Rodent Numbers

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Rats, Rats and More Rats

I've recently been creating lots of rat related art which has been fun and is strangely addictive. I thought 'no, I'll have a break from drawing rats' but actually that break only lasted one picture until I had the desire to draw rats again. I don't know what it is about these cute little creatures ;)

Here's a small selection of my most recent ratty art. The first few are part of an art trade. The last picture features my own little group (not including Levi who doesn't live with the boys in this picture. I didn't think he'd be all that happy pictured with these guys as they can't be let out together!)


I've also put a few pieces of art for sale on ebay just to see if anyone would be interested in some of my original pieces of art.

Sadly however, my little ratty group was one ratty short as of Monday when I had to take Jasper to be put to sleep. He was a beautiful rat, lovely natured from the first moment I met him. I remember the day when I bought him back in February time, it wasn't an intentional purchase really. Whenever I visit the local pet shop I always look at the rats and that day he was there looking out at me. Usually rats in pet shops hide but he was there saying hello in his own ratty way. The fact that he was a rex really made me have to take him home - I adore rex rats and it's not often you see them around here. He was so tame when I first handled him too which isn't really typical for pet shop ratties.

Over the last few months I'd guess he'd started to drop a lot of rather big crumbs when eating treats, something rats don't typically do but I thought nothing of it. Looking back I guess that was the start of it. Then about a month ago I was asking my rats to stand up on their hind legs for treats (one of the easiest tricks to train rats to do as they stand up often enough!) However, he was leaning to one side as he stood. The next day I took him to the vets.

Having read a lot of what it could possibly be, I assumed it would be an ear infection. He was a young rat (not even a year old) although I knew there were other potential things it could be - stroke, brain damage, tumour, etc. Those things were typically described as things that happened to older rats. However, I felt even then that maybe it could be something worse. He was put on medication for about two weeks as for an ear infection it takes a while for it to penetrate into the source of the infection in the ear.

After two weeks he was still the same. Over the next week he got progressively worse, he was already weak on one side but this seemed to get more pronounced as time went on. He would walk in circles some of the time and didn't seem to see out of one eye. His sense of depth wasn't really working - he'd lean over things. He'd lived at the bottom of his cage for about two weeks anyway, not trying to manage the ladder to the higher shelves (which was a good thing as before he'd toppled from shelf to floor which lead me to place lower hung hammocks to catch him). It was hard for him to hold food in his hands, he'd typicaly lie his head on the floor to eat. Until near the end he still had a good appetite though (I fed him on soft foods mainly and broke up harder foods into tiny pieces). He still lost a lot of weight though - 100g in 20 days. Then he really started to go downhill and the only option was really to put him to sleep. His worsening symptoms meant that he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. :(

In a way, it was so unexpected. Rats don't live long lives anyway, but he's only my second ever rat to live less than a year. He was such a beautiful natured rat and he'll be hugely missed both by me and his brother (and step-brothers).


- The Blogging Rat