The Great Escape

I reversed the front panel of the cage yesterday, as having the door on “ground” level was getting too dangerous. The little guy is amazingly fast and agile, and I feared he’d escape and hide under the furniture for days.

Now, the door is at the top. I figured that was better. It turns out, it doesn’t matter.

I got up this morning and grabbed some coffee, sat on the couch and consumed the news, my regular routine. It was still dark out, and I wondered about the silence of the little guy, who is usually in top form at that hour, racing around his cage and up and down those various levels.

After the first cup of coffee, I was awake enough to realize that it was just too quiet. I’d heard a bit of scraping in the direction of the dining room, but chalked it up to the chickadees outside, who often like to search the moss on the porch roof for insects.

Then, it finally dawned on me. I grabbed a flashlight, checked every “house” and corner of the cage and it was empty. My heart plunged. I feared he might be stuck somewhere, or hurt, and wondered how many days it would take me to find him or get him to come out.

I soon did find him, however. He was behind a cabinet in the dining room. I pulled it away from the wall, saw him behind it in a cloud of dust and tangle of TV and stereo wires and cables. I closed off one exit with a board firmly in place and placed his favorite sleeping house at the other end, with a dollop of freshly prepared baby porridge. Within 10 minutes, he was in the house and all was well.

Needless to say, I was relieved. And he’s exhausted.

The little guy yesterday, before the great escape.

Help me name the little guy by participating in the poll below. Thanks!

Help me name the little guy by voting for a name:

  • Nicodemus (67%, 2 Votes)
  • Rémi (33%, 1 Votes)
  • Bagheera (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Kaiju (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Baloo (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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Conversations with Myself

Peeking out of his „house“ (I need to widen the doorway soon)

I think I‘ve read just about everything there is on the internet about rats. About wild rats, pet rats, the differences, etc. While taking in all of the information I was gathering, the conversation with myself regarding what to do with the little Mr. Ratski has, at times, been excruciating. Keep him, don‘t keep him, keep him, don‘t keep him.

The decision fell primarily when I got feedback regarding putting a rat like him back out in the wild – without his rat family, and particularly his rat mom – he was going to have rough going, especially with winter coming.

The problem on my part was the commitment part. When I was a kid, one of my friends had a pet rat which was pretty cute. Looking back, its life might have not been so great. Turns out that we know more about rats now and holding a single rat is a definite no. They are group animals and groups start at three. To boot, they need a lot of space – none of those little cages as in days gone by.

All of this put me into confusion and undecided mode for days and days. At the end of last week, I made the decision to keep Mr. Ratski, get him two little companions his age, order a large rat cage, etc.

I assembled the cage yesterday, it‘s all ready to go and this afternoon I‘ll be going to see someone who has young rats.


Now that he is staying, Mr. Ratski is going to need a proper name (and I am open to suggestions on that). He is getting bigger (over 50g now) and livelier by the day. His latest thing is to crawl into my sleeves and just stay there. Some pictures (he is getting harder to photograph because when the cage door is open, I‘m always afraid he‘ll get away and go chew some electrical wires or hide in a crevice, never to be found again.

The new critter abode.
He likes to play this game where I put my hand in his cage, and he runs like crazy between my fingers and in and out of his house and his pvc-pipe.
Look at those ears. 🙂

A Critter Update

It has now been two weeks since I found the little guy, and time has flown by. His eyes are fully open and, though he hasn‘t gotten more active (still sleeping and eating and sleeping and eating) he has grown and his appearance has changed quite a bit.

For quite a while, I was questioning as to whether Mr. Ratski is truly a rat. He hovered at the 14 g mark for over a week, and is still relatively tiny. His ears have detached from his head and are getting bigger, and as of this morning I am seeing how his snout is starting to get a truly „ratty“ look to it.

Here are some more pictures.

Today, again eating porridge
This past Sunday, cleaning up after his meal.

I even went to the pet store and bought him a small rat hammock. He doesn‘t like it yet though, even though I‘ve read that they usually love them.

He‘s at 18 g as of today. And cute. Regrettably, yesterday evening I approached his cage too quickly, startling him, and he‘s been afraid of me all day and keeps fleeing into his little house (a white box).

I‘m working on it. We‘ll see.

All Creatures, Great and Small

A week ago yesterday, I was walking through the yard when I spotted movement in the grass near my feet. I saw a teetering, struggling, teensy tiny little mouse-like thing and went into the house to grab some gloves to pick up this creature and further examine it.

I first thought it was a mouse that had been injured by a cat.
It wasn‘t. Its eyes were still closed, so it was clear to me that whatever it was, it was very young. I grabbed some milk in a syringe and got a bit into him, and then put him in a box, cushioned with tissues.

Closer internet research revealed that I had found a very young baby rat (I later learned from a friend that mother rats will sometimes move their entire nest of offspring, and that perhaps this little one got lost in that process) and that he was going to need additional heat and small animal formula as well as very frequent feedings to survive.

Armed with the appropriate supplies, I set out to help the little guy. That was eight days ago. Here are some pictures.

Saturday, September 30

 

Wednesday, October 4    Eating baby porridge off of my hand

 

Today, October 6  Eating baby porridge all on his own

The above photo was taken just minutes ago. I‘ve read everywhere that baby rats open their eyes (at first only to mere slits) on day 14.
I thought a few days ago that he had opened them, but he hadn‘t. He did today though, so happy 14th day, little guy.

14 days of age and 13 gramms (that‘s just under half an ounce).

We went to the vets yesterday, just to have a professional look at him, and the vet was happy with his progress and state of being, and gave me some liquid vitamins to boost him up a bit.

I know that some people would think, well, jeez, it‘s „just“ a rat, why bother or „they‘re vermin“ or such, but I firmly believe that it is not up to us humans to decide that the lives of some animals are worth less than the lives of other animals. That‘s not our call to make.
All of God‘s creatures, great and small, are welcome at this house.
Always.