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ThinkingPets launched a competition for a new animal animal ambassador in September 2012. The winner of the competition would be the focus of articles and Facebook tips for a whole 2 months. Of course RIA jumped at the chance and entered Lindi's rat Russell. Russell won the competition with 113 and needless to say we were thrilled!

So in November ThinkingPets has been publishing a ratty tip a week on their Facebook page. And for their November and December newsletters, they will publish an article about rats written by Lindi.

You can go to their website to jump to their Facebook page or to sign up for their newsletter. The newsletter will go out on the 25th of each month.

 
We conducted our first Rat Socialization study this last weekend, with Roan from Whisker’s Rattery joining Michelle and Lindi with their fur-kids. We had a lot of fun just chatting and having some cold drink while the rats “sort of” explored the picnic blanket.

 We expected some problems with the class, but not the one big problem we faced on Saturday. Our normally very inquisitive and explorative rats were too scared to leave their travel cages! This created some issues in that we couldn’t socialize the rats with each other, as they had no interest in one another, and only wanted to escape back onto mom or dad’s lap!

 Although this was unexpected, it was quite insightful and we’ve gathered some theories around their reaction. We will be holding another one or two classes and measure their successes against the first class, hopefully the rats get used to the idea of exploring outside of their own territory as we go along.

 All in all, though, it was great fun and really good to meet each other’s ratties in real life!

 
Many months of preparation and hard work is finally paying off as RIA’s members are finally getting their hands dirty in the field. Last week Friday marked the beginning of our adventures as Lindi approached a large pet shop in Faerie Glen to tell them about the advantages of using corncob bedding for their rats, instead of saw dust. The staff were very keen to learn more about these creatures and was open to suggestions on better keeping conditions for the rats. 

Michelle found a single rat with an enormous abscess at another pet shop in Centurion, who turned out to be the owner’s pet. She is now guiding him in the little rat, named Lucky’s treatment and has put him in contact with a pre-killed feeder breeder in JHB to feed his large reptile collection and supply his clients with.

We are very encouraged to see the positive response to RIA’s endeavors and will continue to get into contact with various pet shops in the province to better the lives of the animals that are kept there.

If you come across any situations involving rats that need urgent attendance, please contact us.