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The Bear
(Ramekin)

Agouti berkshire

30.8.00 - 5.7.02



About The Bear

We adopted a little agouti fuzz as a friend for Bramble way back in September 2000. He was quite a stunning ratlet... a gorgeous
light grey agouti with a darker nose. But more important than his looks was his personality, which shone through from ratlethood.  He was best described as "charmingly simple".  He always had an air of debonair about him, which tended to clash with his
dopey looking grin and big bumbling physical character.

His cheeky grin soon earned him the name of Ramekin (as Al described him as a cheesy little dish), but this only lasted a short while before his real name presented itself and he was forevermore known as The Bear.  Mostly because he looked like the plush bear that I bought from San Francisco Zoo (the kodiac bear there was adorable!), but also because he was big and grizzly at times.

The Bear, an ardent food lover, very quickly gained the title of The Squish and was always the largest buck in The Grotto (after Dapper left us), peaking at 675g. The Squish title was also given for his penchant for bellyupedness, as you can see in the Ramekin The Squish gallery.  He would sleep with his head against his treat stash, just in case he woke up needing a snack.  With age, he developed into even more of a furry slug, loving his creature comforts... mostly his pocket hammock and lots of food.  But he also loved free range time and would put all his energy into chasing B about joyfully.  This spurt of activity obviously required a snack and a nap afterwards.

Bramble was always the alpha in their little world... one look and Bear would roll over and let B sit on him.  I remember coming into the rat room countless times to find Bear squashed against the cage wire, legs sprawled in all directions and ample belly on display, with B sitting on his head.  Other times, it was always his charming furry smile poking out from the hole he had chewed in his hammock pocket with that "Got treat?" hopeful look I could never seem to resist.  He had the most beautiful black eyes... always with such a trusting look in them... he was an unashamed "mummy's rat".

Bear was a barberer... he obviously heard that white socks were a fashion no-no and spent his entire life barbering them smooth.  He also shared his skills with me, being an excellent manicurist.  Not to mention a specialty ear snuffler, a lip-pry-er-opener (to check for food) and the best shirt warmer a rat owner could hope for!  He was a great cuddler, happily parking upside down in my lap to get a long belly massage.

The Bear developed a squamous cell carcinoma of the zymbal gland (at the base of his ear), appearing initially as a large recurrent facial cyst.  The horror of his final ordeal with this cancer still haunts us, but the lifetime of happy memories he left us overwhelms the sadness.  I will always remember him fondly as the big, squishy, cheerful, bumbling agouti fuzz he was.  So much simple charm, so much... Bearfulness.



Photos of The Bear


A young Bear and Bramble snuggled in their pocket hammock


A sprightly young buck


All grown up and handsome in his adult coat


The Bear's characteristic dopey look


Why Ramekin is called The Bear (he's the one on the right).


Who could resist such charming bucks?

More photos of The Bear in the Ramekin The Squish gallery


Tales of The Bear


The big bumbling Bear

I think Ramekin is a few sunflower seeds short of a rat mix.

He was furiously reinforcing his "den" again this morning, cramming the doors and windows with as much paper and fabric strips and
whatever else he could find.  He was so happily enthusiastic about it that, despite his already enormous pile of construction material, I offered him a length of fresh paper towel.  I love putting this on the opposite side of the room and sitting back to watch the joyful leaps as he finds it and the comedy of errors in dragging it to his den.  And today was no exception!

He found the paper towels with the euphoria of a gold miner striking it lucky.  There was much leaping and hopping about, which is comical enough when you're a big fat lazy Bear.  But then he tried to take it off to the den with him...

<Bear's brain in action>
OK, so we just pick it up by the corner now and run away with it.
<riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip>
Hey!  This is only a tiny bit... where'd the rest go?  Oh, it's still back there.
<Bear hastens back to the paper, jumps on it and tries again>
<riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip>
Damn!  Why won't it come with me!
<sitting on the paper, he grabs the corner again>
<riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip>
Hey!
<riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip>
Hey!
<riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip>
Hey!

<Robyn, trying not to laugh, wanders over to help>
Ummm... Mr Bear.  One must first remove one's big butt from the paper in order to let it be moved.  <shove>
<bear picks up the corner and runs with it>
Don't worry Mum!  Don't need any help... it's coming with me now!

Several stumbles and rips and bumbling attempts later, Bear is cheerfully cramming his paper into the den.  :)
Who needs the 24 hour PayTV comedy channel when one has rats?

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At a loss

I can't understand it!  It just doesn't make any logical sense to me.

I KNOW he marinates in wet bedding in his nest box.
I KNOW he parks his ample furry butt in the litter tray full of raisins.
I KNOW he eats in his hammock and sleeps in the scraps.
I KNOW he hasn't had a bath for at least 6 months.

And yet... The Bear always smells so incredibly delicious!!  Eau de Bear varies from a fresh cinnamon muffin straight from the
oven to the warm sweetness of blue gum honey. Mmmmm... nothing like a little furomatherapy!

But, how does he do it???

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Drop Bear

The Bear, not known for his mental faculties or dextrous physical co-ordination, decided he was going to climb up to the next level in The Grotto this morning by scaling the door wire (while the door was open - I was cleaning the cage).

All was going well... I heard the crash and metallic rattle as his huge furry bulk met the wire and he started to climb.  I called out "Careful now, Bear! You don't want to fall!" and he waved off my concern with a casual "It's OK, Mum, I know what I'm doing!".

When he reached the next shelf, I watched him from across the room as he searched for a hand hold to help him off the wire. Unfortunately, he decided the water bowl was a suitable support and precariously grasped it's rim to heave himself onto the shelf.  Needless to say, the water bowl didn't quite have the weight or traction to support his substantial furry bulk, and before I could blink, both fell to the floor with a resounding <thump!><splash!>.  I rushed over to see if he as OK and was met with a rather sheepish looking wet Bear.  Awwwwww...

I bundled him in a towel and cuddled him for awhile. He's fine, no injuries... well, apart from the bruise to his ego from being such a doofus in front of Motley.  :)

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Rat timing

I vacuumed the rat room last night.

This morning I was doing the morning cage tidy-up and The Bear stepped on the edge of a litter tray and flung litter all over the cage, himself and the carpet.  Argggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
He just sat there with an adorably sheepish look on his face, paper pellets sprinkled on his agouti head... I couldn't possibly be angry with him.  I dusted him off, kissed him and relocated him to somewhere he couldn't get into trouble.

I vacuumed the rat room this morning.
I wonder who will make a huge mess tonight...

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More tales of The Bear and his friends on the Ratty Ramblings page.


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