I had a horrible shock on Tuesday. Whilst I was out at the local aquarium society meeting, I got a phone call from my dad to say my beautiful boy Willoughby had died. I was not expecting it and it absolutely broke my heart. I was in church this morning and my sister showed me a cartoon she'd drawn of my ratties a while ago, and I burst into tears and had to leave.
On the plus side, I have two new additions to the ratty family, Jack (black hooded) and Algy (champagne hooded). I didn't want more rats, and they are certainly not a replacement for my poor Wibbly, but they are gorgeous and I couldn't leave them where they were. They had been dumped at a petshop by an owner who no longer wanted them, and a guy was trying to buy them (due to their large size) to feed, alive, to his snake. They'd been there more than a month, living in a 5 gallon tank. They had to come home with me.
They are really poorly socialised - Algy squeals whenever he is picked up and gets very panicky, and Jack is only slightly better - but I am determined to keep showing them love and care until they are normal, happy ratties. They are going in for Superlorin implants tomorrow (or as soon as possible after that), which will have the effect of neutering without nearly as much risk as an operation. In about a month I'll start to introduce them to my other boys, and hopefully they'll be integrated in two. I've split my monster cage in half, and Jack and Algy have the bottom. D'Artagnan, Richelieu and Darcy, who were all implanted last year, have the top.
It was interesting to watch them eat today - Jack and Algy have been living off that awful dry mix that is basically half budgie food and half rabbit food, with no nutrition. I gave them some lab blocks, a cracker, a bit of potato and rice, and a couple of grapes. They seemed to enjoy trying new food and exploring the huge cage, although Algy seems a little overwhelmed by all the space.
It's going to be a long process, but completely worth it because they are no longer facing a horrific death or living in cramped conditions with no handling and a poor diet. :)