My Pet Dumbo Rat Rowan’s Very Special Easter Gift!

Two week old rats, photo by Maria Offin PhotographyI don’t usually blog about things going on in my personal life or even the fact that I’m a big animal lover, but to be honest, this is just too special to not share with you!

For those of you who don’t know, I have a six-year-old, female Goldendoodle named Scully (after Dana Scully on The X-Files, on which I was an extra way back in 1994, Season 2, Red Museum episode) and two rats.  I’ve had pet rats since May 2009 when my then six-year-old niece and nephew, who are twins, Erika & Ethan, convinced me that I should get some so that they could play with them when they came to visit me. As a child, my father let my sisters and I have all kinds of pets, and my sister Karen has quite a few for Erika & Ethan.  I love mammals so I went for it.

On January 23, 2013, I bought my 5th pet rat (they only live for

Dumbo rat Rowan

Rowan the day before she delivered.

about 2-3 years +/-), a beautiful white & black hooded Dumbo and called “him” Rowan. I thought Rowan was a male as that’s what I asked the staff for at The Pet Store in Kingston where I bought “him”.  The Pet Store in the Cataraqui Town Centre does not separate its baby male and female rats, which is very irresponsible, and apparently not all of its staff know how to tell the sex of a rat either.

Two weeks later I decided that Rowan needed a friend and on February 7, 2013, I bought a male Fancy rat and called him Lestat (both names are from Anne Rice novels).  Rowan and Lestat lived contentedly together for a while until one evening I noticed Lestat mounting Rowan.  UH OH!!!  I had my suspicions that Rowan wasn’t a boy and sure enough, she’s not!

On Easter Sunday, Rowan delivered 11 baby rats, which are called “kittens” or “pinkies” (that a Facebook friend commented looked a lot “like marzipan” and I have been keeping a photo diary of their

Pinkies

11 pinkies born on March 31st.

development ever since.  I’ve learned all kinds of things about baby rats that I didn’t know before.  For example, those tiny white bands across the pinkies’ abdomens indicate that they were nursing and had received their mother’s colostrum, which is very important.

Rowan has been a superb mother and has nursed all 11 in her litter to good health.  There are six blonde & white hooded ones that look like their dad, four black & white hooded ones that look like their mom, and one mostly white female with black specks on her head that’s unusual and the runt (I’m keeping this one and call her Claudia.).  They are now two weeks old and have just opened their eyes. They’ve grown so fast and are super cute!

Yesterday, Maria Offin of Maria Offin Photography came over with her three children to decide which babies they would like to adopt into their home as their new pets.  They picked two beautiful male youngsters, one blonde hooded and one black hooded and they’ll be able to take them home in a little over two weeks time, once they’ve been weaned and can eat solid food.  My nephew Ethan’s friend Jason and his mother Holly and his sisters came over to pick out two wee male ratties to be their new pets too.  There are seven males and four females in the litter.

Maria is an excellent photographer and she took these wonderful photos of Rowan, Lestat and their family that I just had to share with you.  Please take a look at her Facebook page and LIKE it if the spirit moves you.

The good news is that I’ve found loving homes for all of them but one, so far! I’m going to keep at least one of each sex so that they can be companions for their parents who can no longer live together in the same cage.

This has been an unexpected but absolutely wonderful experience and I highly recommend rats as pets, especially to people who live in apartments and don’t have enough room or time for a dog or cat. Rats are very smart, sociable and sweet and make for excellent companions!

You can learn more about rats and other interesting rodents in The Rodent Reader Quarterly magazine, published by my friend Mil Scott, who has been a superb source of inspiration, encouragement and support to me and thousands of other rat lovers.

Rowan rat

Rowan

Lestat

Lestat

Lestat and one of his progeny

Lestat and one of his progeny

The Offin Family’s Choice

Claudia, the unusual runt that I will keep!

Scully says hello to baby “Elvis”

Philip with a handful of rattie love!

Philip with a handful of rattie love!

A bundle of Easter love

A bundle of Easter goodness

Rowan's Rogues

Rowan’s Rogues

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8 comments

  1. jill@jbcrossland.com · April 15, 2013

    What a fun post! Jill

    • scullylovepromo · April 15, 2013

      Thanks Jill! I’m glad that you enjoyed it.

      Cheers,
      Christine

  2. Tracie · April 15, 2013

    Oh my, I loved reading this Christine! What lovely pictures too…Maria Offin Photography never ceases to amaze me with talent:)!

  3. scullylovepromo · April 15, 2013

    Maria really has a gift for taking photos, eh?! I’m glad that you enjoyed this post. Thanks Tracie! xo

  4. Karen · April 15, 2013

    Love the post and the pics. I wish we could adopt one too, but not this time. Maybe Rowan and Lestat will have to have one more litter lol.

    • scullylovepromo · April 15, 2013

      Sorry my dear. They’re not going to have any more litters! Glad you loved the post though. xo

  5. Robyn · April 15, 2013

    Oh Christine, what a beautiful story. You have such a way with words and the photography captures their cuteness!

  6. scullylovepromo · April 15, 2013

    Thank you Robyn! The photos are definitely what inspired me to write about the babies! xo

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