Sunday, May 30, 2010

Update on Rat and Sticks

I haven't taken very many photos of our pet rat, Sam, recently, since when we have her out, she is usually moving very fast, getting into mischief, and is often climbing on me.  She is growing nicely, and I wish we could get a photo of her in our hands, for comparison with her photo in our hands when she was just itty-bitty.

I try to let her out in the evenings when I'm on the computer, and she runs freely on our desks.  She has an annoying habit of running across the keyboard, clicking keys randomly with each step, and she pees on my mouse EVERY time she passes by, which is very often.  I understand that it's a sign of affection, of comfort, perhaps of marking her familiar territory, but I find this just too annoying, so I hope she will grow out of this habit.

She has found herself a place to create a part-time nest, under some file folder racks.  She collects tissues (the ones I use to wipe up her pee, so I guess that's encouraging her habit too), and occasionally I see her running by with a paper clip or other small object, to carry under there with her.  She gets pretty cozy in there, and it is a challenge to lure her out when it's time to put her back in the cage.

We have bought her a larger cage, which is multilevel so she can climb.  We have come to realize that she would really benefit from having a friend.  I hope to contact the pet store soon.  When we bought Sam, who was a beautiful gold/beige colour, I was really attracted to a black and white curly-haired baby rat.  So I am hoping there is a chance a few more curly haired ones will be born, and if so, I would be happy to wait for one of those.  And yes, I'm not so naive that I don't know that most of the rats born there are destined to be a meal for a pet snake, but that's life, and I will still buy my curly-haired baby rat from them.
My friend Andrea, who has prior experience with rats, has been a wonderful help with Sam, and has provided a second home to Sam when we go on vacation.   She has posted photos of Sam on her blog, "Rats Make Great Pets", and since sadly it didn't work out with her 3 boy rats, I think we'll be seeing a lot more about Sam on Andrea's blog in future.

As for our stick bug colony, they are doing fine, and still multiplying.  I have no large egg-laying females at the moment, but some of the eggs stuck to the top and back of the cage must still be hatching, since I have all sizes of walking sticks, including some hatchlings.  I may have finally squished that spider that was hiding in the back corner of the cage, and taking an occasional stick bug.  At least I haven't seen him recently.

I did a thorough clean of the cage today (instead of just replacing individual blackberry branches, as I usually do), so I also performed a count while I was transferring the stick bugs back in.  I have 37.  Wow.  Here is a photo of the cage.  This time I also added a branch of salmonberry, and they took to it fine, just like the blackberry.  I guess that's an acceptable "bramble" for them.  Probably raspberries would work, too, but I don't plan to offer any of those - I don't have any to spare.

Click here for previous posts about the walking stick bugs.


joey said...

Hum, interesting post ... Sam and sticks! I like your new header ... not too busy for me :)

Anonymous said...

This is so funny.. when i saw the rat, I thought it was a wild one on the prowl! When you wrote blackberry.. I thought you meant PHONE!
OMG.. too much HIGH TECH FOR ME!
Thank you for your posts.. the round room you saw is a wrap around porch! If you look in the past archives there are photos of the inside of the porch .. !
So nice to have you.. and I am following you now.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oh my goodness... Sam is ADORABLE! So glad you saved her from her planned fate--and I adore that photo of her all nestled into her cozy little den-on-the-desk. :)

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