Okay. I'm a fairly educated house monkey. I have read up on the black plague and have read 1984 (Room 101).
I have even hassled with a rat invasion of my basement/garage wherein the little monsters dealt an estimated $9000 dollars worth of damage to temporarily stored items and to my car.
So, I get that wild rats are not very popular in the west, and are really not very popular with me.
To me, domesticated rats are an entirely different thing. I put them in the exact same category as every other pet rodentia. Sure, some folks still single out the rat as being the one 'icky' rodent whilst they go on and on about their big eyed pet fuzzy gerbils. But silly me assumed that it would only be 'some' people.
I have yet to find a person in my acquaintance who has not reacted with some combination of recoiling disgust or horror when I tell them I'm getting pet rats. I take that back-I had one guy grin at me sadistically and mention bringing them over for a play date with his pet python.
But seriously...many of these people are exotic animal lovers!
Even my SISTER, who in her life has kept cats, dogs, ferrets, snakes, tarantulas, a bat, and hand raised an orphaned opossum.
Our actual conversation:
Sister: "You're strange. You've always been strange, but this is really, really strange."
Me: "Um...you have an opossum eating french fries in your kitchen and you're calling me strange?"
Sister: "Yes...you know you HAVE to be strange when your opossum owning sister calls you strange."
I have already had a parent of my storytime kids referring to me as the weird rat lady. Excuse me Mr. Man, I don't even HAVE my rats yet?
Now of course, as an educator, I'm already considering future rat ambasador opporunities in my community. But the whole experience has me wondering about its prevelence.
My fellow rat lovers, what are some stories you've had with being a 'weird rat lady/ creepy rat guy'? Also, what are some positive stories you've had with introducing your little ambasador rats to the uninitiated? Please share!