Sunday, July 24, 2005


We just celebrated Jane's birthday. She had a wonderful day, enjoyed all her presents. Especially the pet rat she got. Yes, you read it right, a pet rat. It was all my own fault too.

Last month, when we went out to buy a hamster for Tara's birthday, they tried to talk us into a rat instead, telling us that rats make way better pets than hamsters do. Tara wasn't convinced, so we got a hamster anyway. So Jane wanted one for her birthday too. Being the math maniac I am, I could calculate too easily the sum of two hamsters though, so I proposed a rat instead, and she thought that that was a great idea. I was just happy to have two non cross breeding species of small furry animals. No endless supply of babies for us!

Fast forward to her birthday. We spent the day before driving around and running lots of errands, culminating in the important decision of which cage to buy and which acessories. When we finally had selected everything, we went to get a rat. No rats available. Rats! We bought our stuff anyway, and went to another pet store, our sixth stop or so for the day. By now, I just wanted to go home, so didn't feel like spending tons of time on buying a rat.

So we ran into the store, a small, local pet store. Yes, they did have rats! So we select a cute one from the 'male rats' section, and ask whether this really is a male. The clerk holds him up, looks for a moment, and ascertains us 'Yes, this is a male for sure'.

Fast forward to home, rat gets installed in new cage, and bites Jane. Ouch! All the books I read said that biting is very unusual for rats. At that point I still think he might just be scared because of all the stress of moving into a new house / location / family. But then he bites Erik too. And me. Not badly, just a nip, but still... I had expected the pet store to sell more socialized rats. Shows me that you always should ask the right questions when buying a new pet. Learning opportunity.

Sander comes home and asks me 'Are you sure this is a male? He sure does look pregnant'. I look at him too and have to agree. He does look a wee bit fat.

One day later, we find out that no, this is not a male rat, and no, she is not pregnant anymore. Instead we now are the proud owners of thirteen baby rats... Let's just say that I am NOT very impressed with that pet store...

Any one wants a pet rat?

At least we can socialize those babies properly.

Good news! Isabella is home from the hospital. Still lots of stuff going on, but she is home!

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