Since my rat Lola died I’ve been thinking of getting another friend for Bettina and Cookie. Last week I decided to do it. Her name’s Ruby, and she’s about 2 months old. She’s just a tiny thing. A mini-rat. I put her in a seperate cage beside the others, so they could get used to her scent. Ruby was terrified of me and hid in the bamboo tube I’d put in her cage for most of the first day.
On the second day, I let the other girls out to examine the new cage. Bettina has previously been the mother of 9 babies. When she saw the little fuzzy butt sticking out of one end of the bamboo, she went into mama mode. She grabbed the bars of the cage and shoved her nose in. If she could talk, she’d have been yelling, “Baby! Baby!”
When Ruby saw Bettina she immediately bolted over to the side of the cage and started frantically licking Bettina’s toes. Cookie wandered over to see what the excitement was about. When Ruby saw that there was yet another rat she started bouncing like a kangaroo. A kangaroo rat. She boinged all over the cage, stopped a moment to lick toes again and drink some water, and boinged some more.
Based on the favorable reactio, the next day I let her in the cage with Bettina and Cookie. The second she got in there she kangarooed. Over to Cookie, then Bettina, then back again. She got so hyper that Cookie began to look annoyed and turned her back on Ruby. Ruby was not deterred by this and bounced in front of Cookie. Cookie shoved Ruby onto her back.
“Week!” Ruby cried in surprise.
Cookie held her down with one paw and began to slowly but firmly groom her, with an attitude that said, “You WILL calm down…for just a SECOND…and let me groom you!”
Ruby did not like being held still. “Weeeeek…” she made sounds like she needed to be oiled as Cookie’s tongue cleaned out her ears. “Oooooeeeee…”
Finally Cookie let her go and the bouncing commenced once again. She endured one more forced grooming from Bettina, and by morning they were all curled up in the same little plastic igloo.
Here’s Ruby (in a rare moment of not bouncing).