got first dibs but were a bit bemused by the whole thing.

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Well, there’s things, but we don’t know what to do with them.

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Drumknott starts to get the idea.

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Hazelnuts! Yummy!

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And this is?

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No idea but it smells a bit like food.

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You need to help me with this, Daddy, because I lack opposable thumbs.

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Yay! Biscuit!

Cosmo and the girls got the hang of it quite quickly:

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Cosmo found some peanuts…

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… and took them off to a quiet corner where no-one would disturb them…

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… which went well for a while…

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…until Dimity tracked them down.

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Misty came out by herself and unwrapped her gifts.

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She had to have a little bit of help, but she did enjoy tucking in to her popcorn.

So we approach the end of the year with Misty the only one left of the ten rats we had in January – an almost complete change of population. She is getting frail and is less and less interested in food or playtime,  but still just interested enough to make some effort.

From all of us here, we hope you and yours all had a good Christmas and wish you all the best for 2016.

 

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