Sorry that it took a little while to get back to you (& anyone else who sent me messages), I was out of town over the weekend.
No problem at all (& not at all weird or awkward, I know it is hard to visualize if you don’t see them every day like I do!). My groups are about to change—I’m intending on getting a second Critter Nation before the end of the month & then my youngest groups of boys will be introduced/live together & the older boys will have the whole Ferret Nation to themselves—right now, it’s a little cramped with five in each half-cage. They don’t really care too much, my older group is lazy & spends all their time piled on top of one another & the younger group is still pretty young & tiny, but I like to mention that it is overcrowded so no one thinks I’m advocating five adult males in a single unit, because I’m definitely not, four is the max I’d recommend (I think 9 is okay in a double unit).
I made the pictures small to show up easily, but if you’d like to see any more photos of any of them, everything is tagged with their names (& all my photos of my rats are tagged with #rats). I rounded ages to the nearest .25.
TOP HALF OF FERRET NATION:
BOTTOM HALF OF FERRET NATION:
*note: this cage also currently houses Delmus—he is not mine, I am temporarily keeping him for my friend Kaley until he’s old enough to get neutered & go live with her girls. He isn’t mine, so I didn’t include him on the graphic, but if you’d like to see photos of him, he has a tag on my blog.*
@brian-my-left-testicle said: how does plastic and glass get fungus?
They’re not 100% sealed, so if they get at all wet (especially if you’re shooting in the cold & then going right back inside into warmth), they can get fungus in them. It’s not incredibly common, but it’s also not super-rare, you can Google pics, some of them are pretty cool-looking in a “oh shit I’m glad that’s not my lens” sort of way.
I check mine pretty religiously because I’m paranoid—you just hold both ends of a lens up to a bright light & if there’s fungus, you’ll see either little spores or what looks like a spiderweb-type crack. It doesn’t affect the photos at first, but it eventually damages the glass & will cause things to be too soft, especially at certain apertures. You can store little packs of silica gel in your camera bag to help deter fungal growth.
Someone anonymously asked me where my pets’ names came from. I accidentally deleted it without screenshotting, but I will post anyway!
OMG I’VE HAD TOO MANY ANIMALS but this was fun to list out & made me have lots of nice memories of deceased pets so thank you anon!!!!
Congrats! I am in the process of looking for one now & they’re apparently never going to come up on Craig’s List anywhere in my state used ever again now that I need one. :P
My Critter has eight in it, so I leave it undivided as one big cage, but my Ferret is in two at the moment. For me, it was an easy decision which group went where, because the bottom is wrapped in hardware cloth to make the bar spacing smaller, so it has my younger group in it since they’re smaller & can fit through 1” bars.
I tend to pay more attention to the rats in the upper half—that might sound a little weird or cruel, but they’re at eye level, so I see them when I walk by or am sitting at my desk near the cage. So if I was deciding which group went where, all other factors equal, I’d probably put either my favorite group that I wanted to see more often or either my most timid group that needed more eye contact/interaction. Another thing that might come into consideration is that in my experience, particularly timid or sensitive rats seem more comfortable up top, especially if you have free ranging animals like cats or dogs. This worked out well for me since my older, bigger group that can’t fit through 1” bars is also incredible sensitive to any sort of change & would get freaked out by the cats even looking at them!
Thank you for letting me know! I think I’m going to order it.
Haha, I am glad you enjoyed the pictures! My friend Kaley said it sounded like a children’s book, I should make one called “Courage Is Angry.” He is a lot more mellow now that he is middle-aged & blind, especially since his archnemesis Howard is dead. He still screams sometimes, though, especially at suppertime, when he likes to get himself a big pile of dog food. He spends the entire time that the others are eating collecting himself this massive mound & of course they come over & take it from him afterwards & he just screams & screams & raises his paws up & he looks like a pissed off old lady & it cracks me up.
Aww, thank you. <3 I am sorry that you’re having to go through that & I hope that your therapy goes well! I don’t want to say “it gets better” because I know it doesn’t always for everyone, but I do think that if you work at it & are able to get the right circumstances, things can improve. My anxiety is a lot better than it was just a few years ago & it’s due partially to things that are under my control (like reminding myself I’m not going to die if I go grocery shopping alone), but a lot of it is not really things that I could have fixed at the time (like the fact I hated my college that I have since graduated from), so I know it is silly to feel like it’s all my fault, but it is hard not to blame myself sometimes!
Umm…if you think dogs make expressions, how do you not think that a rat makes expressions?! I’m not trying to anthropomorphize, I realize that they don’t actually smile to indicate happiness or frown to mean sadness or whatever, but they most certainly express emotions in their own way, just as much as a dog & way more than a cat. Just from my personal experiences with them, I’d say that a rat with slightly above average intelligence is about as smart as most dogs, particularly with regards to interacting with people & expressing desires/emotions.
Bonkers is pretty clearly expressing curiosity. I had no food on me & she knew it wasn’t feeding time. She was genuinely interested in what I was doing & wanted to see me.
Courage is angry. He raises his paws up when a rat he does not like approaches him. He also screams to drive them away.
bb Pax is scared of me (this was the first day I had him). You can see that he is poised to run at any second & his eyes are large & fearful.
Again, Courage is angry. He is baring his teeth at Wesley. He has one paw raised as if to strike. If he had fur, it would be puffed out to make him look larger & more intimidating. Wesley is confused. He does not understand why Courage is acting this way. His head is raised up & his lips are slightly pursed.
Wesley is pleased. He is very content. He is not asleep, but he feels safe enough in his surroundings that he is comfortable enough to close his eyes.
Rats also boggle (grind their teeth up & down, causing their eyes to vibrate in their heads) to express happiness—here is a video of Pax boggling.
I’m going to assume that I’ve been around more rats than you have, so not to be rude, but you’re just flat out wrong & there’s really no other way for me to say that. I could literally take pretty much any candid rat shot that I have & tell you what emotion the rat is expressing in it. If you are still not convinced, I’d be happy to take a video of my newest group of rats—they’re very timid & scared, pulling back when I open the cage door & coming up very warily, ready to jump back at any second, so that you can compare them to my videos of a group I’ve had for a while, who come rushing at me licking & scrambling over one another to get at my hands (basically the rat equivalent of a dog wagging its tail).
I dunno that I’m the best person to ask—I’m kinda paranoid about rats around other animals. I’ve gotten an incredible number of messages from people saying their cats killed their rat or mouse (never one about a dog, but I have seen a chihuahua kill a wild rat!). My friend Kaley's dog Tempest looooooves rats & will jump right in the cage with them—she'd never hurt them intentionally, but you still have to keep a close eye on them because she could accidentally paw one too rough or sit on it.
Cece comes up a lot when I’m cleaning the cages & she likes to eat their poop or sniff at them, I had to teach her not to paw at them though because that was definitely her natural tendency. Rio is obsessed with Harvey Wallace & it drives me up the freaking wall because I’d REALLY rather the rats not go anywhere near the cats when they’re out of the cage. She always runs onto the windowsill behind the cage, where he likes to sleep, & bites at his stomach & feet until he gets up & leaves. I don’t think he or Mitch would ever hurt them on purpose, they don’t have very strong prey drives & they’re way tamer than most people’s cats, but they will bat at strings & a tail is pretty similar. I always grab her up as quickly as I can & she looks so pissed at me, like “No, that’s my buddy! Let me back at him!”
BASICALLY I FEEL LIKE THIS GOT REALLY LONG AND RAMBLY AND KINDA OFF TOPIC but I guess what I’m saying is a lot of people like their dogs & rats, or cats & rats to interact & be friends, & that’s fine if you trust all the animals involved, but it usually makes me pretty uncomfortable & it’s not something I’d do without an incredible amount of supervision in 99% of cases. I don’t mind having my rats on my shoulder if I’ve got a cat in my lap, but I wouldn’t feel too great about them loose on the floor together.
ANON, YOU READ MY MIND!!! I had another tab open & every time I switched back to Tumblr & saw the shot of Crawfy, I thought “man, I’d never actually do it & I definitely don’t believe in at home rat breeding, but they would make the cutest babies ever” & omg they wooooooooould. and I could name the babies things like Penis & Dick & Richard & Turnisha & Crawip & it’d be so adorable.
I have been taking a lot of shots of new rats lately since I have gotten five new ones in the last month & they tend to be harder to shoot since they’re unaccustomed to cameras. I usually post those even if they’re not that great because I know people are often interested in getting to know new rats, even if it’s not a great photo aesthetically. (And they’re not new, but I’ve been working with my group of younger boys & Viola to get them more used to the camera since they aren’t big on posing like some of my older rats are.)
As far as recent photos of rats I’ve had for a while, I don’t really feel like the quality of my work is any worse than it’s ever been, & I’m getting what seems like a reasonable number of notes on things. I’ve never claimed to be anything more than a self-taught amateur photographer with nice equipment. I’ve been really busy lately (I worked 72hrs last week), so I’m not gonna pretend like photography or rat blogging has been super-high on my priorities list, I’ve been more concerned with, y’know, actually caring for the rats instead of using the one or two free hours I have had a day to take pictures of them. I’m only working 8hrs a day from now on, so I hope that in the future, I’ll be able to dedicate enough time to honing my craft to please your ever-so-evolved artistic palate, dear anon.
Aww this was a super sweet message, thank you!! Sorry that it took a while to get back to you, I just finished up my grocery store job last night, so things have been really hectic! But I did/do appreciate your message & kindness! <3
I don’t have any experience with anywhere else, but I felt like my first one was a great value…I think I paid $40 for it & it held up through six months of continuous wear, almost every day, very active (grocery store stocking), even with me not really knowing how to care for it at first & touching it a lot.
I just got a second one in the other day & it is beautiful, it looks better than it does in the photos on the site. I am working a desk job now & won’t be moving around nearly as much, so I suspect I can get more than six months out of it if I’m careful.
Hi! Thanks! :)
As far as cages for four rats, gah, that’s a yucky size to try to find for. :( The problem with rat cages is that there are plenty of ones for under $100 for two rats, but once you get between 3-5, things get a little complicated!
I have a Ferret Nation & a Critter Nation right now & I absolutely love them! The Critter Nation is a better option because it has smaller bar spacing—I’d say it’s probably the most popular luxury cage on the market for rats. I know Prevue Hendryx has a line of ferret cages that are built similarly for considerably cheaper—I don’t have any personal experience with them, but you definitely want to check the bar spacing on them because 1” is usually too big for anything but adult males.
Martin’s Cages is a pretty popular company & they have a lot of different sizing options to choose from. They’re a pain to clean & in my experience don’t hold up as well as the Midwest cages, but animals do like them.
I haven’t shopped for cages in a while so I’m probably not the best person to ask, but I know this one is pretty popular. I haven’t heard the greatest things about its durability, but it is a lot cheaper than the Midwest cages.
If you’re able to afford it, I definitely recommend a Critter Nation (the single unit is a lot cheaper than the double that the link takes you to). I’ve had my Ferret Nation for five years & it’s survived several moves & many, many rats…they’re just very durable cages. It’s now on its last legs (quite literally, one of the wheels is gone & it just kinda leans on the wall), but I feel like I more than got my money’s worth & am looking to replace it with the same thing.
I have a Santa hat & a little Christmas hat they wear at Christmas for cards. I also have a sweater & a little safety vest, but they don’t tolerate them too well. Kara has lots of cute little costumes for hers & tons of adorable pictures of them in them, so it might be worth a shot, but I wouldn’t spend a ton of money or time on them just in case they do mess them up or refuse to wear them.
(also, I assume you know this, but just in case, never leave them unattended with any sort of clothing on, as there’s a possibility they could choke or get stuck)
I think most pet breeding is really irresponsible, like if people are doing it just to experience birth or try to make a profit or whatever. No matter how nice or intelligent or great they are, most pet store rats just shouldn’t be bred—their lineage hasn’t been tracked & you have NO idea what sort of health problems could run in their family, especially because a lot of issues don’t show up for a year or more & rats are more than capable of breeding at younger ages.
As far as breeding if you’re planning on keeping the babies yourself (or have friends who are willing to split the litter with you), I don’t have quite as much of an ethical problem with that assuming everyone involved knows there’s a possibility that they could be more likely to have respiratory issues or cancer due to their genetics than a random rat might be, but at the same time, I think it’s silly to take that risk with a rat that you own. If live feeder rats are available in your town, you can go to a pet store & buy a pregnant one & still experience birth & raising the babies & whatnot without having to risk losing one of your own. Rats are miraculous creatures of survival, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have issues with labor sometimes, & unfortunately, since they’re so small, they have very little chance of surviving if something goes wrong during birth. I have literally lost count of how many times I’ve had messages from people who had pregnant rats (either ones they intentionally bred or ones they got without realizing they were pregnant) that had issues during birth & either lost all of the babies or the mother. My friend Kaley experienced it with a beautiful little rat she got at a pet store last year—she took her to the emergency vet when something went wrong during the birth & there wasn’t anything that could be done. It’s not incredibly common, but it is more common than people think.
I had the lovely experience of raising a litter last summer from a pregnant female named Bree that Kaley had purchased, & it wasn’t any less meaningful to me that it wasn’t my rat. Obviously, I would’ve been upset if something had happened to her in labor, & I’m sure Kaley would have been saddened by her loss, but at the same time, it was a rat bought just a week or so prior, it’s not like it was a beloved pet that either one of us had owned for months & months. I can’t even imagine how terrible I’d feel if I had room for more rats & I decided to breed, say, Bonkers, & then she died during birth…I don’t think I’d ever be able to forgive myself.
Hi! I have that answered here.
(that’s not a bitchy “Y DIDN’T U CHECK MY FAQ/!?!??!?!?!” answer, it’s just a “I knew I had this typed elsewhere & it’s easier for me to post a link than type the same thing out again” answer, haha)
Best of luck with him! I’m in a bit of the same boat with some of my newer ones—the last group I got is great & are very well-adjusted, friendly rats, but Data & Worf are still working on being sociable. Worf thinks my fingers are chew toys!
I don’t know how to handle this, I feel like I need to talk to another rat owner but no where around where I live seems to appreciate rats and I feel belittled when I mention my problem. On Thursday I came home, and like I normally do, I always go to greet my ratties (I had three, all female, 2 adults, 1 5-week-old). I went in to greet them, and I went to my two adults and said hello, but as I turned to greet my baby, I couldn’t find her. At first, I thought she’d escaped again, but nothing seemed out of place so I looked at her cage again, and my heart sank. She was just laying there, like she’d laid down and sprawled out to take a nap. I quickly open her cage and picked her up and pet her and pet her as if she was going to wake up. I thought in my head, that maybe, just maybe, if I kept petting her and warmed her up, she’d be fine. I wasn’t crying till later, till the realization of her passing finally hit me. I just held her close and kept stroking her little dumbo head.
I’ve owned rats for a year and a half now, and she was the first rattie I’ve lost. I knew that one day, it would happen and I knew I’d have to cope with it, but I didn’t her passing would hurt me as much as it did. She was so young, I don’t know what could have happened. She seemed fine before I left. I’d always taken care of her as best as I could. I got her from a nice little place that took pride in their animals. She was just so young, I don’t know what happened. I feel like this is my fault. I know that rats are social little guys, and that’s why I have 3. She was too little to stay in the big rat cage, she’d squeeze out, but I’d let her stay with the big rats (who were fond of her) when I was around which is more than half of the day. I do everything to make sure that my babies have the best life. I just don’t know what happened. I don’t know if maybe she was stressed, I don’t know. I said my farewells, and I kissed her good-bye, and buried her in a nice spot with flowers. I just don’t know how to handle this loss. I can’t forget the way she looked, laying there. I can’t forget the way she looked in the box. Put the dirt back on it and sitting by her grave and crying. I feel so terrible. It’s amazing how much these little guys can effect your life. I don’t know what happened to cause her to pass, but I blame myself. I miss her so much. I just want to hold her again and pet her curly fur. I guess what I’m trying to ask is, how would you deal with the loss of a little friend? It’s been a few days and I’m not feeling a whole lot better, knowing that I’m still here, and she’s outside in the cold ground. I miss her so much.
Oh gosh, I got really sad reading your message & I feel awful that it took a few days to get back to you—I’ve been working pretty much nonstop the last few days & wanted to make sure I had time to write out a thoughtful reply.
Please don’t feel at all like it’s your fault. Unfortunately, rodents sometimes die shortly after coming home—I’ve experienced it with a rat who showed no symptoms whatsoever & seemed perfectly fine, & a mouse who was an absolute heartbreaker & seemed sick, then cleared up, then died suddenly. Being in a pet store is stressful & then coming to a new house & getting adjusted to a new home is stressful & some sick rats are very, very prone to hiding any sign of illness at all. There’s also certain strains of pneumonia that can literally kill overnight, & there’s a chance she had some sort of heart or brain issue that comes on practically out of nowhere—I’ve seen that firsthand with neurological issues in a young rat I had bought just a few months before.
A lot of times, when it’s something that maybe could have been preventable in hindsight (which I don’t think was the case with your rat, just saying), I know it is really hard not to feel like it’s your fault. One of my favorite rats, Darcy, my little Bug, had to be euthanized late last year. He had always had respiratory problems ever since he was a little baby. One day, he squeaked when my friend picked him up (he was not normally a vocal rat). It didn’t seem that weird at the time, but a few days later, he started having severe breathing problems & by the time I got him to the vet in the morning, it was too late. Looking at it now, I wonder if I had brought him to the vet that first time he squeaked, if he could have been put on antibiotics & maybe lived. Squeaking CAN be a sign of early respiratory issues, but it’s also a noise that plenty of rats make on a regular basis—I can hear squeaking right this second because Jean Luc is apparently grooming Turnip’s face off, so I know realistically that it is not something I can beat myself up over, but it’s still upsetting to think that maybe he’d still be here today if I hadn’t ignored that one little warning sign. But I can’t focus on that because even if I had a time machine, maybe he still would’ve died if I had gotten him on the strongest antibiotics that very day, maybe he would’ve lingered for a miserable week or two & still had to be euthanized, hell, maybe I would’ve gotten in a car crash & we both died on the way to the vet. There’s really not any way to say what would have happened & it just makes you feel worse to think about what ifs like that. I just try to focus on the fact that I gave him the best life I could while he was here. I miss him every day, I still can’t think about him without crying, but I made his life better & he made my life better, even if it had to all end on a sad note. I know that you miss your little girl & I’m not going to say something cliche like “she’s in a better place now,” because I don’t know where she is, I hope it is a good place with Bug, but I don’t know. I do know that you gave her a nice place to live her life, even if it wasn’t for very long. Rats can understand love & I am sure she knew that you loved her & did all you could for her. ::hugs::
Aww, this message made me super excited because I love my dog!!!!
She is about three months old now. I have mostly been working to socialize her & get her used to as many situations as possible. She is very timid & still not too great about strangers coming up to her—she wags her tail at people & acts super-friendly, but if they come up to her, she usually freaks out & tries to hide. She’s gotten a lot better about that recently & I am hoping she’ll continue to improve.
She has been TERRIBLE around other dogs in the past—she used to completely shut down if she even heard a dog barking & would refuse to walk. She’s now able to be walked past dogs most of the time…if there’s a lot of them barking, she wants to go home. Over the last few days, she has been showing really remarkable signs of improvement with dogs. Someone’s little terrier was out in their yard yesterday & she played with it, & she tried to play with my friend Kaley’s dogs tonight when we saw them briefly. I don’t want to overload her or traumatize her, so I am trying to take things with dogs really slowly. She’ll finally be caught up on her shots as of the end of this week & I’m going to try to take her to a dog park, not to go inside, but just to walk around outside & smell/see the dogs to get her used to being around them. I think she’ll probably be too timid to ever go out & do sports with, I’d be happy if she was just friendly at pet stores & able to be walked without a leash.
As far as general training, I’ve been concentrating on house-breaking—she was perfect, but suddenly started having accidents again over the last week or so, so I’m trying to be stricter about taking her out every time. She’s great on a leash & very good with sit & shake, we’re still working on down. She is not very intelligent at all, but she has pretty good manners as far as not jumping on people when she’s excited or tearing up things or begging for food. She’s one of the calmest puppies I’ve ever been around, she is perfectly happy to lie on the couch with me & watch TV most of the day. She is good with fetching & loves sand, there is a park nearby with a little sandy riverbank & she runs around in circles in it & then jumps into the river afterwards. Her recall is getting a little better, she knows her name & sometimes comes right away, but if we’re out in the yard, she gets excited & tries to run off sometimes. I think she’ll grow out of that & be okay off-leash eventually.
She LOVES my cats, they are best friends. Harvey Wallace gets a little more irritated with her than Mitch & he’ll run away if she gets too rough, but she & Mitch wrestle all the time & she drags him around a lot. Armando/Mr. Kitty doesn’t like her at all & she is afraid to go anywhere near him. I don’t think she knows what to think of the rats, she’ll hunker down & try to play & gets confused if they come up to her to sniff her. She doesn’t really pay much attention to them in the cage, but she’ll come in & sit on the floor if I have them out on the couch & wait for them to come over to lean over & look at her.
She was from a litter of stray puppies that was living under a barn. I saw the mom & she appeared to be a purebred (or mostly purebred) labrador. The girl whose barn it was said she thought the dad might be a golden retriever-looking dog that had been wandering around. Most of the other siblings were yellow, & she has a brother that looks just like her, but much bulkier. I like going on Google & looking up lab puppies because they all look just like her, haha.