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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Introducing the boys!

Allow me to digress from food posts for a bit and take some time to introduce the three newest members of our family. A few weeks back, Bazu posted about 70+ rats who, after being used as psychology class test subjects, needed homes. Katie and I used to have rats, lots of rats in fact, and we lost our last girl a little over 6 months ago. Nearly all of our ratties were rescues, some with chronic health problems, some with neurological and psychological issues, but they were all such incredible sweeties and we missed having them around. When I saw Bazu's post about how some of these rats were coming to Syracuse, being fostered by a SARO member, Katie and I decided to adopt some of these boys. Actually, the foster, who had, I think, 40-something rats in her dining room at that point, lives just 2 blocks away from us, so, after contacting her, we took a carrier and walked down the street to pick them up. It was hard to pick 3 out of 40, especially 40 pink-eyed-white males, but our boys made themselves known.

Their names are Cedric,

Francois (Franny) and Beauregard (Beau).

Cedric is the biggest (he's , um, quite large, actually, as you can see below) and most likely the oldest, from the fall semester, making him about 6-7 month old,

while Franny and Beau are smaller, so far, and are most likely 4-5 month old.

Since they are males, they will actually all get bigger, as males rats don't really stop growing until they are 3 or so (and most rats don't live much longer than that). I'd guess Cedric come in close to a pound, though he should be, ahem, a *bit* less, and the other two are around .5-.75 lbs each.

They are all quite skittish, though the "little boys" a lot more so, but friendly and interested in us and, while they are very nervous about being picked up, they don't mind being held or petted. Cedric "popcorned" for the first time in front of us the other night, a ratty version of a happy dance. We are looking forward to seeing them brux, a happy eye-boggling, teeth-grinding thing they do when they are happy and relaxed.

We've switched them over to a diet based on Gluten-Free Vegan's rat diet , though at this point, anything that is not a nut or pellet that they eat is a victory. So far, strawberries are a big hit, as is watermelon, and, though they don't want to admit it, they like broccoli. The kale and apple that they got last night mysteriously disappeared overnight, though I did find a 2 day old piece of carrot buried in their bedding this afternoon. Tonight, we try lentils, which will be their first beans, and possibly asparagus. Hopefully we'll be able to undo their first few months on a lab diet and help prevent tumors and cancer later on. (Look, I tied this post back into food, woohoo!)

Thanks, Bazu, for letting us know about these boys! Hopefully we can make up for how badly they were treated as babies and they can learn to trust people again.

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