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.
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.
Well, there’s things, but we don’t know what to do with them.
Drumknott starts to get the idea.
And this is?
No idea but it smells a bit like food.
You need to help me with this, Daddy, because I lack opposable thumbs.
Cosmo and the girls got the hang of it quite quickly:
Cosmo found some peanuts…
… and took them off to a quiet corner where no-one would disturb them…
… which went well for a while…
…until Dimity tracked them down.
Misty came out by herself and unwrapped her gifts.
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.
Our ratties have some new hammocks for Christmas – we decided to treat them all, but not all of them have been co-operative about having their photos taken, sadly!
The hammocks all came from RattieAngels (which is also the rattery where Lias and Drumknott were born). Of course they’ll get used all year round, but it’s nice for them to have new ones for the season ;-)
Lias and Drumknott – on the cube is much comfier than in the cube, obviously!
Keepsake trying to hide from the big scary camera
Dotsie acting casual
Misty got a new hammock as well but is currently refusing to go in it. They’ll all get toys and treats on Friday of course. And in case I don’t have chance to post before then, here’s Cosmo to wish you all a very happy festive season, however you celebrate it.
“Dese pesents is mine. Get ur own.”
Last time I said we would be going to the Heart of England Rat Club Christmas show – well, I usually do the kitchen, which means tea and coffee and lots of bacon & sausage sandwiches. This time I also made curried sweet potato soup and Mum kindly provided a chocolate cake and a large quantity of mince pies – yum.
Lias and Drumknott were both in reasonable condition so I took a punt on showing them, and decided to try them in Varieties as well as Pets – I think I’ve talked about this before, but Varieties is all about standards of colour, markings, head & body shape and so on, while Pets is more about temperament and character. Usually you have to choose whether to show a rat in either Pets or Varieties but HERC let you put the same rat in both. I expected the boys to do fairly well in Pets, though they’re still a bit young and haven’t developed the laid-back-to-the-max attitude of the fully adult buck, but Varieties was more of a bit of fun to see what a judge would say about them, and I didn’t think we’d come home with much.
Which tells you right there that I have no powers of prediction. We got a bunch of certificates for Pets but nothing rosette-worthy, but in Varieties Lias got Best Rex and Best Russian Rex, while Drumknott got Best Black and also Stud Buck, which is one of those things I always thought went to a breeder rather than a pet owner. Anyway, I took some pictures of them with their lovely rosettes and ribbons this morning:
Lias looking modest
Drumknott: “Mum! Look what I won!”
Yes, it’s still over a month away. But with the Heart of England Rat Club Christmas show fast approaching, it seemed a good opportunity to try and get my head around the inevitable approaching season.
Most of our current residents will be experiencing their first Christmas. How much any of them remember from one year to the next I wouldn’t like to guess but I doubt it’s very much. Still, they will get gifts, and some nice food, and a few extra treats.
Last year I did a proper photo session with some of the kids but today only the two boys were awake, so it was a bit more rushed and impromptu. I tried them with the little hats earlier in the day and they seemed fine but when this afternoon rolled around they didn’t want to know – Lias in particular removed his pretty much straight away.
“Any idea what we’re meant to do with these?”
“Not a clue. Just look cute.”
Least convincing Santa’s-Little-Helper ever.
Much happier without the hat.
“Not sure what this is all about…”
“… But this is mine now.”
So, we’ll be at the HERC show in two weeks’ time, and if no-one’s sneezing or covered in scabs by then we might even show someone, you never know. There’ll be food, a raffle, a quiz and maybe even some home-made mince pies. Come along and say hello if you’re in the area!
It’s taken nearly a week, but we got there in the end. No new pictures today because they refused to co-operate last night, but the girls are now named Dimity, Keepsake and Dotsie (explanations in the links for each name).
They are still very nervous around us but have settled well with Cosmo. It’s possible that they were handled roughly before they were rescued, or just not handled much at all. They will come up to me and examine my hands while I’m making a fuss of Cosmo, but then turn tail if I try to touch them. Things will improve, I’m sure – they just need time and patience.
So, I mentioned last time that we were getting three new girls to see if Cosmo would settle with them. They’ve been here since yesterday evening and so far, so good. They are rescues – from an out-of-control breeding situation caused by someone not knowing what they were getting themselves into – and when rescued were part of a group of twenty girls all living in a Mary cage. A Mary is generally considered to be big enough for two. So they are small, a bit shy and very, very fast, and if they don’t want to be picked up they will squawk at you, but they seem to have taken to Cosmo and he seems happy too.
We haven’t settled on names yet, though they will be Discworld names of course. We have a black Berkshire dumbo, an agouti hoodie dumbo, and a top-eared black hoodie. I got some photos this evening, though not as many as I thought (not a good time to discover the camera has no internal memory). Some of the best:
The black Berkshire dumbo girlie
Agouti hooded girlie
Black hooded girlie
And when they actually emerged from under the cushions:
Last but not least, of course, Cosmo – who was actually bruxing while he was out and about, and that’s the first time in ages we’ve heard him brux.