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Saturday, August 16, 2014

One week with Jeremy, Hammie, and Bobo

Yesterday, Jeremy, Hammie, and BoBo got brand new hammocks in their quarantine cage. I like to make a new set every time we get new rats - something that I will always associate as being uniquely theirs. Plus, the boys were staying in some flowery hammocks, as all my unused sets were either flowers/butterflies for the girls or holiday themed. They needed something gender neutral and I had just the fabric.

I actually bought this fabric a while back from and it was intended for hammocks for Casper. But when the vet diagnosed his lung tumor, I didn't want to spend my spare time sewing hammocks - I wanted to spend more one-on-one time with Casper, so I never used it. It features white mice (but they make good rats as well), both males and females, and their obsession with stealing and eating blocks of cheese. It was from the Lewe and Norton line of fabric, and unfortunately, this particular cotton print is no longer available on their site. The coordinating fabrics have been discounted, so I am guessing they will no longer be carrying it.

Jeremy in Cuddle Cup
In the process of making the hammocks, I think I finally perfected the Rigilene cuddle cup - at least as perfect as I will ever get. I added a second layer of batting so that there is batting on both sides of the Rigilene frame. This also makes the cup more cushy. The Rigilene holds the shape of the cup so they cannot trample over it and flatten it. My rats are much more likely to use this type of cuddle cup than the standard cup without the Rigilene frame. The next time I make one, I will photograph the steps and add it to the tutorial.

Hammie can't wait to see us when we come to the cage.
After spending a week with the new boys, their personalities are starting to come out. Hammie (the one with the beige markings), is definitely the dominant one of the bunch. The boys have had a few squabbles - usually during out time and not while in the cage - and Hammie is always involved. He is not always the instigator, but in the end, he ends up the victor. You can tell they are a little leery of him. But no one has been bitten: no blood, no foul. There have been a few mighty loud squeaks and hard tumbles, but everyone lives together peaceably and shares food, cage, and cuddles just fine. So far, it seems like normal young rat dominance play, but it is something to keep an eye on. Some of the males from this rescue are in line for neuters for hormonal aggression, so it is something to watch out for as these rats mature.

Bobo's abscess was drained and his cuts
and scrapes are clearing up on antibiotics.
Bobo is the sweetie of the group. He loves his people and is a natural born shoulder rat. He loves to be handled and wants to climb out of the cage and into your lap every time you open the cage. He does not like it when another rat climbs on top of him. I am sure he had quite enough of this when he was in an overcrowded cage, and he came to us with the resulting scratches. This experience has made him a little sensitive to being walked on, and he is sure to stand up and challenge anyone who tries. The good news is that we had his abscess drained on Tuesday and he is on trimethoprim sulfa for three weeks to help the abscess to heal without reforming and also to help his scratches heal. His skin is already incredibly improved, with many of the scratches having healed up quickly after starting antibiotics. There is still a slight swell where the abscess was and the vet will be checking in on him next week. We will see what she thinks. However, it is much reduced from what it used to be. If he had fur, I wouldn't even know it was there.

Jeremy curls up with Bobo in the space pod. I don't
think they had one of these in his last home.
Jeremy is the youngest little guy and he is exactly what you would expect from a young rat. He shows no signs of aggression and is comfortable with both Hammie and Bobo. I have caught him curled up near each of them at different times. He is inquisitive and curious and extremely friendly and he is quickly losing his fear of being picked up. Sometimes, you can tell he wants to be picked up, but then he has second thoughts at the last minute. If you are sitting on the floor, he has no qualms about climbing onto your lap and up to your shoulder.

All three boys are just wonderful and we can't wait to move them into the rat room and start introductions. I am certain that intros with Ruby will go well - she is so laid back and sweet and has never had problems being introduced to boys in the past. I can also tell that Ruby is missing her sisters. It must have been hard for her to lose them both in such a short time frame. She was a little quiet and withdrawn when we returned from vacation, but that might also have been from us having been gone for a week. She is starting to come back out of her shell again.

Burt had no problems with intros to the girls (a few scuffles with Jo, but overall, things went smoothly) and has lived with another male in his first home, but I am unsure how he will be with intros to new boys. I am hoping that things will go smoothly since they are so young, but it is possible that Hammie and Burt may have some dominance issues to settle. Burt won't let Hammie boss him around the way Bobo and Jeremy do. And Burt has been known to like a good wrestle - so I worry a little about Bobo getting scratched up during intros. But we will take things slowly when the time comes and see how it goes.

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