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Moments of mischief

The Dapper Rats aren't the only rats being naughty.  Here's a collection of hilarious ratty tales by some of my friends and their talented and troublesome rodents.


Pumpkin Soup Revisited
Tale and photo by Emma Morgan of Rock-a-bye Ratties

Hmm, where to begin...  I suppose this is really a lesson in the folly of spoiling one's rats by offering them gourmet foods.

Every night, I make dinner for our rats.  At the moment, we have 6 cages with various numbers of rats in them, so I make up 6 bowls of dinner and 6 bowls of dessert (usually soy milk or soy yoghurt).  This one particular night, I decided to go all-out.  The dinners were gorgeous - all sorts of lovely fresh fruit and veges, some pasta and rice, I even splashed out and gave them some sunflower seeds and slivered almonds.  Of course, I couldn't be sensible and stop there. I had to go over the top.  I take FULL responsibility for my actions.

For dessert, instead of something sweet, I decided to give them something special instead, but still something that they could drink up. I found a can of gourmet pumpkin soup in the cupboard, the really rich stuff.  Not the healthiest thing for little ratties, but very tasty!  I even garnished it with a lovely swirl of soy milk and topped the bowls with a few pieces of snow pea sprouts.  Some might say that was a little bit of overkill, but our rats always eat in style!  I suppose you can all tell where this is going.

It was a HUGE hit.  The rats couldn't get enough.  At 2 am I was awakened by the sound of Ciara head butting her bowl around in frustration because she had licked up every drop.  When she got tired of that, she chewed the piece of blanket where I had spilt some.  I felt so proud of myself.  I had given them a really special treat that they loved.

All was well. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Next day, Ken was looking particularly cuddly so I brought him out for a cuddle.  Up he went onto my shoulder, which is quite a task in itself as he is rather bottom heavy and tends to topple.  Rather than standing on my shoulder, he drapes his body over in a U-shape instead.  Yes, there is a point to this story, although it is rather a sensitive subject with Ken... he has a bit of a problem... with wind.  That is, he passes a lot of it, and it usually happens when his butt is pointed in the direction of my face.  Very unpleasant.  And so it was, on this sunny afternoon that Ken was on my shoulder and he "let one go".  I was groaning and telling him how grotty he was, mum was laughing, and it was very comical.  When it came time to lift him down... I have three words to describe what I was faced with:  PUMPKIN SOUP REVISITED.

Urgh, it was all over his backside... I couldn't tell if he had eaten it or dipped his bum in it, honestly.  Of course on closer inspection, it didn't really smell fresh-from-the-can.  I'm sorry if anyone out there is eating, but this was revolting.  I whipped him into the laundry tub really quickly.  Luckily it had stuck to his fur quite nicely, and hadn't made a mess of me, so I just gave him a quick bath and put him back in the cage.  I have never dealt with anything so messy and smelly. YUCK.

That is, of course, until around ten minutes later when I went to scratch an itch on the back of my neck and realised that I had been wrong... he had left a giant, 2 inch, squishy, smelly, pumpkin soup raisin IN MY HAIR!!!  *Sigh*. I don't think I could handle having kids.

Does anyone in Oz know where I can buy lab blocks wholesale.... coz they sure ain't gettin' pumpkin soup again.

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Abe's stash
By Julie Eschliman - Julie's Website

This morning while I was feeding Zacky I was distracted by a scuffling noise from inside the cage.  I looked up to see Abe turning in
circles, trying to get the tip of his tail into his mouth.  Once he caught it, he purposefully headed off towards his stashing dish.  Unfortunately, it's hard to walk with your tail in your mouth, so he kept losing his grip and having to start over again.  I was rolling on the floor by the time he actually succeeded, carefully laying his prize atop a pile of banana chips.  Satisfied, he turned around and came out to look for more food, blissfully unaware that that naughty tail was following him out the door.

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A neighbourly tangle
By Bernice of Prattle

Last night I come home and have a shower as it's been so hot and sticky all day.  Peeve's chasing me all round the bathroom, begging for cuddles, so I pick her up and go work at the computer.  She's always adored playing with my hair when it's wet, so I pay no attention to her pulling and tugging, chewing, yanking, kicking me in the head while I work.

After about half an hour I notice that she's breathing hard, and realise that her foo foo foo noise isn't because she's having great fun anymore, but that she's tangled herself so tightly in my hair that she's completely stuck!   My hair is quite long, and she's become entangled at the back, with the back of her head in my ear and all four legs sticking straight out.

Because of the angle, and my lack of mirrors, I was unable to get her untangled without tugging the hair tighter, so I had to go knock on my neighbour's door (still dressed in only a towel) and ask for her help.  I was laughing so hard it was quite difficult:

"Excuse me, can you help me detangle a small panicked rat from my hair?"

Luckily, she knows and likes my rats.  I should imagine that would be most people's idea of a nightmare!  Wild-looking agouti rat tangled in hair, little pink feet sticking out, struggling mightily.  Peeve was fine and it hasn't put her off her hair attacks, but it gave my neighbour and I quite a good laugh.

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Medicating Felix
By Heide of Rodentia Dementia

Felix, my handsome young buck is sick -- again or still, its hard to say.  Either way this is his third course of antibiotics.  At least this time the stuff smells so good *I* wanna take it.  But does Felix?  Oh hell no.  I've tried everything.  Sticking the syringe through the bars where he bites it like the evil intruder that it is, but lets it dribble out of his mouth; mixing the stuff with maple syrup; trying to let him lick it while holding him on my lap... and here's how things stand now....

I grab my boy.  He goes limp in the hopes that I will think he's already dead and leave him be.  He sneezes.  I am not fooled.  The struggle begins.

Like the epic heroes of old, he grabs any hand-hold that will keep him in the cage, including a sleeping Moke's head.  Moke looks at him. "Better you than me, buddy."  He grabs the sides of the door with both hands on the way out, leaving us at an impasse -- do I yank the poor bugger loose or peel him gently?  I opt for the peel approach.  Got one hand...a back leg takes its place.  I peel the leg.  Meanwhile, the other side of him has now clamped on with both hand and foot.  I can see this will take a while.  Deftly, having two hands fewer that this particular monkey, I pull and peel simultaneously.  Success.

Felix clamps onto my wrist, digs in, and scrambles up my arm.  Okay, we can deal with that in a minute.  I grab his towel and grab the syringe.  Felix has meanwhile made it to the back of my neck and is clapped to me like a barnacle and tangled in my hair.  Okay, now the hard part.  Single-handedly I peel Felix off the back of my neck, leaving furrows in my skin and losing a bit of hair in the process.  Felix begins gyrating like Elvis on diet pills.  The syringe is carefully placed between my teeth, where I am praying I don't dose myself.  Again.

Having both hands free, I firmly place the squirming octopus on the towel on my lap, and quick as the kid at Taco Bell, I have myself a rat burrito.  He pushes his hands out and squirms free.  We quickly repeat the yank-and-peel process and once again I wrap him in the towel.  Firmly.  I turn his head towards me and am greeted by a fine display of teeth and sucked-in cheeks.  Ain't nothin' getting in there.  With my free hand I take the syringe and stick it in the corner of his mouth, squirt a bit, and remove.  Num, num, num.  Felix smacks his lips.  This stuff's good.  I replace the syringe and squirt a bit more.  Lap, lap, slurp.  I give him the rest.  Lick, lick.  He likes it.  OF COURSE HE LIKES IT!!!  He liked it the last ten times we went through this.

I unwrap and replace Felix, who is still happily smacking his lips.  My right arm is bleeding, the back of my neck itches, I taste  Zithromax in my mouth, and I will be bald by the time he is done this stuff.  I fall to my knees and dramatically thank the powers that be that the other four aren't sick.

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Potty pouri
Recounted from a tale told by Paula.  Photo by Paula.

Paula had bought a nice blue square bowl and filled it with beautiful red rose petals, a lovely pot pouri to give their home an artistic and sensory touch.  But humans weren't the only ones delighted by it's presence.  Their three rat girls, Vader, Josie and Boo, soon discovered the new pot pouri and found it fascinating!  Every time they were out free ranging, they always seemed to end up in the pot pouri dish, drawn by those lovely soft red rose petals.  Paula thought it was so adorable how they'd sit and play in the dish, flinging petals about!  Such sweet girls!  So angelic!

One day when visitors were in their home, one of their visitors admired the pot pouri dish. "Oh!  What lovely petals!  And it smells so delightful!  What are these? Cloves?".  Puzzled, Paula looked into the dish to find that the girls had added their own special scent to the pot pouri... the "cloves" were in fact raisins!  Those sweet, angelic girls playing innocently in rose petals were actually using the pot pouri as a litter tray!

"No harsh paper pellet litter for our little darlings... only rose petals are good enough for their spoilt little tushes!"

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Ratty blackout fun
Tale by Emma Morgan of Rock-a-bye Ratties

Most of Queensland has been in drought for several years now.  Our house relies on the rainwater tank for hot water and drinking water, and we have a bore for showering, gardening, etc.  The last decent rain I can remember was last May, but that did not break the drought.  Our garden is a dust bowl, everything is brown, except for the front lawn which we have watered sparingly just to keep it alive.  Ducks from the dried-up dam out the back have started wandering over to spend the day nibbling at the lawn as it is the only green around.

As cyclone Beni approached, everybody hoped that we would get some rain out of it.  At 9:25pm the boys were happily free ranging in my bedroom and I was lying on the bed watching Law & Order on TV.  It was right at the spot where they explain how the criminal's plan worked.

Bzzzzzt.

Blackout.  We have no street lights out here, so when we say 'blackout'... we mean blackout.

My first thought:  How on earth are we going to round up black rats in a black room?  My thought pattern was cut short when something fat and furry landed on my chest and made its way up to my face, targeting my nose.  Sniff sniff, lick lick sniff.

My next thought:  Thank goodness it's not Willow... The Queen of Mean!

The power stayed off.  Now... I live by my computer.  I get up in the morning and eat in front of my computer.  I spend the day at work on a computer, and as soon as I come home I jump on my computer and stay there until at least midnight.  Suddenly, I had no computer to play with.  I needed something to do or I was going to go crazy.

Sniff sniff sniff, lick.

Rats!  We could find something to do with the rats.  After all, they must be bored too... so we sat and thought about some games to play with the ratties.  We had a lot of fun and thought we might share with everyone.

Ratty blackout fun

Equipment needed:

Ratty Roulette:  Put your hand in the girls' cage to try and find Misty to give her medication.  Feel around the cage. There's a 1 in 4 chance of Willow getting you.  <feel>...... No. <feel>..... No. <feel>.... CHOMP!

Fishing:  Sit in the middle of a dark room holding a yoggie between thumb and forefinger.  Wait until you feel a nibble, and then strike.  Bag limits apply.  Beware of grey sharks.

Shadow puppets:  Scare your neighbours and amuse your friends with 10 foot ratty monster shadows.

Guess the rat:  Pick up all three identical black rats and attempt to identify which is which through touch and smell alone, in order to give them their medication.

Name that noise:  Try and guess what the free ranging boys are destroying by sound alone.  Answers are revealed when the power comes back, or alternatively in the morning.

Ratty Twister:  As you walk around the room every time you step on something call it out Twister-style. i.e.: "Left foot litter!  Right foot raisin!"

Surprise banquet:  Prepare rat dinners in the dark as a special surprise.  Is it minced garlic or strained carrots?  Who knows!

Spotlight:  Try and catch black rats in a black room with only the aid of a small torch whose battery is slowly dying.

The Emergency Services Minister flew in the next morning, and declared the area a natural disaster zone.  Which is funny, because he never even saw the bedroom!

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