Thought I’d write a little about the rats we love and have loved. We recently had a bit of a scare with one of our rats, overnight she grew a tumour which was about the size of a grape. As rats are prone to cancer it’s obviously something we worry about.
So here’s a little bit about our gorgeous pets.
The current brood is 5 little girls, who all share a cage.
(AKA) Spider Rat
She is about 1 year and 6 months old and is has a brown and white Berkshire colouring, she’s very much the leader of the girls. Always up to mischief, and seems to never run out of energy. Her nickname is because not long after we got her she used to climb to the top of her cage and then run along the roof of it upside down. Usually for no good reason.
If you hear a crash, you can pretty much guarantee that she is behind it. We didn’t pick Clio, she picked us, while the other rats in her litter tried to run away from us, Clio was desperate to get out and be held.
(AKA) Satellite Ears
Lillith is Clio’s sister and is white with a pale cream hood and stripe, she’s the maternal one – or at least has been since we introduced the younger girls. We nicknamed her Satellite Ears when we first got her as she hadn’t yet grown into her ears, and they looked huge on her.
She is the one who has recently had a tumour removed, as yet there is no sign of it growing back, but we are keeping a close eye on her.
Most often found nesting and loves being given pieces of paper or fabric to tear up. Though no matter where you put the paper, even if you put it into the next she has been working on, she will move it (and often the rest of the nest) somewhere else.
Lola is about 6 months old, and is a brown dumbo rat. Dumbo refers to her big, slightly floppy ears. It gives her a slightly daft look, not helped by the fact that she is not the most sensible of the litter.
Since being put in the cage with Clio and Lillith she appears to have become Clio’s protege. The two are often found cuddled up together, when Lola isn’t clumsily falling off just about any object.
I feel she is the exception that proves the rule when it comes to rat intelligence.
Izzy is one of Lola’s sisters, she is a chocolate Siamese colouring dumbo rat. Probably the laziest and cuddliest of the girls, right from the day we brought her home she’s been happiest when given the chance to curl up inside your clothing and fall asleep, usually bruxing quite happily (rat equivalent to purring).
As the two brown rats appear to have teamed up, so have the two white ones. Izzy is often found teamed up with Lillith.
Claire is from the same litter as Lola and Izzy, she is a grey and white dumbo rat, and we believe she is the runt of her litter.
She is quite obviously the least dominant rat, due to her tiny size, however it seems no one has told her. She’s often found challenging Clio by boxing with her. She never wins, but that doesn’t stop her.
Her nickname was earnt after numerous escape attempts (some successful, some not), these attempts have resulted in us having to reinforce their cage with chicken wire, after she kept eating her way through the plastic bases.
She appears to be very reliant on Lillith, and when Lillith started to get ill (before the tumour was visible) she started getting very aggressive with us. Since the tumour was removed she’s gone back to being very sweet and gentle.
Those we have lost
Hannah had to be put down after a benign tumour became so large that it got infected and was making it difficult for her to get around.
She was a brown and white hooded rescue rat, so we do not know her age when we got her, but she was with us for about 10 months. We nicknamed her Hannibal due to how often she tried to bite us (I still have the scars). We believe she was almost never handled, and was terrified of people. We tried introducing her to the other girls, but she didn’t socialise well, and got worse when both her sisters died.
Lucy was one of Hannah’s sisters, and she was Hannah’s complete opposite in personality, despite looking almost identical. She was also brown and white hooded, which made it risky when you were trying to get Lucy out of the cage. You did not want to get the two mixed up.
Lucy was very friendly, and was happy to be out of the cage and cuddled up. She also had to be put down after she got a respiratory infection that just wouldn’t clear up, and which left her listless and off her food. We were very sad to lose her, though we did have 8 wonderful months with her.
Zemo was Hannah and Lucy’s sister, and I have no photos as she wasn’t with us long, only about a month. When we rescued her she had a tumour that had gone unnoticed. We got it removed but unfortunately it soon grew back, and was obviously cancerous as she never ate and barely moved.
Like her sisters she was brown and white hooded, but was a much darker brown and had an additional brown spot on one side. It is quite possible she was the runt of her litter due to her size, but as we don’t know how long she had the tumour, her diminished size could also have been the result of cancer.
Hugo was also a rescue rat, his previous owner had turned out to be allergic to rats. So we know his age when we got him was about 6 months, and he lived for another 1 year and 1 month. He passed away in his sleep, most likely due to old age, though he also suffered with respiratory problems towards the end.
He was an amusingly grumpy albino rat, though never vicious. He could often be heard making grumbling “wub wub” noises to himself. He was always overweight, and incredibly lazy, food was one sure fire way of making him move though! When his brother was alive Hugo was definitely the dominant one, but they had frequent boxing fights. Usually loud enough to wake us.
Ralphie was Hugo’s brother, they looked identical, except for the fact that Hugo always managed to get a pink patch on top of his head. We still don’t know how, but it was usually the only way of visually telling them apart.
He died suddenly of what we suspect was a heart attack, as he was never ill beforehand. He was with us for about 8 months.
Out of the two brothers he was the more lively and friendly, always trying to cuddle up to you. He was one of the sweetest rats, and was known to sit on the back of the sofa and attempt to groom your head.
He was incredibly daft, and used to sit in a hammock, chew through the straps holding it up. Then after crashing to the floor of the cage, looking around in a bemused manner as if he had no idea how he’d got there. I spent many a sleepless night just watching Ralphie’s antics. He also liked to wait till his brother was asleep in a box, then push the box over.
Orien was probably the most vicious rat of all. He was another rescue rat, this time grey and white. Where Hannah attacked when scared and would prefer to run away if she could, Orien was usually trying to get you. We took him to the vet once, and there were a couple of dogs barking in there. Whereas the other rats would cower away, Orien was desperately trying to get out of his carry case towards the dogs.
He was also the most overweight rat, and made quite a comical figure waddling around his cage. Despite his size though he was incredibly fast, and managed at one point to steal a chocolate bar from Benny’s hand when he made the mistake of holding it a little too near the cage, he also managed to take a chunk out of Benny’s nose one time before he had a chance to jump backwards.
I knew Orien for about 8 months before he died of old age, peacefully in his sleep, but Benny owned him for a while before we met.
Mercury was Orien’s brother, and died not long after I met Benny – which is why I have no photos. he was much friendlier than his brother, but almost as fat.
So those are our rats, despite their short lives, they were a joy to look after.