Category Archives: Animals

Happy 1st birthday my boys!

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On Friday our beautiful boys turned one year old. Hard to believe they’ve gone from tiny, hairless bubs to fat, fluffy adult rats so quickly. To celebrate I decided to act like the crazy rat lady I am and throw them a little party!

Curious? Read more…

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Mouse about the house

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Hello sun-seekers 🙂

You might recall me introducing you to a cute fieldmouse that shares our new garden with us. Yes?

Well that same little bundle is almost entirely tame now! He’s grown a bit bigger (but not much) and he sports a beautiful golden coat with smart stripes.

Handsome striped fieldmouse

Handsome striped fieldmouse

Continue reading…

Polyarthritis in rats (or so we suspect)

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If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that in January my one male rat Vodka suddenly seemed to have broken his right front paw. With some TLC and time it healed suprisingly well. Then, to my dismay, his left front paw started showing the same symptoms.

No sooner had Voddy healed from that (which I thought was just really bad luck and maybe just a sprain), than his right back foot suddenly flared up too! It was far more pronounced than with the other feet and I managed to get a few pics of it (to prove I’m not making this up, lol!)

When swelling started

When swelling started

Poor Voddy :(

Poor Voddy 😦

Limping away

Limping away

The next day: very bad swelling and pain

When it happened this third time I got the poor boy to the vet asap, as I’d realised that I might have been wrong about that ‘broken’ paw the first time. Three times on three different feet was just too weird…

At first, after some initial research, I thought it might be cardiomyopathy or another heart problem, which can sometimes manifest as recurring swelling on the limbs. That worried me! Heart problems in such a young buck? 😦

When the vet checked out the foot, however, he said it was too strange to only have signs of heart issues in one paw at a time. Also, he listened to Voddy’s heart and took an X-ray, both of which told him that Vodka’s heart is perfectly normal (praise God!).

But the X-rays did give the vet another clue: Voddy seems to have signs of arthritis in his swollen paw. The vet mentioned that dogs and cats can get a condition called polyarthritis, which often shows up in random joints and then disappears after a while. The vet didn’t know that it could happen to ratties too, but said that’s the most likely problem here.

Armed with a cocktail of Prednisone and Baytril to give to Voddy once daily, I left the vet’s feeling much better. Of course such strong meds are not a long-term solution, so I’ll have to research some dietary and other changes I could make to help a young rat with arthritis. But I’m hoping the initial treatment will reduce the pain and swelling on that poor precious pink paw!

One thing that really made me smile through all this was how Moon, Vodka’s best friend, made sure he was as close as possible to Voddy’s hospital cage so he could watch over him:

Company for a friend in need

Company for a friend in need

Can you see why these little animals have taken over my heart so completely? 🙂

Prawn fest

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Our rats are on a see-food diet: if they see food, they eat it! On occasion, that diet includes actual seafood too 🙂

I’ve mentioned before how much they enjoy salmon, and the other day we treated them to something even more decadent: prawns! Or, to be more accurate, the leftovers of Ninja’s prawn dinner. We washed off most of the lemon butter sauce, but Ninja left a little meat in the shells for the boys.

We started by waving the bowl of prawns in front of the cage to tantalise our pets (who looked ready to leap into the bowl!):

Prawn fest 2

*drool*

Of course they each grabbed a piece as soon as they could…

Voddy makes off with a prawn

Voddy makes off with a prawn

… and scurried off to their separate corners to chow down 🙂

Knight eats neatly - a true little gentleman

Knight eats neatly – a true little gentleman

Mishka licks his prawns rather than holding them

Mishka licks his prawns rather than holding them

Moon tucks in while the poor prawn stares at me accusingly

Moon tucks in while the poor prawn stares at me accusingly

Vodka looks guilty as he helps himself to seconds

It was an absolute feast, and so quiet in the cage except for the sounds of contented nibbling. Afterwards I collected a handful of squeaky-clean, transparent shells.

Here are the before and after shots:

Before

Before

After

After

You know, if you’d told me a few years ago that I would one day be happy to wash a pile of cold, half-eaten prawns and feed them to a mischief of ravenous rats, I would have thought you mad.

Now you can be the ones to think me mad, how’s that?! 🙂

I’d like my Vodka straight(ened out)!

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You probably won’t believe this. I barely do myself.

But just when I thought Vodka’s right paw had healed beautifully from last week, we noticed last night that he’s now limping with the left paw held up!

Voddy with his right paw injured

Voddy with his right paw injured

At first I thought Ninja was playing a prank when he told me. Then, when the paw didn’t look swollen or sore this morning before work, I even thought Vodka might just be asking for some attention. But now that the left paw is all swollen and purple just like his right one was last week, I’m just… baffled.

I have no idea how this happened, or what it is, or why it would happen twice in a row. It doesn’t seem to be bumblefoot (a painful sore rats can get on their feet when kept in the wrong cages). It just seems to be the way my life is going this year so far. Sigh.

So the little guy is back in the hospital cage under observation, and I’m back on love-him-back-to-health duty with extra treats and healing meals 😉

In other words: if you don’t hear terribly much from me for a while, at least you know why!

What do you mean, ‘as shy as a mouse’?

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Are mice really shy? I used to think so… until I saw this little guy!

These are a few pics my dad snapped of a teeny striped fieldmouse that’s taken up residence in my parents’ garden. The pics were taken in the middle of the day, a few metres from the house.

Mouse 1

Mouse 2

Mouse 4

Mouse 3

He doesn’t seem shy at all! Every day, my parents report, this cute mouse races around their garden in broad daylight, following a set path next to the boundary walls and through the shrubbery.

My folks very sweetly leave tasty tidbits along his route, and they own no prowling pets that might discover the little interloper. No wonder he’s quite happy to call that yard his own 🙂

When he passes by my mom and dad as they walk and work on the property, they call out and talk to him. As you can see from the pics, he doesn’t seem to mind their presence. It’s adorable!

I love his smart stripes, just like some tiny rodent version of a jock’s Ford ST. I think he has a cuter face than a rat’s, and of course he’s way smaller – if you look at the long paving brick he’s sitting on, our smallest rat (Moon) would take up that entire brick with just his body length, never mind his tail.

So although when we move there this cutey will be our new neighbour, we’ll make sure he never gets to meet our rat pack 😛

Rats in the spotlight

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It’s been a week of lows and highs for our ratties Moon and Knight. The lows, firstly, come from the fact that yesterday was their turn to be neutered. Poor wee critters! Little Moonbeam doesn’t seem to be doing too badly but our Sir Tiny is visibly upset by the trauma…

Luckily there was a high to their week too (not that they know it though!): both of these boys won first place in different categories in our rat club’s first online rat show 😀

Moon was picked out for his beautiful colouring, and won first prize in the Prettiest Markings category:

Winner: prettiest markings

Winner: prettiest markings

Ninja’s other boy, Knight, took first place in the mixed category of ‘Best Wannabe’ – and was dubbed ‘Super Ratty’ for his flying leap and determination to get to that salmon:

Winner: Best Wannabe / Super Ratty

Winner: Best Wannabe / Super Ratty

We’re suitably chuffed with these achievements, I have to say 🙂 Now we can tell people we have award-winning pet rats, hehe. We’re expecting their ribbons and prizes to arrive in the post soon, so watch this space!

The exciting thing is that next year there’s every chance of not only more online competitions like this, but also live rat shows hosted at the annual pet expos around the country. Hopefully we can take part in those too 🙂

So proud of all our gorgeous boys!

Overheard in an orchard

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Said the Robin to the Sparrow:

‘I should really like to know

Why these anxious human beings

Rush about and worry so.’

Cape Robin chat

Said the Sparrow to the Robin:

‘Friend, I think that it must be

That they have no heavenly Father

Such as cares for you and me.’

~ Elizabeth Cheney ~

Creative creatures Part 2

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This isn’t going to be the post you thought it would be.

Platypus

Platypus – Wikipedia

Because while I was ferretting out a few crazy critters to yak about, a little bird told me something fishy: instead of being an eager beaver I’d have to chicken out, since my post would just be a copycat version of something done much better elsewhere. My readers would quickly smell a rat and bug me for a better post. Besides, since my previous post‘s views were nothing to crow about and, not wanting to flog a dead horse, I decided I couldn’t bear to doggedly pursue this monkey business any longer.

And so, I present to you two links that will lead you to the Bored Panda site, which definitely does the topic of strange and unusual creatures much better justice than I ever could:

http://www.boredpanda.com/strange-animals/

http://www.boredpanda.com/unusual-animals/

Have a sunny day! 🙂

Zest