Friday, 20 April 2012

R - Rats


We’ve all heard the saying “a dog is a man’s best friend”, but does this sentiment still ring true today?  Sure, domesticated dogs were brilliant in the olden days for herding animals into pens, or chasing down freshly wounded prey, but these outmoded tasks are not performed by the cosmopolitan dogs of today, which prefer to ride in handbags and wear fluorescent coats.  Instead, they tend to loll around under the dinner table, blowing off farts in an attempt to disgust you so much that you’ll give them your food.

Cats are no better either.  Most cats don’t enjoy the company of their human counterparts, maintaining an aloof veneer of self importance whilst expecting us ape-like serfs to provide food and lodgings on demand.  They strut around with an undeserved sense of achievement, like a four legged Piers Morgan.  Even that is better than having a cat that likes you.  If it actually likes you, a cat will try and initiate you into its clan by bringing home a half dead baby bird, and watch earnestly as you cave its tiny head in with a shoe, sobbing to yourself as you put it out of its misery.  If you don’t kill the animal, the cat will continue to bring home more semi-living animals, starting with sparrows and mice, slowly working up to polar bears and jaguars.  Horrible creatures.

So then, for the modern person who doesn’t enjoy dinnertime flatulence or bludgeoning wildlife for the sake of decency, what is the perfect pet?  Well, I’m about to reveal all, so keep on reading!  Oh wait, you’ve already read the title at the top of the page.  Alright, smartarse, the answer is rats.  No, there are no prizes for guessing correctly.

There's only one appropriate response to this picture, and that is "D'awwwww"

Rats are quite simply the best animals that you can subjugate and hold in captivity in your home.  Put in simple terms, they are like dogs that you don’t have to take for walks.  However, if I left it there, this would be a very short post and a poor argument, so I’ll elaborate further.

For small rodents, rats are blessed with a decent amount of intelligence, similar to most dog breeds.  As such, they can be taught to perform simple tasks, such as putting a ball in hoop, jumping through a hoop, shitting through a hoop, and carrying a hoop.  In terms of hoops, rats have got that area sewn up tight.  They can also be taught to use a litter tray for extra hygiene, which makes cleaning their cage less of a chore than it would with a turd-machine gerbil.

Another thing that people don’t tend to realise is just how affectionate most rats can become.  Even if you had 100 rats, they’d still want your attention, jumping up lovingly when you enter the room, queuing up for a fuss.  As they grow older, they also learn to play little games.  They’ll wrestle your fingers and love to be chased around the room and tickled.  They always come back for more.  Females are by far the most active, whereas males still like to play, but also enjoy a nice long rest on the sofa with you.  If you want a lively animal, female rats are definitely the way to go.

“But Addman, don’t they spread diseases?” I hear you cry narrow-mindedly.  Wrong.  Wild rats can carry disease, but mainly because we pour diahorretic turds over them on a daily basis through sewerage systems.  Domestic rats, however, do not have this problem.  Chances are they are more likely to get sick from you, what with your dirty lifestyle of going outdoors and touching things.  You’re probably also going to say that their tails are “icky”, for which you would be wrong again.  Their tails are similar in touch and texture to a human finger, so unless you find yourself repulsed by your own hands, you can’t use this as an excuse.  How would you function in modern society if you are frightened of human digits?  If someone waved at you, you’d have a heart attack whilst madly swinging a sharp object at them, like a dying villain in an action film making a desperate attempt to kill the hero despite having already lost.

D'awwww2.jpg

 If that’s not already persuaded you to buy some super intelligent rodents to do hoop tricks and love you until the end of time, then think about the costs when compared to a more traditional pet.  Dogs and cats cost a lot to get set up.  New collars, leads, food bowls, water bowls, chews, toys, beds, vaccinations, flea spray, worming tablets, and special shampoo are all required, not to mention the cost of the animal itself.  Rats on the other hand, need very little.  Once you have a cage for them (be generous with size if you can), all they need is a couple of plastic tubes and a hammock to sleep in.  To chew, you can use the cardboard innards from toilet rolls, and empty cardboard boxes.  Ours love to sleep in old Belvita boxes (probably because they can smell the biscuit goodness).

This brings me on to another fantastic point about rats.  Their food is really cheap.  Standard rat muesli does the trick, but they can also eat anything that people eat.  If you’re having mashed potato, slam some in a small dish and let the rats have a bit.  They absolutely adore egg, and will peel a boiled egg in record time.  If you give a dog a piece of chocolate, it could potentially die, but rats just shrug it off and look for the next piece.  Obviously, don’t cook them an entire burger and let them eat it because they’d get so fat you wouldn’t be able to fit them through the cage door.

There we go, is that reason enough for you?  I suspect you aren’t reading this anymore.  You’ve probably run straight to the pet shop, banging on the windows and demanding ratty satisfaction, and who would blame you?  No me, that’s for sure.  Just remember to thank me when your life is greatly improved by having such a super cool pet.

23 comments:

  1. Hi, i love rats :) Great post and cute pictures ♥

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    1. You are a person of excellent breeding. Good choice.

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  2. That's it, I'm convinced! Buy me a satchel full of rats and I'll give them a good home. Is there a way we can make their tail less...gross? Who needs a pet store anyway, I'm going to get those pure-bred rats straight from the sewer.

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    1. You don't make a rat's tail less gross! A rat's tail makes YOU less gross!

      ...I don't actually know what that means. It sounded a lot cooler in my head. Still, the image of a satchel full of rats has made my day :D

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  3. Oh my...TFF! I've got two dogs that resemble rats. Does that count?

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    1. Shave their tails and I'll consider it.

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  4. I detest VERMIN. They must be extinguished at all costs. Read my post here http://gillianhefer.blogspot.com/2012/02/rats-vermin.html and here http://gillianhefer.blogspot.com/2008/05/mouse-in-da-house.html

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    1. But...but...they're so adorable!

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  5. I didn't even have to buy my rats, they came with my apartment. You are right, they are great! Sometimes I chase them around and tickle them for hours. I just wish they were a little more gentle when they play, as they sometimes bite and claw, usually when cornered.

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    1. Sounds like you have a wonderful time with them. Can I bring mine over for a play date?

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  6. I want one of those 12-pound rats. I'll equip him with some cutlery. My house won't be nuffin' to f**k with.

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  7. I used to have a pet rat and he was the best pet I have ever owned. If I put him in his ball to explore the house and then called his name from several rooms away, he would always come find me as quickly as he could. his other favorite activity was sitting on my shoulder and watching TV :).

    Great post!!

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  8. I'm with Flip - got 'em free in the back garden. Although sadly, dead with their innards spilling out so not the best pet. Might upset the kids a bit and not do much.

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  9. I have always said squirrels are rats with better PR. Squirrels don't get crap because they have cute, bushy tails. I'm not sure about this whole tickling thing though. I'm not comfortable tickling Elmo, let alone a rat I barely know. I have dated some pretty big rats that I didn't care for. Perhaps I should try the cute little furry ones. Maybe I will like those better.

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  10. We have allergies so wound up with two sweet gerbils that I adore. Especially when they purr in your palm. So I am a converted rodent lover and have wondered about rats. I've heard wonderful things about them. Thing is my husband is no animal person. Just the idea do a rat under the roof might make him pack:)) still. Maybe he never has to see him out of the cage, I'll do that when he's at work...:))

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  11. Oh no, I am not doing that again. Last time I got mice (sure, mice aren't rats, but whatever) they froze to death.

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  12. I really recommend keeping more than one rat, as they are social beasts. We have two fantastic rats. Mary Keira is a dark grey and Maria Rosita is pink and hairless. They are smart and loving. (Some folks think the hairless rat is gross, but it takes one to know one.) R very soft and has these great wrinkles, especially on her "booty" . They live in modified birdcage with lots of climbing room. I love to see one of them receive a large piece of toast and carefully climb down to bury it for future reference. They also wrestle. The first time I heard R squeaking, I thought K (who outweighs her by 3x) was bullying her. No ... sometimes they were just a mood to grapple. Usually K gets R down in a submission posture (on her back, with K straddling her) and then they get up and do it again. Once I saw R leap on K, and good natured K went down and "submitted" to tiny R. R also squeaks when K grooms her. They sleep snuggled together in ridiculously cute postures. They get along fabulously with our little dog, but that's another story. Rats, hurrah.

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  13. Man...I've had like 50 rats...they're so awesome. People just judge them by their "ugly" tails instead of getting to know the second most successful mammal on earth (quite the genius critters too). What a shame. Oh well, more rats for me.

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  14. You forgot something, they die :'(

    You spend 2/3 years falling in love and making them a part of your home, then suddenly they are no longer there. No more rats for me, I'm too heartbroken.

    :'(

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    1. Rattie's are some of the sweetest creatures I have ever had the pleasure of owning.
      I had three brother's, one of whome was called Zack. Zacky Boy was the sweetest of them all, I have never loved a creature in all of my life like I loved that little munchkin. I can still remember the gloss in his coat, and his little back bead shaped eyes.
      He would curl up and sleep on me, take trips up the highstreet to buy a pint of milk riding on my shoulder, he slept in the hoods of my jackets, when I got home from college and opened my room door his little head would poke out of his house "Hi mama is it time to play?"
      I got my heart broken while I had him, I was led on my bed crying one day and he trotted over, stuck his little nose into the side of my face and started licking my tears off. I can still remember his little whiskers tickling my skin.
      I dont even remember how I was so upset about splitting with a boyfriend. I have never felt pain like when my little Zacky Rattie left me :'( Even as I sit here now tears run down my face thinking about that lovely little boy. He was the first of the three to go, and the most painful. There is not a soul on this earth that was more gentle, sweet and loving than that little man.
      I remember Jimmy, his brother, who wasn't fond of cuddles and fuss crawling into my lap the night his brother died, and lying there as I sobbed my heart out. He'd never done that before and he never did it again after.
      His other brother Syn (they were named after band members I liked at the time Id got them) he died about two weeks after Zacky, I've always thought he died of a broken heart.
      I don't want to put anyone off them, they're amazing creatures but it is so sad when they go.

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  15. Do you allow use of your photos? I'd love to use that cute rat photo on-line in an article I'm writing. I won't be making money, if I do it will be pennies.

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  16. Rats are AWESOME!!!! We are owned by four of them at the momment

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  17. my family have kept rats for years and 1 of our males lived for 4yrs 9months we now have 3 males who are 7 inches long at 8 wks and their father is 12/14 inches long nose to bum and another 12inches for his tail and about 5/6 inches round his brother is the same anybody know if this is a set breed or just big rats

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