As far as I’m concerned, people aren’t meant to live alone in boxes and if you’re single like I am, having a pet is a nice way to have some companionship in your house. Pets are great at listening to your woes and super awesome for cuddling.
I share my bachelor burrow with a pair of super adorable fancy rats, Alarum and Nimhe, so I thought I’d introduce them.
Alarum, the cinnamon hooded single rex rat, is the big girl of the cage and is so named because the pattern of her hood forms an exclamation point when she’s stretched out. She was born and bred at Iced Mice Rodentry and comes with her very own pedigree – her parents being champion rats in their own right. Alarum is a fat, fluffy little rat with a cuddly personality reminiscent of a friendly dog. She loves giving kisses and licks, and can sit in my hand for hours “grooming” my fingers.
Alarum is trained to sit on my shoulder and ride when I go out to town. She loves sitting inside the front pocket of my hoodie and getting stroked while she watches the world go by. She’s also a one-time mother, having had a litter of 16 babies.
Nimhe, on the other hand, is a sleek, black silk varigated berkshire rat with pretty, glossy fur. She’s more skittish and energetic than Alarum, so she loves playtime much more. She especially loves leaping onto and off things. Nimhe isn’t shoulder trained like Alarum is and tends to be more shy with strangers. I play with her at home and keep her in the cage most of the time. She’s learned more tricks than Alarum has and spends hours running in the wodent wheel that I bought her.
Despite being smaller in size, Nimhe is older and more sickly than Alarum. She’s also always sneezing and snuffling, something which I need to keep an eye on as most Australian fancy rats have mycoplasmosis, a disease that targets the rat’s lungs.
The relatively small gene pool for rats in Australia means that mycoplasmosis can’t be bred out of the rats, as it’s passed on from mother to baby. While most breeders have managed to at least breed rats that are at least semi-resistant to myco, Nimhe was purchased from a breeder of some ill repute. She’s also the first rat I have ever purchased. Nimhe’s been very ill lately, so I’m not very sure how much longer she has to live.
So there you have it, my miniature family in Sydney.
Since time of writing, Nimhe’s condition worsened to the point where she was no longer interested in food or play. She has since been taken to a vet to be put to sleep. The vet assures me that it was the right time to go. T_T