I haven't updated in a rat's age on my six boys, and Vladina poked a (sweet) little stick under my ribs to remind me.
The hairless duo Melon and Skinner are doing great. The neuter this summer and the intervening time to work through any lingering cage disputes has worked wonders on my two little buttheads. They're at the bottom of the cage hierarchy, and at last seem content with their place. They are a little gay married couple who are never seen far apart. Melon is the established home maker. I have to keep scraps of nesting materials in the cage at all times to cater to his inner interior designer. He goes through more toilet paper rolls than the rest of my family combined (For the record, Scott tissue (tm) really does last the longest and is rat approved. I may write the company about his endorsement). Skinner is still my little bra diver, and is second only to my smeezy Zmei in licky schmoozyness.
Zmei, my poor baby, has ongoing and constant respiratory issues. He lives on AB's and we still can't quite get him to where I want him to be. He's going to break two little boys' collective heart if/when this myco finally wins. In the meantime, he's still my happy little smiling Buddha rat and perfect ratty love posterboy. We love him so much.
Tucker and Jeffrey the original creepy black Alabama Ghost Boys had their two year old birthday on the 26th. We didn't do a big party, but they got several new toys and I gave them part of a Pillsbury cinnamon bun to share. They were beside themselves and spent more time licking frosting off of each other than actually eating the bun.
They've both lost a little muscle with age, and considering that both were 99 percent mutant muscle rats, looking like 'normal' sized rats is funny to see. Tucker has unfortunately developed a second small tumor. This one is on his back hip. It hasn't grown in 5 weeks, and doesn't bother him. I'm not willing to risk a surgery on him at this age, so we will just watch it.
Jeffrey's Indiana Jones days are over. He enjoys just sitting and surveying the world he spent his youth conquering. His little brother and shadow Black Pete will listen to his tales of misspent youth by the hour.
Black Pete has actually become a force to be reckoned with in the cage. I think back to his earliest days of being my ickle tiny black smudgy boy who could barely hold a huge lab block between his kid glove paws. And how he would submit gracefully (with precious pathetic peeps) to the bigger boys as the pinned and power groomed him.
Now, he's as big as my lost boy shy Windham was. The difference is, thanks to Jeffrey's tutelage, he's a much more confidant manrat. He's worked his way through the entire cage, and is now the official Godfather. This last month he took the Marlon Brando position from the now retired Tucker, and is weilding his power with a little more kingly command than Tucker did. Tucker led and inspired just by being that awesome. Pete leads by intimidating the crap out of everyone with his kingly aura. It's like King Arthur vs. King Richard.
I've never worked a lot with Black Pete, because he has never been much of a people rat. I've respected his preferences because I just have too much to do, but lately I've been able to work more with him. He's been getting an hour a day of one on one people time beyond the other boys, and hopefully we'll see if he'll start enjoying hanging out with us. He's my healthiest rat by far, and I'd like to use him for rat education programs now that my other boys have gotten too old or fragile to help me out.
I got the coolest gift this Christmas. A friend of mine is an electrical engineering student. He's constantly having to come up with widgets for class. So, one day I asked him if he could be able to make me a rat detector. I'd looked into bat detectors and decided I wasn't going to spend that kind of money. I forgot about my request, but when Christmas rolled around, guess what I got??
So now I can hear my boys' ultrasonic chatter! And yes, rats do giggle when you tickle them.
Sorry no pics, I've just recently gotten our camera fixed, and have yet to take any updated photos. But, hopefully the stories will do in the meantime.