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Thread: FYI: Re Rodents

  1. #1
    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    Default FYI: Re Rodents

    I have 8 pet rats (all female), we occasionally let them out to run free in the house & chase the cats. So, I have had quite the opportunity to watch them in action. I feel that rats are quite a bit smarter than mice, but the behaviors are similar. So I thought I would post what I have learned about the little guys:

    If you think: “I have outsmarted them” Nah, they let you have your way OR they haven’t quite figured it out yet, but your “Trick” will be unraveled by time the next hiker gets there.

    They are not necessarily steeling your food because they are hungry, or that they are out of food. Our rats are FAT, Penelope is even morbidly overweight, their cages have “tons” of food stashes and at least 5 piles hidden throughout the house. Yet just a few hours ago I had 3 of them out, the main activity was to “steal” food from their jar of snacks & scurry off to hide them (yes, they have a 2 gallon jar of snacks in our living room). The only time they stopped to eat was when they were given chocolate, YUM! So need does not determine aggressiveness when it comes to foraging for food.

    They can jump UP at least 2x their body length. They can jump for distance 3 - 4 times as long as they are. I have seen Elizabeth drop 7’ onto a concrete floor & run over to climb the shelves again. A fall for me of similar height would be about 58 feet, I am reasonably sure I would not survive.

    While mice are a bit more skittish, they are almost totally fearless under certain circumstances (10 Oz rat terrorizing a 16 Lb cat, no he isn’t de-clawed, yes he hunts)

    They (Rats at least) can eat ANYTHING, and can chew through almost anything. Poison may work on a few, but the rest will soon learn what is killing their friends and avoid the bait.

    We have taught them that food is readily available in/near the shelters, along with fantastic bedding material (wool, poly pro, fleece, etc) and mental challenges (food suspended from tuna cans, etc). From watching the girls, their priorities are: Food, hiding places, water, fun, sleep, companions.

    Don’t know if this helps or what. Thought it may be interesting.


    Doctari.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  2. #2
    Springer - Front Royal Lilred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctari
    We have taught them that food is readily available in/near the shelters, along with fantastic bedding material (wool, poly pro, fleece, etc) and mental challenges (food suspended from tuna cans, etc). From watching the girls, their priorities are: Food, hiding places, water, fun, sleep, companions.Doctari.

    You take your pet rats to shelters????????
    "It was on the first of May, in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceable habitation on the Yadkin River, in North Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America." - Daniel Boone

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    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilredmg
    You take your pet rats to shelters????????
    I would, but they don't like to be on a leash, & I aint carryin em Lets see: 8 rats x an average wt of 10 Oz, NO, definetly not carrying them.

    That would be kinda, , , , interesting. Specially if it was Elizabeth, she LOVES people, with an extra fondness for people with long hair. She likes them almost as much as she likes chasing cats

    Anyway, what I ment is: we hikers have taught the shelter mice about the food & stuff.


    Doctari.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  4. #4
    Springer - Front Royal Lilred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctari

    Anyway, what I ment is: we hikers have taught the shelter mice about the food & stuff. Doctari.

    Oh, thank goodness!! Thought I had one more good reason to stay out of shelters........
    "It was on the first of May, in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceable habitation on the Yadkin River, in North Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America." - Daniel Boone

  5. #5
    Future AT Bag Lady Mini-Mosey's Avatar
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    Smile rats

    After reading this post, maybe I won't yell so loudly if I encounter rats(or rats encounter me)at a shelter again!

    I like your choice of names!
    mini-m.

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    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mini-Mosey
    After reading this post, maybe I won't yell so loudly if I encounter rats(or rats encounter me)at a shelter again!
    I like your choice of names!
    Thanks, after all the mice (& rats) are just trying to get by, and are only doing what we hikers have taught them is an easy way to make a living.

    In order of age my girls are: Elizabeth, Mary, Ann, Penelope, Tulip, Silk, Sugar, Shangrila. The first 2 are named after queens: Elizabeth & Mary Tudor from the 15th century. Ann & Penelope were QE I's ladies in waiting.

    pets we are owned by: 5 cats, 8 rats, 2 fish, 1 turtle.

    Doctari.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  7. #7

    Wink

    When I started my thru hike I hated mice.. They ate a hole in my backpack to get to my toothpaste at the cheese Factory site. Near Max Patch they ran up and all over my tent all night trying to get in. In Virginia one cold night they tore my camp towel to shreads to make a nest. I must have lost a couple of pounds of food to them by the time I got to the whites. One trick I learned while I was still in Georgia was to take a 12 cent pack of Rahman Noodles, break it up, and spread it around on the ground 30 or 40 feet from the shelter. That would, in theory, cause all the mice to leave the shelter and spend the night eating and not bothering the hikers in the shelter. It didn't work as the mice brought the noodles back to the shelter, stored them in your boots for winter, and still ate your $300 Gregory Backpack for breakfast. By the time I got to the 100 mile wilderness I had come to accept the mice as fellow creatures of the trail. I had even gotten to appreciate what the little fellows had to go through just to get by. I realized how my attitude had changed when about four days north of Monson I found a baby mouse that had fallen into a deep footprint and couldn't get out. I gently picked him up and carried him back a couple of hundred feet to a shelter I had just left and gave him a piece of my Snickers Bar for breakfast. The trail is their home, we are their visitors. They are a pain in the ass, no doubt a human health hazzard, but heck, they were there before Earl Schafer, Benton McKay, and even Daniel Boone.

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    The trail/shelters are their home because we keep bringing them ramen noodles and snickers bars...

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    Registered User neo's Avatar
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    i hate rodents neo

  10. #10
    CaTsGoInG Catsgoing's Avatar
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    Neo, I thought that is why your pack is so light. I believed you jet boiled them for breakfast / lunch / & dinner...... <joke>
    Catsgoing
    Cathy
    Venice, Florida



  11. #11
    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    Default Update on "the girls"

    Well, since I last posted there have been some changes, some minor some serious.

    Elizabeth is very old, we thought she was less than 1 year old, but now it seems she is nearer to 3 or 4. She has an abcess on her jaw that is being treated with antibiotics. She now lives full time with free run of the house.

    Ann may have cancer. She has a new lump between her front legs, that apeared suddenly. The tests &/or surgery are way over our budget, so we are worried, but can do nothing.

    Penelope has a lump, but that is unchanged since we got her.

    Sugar, Mary, Silk, Shangrila & Tulip are well. They are (still) over fed & spoiled. 7 rats in a "cage" that is large enough for 1,000+ according to a web site "pet rat calculator". And one with free run of a 30' X 30' house (upper floor).

    Sugar thinks she can drive, and loves to ride in my van. Usually with her front paws on the steering wheel. She went to visit the vet with Ann, great fun.

    I too have been troubled by the shelter mice. Yet, I still dearly love my girls & it greaves me dearly knowing two of my babies are in poor health. I shall never again complain about shelter mice.

    Doctari.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctari
    their priorities are: Food, hiding places, water, fun, sleep, companions.
    Exact same as mine. I must be (wait for it) a rat.

  13. #13

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    She now lives full time with free run of the house.

    Do some of your other mice live part time?

  14. #14
    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saimyoji
    She now lives full time with free run of the house.

    Do some of your other mice live part time?
    Uh, that line was supposed to read: She now lives upstairs full time, with free run of the house.

    Old age sucks, but it beats the alternative

    Yes, we have "vermin" that we ALLOW to run free in our house. Ann, Mary & Tulip are allowed brief visits upstairs. The rest do not come when called so they don't get to "Play" upstairs. Sugar is (wisely?) terrified of the cats, so she dosn't want to play in the house proper.


    Doctari.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  15. #15
    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Jay
    Exact same as mine. I must be (wait for it) a rat.
    In our house, being called a rat is a compliment

    It do sound like rats have the same prioritys as most humans don't it!
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  16. #16

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    How do you manage their 'wastes?'

  17. #17
    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saimyoji
    How do you manage their 'wastes?'
    Elizabeth goes in ONE corner of the bathroom on tile, it is dry pellets that we pick up with a bit of TP & flush. BTW, she is not allowed in the kitchen, ever.

    The rest go in one corner of the cage, in aspen wood chips. Easy enough to "shovel" out & the plants in the garden love it

    The bigest problem is the cats, hairballs are NASTY, and they leave them every & anywhere.

    Doctari.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  18. #18
    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    Default Update on "the girls"

    Penelope & Ann died a few months ago of cancer.
    Tulip from unknown causes, around the same time.
    Mary shortly after, probably from old age.
    They will all be missed.

    But, Sadly. Elizabeth died last night (02/25/06) at 2931 (9:31 PM) of Extreme old age. "Lizzy" was at least 5 yars old, or near 100 compared to human terms. Our lives were changed by this 8 Oz bundle of fur. She loved, in order: People, Ginger snaps, Cats, high places, all other Food, Exploring. She did what she could to care for everyone in our house, especially my wife whom Lizzy constantly worried about & would check on at least 5 times a night.
    Until her death, she was convinced she was a cat, and, oddly enough, so did the cats, all 5 of them.

    I do believe I shall miss her every day for the rest of my life.

    Thanks for listning.

    Doctari.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

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    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
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    Sad to hear that. Is she the one I saw? That one looked to be a hand full.

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    I'm sorry for your loss. Pets add so much to our lives.

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