frystavirki said: please let that be clean rat fleece.

HAHA yes, it was clean. And I realize now looking at the pic that it looks like I’m naked. I DON’T CLEAN MY CAGES NAKED, I SWEAR! I HAVE ON A TANK TOP!!!

Sadly, our marriage was short lived, as I just caught Philip trying to have carnal relations with his sister. I’ve always wanted to make a soap opera called Days of Our Rats.

♥ 10 notes — tagged as: #@frystavirki #ask #i am easily amused


YAY I LIKE NAME QUESTIONS.

  1. Pax: “peace” in Latin, I got him because he looked like a rat I had previously owned who was very mentally troubled & passed away a few months before I got Pax, I hope that he is at peace now
  2. Alan: the Paul Simon song You Can Call Me Al + it amuses me that he has a person name + Alan Menken, who wrote a lot of Disney songs
  3. Vincent: he is named after my favorite rat on the VirtuRatz game (he looks like he did)
  4. Fell: Norse name meaning “rock”
  5. Baldor: Norse name meaning “strong” or “dangerous”
  6.  Abjorn: I just liked the way it looked/sounded, I derived it from the Norse name “asbjorn,” which apparently refers to “bear.”
  7. Kazimir: Russian name meaning  “destroyer of peace”
  8. Mendel: Hebrew name meaning “comforter”
  9. Hobbes: he is orange like Hobbes the tiger from Calvin & Hobbes
  10. Rorschach: I was trying to decide what his marking looked like to give him a name & it most reminded me of a Rorschach ink blot test.
  11. Vera: came with her name from previous owner
  12. Viola: character in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
  13. Bonkers: cartoon police cat
  14. Theo: Theo Katzman, a singer
  15. Crawfisha: female version of my boyfriend Crawford’s name (craw-FEE-sha)
  16. Pip: character in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations
  17. Philip: I wanted a proper-sounding, handsome name
  18. Podrick: character in Game of Thrones
  19. Dotcom: he had a dot on his head + 30 Rock character
  20. Worf: character in Star Trek: The Next Generation
  21. Jean Luc: character in Star Trek: The Next Generation
  22. Data: character in Star Trek: The Next Generation
  23. Geordi: character in Star Trek: The Next Generation
  24. Riker: character in Star Trek: The Next Generation
  25. Turnip: I wanted him to have a silly sounding name.
  26. Merima: Hebrew name meaning “uplifted” or “exalted”
  27. Effie: character in Skins (I misspelled it)
  28. Anya (she is probably going to live with my friend Kaley but I like the name & if she changes it, I’ll probably reuse it): Russian name meaning “grace”

I used to only like names that can be shortened, but lately I’ve had a lot that don’t easily lend themselves to nicknames. I think names with very strong sounds are a lot easier to teach rats, like “Bonkers” is very distinct & clear & she doesn’t get confused over it, if I say her name, she always comes & she’s the only one that comes when I say it, because it doesn’t sound like any of the other rats in the cage. I usually say “Miss Viola” instead of just Viola, because the sound is similar to Vera & I don’t want them to get confused since they’re in the same cage. I usually try to call them something easily distinguishable, even if their name isn’t, like “Worf” might be hard for a rat to get, so I say “Worfy Worf” & he knows I mean him.  And Theo is a little short too, so I always say “bb Theo” so he knows I mean him. I try to make it easy for them to understand that they’re being talked to because they like hearing their names & I don’t want to make it more confusing by giving them a name that they can’t understand all that easily.

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Aww thank you! I hope you have a nice day too!!  All rats are adorable, but mine are definitely the adorablest. :D

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Thank you!!! I will get more pictures posted soon, have no fear, anon #1. I have to make my claws this week & then I think it’s all done? I dunno, I may make a mask of some sort, I haven’t decided.

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Hi! Abscesses, tumors, & cysts look pretty similar to the untrained eye.  Abscesses tend to pop up much quicker than tumors or cysts. A tumor usually moves independently of skin, whereas if you grab the skin, an abscess normally feels like it’s part of the skin.

If I have a rat that I know has been in a fight & had a bad bite, I make sure to check it for a lump over the next 1-2 days, because one will almost always pop up. A lot of abscesses are not very serious & will go away on their own (they can be helped along by pressing a warm washcloth to the face). They might smell bad & the rat may appear irritated when you touch it. If an abscess looks to be getting bigger or not healing up, definitely head to the vet, as some abscesses can require surgical removal. I recommend any rat with a face or mouth abscess to immediately go to the vet, as those are a lot more dangerous.

Cysts often look similar to abscesses, but they’re not usually nearly as large. They’re kind of like pimples, it’s basically where the oil is building up on the skin & it causes a little bump. They don’t seem to hurt as bad as abscesses & rats aren’t normally irritated by you messing with them. They might have an incredibly gross looking scab over them that looks exactly like a piece of rat poop sticking out of a hole in the rat. I normally peel those off & squeeze the cyst out because I am so grossed out by the scab. It’ll be filled with a whiteish yellow thick gunk & I keep squeezing till a little blood comes out (the rat will normally squeak at this point).  There will be a tiny hole afterwards—make sure to flush it out with water or saline to keep it from getting infected (it’ll heal over quickly).  They seem to be common in overweight males—I’ve never read that anywhere, but that’s been my experience by far.

Tumors are normally harder, separated from the skin, & tend to not be as fast growing (the exception is Zymbal’s gland tumors on the face, which seem to grow pretty quickly). In general, they don’t seem to bother the rat much at all. If you know for a fact it’s a tumor & you don’t intend to operate on the rat for whatever reason (ex: it’s an older rat, you don’t have the money, the rat has other health problems), there’s not really any reason to go to the vet until it appears to be causing the rat distress or issues with mobility, at which point the humane thing is euthanasia.  If you do want to pursue surgery, it’s a better idea to get them in as soon as possible, before the tumor gets too large & surgery becomes too complicated.

♥ 6 notes — tagged as: #anon #ask


Anonymous: "!!!! your dragoncon costume is awesome looking, but that's even more awesome that you're going to dragoncon!! :D can't believe it's only a few days away!"

Thank you!! I am so excited! I’ve never really cosplayed before (I used to work at a DVD store & I’d dress up for movie release days in homemade cheesy costumes, but that’s it). I didn’t have a lot of extra money & I completely lack crafting abilities, but it actually looks a lot better than I expected.

I’ve never been & I’m pretty nervous, I don’t think I’m even really going to plan out anything to do ahead of time because I am probably gonna be so overwhelmed that I’ll just wander around in a daze the whole time. I have been to Anime Weekend Atlanta a couple of times & I get so overstimulated that I walk around not really getting what’s going on for the first hour or so & I know this is gonna be a lot more intense.

I live about an hour away from the closest public transit station to get into Atlanta, I’m definitely not going Thursday evening because traffic is a nightmare, but I am leaving work a little early to go on Friday (costumeless) with Crawford. Saturday, I’m going dressed up with Crawford & I miiiiiiiiiiight go back Sunday by myself (Crawford is working all day) if I don’t feel like it’d make me too anxious.

I haven’t seen anyone I follow mention that they are going, but if anyone that follows me is & wants to meet up, please message me, even if we’ve never talked before! Like I said, I don’t have any concrete plans at all & I feel like I should, so I’d love to find somebody to hang out with.

—Lisa

♥ 4 notes — tagged as: #anon #ask #dragoncon


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I’m so sorry for your loss. :(  I have been trying to distract myself by doting on the others, but it seems especially hard without Courage because he was so different than the rest.

I’m also really sorry you had a crappy experience at the vet…I have DEFINITELY been there. I’ve seen probably 10 vets with rats & I got soooooo lucky to find a great one, but I have to say, out of the other nine, the best I could do was “well, they don’t know much about rats, but at least they’re polite & listen to me.” I actually had one guy take $80 worth of x-rays of a rat’s lungs & then go “Man, I wish you had brought along a healthy rat so I could x-ray it & compare them, then I could know if it’s supposed to look like this!” Umm….what?!?! I’ve also had vet techs make really rude comments about wasting money to treat rats, or refusing to touch/handle mine.

The vet I went to to have Courage put to sleep knew nothing about rats, but they don’t actually treat them, they just squeezed me in before they opened when I called them crying the day before saying my vet was booked full.  I realize that vets don’t see a lot of rats & that many of them haven’t treated one at all in the 20+ years since they’ve been out of vet school, & that’s completely understandable…but I feel like it’s incredibly unethical to take people’s money & claim you treat them when you clearly don’t care about them & don’t make the slightest effort to do research on them. I hope you’re able to find a decent vet! It can be hard, especially if you’re not in a larger city. I was using a nice friendly vet that didn’t do a ton with exotics, but was willing to listen to my suggestions & do research…they referred me to my current vet one day when I had a really, really sick baby rat that was going to die if it didn’t get specialized treatment. Maybe try calling vets that don’t seem like rude assholes & see if they can refer you to any exotics specialists. The prices are a little higher at mine than they would be at a dog/cat vet, but I don’t mind paying a little more when I know they’re actually doing their best.

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Hi! You might want to try changing up the feeding routine. My big group of boys tends to get pretty possessive over food, so what I do with them is feed them in two separate groups—they’re not physically separated from one another, but I put food on one level of the cage & another pile of food on another level of the cage & they split up into two groups to eat.  It’s much easier with multi-level cages like mine, but even if you have a smaller cage, you can try that by scattering food throughout the cage.

You might also want to try giving them a little more food at the time (unless they’re overweight), or maybe splitting up the number of times a day you feed them. Like, give them the same amount each day (or just a little more), but instead of 1-2x a day, try 3-4x daily.

I assume they’re eating something like a seed mix or dog food or lab blocks that they are picking up & carrying off to fight with one another over—it might be worth trying to feed them from a bowl (or bowls) & putting something semi-liquid into the bowl with the hard food, like pudding, applesauce, Ensure (only if they’re not overweight!), or baby food. If they’re eating lab blocks or dog food, you can wet the food & then hit it with a hammer before putting it into the liquid to turn it into a sort of mush.  That’ll usually force them to share a little better—if you have a super food-obsessed rat, they will sometimes just hoard over the bowl & attack anyone who approaches, but that’s not usually the case, because their instinct is normally to eat as much as they can as quickly as they can, so they just sort of ignore anyone who comes near.  If you try that at least for a few days, it might kinda get the idea in their heads that they don’t have to fight over food.

My girls don’t usually fight over food, but they seem to have the idea in their heads that it’s important to stockpile as much as physically possible in every area of the cage.  I go through every night & clean it up & take it out—that keeps it from getting wasted, & it also lets them know that there’s no point in hoarding it like that because it’s just going to get taken, lol.

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Unfortunately, tumors are just part of owning rats. :(   They are MUCH, MUCH more common in unspayed females. There’s not really any way to truly prevent them, but you can greatly reduce the risk by owning males or spaying all your females (which is often more expensive than tumor removal). Reputable breeders that breed for health often have lines that cancer is a lot less prevalent in, so you’d probably have better luck with a well-bred rat than a pet store one, but it’s kind of like respiratory infections—no matter how good of care you take of the rat, there’s still a good chance they’re going to end up sick with something at some point in their lives. 

They’re viewed as disposable animals & the vast majority of them, at least in the United States, are bred for snake food, so there’s no need for them to live more than 5-6 months at the very most (& that’s only if they are gonna be sold as jumbo-sized food). Most rats either come from rat mills that supply to pet stores or are backyard breeders that are just breeding for pretty colors & health is unfortunately just not a huge concern…the average person considering owning rats is not interested in keeping an agouti or a black hooded, no matter how healthy they might be, if there’s a black masked rex or a Siamese dumbo at the pet store next door, so a lot of it is a demand issue where way too high of a value is placed on flashier colors…not to mention the average rat owner wouldn’t consider going to the vet to spend $75+ on an animal that cost $5, so there’s not really a need (in most people’s eyes) to even breed for a healthier animal. It’s really, really easy to forget when you’re on Tumblr looking at spoiled rats in Critter Nations with hammocks & toys & hideaways that the vast majority of rats are kept in dirty ten gallon tanks, often by themselves, on cedar bedding & rarely taken out to play. We are by FAR the minority.  :-/    

I don’t mean to make it sound like all rats are going to come down with cancer or respiratory issues, because that’s not true. My vet visits are obviously going to be a lot more numerous than the average owner simply because I have so many. Buuuuut with that being said, there’s a REALLY, REALLY good chance that a rat is going to be sick enough to visit the vet at least once during its life.  Alan’s a year & a half old & he’s never been to the vet; Vera’s over two & she’s never had any health problems. But Darcy went to the vet four or five times during his barely two year life just for respiratory issues. Pax just had his third surgery at the ripe old age of 2.5 (one for glaucoma, two for abscesses; altogether, he’s probably cost me around $550 in vet bills).  None of those problems (or lack thereof in Alan & Vera’s case) were at all related to my care, it’s probably just a combination of dumb luck & some rats being “better stock”.  I’ve had waaaaay more euthanasias from respiratory issues or death from old age than I have had problems with tumors, but then again, I’ve mostly only ever had males. I’ve heard estimates that mammary tumors end up occurring in something like 70% of unspayed females over the age of 1.5. 

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Hi! There are two reasons—1.) Mice are able to fit through much, much smaller bar spacing than rats, so there are very few wire cages that are safe & escape-proof for them.  I’ve had adult females get through ½”x1/4” square mesh, which is pretty darn tiny. 2.) They tend to be MUCH healthier, respiratory-wise, than rats, so the ammonia buildup doesn’t affect them as much (I think the fact they don’t drink as much, even taking their smaller size into account, also means they don’t pee quite as much, so there’s less ammonia to begin with).

With rats, the escaping isn’t an issue, since even a 4 week old rat can’t fit through ½” spacing.  They have pretty sensitive respiratory systems, which means the urine smell can do bad damage to their lungs. Also, tanks are incredibly boring. There’s not a lot of vertical space & rats loooove to climb. Mice are so small that you can put things in for them to climb up—my mice have a hanging sports bra, a space pod, a plastic bin suction cupped to the side, etc., so they go all over the place, but even a medium-sized female rat standing on her back legs could just about touch the top of a 10 gallon tank. Two large adult males can barely move in a 10 gallon. Even a larger, taller tank doesn’t have the ability to easily hang things to decorate it with like a wire cage would, & rats love scaling the sides of a wire cage. Definitely not a good environment for rats that are any older than the nursing age.
♥ 5 notes — tagged as: #anon #ask


That is Podrick, isn’t he precious?!?!? Philip has a really cute face too. Dotcom is a little bit blocky-headed, but I think that’s more a result of him being so large. Pip & Crawfisha are their sisters & they both have pretty faces, too. The family resemblance cracks me up…they all have HUGE, blue-rimmed eyes & they all looooove being tickled, you tickle them & they just start bouncing around like maniacs.  It’s weird, Philip & the girls were kinda fearful for a long time & then they hit puberty & they’re like YAY PEOPLE ARE THE BEST LET’S BE HAPPY RATS.

Hi! It miiiiiight be because they’re in an enclosed area—if there’s any way you can keep them in your room during the day & just move them in the hall at night, that might help a good bit. I just had to move a male mouse tank that’s normally in my big open room into a much smaller room that the door stays shut in & omfg it’s awful, I can barely walk in there because Bob smells so bad.

Also, if your hallway doesn’t get very good circulation, that will also make them smell a lot stronger. I have to clean mine a good bit more frequently during the summer because the hotter the room is, the worse the urine is going to smell. You don’t want a fan blowing directly on them or having them right by a vent, but it’s helpful to keep them as close to one as you can get without making the cage freezing or super-drafty.

And try the baking soda that’s pre-packaged in a box for the refrigerator—in my experience, it tends to work a lot better than just an open dish. I assume it’s something to do with it not getting full access to the air since there’s a little tight mesh screen. That’s pretty much all I use for odor control in my mouse cage/rat cage/litter box rooms & they tend to work pretty well. They’re supposed to last a full month, but it’s really more like 3 weeks, at least in my animal-filled house.  They’re way overpriced if you actually buy a new one each month, so I just refill it each month from a big box of baking soda & then tape it back up. I usually have to replace them 3-4x a year because they end up getting a little ratty-looking (HAHA I MADE A PUN). I guess if you’re only using one for one cage, it’s not going to make much of a difference financially (vs. me…I think I have eight or nine throughout the house, so that’d be around $120 a year to replace them monthly), but still, every little bit helps & it’s better for the environment yada yada yada.

It doesn’t sound like you’re cleaning the cage too frequently, but I know a lot of people do, so I’ll mention it in case anyone else is reading—changing males’ bedding too frequently will make them mark significantly more.  I’ve found that small groups of males are often VERY tidy about pooping in the same place each time, which makes them great for litter box training, & you can just change out the box every few days & just do a major cleaning once a week.

In general, there’s always going to be a slight odor, like there is with any animal, but rats shouldn’t smell as strongly as mice or ferrets . You can smell mine when you walk near the room, but I’ve got a lot more than the average person.  I have hardwood floors & that’s helped tremendously with the odor, I never want to live on carpet again….if you have carpet, I recommend vacuuming around the cage every day, because there is all kinds of hair & stuff that you can’t see building up all around it.  And make sure to never use air fresheners or candles or anything else like that around rat cages, as they’re very bad for their respiratory systems.

THANK YOU ANON YAY SELF ESTEEM BOOST

Hi! That’s great that you’re doing research. :-) I’ve had over 75 rats in six years & I’ve only ever had four that at any point in their lives consistently bit. When I first got Rio, she was a really bad biter (drew blood pretty much any time I tried to touch her) & she outgrew it really suddenly & never bit again; I would’ve trusted her around children, she was great & never had a single problem after she outgrew her issues. Worf has been kind of the same way, but he hasn’t improved as much as Rio did—I no longer expect to get bitten when I try to touch him, but it’s not a huge shock if he bites me, either.  I wouldn’t ever hand him to someone he didn’t know because I definitely don’t trust him not to bite.

Darcy wasn’t a bad biter, per se, but he did lunge for people almost every time the cage door was opened & I imagine it would’ve been pretty frightening to someone that didn’t know him.  He bit me a few times, nothing bad enough that I remember specific instances, but he mostly had aggression issues with his cagemates. I suspect that his problems would’ve been solved 100% by a neuter. I didn’t feel comfortable subjecting him to anesthesia because he had chronic lung problems, so I just worked around his behavioral issues (separating him at mealtimes or when he was in a bad mood, not bringing him out if he didn’t feel like it, etc.)

Wyatt was my problem child.  I think I could have probably handled him a lot better if I had him now—he was only my third rat, so I didn’t have a ton of experience. He was a great rat until he was a year old & then he started displaying major hormonal issues. He was miserable around his cagemates & was violently attacking them, so I ended up permanently separating him—at the time, I didn’t have a vet that I felt comfortable performing surgery on a rat, which I really regret now. I think a lot of his behavioral issues were due to a hormonal imbalance & also from being kept alone, it can make rats really crazy, but I was doing the best I could at the time & I spent an extraordinary amount of time with him, he was out free-ranging pretty much any time he was awake. He wasn’t consistently evil, I feel like I had a closer bond with him than I have with any other rat, but he had triggers, & if you set them off, he would bite—not nips, these were really serious bites.  I had to change clothes after playing with the other rats or he’d bite me. I couldn’t pick him up if he was lying down or he’d bite me. I couldn’t pet him if I wasn’t looking at him while I was petting him or he’d bite me.  A few weeks before he died, he bit me all the way down to the bone. I didn’t go to the hospital, but it needed stitches…I ended up having to splint it for over a week, & I have permanent nerve damage & arthritis in the thumb from the bite (plus a nifty, albeit faded, scar).

THAT WAS A REALLY NEGATIVE NOTE TO END ON but I really don’t think you have a lot to worry about at all. My other 71+ rats that I have owned I would’ve trusted around anyone.  Brand new rats from unsocialized places (e.g.: feeder bins at pet stores) are often really scared of people, but their reaction is generally to scream or run (sometimes scratch), not bite.  I trust big unsocialized males a little less, but that’s because they’re normally way more fearful than a baby that’s never been handled, plus they’re so much bigger & can do a lot more physical damage to you. They are incredibly strong for their size & I’m not at all saying there’s not a possibility someone wouldn’t get injured reaching into a tank of scared rats & trying to scoop them all up for cuddles, but if you’re dealing with well-socialized rats, the chances of getting bit are very, very close to nil. The only other two rats I’ve had that ever bit me in any fashion whatsoever other than playful nips were both fluke incidents, one was the nicest rat I’ve ever had, I accidentally closed his tail in the cage when he was a baby & he bit out of fear, & the other was a really calm elderly rat who was a little senile & got freaked out because I moved too quickly around him. Other than that, I’ve never been bitten by a rat.

You’re much less likely to have hormonal issues from females, & neutered males have the absolute lowest chance of giving you any behavioral problems whatsoever. I’d say the main way to decrease your chances of having any sort of behavioral issues is to get rats from a reputable breeder where they’ve been handled from a young age, or a rescue rat that’s been in a knowledgeable foster home.  If you are going the pet store route, definitely avoid feeder bins & try to pick a store where the rats are handled regularly by the employees. This doesn’t necessarily disqualify big chains like Petsmart—I’ve been in some Petsmarts where the rats are played with every day if they happen to have an employee that likes small animals. But I do think your luck might be better at a smaller, mom & pop-type store if you have any near you. In general, a younger rat is going to come around a lot quicker—they’re all going to be a little freaked out when you first get them home, but a five week old is almost always going to be comfortable around you much sooner than a year old.

♥ 6 notes — tagged as: #anon #ask #podrick


Anonymous: "The way you write about Pax makes it so clear how much you love him. It makes me love the little guy too! I & I'm sure many other people have been reading the updates and wishing him well. & if we all know how much you love him Im sure he knows too x"

Thank you so much for this message. <3  I always feel a little bad whenever I post lots of updates about a sick rat because I know there are a bunch of people that pretty much only follow me for pictures, but at the same time, I get messages from people asking how someone’s doing if I *don’t* post updates. I try to live by that old song “you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself” & just post what I want, but I still feel a little bad about clogging up people’s dashboard with Pax updates, lol.

I was feeling really discouraged this morning because he seemed to be in a lot of pain. I left him in the big cage last night with Alan & Courage & when I woke up, he wasn’t moving & was rubbing his chin on everything like it hurt. There was a *lot* of blood in his cage yesterday when I got home—which is actually a good sign because it means the surgical site is staying open & draining, but I’m sure it’s painful for him. He got some pain medicine this morning & I put him in his sick cage by himself with some food for a few hours. He seemed to be feeling better by lunchtime, so I moved him back into the Ferret Nation & now he’s bouncing around defending the cage from Bandit (who is obsessed with staring at the rats) & looks great. I think he’s up & moving around too much whenever he feels good, so it makes his bad times seem really, really bad when it’s more like all that activity simply catching up to him.

It is funny, I got him with one of his brothers, Finch, when they were little tiny things, about 4 weeks old, & he was so shy at first that I liked Finch a lot better the first few months. But then Pax just turned out to be so nice. Every time I take him into the vet, she always comments on what a nice rat he is & how much she loves him. I wish their personalities could come across better in words, because they’re all nice rats & obviously I love them all, but some of them are stupid or weird or lazy or more interested in other rats than people, & that’s fine, that’s why I have so many, so that I can enjoy the whole spectrum of rat personalities. But some of them just seem really, really good; I don’t know of another word for it, it’s like when you have a really great dog that is very bonded with you & seems to live to make you happy & genuinely cares about you on as deep of a level as an animal can connect with a person on. My first rat, Ivan, was like that & it’s what made me fall in love with rats, & Pax is like that too.

—Lisa

♥ 16 notes — tagged as: #pax #anon #ask


Hi! I’m not 100% sure I understand your question—I assume by black agouti you mean black hairs with brown ticking (instead of the regular agouti, which is brown with black ticking)—to my knowledge, that’s not possible in rats, genetically speaking.  I know mice have waaaaaay more diverse genetics & I’m not nearly as familiar with the possible colors as I am with rats, so something like that might be possible with them (you can get black/tan mice & brindled mice of various shades, both of which aren’t in rats, though I know merle rats are being developed & those are kinda similar to brindle).

There are a LOT of different shades of agouti, however. I really like agouti & have had a bunch of them, it’s one of my favorite colors.  Most agoutis look pretty similar to Data & ViolaAbjorn is a tiny bit lighter, Alan is a little more yellowy, Jean Luc is a little darker.  Dotcom is quite a bit darker & has much more black ticking in his fur than most agoutis I’ve seen.  His two brothers Philip & Podrick are considered blue agoutis—if you look at them, they have a blue base instead of the normal brownish color.  Pip & Crawfisha, their sisters, are also kind of an unusual shade, though they are much more brown than Philip or Pod.  My deceased Simon was a really cool shade of agouti that I haven’t ever seen before, it was sort of in between blue agouti & agouti & I’m not sure what to call it.

Sorry, I got a bit off topic going on my “AGOUTIS ARE GREAT!” rant, but as far as black rats with other colors on the same hair, your best bet is probably going to be to find a black that silvers or rusts really young.  Most black rats either silver with age or get a brown tint to their fur, it shouldn’t technically start happening until the rat’s 1+ if they’re well-bred, but I’d say that more pet store black hoodeds look brown than black even as babies, so sometimes you can find kind of a nice slightly mixed-ish looking coat.  Silvering is really pretty & it’s a little less common, you can see quite a bit on my first rat, Ivan, & also a little on Worf.

I dunno if you mean with rats or with my dogs/cats.  The fleas are AWFUL at my house—I don’t have any grass in my front yard, & I guess they just love the dirt, I don’t know, but sometimes in the spring or summer, they’ll bite me if I’m outside for just a few minutes.  I had the dogs on Advantage, but that was costing way, way too much because I had been going through 2-3 tubes a month to keep fleas off of Cece & I didn’t feel comfortable giving her that much since it’s only recommended to use 1x monthly.  I just switched them both over to Comfortis, which is a tablet given orally. The vet recommended it because it lasts the full month unlike Advantage was doing, but I was a little wary of trying it because I know it can have a lot of bad side effects.  Cece’s been on it for almost a month now & she hasn’t had any problems at all.  Bandit has been on it for two months & has had diarrhea the last few days—I think that since it happened so late after starting on it, it probably is from the antibiotic he started two weeks ago & not the Comfortis.  My cats don’t go outside & so they don’t get any fleas unless the dogs bring in some live ones.  I sometimes have to give them a dose of Advantage during the summer since fleas are more prevalent then.

My rats (thankfully) have had very few issues with fleas. When I first moved in, I had a bad infestation & had to bug bomb the house (I took the animals out first, of course!), & I think since then, I’ve only found one flea on the rats.  You can treat them with Revolution (only available from a vet) if you do have an outbreak.  I killed the one that was on the rat by bathing him in Dawn dish liquid & haven’t had any problems since then, so I think it was probably a fluke.

Aww, that sucks, definitely see if she can convince her mom to let her get another one. Any cage that’s big enough for one rat is going to be large enough for two & two females are not going to smell significantly worse than one. :-(  It’ll be sooooo much healthier for the rat & will avoid a lot of potential issues that could pop up from being kept alone, like psychological issues (self mutilation, bar chewing, panic attacks, etc.), aggression towards humans, & stress that could lead to physical illness.  Rats shouldn’t be kept alone except in rare situations, & with a young, healthy female, there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever to keep them alone & IMO it’s borderline animal abuse & waaaay worse than just about anything else you can do to a rat short of physically torturing them—I know you know that, I just wanted to clarify for anyone who’s reading & might not know.  I see so many people saying things like “I had a solo rat & he/she did fine, it’s okay to have one rat if you have to!”….there are some dogs that might appear to do fine locked in a crate all day or chained up outside never getting any exercise, that doesn’t mean it’s right or a great idea. 

I’ve never had any “rattie playdates” with mine & anyone else’s, but I would think with girls, it wouldn’t be an issue as long as they don’t seem too stressed out.  Some rats get really, really stressed when meeting or seeing new rats—it’s a lot more common with boys, but one of my girls, Vera, tries to attack any rat that comes near the cage (which is hilarious, since it’s always an intact male & all of her female friends are like “COME HERE, COME MATE WITH US PLZTHX!” & Vera’s like “NO, DIE, DIE, DIE!”).  Some of my more mellow boys seem to really enjoy seeing rats from my other groups, Pax likes to play with babies.  I’d definitely recommend at least trying it, especially if she’s not able to convince her mom to let her get more.  If it seems to stress any of the rats involved, go ahead & put a halt to it, but it’s going to depend pretty much entirely on the rats’ personalities. Good luck!

I’m really sorry for your loss. ::hugs::

This was kind of ironic timing since I just went on a rant about not keeping rats alone, but one of the “rare situations” I mentioned above where it’s sometimes okay to have solo rats is with older males whose cagemates died.  What I usually ask people is if they’re planning on getting more rats after their “widow rat” dies & if they mind keeping two groups of rats.  If the answer to both of those questions is yes, go ahead & get more rats now (make sure to get at least 2-3, because otherwise you’ll be in this exact situation again in a couple of years).

If you’re not planning on getting more rats after your last one passes, just try to spend as much time with him as possible. Same with if you’re not able to keep multiple groups of rats—I say that because there’s absolutely no guarantee with males that you’re going to be able to get them living together.  You could go out right now & buy two nice young rats & try to be as patient as possible during introductions & there’s a chance your rat would never accept them—some males are difficult like that.  If you don’t mind keeping two groups, I definitely recommend trying introductions if possible, but just remember it may not work & you may end up with him alone & a pair of younger rats kept separately.  With females or neutered males, 99.9999999% of the time, you’re going to be able to get them in with other rats, but I’ve had plenty of intact males that were 1.5+ that would have rather died than get introduced to new rats.  I had hopes that I’d be able to get Alan living with friends since his cagemates are much older & more sickly than him & I know he’ll likely be left alone for some time, but he has been too aggressive with the friends I got him for me to even think about trying any sort of serious introduction.  If you’re able to get a spayed female, there’s a much better chance your guy would accept her, but that’s expensive & I don’t think it’s anything people should feel obligated to try if they’re left with an older male widow rat.

I’m sorry you were having a bad day. :-(  I wish you could come cuddle Effie, she is a sweetie pie & would play in your hair & make you feel better.

Definitely make sure to get at least two rats, as they need to be kept with companions.  I usually recommend the Critter Nation because it’s the best cage out there, but it is a little pricey & also overly large unless you have 4+ rats.  Martin’s has some nice cages, but I find them a little difficult to clean & they’re not all that durable, they tend to rust kinda bad, in my experience.  I actually really like the Super Pet cages, like, a lot, as far as smaller cages.  They have a lot of sizes that work great for 2-3 rats.  If you live anywhere with an active Craig’s List, you can often find used cages for cheap.  Make sure that the bar spacing is less than 1”—if it’s not, you need to wrap it in hardware cloth to keep rats from escaping—older males usually can’t get out of 1” bars, but babies always can & almost all females will be able to even as adults. A lot of the Super Pet cages’ shelves aren’t very durable because they’re plastic & easily chewed through, but I really like the shape of most of them & they’re easy to customize with hammocks & accessories. All Living Things made a rat cage a few years ago that I like a good bit, it’s black wire with gray plastic levels & has black ramps. I don’t believe it’s made any more & I don’t really like the shelves, they tend to get messy if you don’t line them, but it’s a good size & has nice bar spacing & good door placement.

IMO, it’s not really worth it to make a cage (unless you’re super crafty & it’s not a lot of trouble for you) for the average owner that only has a few rats, because there are a lot of nice ones available.  I’m actually considering building myself a big cage later this year because I feel like the Critter Nation is more a “best cage available” than “best cage possible,” at least for me because I have so many rats.  Most of the homemade rat cages are the “grotto style” ones made from bookcases & I don’t really like those because that’s a lot of ammonia buildup & not a whole lot different than a tank.  I’ve been looking at cages made from IKEA furniture recently—I haven’t seen a whole lot of big rat ones out there, but I’ve found a giant gerbil cage made from Ivar shelves that I like a good bit & I’m going to draw up plans to modify it for rats, I think I’d like to try to build it in the fall.  It’s probably going to end up costing about $100-150 more than a double unit Critter Nation, but I could make it exactly the way I want it & it’ll be a little bigger, so I think it’ll be worth it.

Aww, thank you! I am glad you like VirtuRatz, I miss my virtual pets, but I have been so busy lately that my rattery’s had to stay on holiday mode for a few weeks. They are definitely a lot cheaper & easier to care for than real rats, lol.

 

♥ 3 notes — tagged as: #anon #ask


Anonymous: "do you ever worry about sda/sendai, those airborne diseases with your rats? i know a lot of people are wary about pet stores with rodents for that reason"

Not all that much, to be honest. I realize they’re a possibility, but I think they’re probably not all that common. I’ve had around 75 rats in my house ever, I think? (haven’t done a count in a while!) & I’ve never had anything that appeared to spread from one rat to another, ever, despite bringing in a lot of sick rats.  I do usually try to bring home at least two at a time from pet stores to lessen the number of separate occasions in which I’m bringing in foreign rats. The vast majority of rodent owners, myself included, aren’t able to do a true quarantine that would prevent the spread of airborne diseases—that would involve having the new rats in a completely separate building & changing clothes/showering/blowing your nose+waiting 2 hours in between handling new rats & already present rats. Realistically, the only thing that what most people consider “quarantining” (which is typically having new rats in a separate room with the door closed) is going to prevent is the spread of ectoparasites like mites or lice—if a new rat comes in with something legitimately contagious like Sendai, it’s going to spread through the air conditioning/vent system of the house, it doesn’t matter if they’re on opposite ends of the house or the door is shut or whatever.

With all that being said, I’ve brought home several rats from pet stores who ended up being at death’s door with serious respiratory issues within the first week of me bringing them home. There was always a moment of panic when I worried that it was something contagious, but thankfully, it never spread. To be perfectly blunt, I don’t think that the vast majority of common rat respiratory illnesses are very contagious.  I know that a lot of vets will recommend immediately separating a sick rat from its cagemates, but there’s absolutely no reason to do so as far as stopping the disease from spreading—if the cagemates were going to get it, they’re going to get it regardless of whether the rat gets moved after showing symptoms or not, it’s like how a human with a contagious illness can spread it to others before they’re even displaying symptoms. I think it’s actually often harmful to take a sick rat out of the cage because it’s stressful for them to be alone & it also means they’ll have a harder time staying warm.  I only ever separate sick rats if they’re being bullied, having trouble eating & I need to make arrangements where they constantly have soft food available, or I know for a fact that they’re dying & they have a cagemate that I’m concerned about attacking them or eating their body.

—Lisa

♥ 10 notes — tagged as: #anon #ask


Anonymous: "Why are you against breeders but give money to pet stores? You know the mill conditions they raise their rats in is horrible. Plus lately with your sounding like you're taking major advantage of Crawford (saying you'll stay with him to stay in your lavish lifestyle) is just petty and immature. You lost a follower today, Lisa. :-\"

You wouldn’t have even pissed me off in the slightest if you hadn’t brought Crawford into it because you very clearly have no idea what you’re talking about & it’s extremely hard for me to type this without turning into a total bitch. Your extreme level of assumption is so far off base that it makes me want to spew anger & vulgarities, which would definitely fit with my marvelous personality traits of pettiness & immaturity that you so accurately described me with & all, but I’m going to try to be civil. And probably way too lengthy but whatevz.

Re: Crawford—I’m not sure where I ever said that, if you’d like to direct me to a particular quote, I can probably explain in more detail, but umm…wut? I have literally been financially supporting him for the last year. Literally the entire time we’ve been together, he’s owed me money & has been giving me his entire check every week because he owes me that much money. His debt is down to $1,100 at the moment (it was over $2000 at one point). He’ll have paid me back by the end of this month & be all caught up, & then guess what? I’m giving him another $1500 because he has to hire a lawyer for some trouble he got into a few weeks ago. We are keeping track of everything he owes me, so it’s not like he’s stealing money from me, but by pretty much any definition, I’M the one being used.

I’m not sure what sort of “lavish lifestyle” you think I’m leading, my pets get vet care & I have a lot of them, but I spend pretty much no money on myself, I don’t even go to thrift stores all that often any more. I have a 16 year old car & live in an extremely sketchy neighborhood because rent is cheap. I would be able to afford my bills if Crawford suddenly moved out (obviously, since I’ve basically been paying up front for him for the last year & I currently have $0 in debt & pay my credit cards off every week)—it’d be tough, but I am almost 100% positive that most people who live with a roommate would say that it would be tough if they suddenly lived alone. That doesn’t mean they’re using their roommate, that is just kinda commonly known as the main benefit of living with someone…you save money.  I lived alone for the last several years while working a barely over minimum wage job AND graduated college with no debt & money in my savings account & I got no help from my parents. I ate on 50 cents per meal the entire time I was in college, I think the fact that I occasionally buy a fucking box of cookies now that I’m making a living wage of $12 an hour (which, by the way, is approximately what Crawford makes as well, so it’s not like I’m mooching off some millionaire) doesn’t constitute a “lavish lifestyle.”

re: pet stores—I realize that this is a controversial issue & I freely admit that people have different opinions. I respect that & have no problem with people who don’t support pet stores, I think they have valid points. I think it’s a huge moral gray area & it’s more complicated than simply saying “DON’T SUPPORT PET STORES!”

Yes, pet store rats come from rat mills (actually, not the rats I bought today, they’re bred in-house, but that’s a moot point, I’ve also purchased rats from Petland & they get shipments in). Yes, rats are kept in horrible conditions in rat mills, similar to puppy mills, & they’re often kept in horrible conditions in the stores. But this isn’t the same as not buying puppies from puppy mills, or betta fish from Wal-Mart (another comparison I’ve heard). Puppies from puppy mills & betta fish from Wal-Mart have one possible destination: pet homes. That’s it. They’re not bought for any other purpose. If everyone suddenly decided to no longer buy puppy mill puppies or Wal-Mart bettas, the companies that supply them would go out of business, they’d have no customers. Rats are not like that. The vast majority of rats sold in my area are sold as snake food (in fact, I think I’ve only ever bought two pet store rats that were being sold as pets). If me & the tiny minority of people that were buying feeder rats as pets stopped doing so tomorrow, the pet stores wouldn’t even notice. They would still sell practically the same amount of rats to snake owners.

There is the argument that I’m still making SOME difference in their level of profit, & I realize that, & like I said, I respect that position, but I personally feel that it does not outweigh the difference I am making in each individual rat’s life. Snake food breeding is going to continue regardless of whether I own “snake food rats” or not, & I feel like the fact that I might give $20 a year to snake food breeders is justified by the fact that I’m giving a good life to Bonkers, Viola, Jean Luc, Geordi, etc. Not everyone feels this way, & that’s fine. I’ve never advocated for everyone to go buy a feeder rat & I am pretty sure that pretty much every time I’ve ever mentioned purchasing a feeder rat in a post, I’ve acknowledged the fact that it’s a morally gray area & that not everyone agrees with it. If you are uncomfortable buying pet store rats, fine, go to a breeder, but please keep in mind that 90% of rat breeders are essentially backyard breeders that are breeding for pretty colors & their rats are often not kept in good conditions. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen ads on Craig’s List for rat breeders who are breeding rats they “rescued” from pet stores. That’s not responsible breeding. I will NEVER advocate breeding (to sell, I don’t care what someone breeds to keep or give to friends) rats that were purchased from a pet store because there is no way of knowing what sort of health issues might run in the line. I always put the word “reputable” in front of the word “breeder” when I’m suggesting of where to get rats, because there’s a huge difference in someone who has a rattery & carefully tracks their rats’ health vs. someone who is breeding their pet store rats because “ZOMG LOOK HOW PRETTY!!!111 LET’S MAKE DUMBO BABIEZ!!!11”

I’d rather not have people follow me that are going to criticize me on my relationship that they clearly know absolutely nothing about, so that’s fine if you want to unfollow me. I wish you all the best & I’m 100% serious when I say I respect your opinion about pet stores, I wish you could say the same for my opinions.

—Lisa

♥ 44 notes — tagged as: #anon #ask #o look someone made me angry #crawford


I do! I put my rattery on holiday mode because I’ve been having various real life things pop up (bladder infection followed almost immediately by tooth extraction. Do not recommend.), but I will be back to playing again soon! I was just starting a rex line & they are gonna be fab.

Aww, what a sweet message, thank you! I agree completely about live feeding, I wish that it wasn’t so prevalent here. :(   From what I’ve gathered from snake forums (which I admittedly don’t frequent), there are tons of U.S. owners that do feed frozen, & Petsmart, which is the most popular pet chain in the U.S., doesn’t sell live snake food, but unfortunately, there are still a ton of people that do feed live since it’s a lot simpler.   I live in a rural area & I hate to generalize, but there are many, many really crappy pet owners here & pretty much all bad snake owners feed live*.

I think my Star Trek rats have gained me more followers than all my other rats put together, haha. I jinxed Worf by giving him his name because he is an evil grumpy sort of fellow.  Riker is super cute & it amuses me because Jonathan Frakes is so adorable on the show and I made my rat cute by naming him Riker.  I saw a speck in Geordi’s eye the other day & I freaked out thinking I had destined him to have eye problems, but then I realized it was just a piece of fuzz, so all is well. And precious Jean Luc is a noble fearless captain & he will lead his companions to victory in any situation. I am on a Norwegian names kick now, so I’m probably done with all the TNG-themed names, plus I did all the characters I liked, so now I am satiated, lol.

*PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM NOT SAYING ALL SNAKE OWNERS THAT FEED LIVE ARE BAD, BEFORE ANYONE CHOOSES TO SEND ME NASTY MESSAGES. I am not claiming to be an expert on snakes & I have read multiple sources stating some snakes refuse to eat live, which could be true, I don’t know enough about snakes to refute that. If someone has a snake that will not eat pre-killed food, I’m not advocating they should let the snake starve. I just think snake owners should at least make an attempt to feed frozen/thawed before going straight to live.

Hi! I dunno which hanging baskets you mean, I have a few. My girl Critter Nation has a hanging (completely suspended) pink heart-shaped plastic basket that I got at Goodwill, but I’ve seen them at dollar stores & grocery stores around Valentine’s Day. I have a copper-colored heavy wire basket hanging from the side that I got at Home Depot.  My boy Critter Nation has a hanging (completely suspended) green plastic tub that I got at the Dollar Tree, & a silver wire basket hanging from the side that I got years & years ago on clearance at Target.  The metal ones tend to last a lot longer since they don’t get chewed on. I advise looking at places like Lowe’s or Walmart in the kitchen organizing or bathroom organizing section. Just pick up anything rectangular that is deep enough for a rat to stand up in. You can line the bottom with an old t-shirt or hand towel, & hang them to the side of any wire cage with shower curtain hooks or even a few paper clips.

The number of hammocks I have in a cage varies, due to the rats’ ages & personality. The top half of my Ferret Nation has three (older, lazier male) rats & there’s one hammock, a hanging fabric structure thing to crawl in, & a hanging cube.  There’s also a plastic hideaway on the floor, & a Space Pod.  I usually put a cardboard box in as well—it’s a group that’s lazy, doesn’t often snuggle together, & a hairless is in it, so he needs more warm places than a furred rat would.  The bottom half has four middle-aged males with an igloo & a big ball with holes in it that they can crawl into. They have a hanging fabric tunnel & a hammock, but they never go in them at all & I might remove them eventually. My females’ Critter Nation has a hanging basket, a plastic arch hideaway, & two hammocks up top. In the bottom, there are two hanging baskets, an igloo, a hammock, & a fabric ship they crawl into. They mostly like to share the hammocks, but a few of them don’t really like being on top of other rats & they prefer the hanging baskets. My younger boys’ cage has two hanging baskets up top, a space pod, a hammock, & a hideaway. The bottom has another hideaway. They almost exclusively sleep stretched out on the shelves, or, if it’s cold, all one on top of the other in the hammock or space pod.

♥ 6 notes — tagged as: #anon #ask