||Five months old|
||Black Hooded Rat|
||Columbia, Missouri, USA|
Rae is named after the children's book character, Sheila Rae the
Brave. She is fearless, and picks on our poor ferret all the time. She
is the first rat I have ever known personally, and she has taught me a
lot. For instance, rats do not have naked tails; they are actually
covered with tiny bristly hair. And their little hands are so cunning!
They even have vestigial thumbs. Their teeny claws are very sharp, so
they can climb anything from curtains to cages with ease, and they leave
unintentional scratches on human skin. She greedily grabs any food
I offer her with her fat little arms, and loves just about
anything--caramelized pine nuts, almonds, pizza, dried papaya...
She's a little slob, and now I know firsthand what they mean by the
expression "rat's nest." Cedar shavings are not very healthy bedding for
small animals, so I give her old t-shirts to cuddle up in, and she likes
chewing them up and stuffing them with shredded newspaper. She recently
lost her sister to an ear infection, so I try to give her the attention
she once got from her close friend. She likes when I "groom" her and
appreciates the physical contact. That she could have met with the awful
fate of being a laboratory rat, or might have just as easily ended up as
snake food makes her a very lucky girl indeed!