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Tony Grist

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Rattus Norvegicus [Jun. 3rd, 2009|09:53 am]
Tony Grist
There was a rat in the back yard yesterday. I was watching it through the living room window. At one point it almost let itself in through the open kitchen door and I had to rush round to shut it out.  I suppose I should be horrified, but mostly I was thinking how cute it was with its waddling gait and snuffly-wuffly nose. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've seen a wild rat out and about in daylight.
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2009-06-03 09:29 am (UTC)
I'm not sure about rats' noses, nor their naked tails. One of the things I like best about gerbils is their furry extremities.

I've seen a fair few rats in London - notably five gambolling by the riverside on my way to sign the contract on a place I was renting. They were rather cute, but it did give me doubts about the area I was moving in to.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-03 10:25 am (UTC)
I don't think I want one as a pet- though I hear they're both smart and affectionate.

I knew a girl once who carried her pet rat everywhere. It lie draped around her neck and slept in her pocket.

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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2009-06-03 10:49 am (UTC)
I think they're probably too intelligent for me, requiring more attention than I have time to give a pet at the moment. The idea of carrying one about with me is really appealing, though. Ditto ferrets.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-04 08:08 am (UTC)
I'm not sure about ferrets. I guess that has to do with northern comedians and trousers. It's probably an unfounded prejudice.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2009-06-03 10:06 am (UTC)
Many horror scenes just don't work for me because instead of going, "Aaargh! The horrible rats! Ew! Ew!" I'm thinking, "Oh, no! The horrible man is trying to kill the lovely cute little ratties!"

And I'm always worrying that the rats might get hurt in the making of the film. :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-03 10:28 am (UTC)
Yes, I'm with you there. I don't find rats the least bit frightening.

Same thing with snakes.

And spiders.
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[User Picture]From: shullie
2009-06-03 10:26 am (UTC)
we see uite afew when we are walking the dog around the field... - which is prety near houses I have to say, though that tensds to eb in the morning or late evening.

we had rats when I was a kid, they came in from the fields, and the ate our tortoise while he was hibernating :(

not keen on them myself, not scared of them... just don't like them or mice, hamsters, gerbils etc., or rodents in general.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-03 10:30 am (UTC)
I've kept mice, hamsters and gerbils as pets.

Rats are supposed to be the smartest and most affectionate of the lot. Ailz occasionally says she wants one. And I'm not entirely sure she's joking.
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[User Picture]From: baritonejeff
2009-06-03 01:43 pm (UTC)
Rats make absolutely wonderful pets. Sweet, affectionate, intelligent, and very clean. I've had a number of them in my life.

The big minus is that they, due to excessive inbreeding, are very prone to a lot of maladies, cancer especially, so they tend to not live very long, which is heartbreaking.

If you do acquire one, do it through one of the many rat-fancier societies. You'll have a much better selection (there are many varieties), and a healthier animal.
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[User Picture]From: nellorat
2009-06-03 07:15 pm (UTC)
Yes, the sad thing about having rats as pets is that they only live 2 to 3 years. That's why we always have 8 to 12 at a time, of various ages; I grieve every rat's death, but in a sense the colony lives on.

Rats from a good breeder can live up to a couple years longer than a rat with bad genes, but it's still a short life. We adopt from rat rescues, then give them the longest lives we can.

Btw, female rats are very prone to benign mammary tumors (still a health problem), but spaying her before 6 months of age can reduce the chances of all tumors by 85%. Yes, we spay our girl rats. It's not cheap, and only some vets can do it (experience spaying dogs/cats is not good enough), but it makes a huge difference.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-04 07:47 am (UTC)
I'm tempted. But the short-life span is a deterrent. At the moment, of course, we keep rabbits. Rabbits are less intelligent, less affectionate- but they do live longer.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2009-06-03 03:45 pm (UTC)
I suppose I should be horrified, but mostly I was thinking how cute it was with its waddling gait and snuffly-wuffly nose.

In high school, I knew someone who had a pet rat. It used to ride around on her shoulder. It seemed intelligent.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-04 07:49 am (UTC)
I knew a girl who carried her pet rat everywhere. She (the girl) was called Ratty.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2009-06-03 05:54 pm (UTC)
I've got no problem with rats per se, they are not scary, and they are just about everywhere. I don't really like to see them next to human habitation because of Weil's disease and the thought of them bringing whatever other germs lurk in the sewers. I once saw one in a cafe near Hanger Lane and never ate there again.

However I think our "race memory" of rats is about the Black Death and so we tend to get revolted by them kind of disproportionately.
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[User Picture]From: nellorat
2009-06-03 07:05 pm (UTC)
Besides the Black Death (blame the FLEAS, I say!), wild rats may put people off because they are naturally furtive. As scavengers and prey animals, they tend to stay in the shadows. They also minimize the time they are out in the open (& vulnerable)--so they do creep along a wall, then, if they must cross an open area, zoom quickly to the other wall. This seems sneaky, like a sign of a bad conscience, and then startling; actually it's just self-preservation--no more devious than a rabbit or deer freezing up, but with worse associations for people.

Like all wild animals, wild rats can indeed spread disease, so an uninvited rodent must be treated differently from pets! At least rats almost never have rabies, unlike many species with better reputations, such as squirrels.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-04 07:53 am (UTC)
Wikipedia says that Britain has more rats than people. They're always around us, hanging about; they're just very good at keeping out of sight.



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[User Picture]From: nellorat
2009-06-03 07:11 pm (UTC)
A friend led me here, because I'm a long-time fan of pet rats. I adore their little sniffing noses, those whiskers always moving as a sign of how alert they are. (In fact, one way you can tell a rat is ill is if the whiskers are sluggish.) And I love their little paws, so much like our hands sans thumbs, which use to eat. (If a rat has paralysis of the front paws, or is in a post-surgical cone, you have to give it mush or feed it by hand.)

Rats are pretty nocturnal, but wild rats may be out in daylight is food is sparse, and pet rats (unlike pet hamsters) will wake up and even somewhat adjust their schedules to be with their human beings.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-04 08:04 am (UTC)
Pleased to meet you :)

So my rat may well be out and about because of a food shortage? Oh dear.

We have a overgrown area of shrubbery in the corner of our yard and I'm wondering if he/she could be nesting in there. Is that at all likely?
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2009-06-03 10:31 pm (UTC)
Almost came in? Ooooh. That is brave of the rat...

Today I saw a coyote (I think) again, and it slipped into the next-door-neighbor's dog's empty pen to eat dogfood and drink water--poor old limping thing. If he is a stray, that's even sadder, as it means he is alone.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-06-04 08:06 am (UTC)
I love it how- even though we live in a town- there's all this wild life about.

Foxes sometimes visit our street, and we think one may be sleeping in our front flower-bed. Something certainly is.
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