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The Romping Rumpy Reports

Rumpus was a funny character.  His enthusiastic silliness had him unexpectedly bumbling into trouble constantly.  Here are a few of his
more charming and memorable moments.

In dire need

I was awoken this morning by a loud crash and assorted squeaks and scuffling from the cage.  What did I find?
The nest box precariously hanging off the top shelf!  Now, I wonder how it got there?  Rumpy was trapped on top, stuck sheepishly between the nest box roof and the cage wire.

Rumpy was in desperate need of a reassuring scritch and rescue.  Meanwhile Spritely wasn't terribly impressed with the structural integrity of the nest box as a comfy sleeping spot.  Schnapps, the smart one, gave me a look of exasperation... "And THIS is what I have to live with!".

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Did you miss me?

Rumpy gets shaken off Mum's leg as she climbs over the rat room doorway barrier to go and get their breakfast.  He stands up on his back feet to watch her leave, completely miserable to be left alone.  Then in desperation he leaps up the barrier and returns slowly to the floor with a <Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech THUMP!>.  From his slumped, dejected position on the floor his brain goes into overdrive...

Why did she leave me?
What could she possibly want to do out there *without* me?
She must be missing me climbing her legs!
I could be helping her with the breakfast!  I'm so helpful!
Why didn't she say she'd be coming back soon?
I didn't get a kiss goodbye?
What if she never comes back? <gasp>
Doesn't she love me anymore?  <sniff>
Why wouldn't she want me with her all the time?
I could be playing around under her feet!
Peeing on her toes!
Leaping up to her knees and sliding down with my claws!
Pacing back and forth in frantic "Pick me up!" mode!
I could be climbing her bare arms and clinging to her neck!
And falling off and require rescuing!
She loves doing that... makes her feel useful!
I just can't understand why she doesn't want me with her?

<Robyn calls as she comes down the hall>  Breakfast, boys!

MUM!!!!   <Rumpy leaps for joy!>  Did you miss me?????

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Rumpy rescue record

We had a record this morning, with 13 Rumpy rescues all in the span of about 30 minutes!

1.  Rumpy leapt from the floor to the cage and missed, dangling precariously from one arm until I helped him down.
2.  Climbed the dresser (he scales the handles on the drawers) and reached the top only to grasp hold of the place mat on it, which promptly slid off with him.  My leg broke his fall as his claws gripped hold all the way down to the floor.
3.  Freaked out on the windowsill when a butcher bird leered and warbled loudly at him.
4.  Rumpy leapt from the floor to the cage and missed, dangling precariously from one arm until I helped him down
5.  Climbed the cage to the top and poked his nose in at Bokeh, who was doing the huffy-puffy-fooffy dance and about to nip his toes as Mum whisked him away.
6.  Nearly had his tail amputated while "helping" Mum clean out Statty's nest box.
7.  Rumpy leapt from the floor to the cage and missed, dangling precariously from one arm until I helped him down
8.  Climbed the cage door and sat out on the far edge trying to chew on the wardrobe door handle, where he got a severe case of the "death wobbles" (vibration in the door) and his blurry furry self had to be removed to stable ground.
9.  Flipped a bin filled with scooped raisins all over himself.
10.  Rumpy leapt from the floor to the cage and missed, dangling precariously from one arm until I helped him down
11.  Peeped miserably for Mum when Spritely and Schnapps ganged up to power groom him mercilessly.
12.  Settled down to have a much at the food bowl, not realising that his goolies were dangling in the adjacent water bowl.
13.  Rumpy leapt from the floor to the cage and missed, dangling precariously from one arm until I helped him down

One wonders how this rat has survived unscathed for 6 months...

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Photographing Rumpy

The problem with photographing a wussy attention seeker...

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Rumpy Lazy Squish

While the agouti boys are very good at raisining in their litter tray, they tend to pee wherever they like... they're not called Schnapper Scent Marker and Rumpy Lazy Squish for nothing.  So it was with some surprise the other day that I espied that wondrous ray of hope to all cage cleaners - a cluster of sodden paper pellets in the litter tray.  I beamed with joy and praised the boys on their efforts with copious treats and scritches.

To my even greater surprise I found another sodden cluster in exactly the same spot the following day!  And then the day after!  I was so very proud of my big agouti boys.

Just now I woke up my special good boys for an afternoon treat of creamed cheese.  Rumpy licked it up merrily, and then settled back into the middle of his hammock to groom.  A moment later I hear an odd noise and notice a cluster of paper pellets in the litter tray becoming miraculously sodden all on their own!  Following the pee trail to it's furry source, I discover the hammock leaking... or more precisely, Rumpy peeing through the hammock!  <sigh>  Rumpy is so darned lazy that he wouldn't get out of his hammock to pee!  And to think he was getting extra treats for being such a good ratty... it was all pure *luck* that his hammock held his furry butt aloft over the litter tray!

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Rumpy Bumpkin

<sung to "The Beverly Hillbillies" theme>

Now listen to my story about a Rumpy Rat
As a tiny little fuzz he always dreamed of being fat
Then one day as he struck a begging pose
A delectable scent met his snuffling nose
Treats that is...  Avocado!  Yogurt drops!

Well the first thing you know young Rumpy is a squish
His cagemate said "Rumps!  Out of our food dish!
He said "The wodent wheel's the place you ought to go"
So he stashed his treats in there and continued to grow.

Big that is... Soft belly!  Squishy rump!

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The Unreliable Recovery Rumpy

The boys were out free ranging in the living room the other night, as usual.  But when I went to get them home Schnapps decided he was going to stay out, wedging himself under the heavy immovable sofa.  <sigh>  We tried calling him, offering him the little boys' nest box to sniff, all manner of treats - cream cheese, avocado, etc.  But alas... no Schnapps!  He sat under there, grooming happily, gazing out at us in calm defiance.

So we decided to send in a Recovery Rat.  You know what I mean... you send in another rat, who talks to them, and encourages them to come out.  We've done this countless times before and it usually works a treat.  But we've never used the Recovery Rumpy before.

We extract a reticent squishy Rumps from his hammock. He blinks at us dopily, probably wondering where his treat is.  Place him on the floor and direct him toward the gap under the sofa.  It takes some amount of shoving to help his amble rump flatten enough to fit under the sofa, but finally his tail disappears into the darkness.  A moment later we hear an encouraging <squeawk> as Schnapps power grooms Rumps' head (it's a very distinctive sound we've heard many a time before).  We wait.   And wait.  But no  recovered rats.  We offer the avocado again, but this time it works a treat... a rat barrels out from under the sofa with enthusiasm.  Guess who?  Yep... our Recovery Rumpy.  We look at him with exasperation "You're supposed to recover *Schnapps*, not the avocado!  Some recovery rat you are!"

So where's Schnapps?  Still under the sofa looking smug. <sigh>

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The Return of The Shampoo Rat

The Grotto has been peaceful lately.  No ghostly trespassers have marauded unseen through the cage since Nimbus left us.  Nim's lifelong nemesis was "The Shampoo Rat".  He actually loved having a bath, but the after bath aftermath was a farce.  He'd hover about the cage like a puff ball (think cartoon rat just out of a clothes dryer), huffing and shuffling and rubbing himself on things in an alpha frenzy.  He'd pick on Stattles and nip my fingers and sidle up to the nestbox... he couldn't quite figure out why he could *smell* The Shampoo Rat following him everywhere he went, but couldn't actually *find* it to beat up.

It seems The Shampoo Rat has returned to haunt The Grotto.  But this time he's causing endless trouble for poor Rumpy.  Rumpus desperately needed a bath... he gets peed on incessantly by Alpha Schnapps and he's not so fetching as a yellow agouti hooded.  So I bathed him, and now he's all sweet smelling and gloriously white again.

Not long after the bath I hear a crash in the cage and come over to find Schnapps in full force alphamosity!  Hovering puffed about the cage, huffing with frustration, shuffling madly, rubbing himself against everything, twitchily hopping about.  I tried to placate him, but he just gnawed crazily on my arm.  Seems he can smell The Shampoo Rat in his cage and he's itching for a fight.  If only he could lay his hands on that smelly rat...

Meanwhile Rumps (he may be dopey, but he aint stupid) is trying to blend into invisibility in his pocket hammock as Hurricane
Schnapps zooms about wreaking destruction.  But the "Nup, no rat in here!" ruse isn't so easy to pull off when you're 725g and smell like shampoo.  I'll guess I'll have be ready to rescue Rumpy this morning until Hurricane Schnapps blows himself out.  <sigh>

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The Rumpy Radiator

Schnapps and Rumpus hardly ever sleep together.  They inevitably choose separate locations - Schnapps in his favourite loft and Rumps in the hammock.  But with the onset of winter, the leaner Schnapps is finding it a little cold and needing the warmth of the RumpyRat.  Problem is, he doesn't like sharing hammock space with an enormous squishy rat... or as Schnapps himself describes Rumps - "the hammock hog".

But Schnapps is a smart rat.

I looked into the cage the other cold morning to find the younger boys all bundled up together in their hammock, warm and cosy.  Rumpy was in his hammock buried cosily under a pile of blankies.  But Schnapps was sprawled out in the open on top of his foofferdome!  Poor Schnapps!  I placed my hand on him to see if he was warm enough and planned on getting him a blanket, when to my surprise he was toasty warm!  His foofferdome location was directly under Rumpy's hammock and the heat from Rumps was drifting warmly down to Schnapps below.  A Rumpy Radiator if you will.  Schnapps had found a hammock hog loophole... all the warmth of sleeping with Rumpy without actually sleeping with Rumpy!

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Quirky facts about Rumpus

He's a hammock dweller.
He's very protective of his treats.  Touch him while he's eating and you'll get a loud, somewhat muffled "squeaaaaawwwkkk".
He's the best smelling rat we've ever known... a heady scent of warm furry corn chips.
He's a big squish at around 740g.  And he's the best cuddler we have.  He loves to be scratched firmly on his butt, so that he writhes in sheer enjoyment and licks your hand.
His head is constantly peed on by Schnapps.
He's a simple rat.  What he lacks in smarts, he makes up for in adorable teddy bear-like charm.
He often falls off the perching shelf, forgetting it's not quite wide enough for his ample butt.  There's a hammock below it that breaks his fall.
He waddles when he walks.
When you playfully ruffle him over his head, he bounces silly.  An hilarious sight for such a big squish.
He's a peeper.  He's a rather vocal ratty... peeps when groomed, peeps when poked, peeps when picked up, etc.
His agouti hooded mismarking makes it look like agouti fur has dripped off his hood and pooled at his butt.
He looks charming in a straw hat.
He has big, rounded, completely white, fur covered goolies which suit his appearance and personality perfectly.
He always uses the litter tray, even if it's just to stand in it while his butt hangs over the edge to raisin outside it.

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Rumpy's motto

"I'm not a smart rat, but I know where treats is"

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The boys often get so boisterous in their cage that they knock over everything.  Frustrated with constantly picking up their toys, I thought to use stick-on velcro to stick their cage things in place.

I had velcroed their PVC pipe to the back of the shelf so that they wouldn't push it off and have it crash down on other rats below.
Someone managed to peel the velcro off the pipe, leaving it stuck to the back wall.  In the process that very same someone brushed up against the sticky velcro and left a telltale agouti and white depilatory strip.  :)

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Rumpus, SuperSquish

Rumpus has always been a big cuddly squish, but lately he's taking it to the extreme.  I guess old age is kicking in now he's over 2, as he just keeps getting more squishy every day.

I have never known such a lap rat before!  During free range time he'll come over, stand up and lean his hands on my leg.  That's his indication he wants to be cuddled.  So I heft him onto my lap and he gets comfy.  He particularly loves a firm scratching on his rump, which makes him twist madly to lick the hand doing the scratching.  Then he'll stand up in my lap and place his hands on my belly while I give him a full body rub.  During this he looks adoringly into my eyes with his big fuzzy, dopey expressioned, low-set eared, simple charm and bruxes cheerfully.  It's almost impossible to set him back down on the floor... you just want to keep cuddling him like a big soft warm whiskery teddy bear.

I can't eloquently put into words how much I love this rat.  He shows me so much love and truly enjoys being with me.  He is such a simple rat, and has a dopey silliness in all he does that's so comically charming.

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The Rumpy Anchor

I offered the boys a whole cob of cooked corn the other night while they were enjoying their free range time.  Just one cob to share.  I knew they were going to squabble over it, it was their entertainment and exercise for the night.  So I tossed it to them and sat back to watch the fun!   Rumps was waiting for me - he has this uncanny ability to know precisely when a treat is coming - and he
pounced on that cob the moment it was within reach.  It wasn't long before Schnapps wandered out from under the sofa to see what all the fuss was about.  One sniff of the cob and he grabbed it and dragged it off, Rumps in pursuit.  There was a brief back and forth tussle with much squeaking and the corn went this way and that with each rat.  They were evenly matched... Schnapps with his wily smarts and agility, Rumps with his sheer treat-loving determination.  Until Rumps pulled out his trump card... he latched onto that corn cob and parked his enormous butt to the ground like a huge furry anchor.  That corn was going nowhere fast.  Schnapps pulled and shoved, but couldn't budge it with Rumps so staunchly anchoring it to the floor. 

So both boys finally got to share their corn... and all because of Rumpy's enormous furry rump.

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