Monday, April 7, 2008

Rats!

I am thinking about adopting one. Does anyone out there know anything about keeping one?

This particular rat could no longer be cared for by his family, so he was looking for a new home at PetCo today. And he looked sad. His name was Templeton (appropriate). I am a sucker for homeless animals and would take them all home with me if I could. I have really missed the absence of Teebo (my guinea pig) and Whitley and Woodstock (my cockatiels). I have wanted to get another bird for a while now, but realize I should wait till I am moved to do that. I also really (really!) want a dog, but we need to wait till we have a place with a yard. I am terrified of mice, but a rat is larger and more like a guinea pig with a tail (right?). I worry that Kelty, my cat, might enjoy it to much, but she was always nice enough to Teebo.

So, my question to you readers is this: are rats good pets? Level of easy needed in care? What do they eat? Are they nice or pissy?

Thanks for the advice ;)

6 comments:

Jerry D. Harris said...

Back in 6th grade, I did the standard, run-of-the-mill "run a rat and a mouse through a maze a zillion times to see which one learns it faster" experiment for a science fair. The rat (a hooded rat), that I named Sherlock, was brilliant and could run this large, relatively complex maze in under 30 seconds. The mouse, whose name I forgot and who died of terminal diarrhea shortly after the fair, never was nearly so brilliant. Sherlock lived for over 3 years thereafter and continued to exhibit rodentian erudition. Somehow, Sherlock managed to train himself to never urinate or defecate outside of his cage, and he figured out that if he jammed piles of the wood chips from the bottom of his cage under his exercise wheel, it wouldn't move, and he could climb it like a ladder, use his snout to pop off the snap-on screen top of his terrarium, climb down the cabinet it was on, cross the room, climb up my bed, and sit on my chest 'til I woke up in the morning. The only evil thing he ever did outside his cage was one time he climbed inside the back of my desk and into a drawer and proceeded to chew one of my sister's smurfs into tiny blue and white slivers of rubber...which, when you think about it, wasn't really all that evil at all...! In short, he was an absolutely terrific pet, much better than the evil, vicious gerbil I had many years later.

If only my students were as clever as Sherlock was...

ReBecca said...

That is an awesome story! I need to call the pet store and see if he is still there.
:) Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm probably too late commenting on this, but I have to echo the comment above and say that the pet hooded rat I had from age 10 to age 12, named Snorky, was probably the best pet I ever had, intelligent and very affectionate and loving. He was also very territorial and killed 2 cagemates we tried to house with him, but that may have been because the enclosure wasn't big enough. We fed him a seed mixture sold especially for pet rats and mice. Favorite Awwww-provoking memory: My father once built him an elaborate, multi-story cage of wood, glass, and screening. One night, I was awakened on my top-level bunkbed by a licking on my cheek. Snorky had chewed through the wood to escape his cage, run to the ladder of my bunkbed, and climbed up it to lick my cheek before curling up by my neck to sleep. The sweetest pet ever!

ReBecca said...

That is an awesome story! Thanks for sharing :)
Maybe once we get resettled back out west we can reconsider it!

Chuck said...

I know a guy with a pet boa who could probably find a "permanent home" for a rat...

ReBecca said...

Lucky for the Rat that is found a different home then!