Sunday, March 04, 2007


Rats! We have rats in the house!!

Our house is once again infested with rodents. This time, it's Rattus domesticus (truthfully, it's Rattus norvegicus). Yes, Luke now has a pet. Well, two pets really. Geez, a house full of rats, what will we ever do?!

Eddie had recently been lobbying to get more pets. He wanted to get some fish for his room, and Luke piped in, nearly crying, "It's not fair! Eddie would have two pets, and I don't even have any!"

Of course, he was correct. So we abandoned any idea of getting fish for Eddie, and decided the next pet would be Luke's. Luke's been fairly consistent that he wanted rats. A few months back, he got a book at the library, and we read it. His goal at that time was to convince me that rats are not filthy vermin. (They're not. Actually, the domesticated rats, called fancy rats, are quite amazing animals.)

So time went by, and still no rats. Then Luke brought home the "Rats as Pets" book again. We read through it, and this time, it stuck. Today, we are the proud owners of new rats.

Why two, do you ask? Because, unlike hamsters, rats are social creatures and need companionship. They're actually quite intelligent, much like a dog, and can learn to come to their names when called, will come to the word "treat", and can learn tricks like pulling a cup with a string on it up a table (like fetching water from a well). And they like to be handled--at least twice a day.

So, let me introduce you to Bob and Alfred (Fred for short). Bob is the white one, which is easily remembered by saying "bobwhite." Fred is the other one, the gray one. Names notwithstanding, both rats are actually female. The book says it's better that way so you don't get a bunch of babies. (Good God! What would we do?!)

Of course, there's also a picture of our very first rat, Frank, maintaining his vigil outside of Luke's room. Frank was very interested in the rats.

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