As we head into winter, Russell my big boy caught a cold that quickly developed into a chest infection. I was so worried when I noticed that he'd started losing weight and then one day he stopped eating all together. Needless to say he was rushed to the Vet.

Russell was put on a course of Baytril and quarantined in the bathroom, which we kept nice and humid. Getting the medicine down was a bit of a fight - Baytril is very bitter! He still refused food. Caryn recommended that I offer him some Ensure, a meal replacement shake usually used for cancer patients. It's packed full of nutrients and vitamins. Russell took to it right away and managed a teaspoon every 2 hours. Initially he only wanted to drink it out of the palm of my hand.

These little creatures continue to amaze me. At the start of his illness, he wanted to be with me more and more. He felt ill and wanted comfort. I wonder if somehow he knew that I could help and this was his way of asking? During this past week he has grown closer to me than ever, trusting me completely. He still doesn't like the medicine, but he doesn't keep a grudge either. And he takes every opportunity to come sit in my lap for some cuddles :). So much like a human child - wanting the comfort of a parent figure when you feel unwell.

He's still on Baytril, but we have seen around a 60% improvement. He's begun eating pronutro and has picked up some of the lost weight again.
 

Today I brought home a new addition to the family. His name is Waldo, a.k.a. Wallie, and he is a black hoodie boy.

I got Wallie from a well-known pet shop in Pretoria. Although they don't care for their rats in an ideal way, they do sound very open to suggestions and feedback. My hope is to raise and train Wallie, and to come back and use him as ambassador and example of what awesome pets rats make. Hopefully we can then start making changes at this pet shop, as it is such a big supplier of feeder and pet rats to the public.

 
If you know anything about rats, you'll know that the day a rat boggles and bruxes for the first time is possibly the greatest day in a rat owner's life!

I have not yet seen my favourite boy, Russell, boggling at all. He's very affectionate and I know I'm treating him right, but you always wonder why a rat isn't happy enough to boggle and brux.

Well, yesterday I took Russell out on a bit of ambassador work to a Pet Shop to tell them about pedigree rats, etc. He enjoyed the outing and soon we were back in the car. That's when it happened. He got off my shoulder and snuggled into the tray below my CD player. With the engine purring and the car swaying, and the occassional scritch behind the ears from his mom, he started boggling and bruxing contentedly! I was sooo amazed! Who knew that my boy loves being in the car that much? He was so happy to just lie there and listen to the sounds of the car and his mommy and daddy cooing over him. What a great Sunday!
 
I just couldn't resist...

This weekend I went and splurged on another big cage like the one I have and have now connected them to form one HUGE rat cage. The furkids now have platforms, hammocks, monkey tents, branches, ladders and toys to keep them busy for a long time!

One of the new toys is a dried calabash which the pet shop sells as a bird next. I really thought the hole would be big enough, but it seems even the girls are getting a bit squishy :) Not to worry though, as Magrat is busy 'renovating' it and will soon have the hole big enough! lol
 

I have 3 rats at present. Two girls - Magrat Garlick and Susan Sto Helit - and one boy - Russell. This morning, I decided to treat my brood to a new brain toy. I took an empty egg carton (the kind that only holds 6 eggs) and put some goodies inside. I then closed it up and put it in their cage.

It took Magrat all of 5 seconds to come and investigate this new object. Soon all three were there, desperately trying to pry open the box to get to the treasures within. Magrat started throwing the carton around, perhaps thinking that brute force might do it. It took them quite some time aEventually Susan figured out how to unclip the box to reveal all the nummies. Russell grabbed his and vanished into his hide-away to feast. But the girls... it had now become a personal vendetta! They didn't bother with the treats at all - instead it was all about making the egg carton pay for being so stubborn! LOL. The wrath of Magrat soon descended on the poor carton - she showed it! Now it is in various pieces, happily being used as bedding :)

 
Wow! R.I.A.'s site is up and running and new information is being added. I can hardly believe we have come this far already! It was only a little while ago that Michelle and I started planning everything. I hope that we can post amazing updates on our progress in the near future!

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    Lindi has kept rats as pets from a very young age. She is now involved with a South African company that offers animal behaviour courses. As a result, her passion is studying and understanding pet rat behaviour, as there has been so little advancement in this field.

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