World Rat Day 2013

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It’s World Rat Day! Time to spare a thought for these intelligent, adorable and badly misunderstood creatures.

Rat meme courtesy of Ratanooga.co.za

I’m counting celebrating today as part of Goal #78 on my 101 things in 1001 days – celebrate five obscure holidays. Except that, of course, celebrating pet ratties is hardly unusual for an owner-slave like me 🙂

Rat owner meme courtesy of Ratanooga.co.za

Rat owner meme courtesy of Ratanooga.co.za

Some fun rat facts you may not have known:

  • Pet rats or fancy rats come with a range of coat types and a wide variety of coat colours.
  • The collective noun for a bunch of rats is a ‘mischief’.
  • Some rats have large, low-set ears called dumbo ears – which really adds to their ‘squeeeee!’ factor 😉
  • Rats in general have very bad eyesight, while pink- and ruby-eyed rats can barely see more than a blur.
  • Pet rats are very clean creatures, conscientiously grooming themselves and others (and even their humans!) throughout the day.
  • Ratties can’t burp, but they do get the funniest squeaky hiccups sometimes 😀
  • These rodents can collapse their ribcages if needed, to squeeze through spaces much smaller than you’d imagine possible!
  • Rats use their long, scaly tails (which for some reason many people seem to find gross) as a cooling system, because they don’t sweat. Makes me wonder how the bred-to-be-tailless rats cope in the heat…
  • Rats use their sweet little hands, which don’t have any thumbs, to grip food and scoop water. And apparently researchers have found that most rats are right handed.

If you haven’t yet acknowledged the cute side of rats, here are some of the most adorable pics of our present and past rat babies (all pics courtesy of their respective breeders)…

Our current girls Flea and Coffee looked like this at eight days old:

Baby Flea

Baby Flea

Coffee as a bub

Coffee as a bub

When their eyes open they become even cuter! Here are the girls with two of their other sisters. Flea is the tiny black one, of course, and Coffee is the girl on the far right.

Tiny girls ready to explore

The breeder of our previous boys, Scribble and Muesli, also sent us a few pre-purchase pics so we could choose our rats:

Two weeks old

Two weeks old

Four-week-old nunus

Four-week-old nunus

From these pics it’s tough to not to fall in love with pet rats and recognise that they can be just as beautiful and lovable as any kitten or puppy.

But if you’re still not convinced, allow me to introduce you to the heroine of rat lovers everywhere: Ellen van Deelen.

Grab a cup of tea, make sure no one is around to hear your inevitable ‘Awwww!‘s, and check out her rat photos here.

Ellen’s incredible pictures shoot straight to the heart of what it means to love a rat. She shows them in anthropomorphic but natural poses with a variety of bite-sized props, and captures their expressions and personalities perfectly.

Resistance is futile 🙂

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