Raz, or Stormsmuggler as she is known on the rat forum is providing a loving (and I do mean loving) foster home for Gus and Barnie until we are settled. Thank you so much to Raz, it means a lot and I know when we take them back she is going to miss them both, but particularly Gus.
We dropped in to see her, and the two girls on Sunday on our way home to Cornwall. What a change from the two we left there just before Christmas. Even then Gus was interested in the smells of the other rats, while Barnie cowered in her igloo. Both had been successfully integrated into a small group of other females and Gus was in her element looking after the younger kittens like a maternal godmother. She did remember us though and happily came out to investigate and say hello even though it was their sleep time.
Barnie on the other hand, we knew she was different to Gus, but I put it down to her poor eyesight etc. Raz thinks that she is hormonally challenged. For those of you who are interested, rats come into season every 3-4 days and only on probably one of those did Barnie feel sociable, the rest of the time it was leave me alone and let me be. She fits in well with the group and they seem to understand her ways and leave her alone when she doesn't feel like interacting. Barnie did have an argument with the alpha female, Mabel who has put her in her place and all is peaceful. She will never be as easy to handle as Gus but I am growing in confidence and wouldn't feel scared about picking her up, just wise to the fact that she is more than likely to bite you if she feels like it.
What it does mean, is that the two of them will need a bit more company, particularly for Gus who loves the company of the other ratties, and curls up with them in big snuggly ratballs on the hammocks, so I have asked Raz when the time comes to help me find a couple of female companions, that will see our population rise to four rats rather than two. Barnie will be like the maiden aunt in the corner, grumpy as anything and leave Gus with her 'babies' to play and have fun.
It was good to see both of them, and to have a little time with them, for those that haven't thought of rats as pets I can vouch for them, highly intelligent and very entertaining. Gus particularly likes to supervise the cleaning out of her cage, holding onto your ear and bruxing in your ears to tell you when to put a bit of extra effort in.