21 11 2011
Smelly Little Rat Babies
I have just completed one of my joyous weekly tasks, that of cleaning out my pet rats. It has been a week since they were last cleaned out and to be brutally honest they hard started to smell a little like poo! Whilst I was cleaning out the base of their cage in the shower I realised that I haven’t written anything about them for months, they wouldn’t be impressed if they knew!
We have had our little pets for around five months now, it seems like so much longer, they have become an integral part of our lives. When I get up in the morning they are always awake waiting by the bars to see me, sometimes they are even the first ones I talk to in the morning (if @martianseraph hasn’t woken up yet!). Every evening before we go to bed the little rat people are allowed to have a run across the sofa with us, they seem to know when we are preparing for bed (I think they realise when the TV is turned off) and climb up the cage just at the right moment.
When we first got Kryten and Felix I wasn’t to sure about rats, Emma loved them so I agreed to get them; they are cute after all! I had two pet hamsters as a child, as much as I loved Rimmer and Kochanski I have to say that rats are so much more interesting and enjoyable as pets. I don’t know what the science community would have to say about it but I think that rats display a definite level of intelligence. Sometimes it almost looks like they smile when you walk into their field of vision, other times when we have been out for the night they seem so sad until we reach into the cage (at which point they become ecstatic!). For anyone living in a confided environment such as a flat, or somewhere without a garden rats are a brilliant pet. They don’t take up much space, they aren’t expensive and they are friendly! Contrary to popular belief they are clean animals, they spend most of their waking time either eating or cleaning themselves!! You do have to buy at least two as they are social animals, Felix and Kryten do fight sometimes but not in a nasty way. On the other hand when Felix was sick recently I watched Kryten bring him food, and if you knew Kryten’s food hounding habits that would shock you!
If you do want to think about getting some pet rats I recommend visiting your local Pets at Home, they are friendly people who know a lot about their animals. Whenever we visit the Pets at Home store near Ikea the lady we bought the rats from asks about them! The store also seems to be one of the cheaper places to buy most of the things you will need. The basic of which are a Cage, Food, Bedding and a few toys. They still have the same deal on as when we bought the cage, for around £90 you get a good sized multi level cage with several accessories (including a hammock for them to sleep in), around a months supply of specialist food and a fortnights supply of bedding, The rats themselves were £15 for the two. With the initial cost out of the way I find that £10 worth of litter lasts for about 5-6 weeks and a £8 bag of food lasts a good 2 months at the least.
I get the sense that this post may be getting a little close to the TL:DR point so I will leave it at that, if you want to know more about keeping pet rats (and the places to acquire things for them) keep an eye for a post / page in the next week.