November 4, 2004
On November 2nd I got three beautiful baby male rats from a local rescue organization (Rattie Ratz). They are as cute as can be, and wonderfully friendly and trusting.
I spent about an hour and a half at the rescue with a little cage of babies from two litters, playing with them all and watching them. Five or six of them stayed hidden most of the time, so I didn't bother them. The other five or six came out to exlore, check me out, run back, return, and bounce about. All were tame and hand reared, but I wanted the very friendliest ones.
A charming little blazed agouti came out onto my lap again and again... no sooner did I pop him back in the cage than he was out again. A beautiful reddish agouti was always on the edge of the cage or crawling on my lap, and when I picked him up he felt calm and confident in my hands. I choose those two first and put them in my carrier so I could focus on a third.
The third was a little harder to choose... there were several agoutis who climbed out but I could not tell which one was which, and I did want rats that looked different enough to tell them apart from the ones I had. A little agouti hooded caught my eye. He was an intrepid little guy, jumping out of the cage onto me or in an attempt to get out to explore. Several times he slithered down the side of the cage and was on his way into the wide world before I could grab him. I'd hold him and he'd tense up a bit and scurry to get back in the cage... but as soon as his feet hit the bedding he'd turn around and climb right back up into my lap. He couldn't make up his mind! Gradually all the rats in the cage calmed down and piled in a corner, but the little agouti hooded kept trying to get out and onto my lap and into the great blue yonder. So I picked him.
So the new babies are:
Here are some photos of the little guys:
The three boys arriving home in the travel cage. The red agouti is the one climbing out. The hooded and blazed agoutis are still inside. I placed them all in a large, temporary tupperware, until I can build or buy them a new cage:
Here's the little red agouti standing up in his new home.
The following evening, I covered the dining room table with some cloth, and put some boxes, a paper bag, and a pile of polar fleece strips on it, and let the little guys out to play. The blazed rat was the first one bold enough to venture out. The other two were more hesitant, and took a little prompting. But afer ten minutes all three were romping around the table, hiding in the bag, hiding in the boxes, and burrowing in the polar fleece. Here are some photos of their first play session!
The blazed and hooded rats pause for a moment at the entrance of the paper bag:
The little red agouti discovers the table's edge and leans out:
The little blazed rat peeks out of the pile of polar fleece: