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Mink bareback

15.5.2003 -  19.9.2005

About Grub

We adopted Grub (and his littermate Scrambler) from Ann and Emma at Rock-a-bye Ratties.

Grub was so named for his skill and persistence at digging under and inside everything, being a furry little pest, and because he's similar in markings to a witchetty grub (white body and coloured head).  "You grub!" is also an affectionate term in our home for cheeky troublemakers.  He's a bareback except for a "grubby mark" just below his hood, and a minky blotch ot the very top of his tail (which is, of course, a kissing target).

As a fuzzlet Grub was innocently joyful... he was cheeky and playful and boisterous and literally oozed the mischievousness of his mad mink ancestors (like Nimbus).  He never lost that cheerful enthusiasm as he aged, and even at well over 2 years he would hand wrestle and play and bounce about madly.  He was a cheeky nose nipper, a mad hand licker, and he had a suave charm that he used skillfully to get away with lots of naughtiness.

Grub battled an aggressive cancer in the last months of his life, but was a happy, energetic and cheeky rat right to the end.   We'll miss his minky beastly charm, and even the nose nipping.

Photos of Grub

Grub as a bub

In the hammock with his minky brother

Grub pretending to be a real grub

Such a gorgeous soft fuzz

He's too smart for his own good

Snoozing with Scrambler

A Grub on a zebra rock

He's very presentable

The Grubby grin

Tales of Grub

Slippery little Grub

Little Grub is the slipperiest, sneakiest little escapee on the planet!  I was just giving the fuzzlets their dinner, which started with a piece of avocado each.  I handed avocado out to the boys individually (we learned that rule pretty fast), then placed their dinner bowl in the cage and closed the door.

A few minutes later I'm busy sewing hammocks across the room when I hear a persistent cage rattling racket.  Usually they're quiet while they're eating, so I went over the check on them.  Here's Grub *outside* the cage, banging on the cage door to be let *in*.  He'd obviously slipped out unnoticed when I offered the avocado, and was distraught to realise he was locked outside while the others were greedily eating all his share of dinner!  Poor little Grub... he loves his grub ("grub" is food in Aussie slang).

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The Shovey Grub

I've had rats for many years now.  I should have known better.  I know they have spectacularly sensitive noses.  I know they wouldn't let me get away without sharing.  And yet, I ate a whole piece of chocolate all on my own without sharing.  And then I thoughtlessly walked into the rat room to check on the boys.

I'm sure you all know what happened.  You've all done this before too... either deliberately or inadvertently not shared a treat.  I breathed just one breath in the rat room and suddenly there were 6 expectant fuzz plastered to the cage wire, begging gorgeously.  How could I refuse??  So I got another piece of chocolate and shared it with them all.

Grub grabbed his gleefully and disappeared into the foofferdome to eat his prize in relative safety from marauders.  I gave Scrambler his piece which he grabbed too quickly and ended up holding onto it but unable to take it anywhere... one tooth either side of the cage wire.  Doh!  By the time I'd finally encouraged him to let go, Grubby was finished his piece and seeking more.  Lamington was waiting patiently in the tube loft for his piece.  I offered him the chocolate, but as he reached out for it, he was shoved solidly from behind and he fell head first out of the loft.  A rather smug Grub snatched the extra piece of chocolate and retreated (pun intended!).  Poor Lamington landed in a black furry heap on the floor below, flipped instantly upright and begged adorably like nothing had happened.  He got the biggest piece of chocolate of all.

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Oh! You beastly Grub!

I was on the floor playing with the minks (that includes Lamington, an honorary mad mink) last night.  I have a short piece of rope with knots in each end that I use as a play toy.  I'd lured a Grub, who was madly chasing it all around the floor, pouncing on it with enthusiasm and reaching up to grab it while it was dangling just out of reach.  It's so cute watching him grab the end and then  "climb" the rope, hand over hand as I let him pull it down.

After about 5 minutes of chasing the elusive rope about (I was enjoying winning this game for a change), Grub suddenly exclaimed "Bored now, Mum!" and sat nearby to groom.  OK, I thought, I'll scritch your belly instead!  As I leaned over to pick him up for a scritching, he suddenly leapt for the now abandoned rope, grabbed it and bounded off joyfully under the sofa with his prize.  After my exclamation of "Oh!  You beastly Grub!" he poked his nose out from under the sofa with a smug "Now who's winning, hmmmm?!" expression.

Minks!  You know... after all the mischief and mayhem of living with Nimbus, I often wonder why we said "This time we'll have TWO minks, thanks!".  :)

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The Minky Stalker

Grub is a nose nipper.  A cheeky beastly little annoyingly adorable nose nipper.  If I hold him up to my face for a kiss, he reaches up
and gives my nose a little love nip.  This is usually so cute...

But this morning, it's cold and windy and my nose is running from allergies.  In response, Grub was on a mission... he wasn't just giving me a nip if I held him up to my face, he was *stalking* my nose!

It started when I lifted him up for a belly kiss and he discovered one of his favourite treats - nasal mucus!  And fresh from the source!  Oh joy!  <nip!>  But once he had a taste, he demanded more.  <nip!>  He was stretching up to reach my nose, clinging onto my chin with his claws, and I'm shaking my head and trying to drag him away.  So I put him on the floor, but within seconds he's back on my lap, climbing my pyjamas, snuffling my face to reach that target.  <sigh>

I thwart him by placing him on the window sill while I lie on the floor to play with Scrambler and Lammie for awhile.  They're playing in my pyjama top and we're hand wrestling and I'm tickling them and next thing out of the blue... a blur of white and <nip!>.  That beast!

Onto his game now, I keep one eye on him the whole time while I play with the boys.  He sneaks closer, I move away.  He rushes me, I take evasive action.  He leaps to my shoulder, I turn my head away.  Then his brain starts to tick over.  He runs over to play with Scrambler, who I'm hand wrestling.  Innocently, he plays and pounces and accepts scritches and pretends to be just a sweet little fuzz.  But I know better.  Unsurprisingly their wrestling play inches towards my face until they're nearly within range.  I can see Grub surreptitiously swaying, lining up his target, calculating the distance.  I pretend I'm distracted with Scrambler.  He leaps!  But I catch that soaring mouth-open rat in mid air a mere inch from my nose!  HA!  I laugh at his expression of chagrin and tickle him senseless, bowing a raspberry on his soft white belly...


Oh!  You smug little minky beast!

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Quirky facts about Grub

When he sleeps, he lies completely flat out on the shelf, like a long squished pancake.
Although he's considered a bareback, he has two small minky smudges (what we refer to as his "grubby marks") just below his hood.
He smells like vanilla marshmallows.
He twitches with madness when he's hyperactive... much like Nimbus' "power surges":
He's a shockingly determined and remorseless nose nipper.
He's particularly squirmy (for a buck at least) and refuses to be held upside down.
When he drinks from the water bottle, he sits down on his haunches and morphs into a furry pear.
He dangles precariously, but fearlessly, out of hammocks when treats are on offer.
He's an incessant grub... digging around under anything he comes across.
His favourite sport is "Extreme Doming".  That is, climbing inside his foofferdome and rocking it off the shelf until it rolls down the ladder and lands upside down in the litter tray.

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Grub's motto

"Goodness = badness + cute"

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The Bad Grub

I hate to admit it, but Grub is following in Great Uncle Nimbus' beastly footsteps.  He's only a young ratlet and he's already being bad.  Very very bad.

Yesterday he started having "power surges" just like Nim used to have.  That is, he'll be playing normally around the room and suddenly he'll go all twitchily mad... leap about, pounce on whatever hapless fuzz is nearest him, zoom about madly, etc.  Basically release pent-up madness in one big burst of energy.

Last night I couldn't find him in the rat room.  After much searching, my heart sank at hearing that unmistakeable <sproing!> of a rat amongst mattress springs. <sigh>  He'd found an old hole in the mattress, wedged tightly against the bedhead to effectively preventing rat access... that is, until the squirmy little burrowing Grub found a way in.  I put my hand over the hole and was greeted by a cheerfully chattering fuzzy muzzle.  But he refused to come out.  I could see his cheeky little expression of "I know I'm bad, but I'm so darned cute it doesn't matter".  After much growling of "You bad baaaaad Grub!" and exasperated "You Grubby little beast!"  I extracted him finally with a yoggie... at least he's still fooled by simple food tricks, although I dare say that won't last long.

This morning he headed straight back to the mattress hole the moment his feet hit the rat room floor, but this time with Scrambler and Lamington on his heels.  When I caught up with them, Scrambler had followed Grub in and Lamington was worriedly deliberating at the entrance... "But mum wouldn't want us to go in there, Grub!  Maybe we shouldn't!".  At least we have one good rat.

<sigh>  I'll be patching the mattress tonight, and adding a large piece of wood to the bedhead.

I wonder if dying Grub's fur black would take the mad minkiness out of him...

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Unfair nose nipping

I wrenched my neck a few days ago and could barely move my head.  To rest it, I lay down flat on the floor while the boys had their evening run.

Bad idea.

Along comes Grub, obsessive cheeky nose nipper, grinning in glee at my predicament.  He reaches up for my nose.  I couldn't get up.  I couldn't move my head.  All I could do was bat him away feebly with my hand.  He thought this game was wonderfully fun and rose to the challenge.  <sigh>  The last thing I remember is screaming "Get him off!  Get him off!" until Al rescued me from the big minky beast.

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

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