Rat Fan Club
“The Rat Lady’s” Rats
The number of rats I have tends to change from month to month! As of October 2017, I have 18. Most of the rats I get are rescues. That
means I take them in when someone can’t keep them, adopt them from the humane
society or a rat rescue, or rescue them from a bad situation. I have been
amazingly blessed to rescue rats of a wide range of colors and varieties.
On October 10,
2014, a woman brought me a tiny wild mouse that she had been trying
to hand raise. She could see that the mouse was not doing well, which is why
she brought it to me. I didn’t know what
kind of mouse it was at the time, but I have since figured out she is a harvest
mouse, a native species of field mouse. When she arrived her eyes weren’t
open yet, and she was only about one and three-quarters inches long. Her eyes
opened the next day, and I found a reference online that their eyes open on day
9-12, so they apparently grow very quickly. She quickly gained weight and did
very well. Now, as an adult, she is a little over two inches long. Although I
usually release the wild orphans I raise, including roof rats, Norway rats and deer mice, because she is so small and
harvest mice are social, I thought she may not do well without her family, so I
decided to keep her. She continues to do well and runs on her exercise wheel at
night. She is shy with strangers, but will come out when it’s time for
her dinner and still takes treats from my fingers. In the wild, references say
they rarely live longer than a year, so it will be interesting to see how long
Harriet the harvest mouse, as a baby and an adult.
In May 2015, I got a call
from a local rat owner. She said she had an oops litter and had found homes for
all of them except 2 boys, who were 8 weeks old. She was wondering if I could take them.
I really didn’t need more rats at that point, but she said she had
handled them from birth, and one was blue and the other blue hooded, so I was
persuaded to go meet them on May 23. They were very playful boys and seemed
quite smart and friendly, so I decided to adopt them. I named the hooded boy
Bixby and the other boy Louie. Turns out they weren’t really blue after
all, but actually blue agouti. Louie, in particular, has a very beautiful blue
agouti coat. Agouti fur has 3 bands of color on each hair. On regular agouti,
the bottom is gray, the middle is brown, and the tip is black. On a blue agouti
coat, the bottom is gray, the middle is brown and the tip is blue. Louie is the shy one, although when I
decided to teach them some tricks, he was most interested in playing the piano.
Bixby was super smart and learned several tricks in just one or two lessons. He
learned to pull up a basket on a string, pull open a drawer, pull a string to
ring a bell, and pull a toy train. However, unfortunately, neither boy wanted
to learn any other tricks, and they did’t seem interested in performing
them for anyone.
In December 2016 Bixby started
having seizures, so I started him on prednisone, but it didn’t help and
over the next two days he became nearly comatose. He even lost the ability to
swallow, so I made the decision to euthanize him. Unfortunately, an autopsy did
not reveal what caused the damage to his brain.
Bixby and Louie.
In late January 2016, I saw a post on the RFC Facebook group
that someone in Sacramento needed
homes for a litter of 6-week-old babies. I assumed the litter was accidental,
but eventually found out they had bred them on purpose to give their kids the
experience of raising them. Fortunately, the mom only had 9 babies, because
they didn’t realize that 12 is average, and obviously did not have homes
lined up before breeding the litter. They did not handle them from birth, but
started socializing them at 2 weeks of age, and said they were quite friendly.
I told them I would take two boys, but the day before we met to pick them up,
they said they only had one boy and two girls left, and would I take them all?
I said yes. The boy is an agouti hooded, and is quite sweet and playful. I have
named him Winston. The girls are both agouti Berkshire,
typical active girls, and I named them Cayenne
and Clove. I spayed them so they could live with Winston. I lost Winston on May 15, 2017 from heart and lung
On April 18, 2016,
one of my rat friend’s, Rachel, brought me the gift of a young hairless
boy! She actually let me choose
from two that she had gotten from the breeder, and I chose the shy one who was
wheezing. Treatment with amoxicillin quickly cleared up his symptoms, and I was
able to quickly introduce him to two boys I had at the time. I tried out a few
names on him, and the only one he responded to was Squid. Squid was a very shy
boy, but he has come out of his shell a lot. Sometimes he gives me kisses. When
his cagemates, who were older than him, died in November and December of 2016,
I tried to introduce him to Louie, but he was quite aggressive, so on February
10 I neutered Squid. After about 2 weeks Squid aggression was pretty much gone,
so now he and Louie live together.
In June 2016, a local rat owner asked if I would take an
aggressive rescue. This was a blue rat who had been used as a breeder at a
local pet shop. I only agreed to take him because I happened to have an empty
cage. However, even after he was neutered, I couldn’t get him to accept
any other rat, so he continues to live alone. His name was Leo, but because one
of my other boys was named Louie I kept getting their names mixed up, so I
changed his name to Neo. He is also very unsocialized and doesn’t like to
be touched, even though I have tried working with him using the Trust Training
method explained on my website.
24, 2016 and January 15,
2017, my four most friendly rats passed away, so I told my friend
Nicole Marlin, who is a breeder and rescuer, that I was in the market to get
two or three friendly boys. She told me she would shortly be getting back two
boys she had bred back from a customer who was going off to college, plus
another boy that the customer had gotten somewhere else, so I said I’d take
them. She brought them on January 19, and the third boy turned out to
be a hairless Dumbo! I was so excited! The two boys Nicole bred were big:
a black masked named Gus, and a blue named Sterling.
The hairless boy is smaller and had a name I didn’t like, so I tried
out several different names to see what he liked. At first he seemed somewhat
suspicious and feisty and the only name he showed any interest in was Festus.
Out on the couch, at first he spent most of his time scent marking with his
hands! Now he has adjusted to his new home and is very friendly. Gus was the
friendliest, and he had a coat that is sort of wiry, so he looked a bit like a
rex, although his whiskers were straight. He was the first to come out and he
licked my hands and my lips! He wanted to get into my mouth, but I
wouldn’t let him. Sterling
wasn’t quite as trusting as Gus—and he hated posing for pictures!
Unfortunately, I did not have Gus and Sterling for long. I had to euthanize Sterling
on April 7, 2017, when he
went into respiratory distress. Turned out he had a tumor growing on his heart.
On February 1, Gus grew a lump on his throat which turned out to be lymphoma,
and I had to euthanize him on May 8,
Festus and Gus
On April 9, 2017,
I took in 3 rats from Glenn, a friend who is a truck driver. He had taken a new
job and need to find a home for 3 of his rats. They were George, a 2-year-old
black-hooded neutered male, Simon, a Siamese boy who will be 2 years old in
September, and Girly, a 9-month-old black-hooded female. Athough Girly had been
living with fertile males and hadn’t gotten pregnant, I spayed her to
help protect her from tumors. Then, when Simon wouldn’t stop picking on
George, I neutered him. None of these rats is very friendly, although Girly
does like to be petted some.
On April 27, 2017,
I adopted 2 more adult boys from Nicole. One was a blue satin boy I named
Titus, and a marble boy I named Razzle.
They were both standoffish at first, then Titus started to warm up to
me. But then he started urine-marking me all the time and showing some
aggressive behavior, so I neutered him. It didn’t take long after that
for him to become quite cuddly, and with his satin fur he is really soft! They
now live with Festus.
Razzle and Titus
On June 20, 2017,
I was asked to adopt 2 girls from a local owner. One of the girls, Millie, had
obvious symptoms of a pituitary tumor, and the other girl, a black hooded named
Ella, had a mammary tumor. I had already removed a mammary tumor from Ella in
April, and I think the family was overwhelmed with caring for them.
Millie’s symptoms were so bad I euthanized her. I removed Ella’s
tumor and she now lives with Squid and Louie. Ella is one of the most
demandingly affectionate rats I’ve ever had and I’m glad to have
In July, Glen the truck driver called to say his new company
was making him rehome his 2 remaining rats, so they arrived on the 23rd.
They were Rex, a fat black bareback boy, and Annie, a black hooded girl. Annie
is actually the mother of Girly, the girl I adopted from him early. They
remembered each other and were glad to be together again! I put both of them in the cage with
Girly, George and Simon, and at first it was okay, but then Simon began
attacking Rex, so I ended up moving Simon in with Cayenne and Clove. I
didn’t have Rex for long though, because late in August, I rescued 2 sick
baby girls from a local pet shop and they brought in a secondary bacterial
infection that was contagious, causing several of my rats to become very sick,
including Rex and George. I ended up losing them both on September 3, and their
autopsies showed they both also had congestive heart failure. Once I got the 2
pet shop girls well, they went to live with my friend Dave. Annie also got
sick, but recovered. She is a sweetheart, as aggressively affectionate as Ella!
Click here to see pictures of some
of my rats who have passed on.
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