anthimeria: A happy wolf pouncing on a packmate, reads "Triumph!" (Triumph!)
. . . the rats *really* aren't afraid of the laptop.

Hardison struck his head over the monitor from the back--not a new thing--and then did some sort of rat-ninja move and hopped up onto the screen.  Yep, my rattie was walking on the top of my LAPTOP screen like, "Ooh, this is a fun game.  Why are you squeaking at me?"

EDIT: Before I posted this he did it again.  Twice.
anthimeria: A laptop keyboard and the Latin "Quot libros quam breve tempus" (Quot libros)
With the fairy book going and revisiting The Novel yet again (this time for the Strange Chemistry unagented submissions period), I've been writing more than I have since I got the kids.  This has resulted in me attempting to multitask: play with the rats AND __.  Insert "watch tv" "read" and today "write."

They don't mind the tv, but to be fair they can't get at it.  The book freaked them right out--I don't know if it was the inconstant page-turning noise, or the big paper presence, or what, but books freak Hardison and Parker right out.  So today--as I type, in fact--I decided to try them on the laptop.

I am extremely amused that they find books scarier than the computer.

I have music going, and I'm typing, and it's a big new black shape, and while they were a little bit wary, they're more interested in chewing on it than they are scared of it.  I mean, they're sniffing it, but they're treating it like they would any new object in their space: with curiosity and just a little bit of "Is it going to bite back?"

While I don't know what's up with the book thing, their reaction to the computer is evidence of how far they've come in just a few weeks.  Baby Hardison and Parker would've sat, frozen and quivering, terrified.  Teenage, better-socialized Parker and Hardison are curious and kinda annoyed every time I keep them from gnawing on the keys.  It took a lot of work, and I'm not done, but they're getting there.

In conclusion, next time I try this I'm going to try to get a picture of each rat reaching up to paw at the screen, one on each side, like heraldry.  If I can accomplish this picture I will find SOME way to show y'all.
anthimeria: Mask of feathers (Feather Face)
The ratties are 7 weeks old, I have had them for six days, and they have GROWN.  Just, so much, since I brought them home.  I know babies grow fast but geez.

They also have names: the beige is Parker and the black hooded is Hardison.

Those of you familiar with the tv show Leverage will be unsurprised to learn that Parker earned them these names when he made a flying leap off my leg and hoofed it for freedom, very nearly making it before I scooped him up again.  Hardison also spends all his time with his whiskers in the air, collecting information, and they're both little thieves.

They also require a huge amount of time right now, because they need some socialization.  They don't bite and they're pretty tame, but tame is all I'd call them--friendly they're not, particularly.  I'm spending between 1-2 hours every day with them on my person, just getting them used to the idea that the big hand from the sky dispenses treats and pets, not death from above.  The work will be worth it--I'm looking forward to having rats who rush to greet me instead of rats who sort of stare at me warily--but right now it's a lot of work, and it's kind of sad.

This is one reason people should get older animals when they adopt.  I know the rescue agency I worked with has a bunch of well-socialized older rats.  These are rats who might be four months, or a year, or two years old, but who would be immediately loving and wanting to be with people.  If you're a first-time rat owner--heck, a first-time pet owner!--an adult animal might be a better choice.  I picked little ones because I wanted to do this, and I knew it would be work going in.  I have the time, and it's going to pay off in a pair of wonderful pets.  But if you don't have the time, the patience, or the experience, adults need forever homes, too, and it's often immediately rewarding.

So for anyone contemplating getting a pet, please consider an adult--many times they come pre-trained, pre-socialized, and prepared to love you forever.


Sep. 18th, 2013 04:25 pm
anthimeria: unicorn rampant, first line of Kipling's "The Thousandth Man" (Default)
They do not have names yet, but I have a pair of six-and-a-half-week old ratlings!  They're brothers, a black hooded and a beige--I think Irish, though there's some extra white on the belly.

I had to drive ~1.5 hours to get them and another 1.5 to bring them back, so they freaked right out.  But they poked their twitchy little noses around their big new cage and fell off the rope and, right now, are dozing in their den.  I'm using small boxes that I'll replace every week as they grow, so the box size fits the rats, and when they get big enough will introduce their igloo, the house the internet tells me all rats love.

Still haven't figured out pictures, so they may or may not happen.  But trust, me, they're adorable.
anthimeria: Gears, some magnified (Gears)
I haven't been writing because all my energy lately has been going into BUILDING THINGS.

My primary creative outlet might be writing, but I was in Robot Club in middle school, my current job sees me designing and making crafts for upwards of 30 kids every week, I've made all my own Halloween costumes since I was 13, and I never shy away from a project that says "assembly required."

In this particular case, the project is building cages for the pair of rats I'm going to adopt (always adopt at least 2 rats!).  It's been ~10 years since the last time I had a pet, and it was rescued rats then, too.  I've been hoping I could get a dog now that I'm on my own, but due to costs and apartment living, it's not going to happen anytime soon.  But rats, rats are as close as you get to dogs in small animals.*  They're playful, friendly, easily trainable, clean, and all the rats I've known have great personalities.

Buying a rat cage from a pet store is a no-win, though.  All the cages that are big enough, with the right bar spacing, tend to cost upwards of $150, and that's likely just barely big enough for two rats.  A good cage purchased online will run ~$80, including shipping.  Whereas I cashed in my lovely Home Depot gift card (my family knows me well) and spent $60 on materials, splurged at the Container Store for an underbed bin of just the right dimensions, got everything else from Target, and spent $135 on absolutely everything I need to get started: material for two cages, material to make toys, bedding, food, treats, food bowl, water bottle, etc etc etc.  Plus, bonus, buying materials meant I could design and build exactly the cage I wanted.

So my hands are sore, I have brand-new blisters, and I'm in contact with an awesome rat rescue group in my area.  I'm hoping for a pair of baby boys (5 weeks is the earliest a rat should be separated from its mom/littermates), but we'll see who's available.  Usually I'd adopt an older animal--they come pre-socialized and ready to love!--but for the first time I get pets in years, I want little ones.  Next time I'll go older.

If I can figure out how, I'll post pics of the two cages I built (primary cage and spare/travel/hospital cage) with new ratties in them once I get everything sorted with the rescue group.

In the meantime, I should probably put some effort into writing again.

*I'm paraphrasing someone here, I just can't remember who.


anthimeria: unicorn rampant, first line of Kipling's "The Thousandth Man" (Default)
Lauren K. Moody

Positive Obsession

There is hope in error, but none at all in perfection.
--Ursula K. Le Guin

The universe is made up of stories, not atoms.
--Muriel Rukeyser

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr


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