There are rats in the house.
It’s true. Two of them. One white with faint gray markings, the other white with dark brown markings, and they are — surprisingly — very friendly and sociable creatures. The one with brown markings is named Sonic, the white one Rose, and they belong to friends of ours who are off on holidays.
The nice thing about looking after animals while their owners are away is that the kids get to experience all the joys of pet ownership without us needing to actually own the pets for any significant length of time. They get to play with them. They get to feed them. They get to give them treats. They get to clean up their poo. And then, at the end of a week or two, they (thankfully, in this Mama’s opinion) go away.
The rats, to my great surprise, like people. When we walk into the room, they come see what we are doing. If one of the kids puts their face near the top of the cage, Sonic will happily scale the bars to put her face level with theirs where she can twitch her whiskers and wiggle her nose and try her very best to determine if the child in question has treats. She also sits there and tries to look as cute as possible. We think Sonic believes that if she looks cute enough, someone will take her out and play and just possibly give her a snack or three.
Sonic is very good at looking cute. Sonic gets taken out and played with a fair bit.
Recently, we acquired a treadmill. Treadmills come in rather large boxes. For whatever reason, we decided that the rats might enjoy running around the box the treadmill came in, so we dragged it out of the garage where it has been patiently been waiting to be cut down to a size that can go out with the recycling and set the rats free. We also put a few slices of apples and some sunflower seeds in the box, along with their little rat igloo.
Rose likes the igloo.
Rose likes to explore, too, and explore she did. She explored the corners of the box.
Then she explored the sides of the box.
And then she had a snack.
As you can see, Sonic wasn’t sitting idly by while Rose was busy. Sonic was a maniac. Sonic raced this way and that, right and left, up and down, around and around, until…
Sonic jumped right up on to the edge of the cardboard, perched precariously on the very edge of the cardboard (and accompanied by much excitement and no small amount of shrieking from Miss B). You could just see the little wheels turning in that ratty little brain… Where should I jump next?
Onto B’s chest was where, as it turns out, and she was slightly less than calm. Rats claws are somewhat scratchy, you see, and when rats are seen up close — as in on your chest just under your chin sort of close — they are rather larger than you think they should be.
Luckily, B was quickly rescued amid much laughter (and more shrieking), but no amount of apple-enticing could convince Sonic that jumping out of the box was not the best game ever. Every time we turned around, there was Sonic, poised and ready…
They are ever so much fun, these rats we’ve borrowed for a bit, even if they are a little bit fear inducing at the same time.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the hamsters.