OUR RATS - Females
Here you'll meet some of our girls. We have three separate mischiefs, then our two oldest ladies live with our old man in a special home that's more appropriate for the elderly.
Most of our girls live together in one large group. Then we have a group of three that live in our lounge room together and the third group consists of girls we've had to separate from the main group, due to aggression. It's quite interesting to note though, that all the aggressive ones seem to keep each other in check & live in relative harmony.
We lost one of our lovely Manx girls (Little Flower) on one of the really hot days we had at the beginning of February. I don't really know why she died, but I expect it was the heat. She was only 13months old. Rest in peace our little flower..
On New Years Eve 2002 We lost one of our dearest girls, "Besos". She had developed a urinary tract infection almost a month before her death. She wasn't responding to the first type of treatment, so our vet put her on a different type of antibiotic. Sadly though on the fifth day after her last vet visit, she went into some type of shock-like state & was gone within the hour. We will miss you baby girl, like no other. I have left Both her details & Flowers, on this page for now & placed them first, as a memorial to them.
"Carawatha Besos" - In Memorial (26.09.00 - 31.12.02)- (pic 2.0)
Besos was one of our most Special babies. She's Mavericks'(our first Manx) daughter and like him, a Lavender bareback. Also like him she was very outgoing & extrememly playful & personable. Both she & her father not only used to play with you, but engage you to play with them, by leaping on and off your hand, and giving playful little nips. Besos(being the spanish word for kisses) was named such because she constantly gave little ratty kisses to anyone and everyone.
Besos' story is one of courage. She was one of two runts in her litter of 5. One day we found her gasping for breath, she was less than three weeks old at this stage. We took her inside fearing the worst for her. Because she'd been (and still was) so small at birth, I was wondering if maybe her lungs were not fully formed.
After talking to the vet, we put her on Doxy(Doxycycline antibiotic), and hand-fed her. Because we were told of Doxy's reaction with dairy products, this meant we had to supplement her diet with calcium liquid & soy products, instead of giving her the milk mixture we'd normally have used.
Her appetite was good, and she liked the taste of the doxy water, because it was sweet(having had fructose added to it to hide the bitterness of the doxy)
We had to keep her as quiet as possible, because the more she leapt about and got excited the worse her gasping would get. After nearly two weeks, If she was at rest, then she was not gasping. Her love of playing, even at this young age, wasn't helping matters. As soon as she'd hear us, she'd start bouncing around and climbing the cage to get out. This would start her off gasping again. Towards the end of the third week her gasping had changed to a whistling sound. Over the next 4 weeks it became less and less and finally around mid December she appeared to have no lung noise or congestion at all. She stayed on the medication for a further week to be sure.
After her frail beginning, she went from strength to strength. She was a true little Miracle. All her life she was a healthy "very" active rattie, & became even kissier as she got older. She was so much, her fathers daughter, as she played just like him, grabbing your hand and pulling you around to play with her.
We had decided very early on, that we were not going to breed from Besos. Even though she would have been carrying manx genes and her personality and type were very worthy of passing on, We didn't want to put her at risk of any type of relapse in health problems, that may be brought on by the stress of pregnancy. About a year after her birth, her line was closed anyway, due to some problems with greatly heightened protein sensitivity, leading to kidney problems, affecting even the females. In the final litter from the line, there was a slightly deformed baby, almost miniature in dimensions, who never really grew & died of what we think was heart failure, at the age of almost 4months. I will be including all the information about this line in an article I'm working on to be uploaded to these pages soon.
"Mystar Little Flower" - In Memorial (27.12.01 - 01.02.03) - (pic 2.1)
Flower came to us when she was almost 6 months old, with her friend Baci. Both of them tailless. Flower was a kissy little girl & popcorned everywhere, all the time. She had two speeds, Asleep & popcorn.
When we got Flower, it was because her owner/breeder, was going out of breeding rats & she knew that I'd had some experience with Tailless rats. I was informed that both Flower & Baci were infertile, as they'd attempted to breed them many times with no success. They were also living with a young male at the time & had been for months. You can read about him in the boys section (under T-boy).
I had no intention whatsoever of ever breeding from Flower. I'd been satisfied to accept that she was infertile anyway. So I kept Flower & Baci with the young boy they had been living with. They were quarantined together for 6weeks.
Well anyway,... all I can say is, DON'T, under any circumstances, EVER, think that a rat is sterile unless you have scientific proof.
At the beginning of October last year, When I was cleaning my girls, I noticed that Flower was very rotund. She had that unmistakable look of pregnancy. I started to panic, & wonder how on earth it could have happened, as she & Baci had stopped living with T-Boy at the beginning of May... no it couldn't have been him. I took her with me to the lounge to sit quietly with her for a while, & have a good feel of her tummy.. Sure enough, I could feel babies moving inside. (Oh no!)
I worked out when it must have happened. I've always allowed Flower & Baci out for a good popcorn around, whenever I'm cleaning everyone. They used to have a wail of a time bouncing to & fro briefly meeting the others who's cages were being cleaned. But usually I only allowed this with the females. However there had been a time, when I'd had a pair in for breeding, that had been cleaned while Flower & Baci had been roaming. So the father of Flower's babies, is Avatar, my Opal hooded boy. My God he must have been quick, I didn't even see the two anywhere near each other.
I watched flower intently whenever I was home & caught her in the process of giving birth on October 7th. I witnessed her have 5 healthy good sized babies over the period of approx 15minutes, & also managed to see the sexes of them through the glass as she was upending them & washing them. 4 boys & 1 girl. She then cleaned & re-arranged her home, settled down to feed them & went to sleep. So I got a cup of tea & sat down near her tank to watch her. Her tummy hadn't been all that big to begin with & now looked quite normal in size, so I was thinking at the time, that she must have been finished. However about 10 minutes later she woke up, reached under herself & pulled another newborn out. This little girl was a bit weak & also a little smaller in size, but flower cleaned her all up & put her in the pile then settled down again. She got up periodically over the next hour to have a drink & generally re-arrange her home. I was so relieved that she was ok, walking normally, no excess bleeding.. U have no idea, how relieved I was. I gave her a bowl of multigrain bread soaked in milk & left her in peace & went to bed myself - it was quite late, well after midnight.
The next morning I found that the little girl she'd given birth to last, had died. I coaxed Flower out to have a run around, while I checked on the others. All 5 were doing well with full little milk bellies. I did notice however, that one of the little boys had a bit of an umbilical hernia.
I placed her babies back in the nest & did a general check of the whole area. To my shock, under the litter around her bed I found three other babies, that looked as if they'd been stillborn. So her total litter would have been 9. An unexpectedly high amount, considering she hadn't looked very big at all. I've noticed this before with DU mothers. They carry very high, & look deceptively small in comparison to the eventual amount of babies they give birth to. I was relieved that she'd not eaten these ones or even tried to, there wasn't a mark on them. Especially after the experiences we've had with one of the other lines we had here, that culled their own young, I'm now very aware it can happen & check on them asap after brith. .
Sadly a week after she had her babies, the little one with the umbilical hernia died. He was the only DU in her litter, a little agouti Du spotted boy with a cap striped pattern. It looked to me like maybe he had developed a little abcess on the hernia, it must have been an acute thing, that developed very quickly, as he'd looked fine the night before. So she raised 4 of her babies. They are all hooded, 1 female & 3 males. Two black & two agouti.
We kept the agouti hooded girl, her name is "Lotus Flower", & also kept one of the black hooded boys, "Clary Sage". The other black hooded boy found a home with Beth in Ormiston, his name is "Sydney" & the last little boy, another cheeky little agouti hooded was adopted by Robyn & Al. His name is "Rumpus" & you can see lots of pics of him & the other little boy they adopted from us along with him, "Spritely" on their Webpage.
"Carawatha Pocahontas" - Im Memorial (16.04.00 - 19.02.03)- (pic 2.2)
Pocahontas was a Hooded Fawn lady, & She was living with Honamera(the next oldest lady) & our old man "C'ezanne". The three of them were good companions. Pocahontas was one of 14 fawn hooded's in her litter, the result of a test mating for carried recessives, between a silverfawn(Carawatha Banjo) and a cinnamon(Carawatha Radigande). To which this mating proved what we were looking for. That Banjo didn't carry mink and Radigande didn't carry pink-eye dilution.
One of Pocahontas brothers, "Carawatha Bendigo", was exported to Pauline van berkel of Horlepiep rattery in Waalwijk and one of her sisters, "Carawatha Cupcake", was exported to Jenny Thompson in New Zealand.
Pocahontas attended her only show in October 2000, where she got 1st in her breed class then went on to get Reserve Marked rat of Show.
Pocahontas has been a mother once, to 8 pups, born in Novemeber 2000, fathered by Carawatha Zephrum. The most exquisite lavender hooded boy. We initially kept two of her daughters "Carawatha Gnala" (Hooded Silverfawn) & "Carawatha Genie in a bottle"(Hooded Fawn). We have sinse adopted both of them out. Genie went to live with Marty in Kuraby & Gnala was adopted by Diana of Lacock Mousery.
Both these girls are two of the most exceptionally marked hooded rats we've ever bred.
POCAHONTAS WENT TO THE BRIDGE on 19th FEBRUARY 2003 & IS SADLY MISSED.
"Carawatha Honamera"- (pic 2.3)
Honamera, a DownUnder Berkshire, agouti with dappled white markings along her sides, solid coloured tummy & white feet, was always a reserved lady. She took her time in everything & often seemed ot be looking at us as if she'd been here before & knew something we did not.
Honamera was not shown, even when she was young enough to be. Although now, the DU Berkshire variety is standardised, back then it was not. She's not show quality, marking's-wise anyway.
She was an important link in our DUBerk breeding programme, carrying red-eye dilution (rr) she gave us our first Fawn DU berk. & first Lavender DU Berk. Honamera gave birth to her first&only litter of 9 wriggling little cuties (pic 2.4). We initially kept 4 from the litter, An Agouti DUSpotted male "Carawatha Crying Freeman", A Lavender DUBerkshire male, "Carawatha Martial", an Agouti DUBerkshire female, "Carawatha DG" & a fawn DUBerkshire female "Yakuza". DG & Yakuza went to live with Melanie & Darren in Booval, just before christmas 2001.
HONAMERA WENT TO THE BRIDGE 21st MARCH 2003. She had three cancerous tumours develop rather quickly & because of her age at onset, we decided not to risk surgery.
"Carawatha Mystery" - (pic 2.5)
Nic-named "Myssy" , a cinnamon hooded from the second DU-line we had - it has since been closed for temperament reasons although Mystery herself has a beautiful nature. She was named Mystery, because we were unsure at first, if she was DU or not. She had unusually placed marks on her tummy area, not unlike her mink DU-spotted sister Toon, had. These marks faded drastically when she got to about 6months old. Nowadays, only one small spot is clearly visible, the rest are a shadow. Breeding "Myssy" proved that she was not a DU, but rather a hooded with too many body spots.
Myssy was not originally on our list for keeps, but somehow she lost half of her tail while we were away overseas. So we kept her. She lives with our main group of girls still.
Myssy & her sister Toon, were two of 9 pups, born on 27th September 2000. Only 3 of the litter survived. Her Mother "RatmanDU Melisande" Lost the first pup only 2 days after they were born. At that stage I took it as just one of those things. Until on the morning of the 7th October I found that she'd killed 4 more. I say killed here, because they had all been quite obviously healthy active babies, having opened their eyes the day before.
It was still in the back of my mind however that there could have been something wrong with them, that wasn't apparent to me, but that Melisande could pick up. But then, on the 12th October, when she killed the 6th pup, a little mink DUhooded boy, I knew there had to be something wrong with the mother. There were no apparent reasons for Melisande to do this. The pups looked healthy, were normal size, eating & playing well, and the mother was in good condition.
Because of this we were in two minds about breeding from Myssy & Toon, hoping that this trait was not hereditary, and if so, had it passed down to her two daughters?
Myssy & Toon were like chalk & cheese in personality. Myssy is a friendly girl, with a quiet reserved nature, nothing like her sister was at all. Myssy has always appeared to "wait in the wings" as it were, for someone else to check if all's ok, before she'll try a new task.
After the mothering problems with Myssy's mum, we needed to know if it was hereditary or not. We decided to breed both her & her sister "Toon". "Myssy" gave birth to four very large hooded babies on the 1st August 2001. She proved to be a doting mother, who was also good with me handling the babies while she was with them. She had 1 mink female and 3 fawn males. The female (Anubis) & one of the males (Horis) went to Indigorats here in Brisbane. When Indigo closed their doors I took both of them back. Anubis had presented some temperament problems both with other rats & with people, & ended up having to be euthanased when she became un-handleable. Of the other two fawn males, one(now named "Rocky Road") went to a family in Kangaroo Pt. who had not long lost the two they got from us some years earlier. & the last boy went to Joy at Just Pets.
In spite of Myssy doing well with her babies, it was a different story for her sister Toon. She was due two weeks after Myssy. On the 17th OCtober at 8pm when I fed the ratties, she was still pregnant & looked normal, however an hour later when i went to check on her before going to bed myself, she was no longer round & pregnant, but quite slim & when I checked her she had a little bloody water around her vulva. My only guess is, she must have eaten them all... There wasn't a trace of blood or anything anywhere to be found in her bed or home at all.
It was after this, that we decided to close this Down Under line completely and not breed from them or any carriers again. Sadly the abnormal behaviour looked to be hereditary.
"Lacock Veiled Hope" - (pic 2.6)
"Hope" is a beautifully marked agouti hooded girl. She is the blue-carrying sister to "Lacock-I'll make U blue" She is a large robust female, very solidly built, with a personality to match.
She is definitely show quality, so she'll probably end up on the show bench if we get the chance.
Hope became a mother to 13 bundles of joy, three days after christmas 2001. The proud father was her brother "Blu". They were mated together, as they both carried blue. From this litter we have kept "Avatar", he is Opal hooded (Blue agouti) & we also were very surprised to find "Sarabi" in there too.. Surprised because she is a Manx. Only the second Manx we have ever Bred & even more astonishing, is the fact that this is the second spontaneous mutation of manx in a line that has never produced it before.
"Carawatha Sarabi" - (pic 2.7)
Sarabi is a bouncy lively DUhooded agouti Manx. She is rumpy, although she has a very small skin tag where her tail would be, it is not connected by bone to her body. While her body shape does look more rounded than a tailed rat, it's not as round as any of the three other manx we've known. I have thoughts that she may even be a rumpy riser, but having not seen one in the flesh before, I'm unsure.
Her birth brought up the issue, again, about whether I would even want to start breeding manx. I had many discussions with friends & fellow rat lovers, both here & overseas about this. At that time, the conclusion was that I would wait until she was approx 6-8months old & then x-ray her to see if her pelvis, hips & birth canal were normal, & re-evaluate the whole situation again then. However, as she's grown up, she has stayed relatively small in stature. & is in fact under-size for my own standards to breed with anyway. (She is only just 200grams) So this has made the choice for us, & we are not going to breed with her in any case.
In spite of her slight figure, she is one little dynamo of a rat, man has she got some energy & go in her. She is very close to the Alpha position in her group & I've often noticed the others acting subordinate towards her.
"Otsuru Sateen" - (pic 2.8)
I found Sateen & her brother Nova, when they were 5 weeks old, in a petstore. I originally was so drawn to them because they were a rich muddy brown colour & having seen nothing like it before, I thought it could be chocolate. The day after we got them home, I noticed that Sateen's fur looked odd. Sort of bedraggled, like she'd been handled by someone after they'd just had a meal of KFC & had left the grease all over her coat. Being as she'd come from a store, I thought this could have been a possibility, so I bathed her. However, when she was dry, it still looked the same. I was baffled.
A bit over a week later, I knew it was something different, something unique to her. Her brothers coat was very soft, but looked normal otherwise. So I arranged to meet their breeder to see if I could find anything out about them. The breeder was unfamiliar with it, & said that as far as they knew, they'd not seen any of their own with coats like it. The only history they could give me, is that their mother had been black hooded & their father was a wistarPEW they had obtained from a lab. Saying that they often crossed the lab wistars with their black hooded line.
I searched many overseas rat pages to try to find pictures of any rats that may have fur like Sateen. I did find two references where the pictures of the rats looked similar. The first pic I found was unidentified, but the owners were thinking that she may be longhaired. & the other pic was of a satin rat. I have seen satin cavies before & they are very shiny of coat, so this is why I'd not at first thought that Sateen could be a satin. In fact it was a friend of mine who had been very involved with showing/breeding cavies, that first suggested to me that she could be a satin.
I had the opportunity to view her fur under x1000 times magnification & compare it to regular rat hair. There is a definite difference in the sheath, the width & the placement & amount of granules within it's makeup. Sateen's hair sample however, was not completely like the description found in genetic texts. Although almost all the information I've gathered on Satin rats overseas, could easily be describing Sateen, the recent breeding of her to her brother & then of one of their offspring to an unrelated normal-furred male, has shown that the gene causing this coat is either dominant or semi-dominant in nature. This in itself would appear to tell us that she is something other than satin, as the overseas genes for satin are of a recessive nature. We have given this coat type the name of "Silk". So Sateen is a black hooded Silk.
Sateen was initially bred to her brother Nova, in the hope that he may carry a gene for her unique fur type. Well was I to get a surprise... On 29th August last year (2002) she became the proud mother of 11 pups. 6 days later, when they all had a substantial amount of fur, it was very obvious that 7 of them had the same fur type as Sateen. I was so surprised, this was so much more than I'd expected. I'd expected to need to keep one of her son's to mate back to her in order to get more, yet here she had presented me with 7 of the little darlings. & I must say, that on baby fur, the greasy effect is even more pronounced, they almost look half bald. The effect is such that they almost look wet all the time, especially when viewing them side-by-side asleep next to their normal furred siblings.
The pairing, later on this year, of two of Silks, will tell us whether the gene is dominant or semi dominant.
Of the 11 babies, there were three who at first looked to have ruby eyes. When their colour developed into a soft pale grey, It looked like they'd be lavender in colour. But by the time they'd reached 4 weeks old, their eyes looked black. Their colour now, is that of a pastel mink (if that makes sense.)
I was instantly drawn to one of the normal-furred mink boys, as was my son. So we planned to keep him right from the start. We called him "Dakota". We also kept a black hooded Silk pair "Tacoma & Atlanta" & two other girls, a mink hooded Silk "Georgia" & a regular furred black hooded girl named "Virginia".
The other two females from the litter have been rehomed. One, a black hooded Silk named "Kentucky", to a breeder local to me & the other a regular furred black hooded to a lady in Jimboomba.
Of the four other males in the litter, a mink hooded boy "Bill" went to Beth in Ormiston & the other three black hooded silks are here with us still. One of these had been reserved for a lady interstate although we've not heard back from her & will be keeping him now. They're names are, "Washington,Vegas & Vermont"
"Indigo Harmony" - (pic 2.9)
"Harmony" is a DU Hooded from the new blue lines. She is a new colour variety. So far I haven't tracked down a commonly used name for this colour. So I'm referring to her colour as dilute cinnamon for now. This variety is simply created by putting blue over cinnamon. So the regular orange band colour of the cinnamon becomes a hot cream colour instead. It's an exquisite colour, sort of like looking at pure sandstone.
Harmony is a very busy rat, she's always on the move, & incidentally, is also the only girl in the bunch who uses the wheel... I initially kept her because of her amazing colour, but soon fell in love with her ratinality too. She is such a character. She has this adorable habit of holding her ears down & a number of people have commented on this when they've seen her. I like to call it her Dumbo pose.
"Harmony" is only a small girl, & because of this, I've decided not to breed with her.
"Indigo Forget-Me-Not"- (pic 2.10)
"Flot", as she's been nic-named, is the blue hooded girl we got from Indigo to help start off the blue lines in our rattery. She is Harmony's sister. (We also have their brother "Bass").
Flotty is a crazy little rattie, she's always the first out the door when you open it, & is so damned fast that she's been half squished a few times in said door. Here's me wondering what's blocking the lid from closing & it's a squishy blue & white furry body up the other end... lol. & she won't budge either, just sits there with a look on her face like "Steady-on, I'm down here !"
She got her name because of the similarity of her coat colour when she was a baby, to a picture I had here of Forget-me-not flowers. But since naming her, she has proven she is truly unforgettable in nature too, so it's doubly apt. We have been so blessed to have such a myriad of different ratinalities in our group. Each rattie is so unique & each have their own quirky little habits. Flot fits right in.
Although we'd initially bought "Flot" to breed with, as time got on & we'd not bred with her, I was thinking that it wouldn't really matter if we didn't. It was only after talking to a fellow breeder here that we decided to breed her afterall. They had been experiencing somewhat of a problem, getting the blue females to fall pregnant & were wondering if it was just theirs, or a widespread problem among this new blue variety. So we decided to breed Flot. She was 8months old at that time.
When we first placed her with Avatar, they didn't seem to be interested in each other at all. After two weeks I took her out just in case, but there was no resulting pregnancy. I wasn't really surprised, given that I'd not seen them show any interest in each other at all, so I left it a week or so, waiting until I could catch one of her heats. It was about 10days later, that I put them together again. At least this time he was interested, but being as Flot was his first girlfriend, he was just a bit too excited & she got peeved about that & kept him either pinned to the floor, or herself backed into one of the corners.
After three days of this behaviour not settling down, I separated them. I couldn't see it being conducive to anything good. I left them apart for a further 2 weeks, then gave it one last attempt, maybe it'd be third time lucky. This time I was rewarded with surly looks from both of them, at their disgust at having been put together again. Followed by them picking separate corners to park them selves in. They didn't seem to even want to acknowledge each others existence...lol.. But at least they weren't pinning each other to the ground this time. They lived in harmony for the next 2.5 weeks. At which time I separated them for the last time & placed them back in their respective homes. Flot didn't look or feel pregnant & so I rang the breeder I'd been talking to, to give them the 'bad' news & to agree that there must have been a reduced fertility in the blues or something.
Well Avatar obviously got the hang of it all, after his extra-marital affair with Flower on cleaning day, because Flot did fall pregnant afterall. He must have mated her a few days before I separated them. Flot gave birth 2 days after Flower did.
I witnessed the birth of the first 3, all girls. The morning after this I found another baby, a little boy, & also two dead babies, both girls, that looked as if they'd been stillborn, like Flowers couple. So she had four fat healthy babies. All hooded, 2blues & 2 Opals.
The little boy, a blue hooded, now named "Spritely", went to Robyn Arthur of Dapper Rat. I kept one of the little Opal hooded girls, we named her "Lilly-of-the-Valley", & her two sisters were adopted by Brodie, in Tamborine mountain. Their names are Champers & Bliss.
Recently, there have been some health problems in some blue rats in this state. I am in the process of writing an article all about the blues, how they started here & also info on the health issues. This article will be the next feature page for this site.
UPDATE: FLOT FELL ILL AT THE AGE OF ONLY 14MONTHS & DIED RATHER SUDDENLY 6 WEEKS LATER. THE NECROPSY SHOWED THAT SHE HAD EXTENSIVE LYMPHOMA THROUGH-OUT ALL HER MAJOR ORGANS. - REST IN PEACE LITTLE GIRL, WE MISS YOU...
"Mystar Baci" - (pic 2.11)
We adopted "Baci" along with Flower & T-boy back in March of 2002. She is a black DU spotted Rumpy manx with a skin tag. Unlike Sarabi though, her skin tag, which looked quite small & cute when she was young, grew with her & is now the exact size of a rat raisin, so that she looks like she has a 'hanger-on' stuck to the back of her lol.
A couple of the young rats in her group, have taken a liking to playing with & tugging on her raisin-tag & a couple of times I've noticed a cut or scab on it. As this irritates Baci, I've been thinking that we may have to have her tag removed. It doesn't have any boney attachment to her body, so it should be a relatively simple op. to perform.
Baci is a very rotund girl. I'm sure the roundness of her manxey body has at least a little to do with it, but she loves her food & is just a big squishy fuzz. The photo on here is taken when she was only three weeks old, so is very out-of-date. I'm planning a rattie photoshoot in the next couple of weeks, so will take a more recent shot of her, to put up here. She's is such a cuddly rat.
She has not been bred from, & we have no intention of doing so.
"Carawatha Atlanta" - (pic 2.12)
"Atlanta" is Sateens black hooded Silk daughter, & she is the spitting image of her mother, in the face, her markings & her ratinality. She's outgoing & always wants to be on you, but at the same time is wary of being picked up. All of Sateen's girls are like this. They love to run all over you & just adore playing the silly's with your hand, but all of them tend to hang on tight, when you pick them up.
Physically they're wiry in appearance, very long in the body. The nature of their fur just adds to the overall svelte appearance. The boys are also long in the body, but they're solid, so you don't notice it as much.
We are planning to breed from "Atlanta" at some stage.
"Carawatha Virginia" - (pic 2.13)
"Virginia" is another of Sateens daughters. She is also black hooded, but with standard fur. She is a little less outgoing than her mum & two sisters, but still a friendly little fuzz. She seems to hang around a lot with Lotus, they're usually getting up to something together.
We decided to keep her in the event that the 'silk' gene is recessive. We would need a carrier for test-matings. So if this is needed, we would then try her for breeding.
"Carawatha Lotus-flower" - (pic 2.14)
"Lotus" is the little Agouti hooded girl we kept from Flowers litter. She's a robust, very nosey rat. This seems to be a common trait among her siblings also. I've herad from Robyn & Beth that her brothers are the same & her bro that I kept, "Sage" is also like this. They also all seem to do this cute thing, where if you pick them up under the arms, they just flop, just like a young kitten does when the mother-cat picks it up by the scruff.
Their mother, Flower, was a very protective mother. Possibly the most protective of any rat I've ever seen. Because of this, her babies were only handled by me, after I'd coaxed Flower out for a run. Whereas most of our ratpups, get regular attention from my children. I didn't want to risk Flower either nipping my children, or going berserk because their smell was on her babies.
Robyn has noticed her boy is clingy & does the same 'flop' thing that mine does. She suggested, & I aggree with her, that the reason for this could be Flower's over-protectivness. Even when they're out free-ranging, they 'check-in' with you regularly, & like lots of attention.
After much thought, I have decided to go ahead & breed from Lotus when she is old enough. Should the resulting litter produce any manx, I have made provision to keep the entire litter. If I do sell any from the litter, I've made plans to have then de-sexed first. If a line of manx rats is going to start from my Rattery, then I will make doubly sure that they are healthy & sound first, before I sell any that could possibly be bred to produce more.
Breeding of tailless rats is not something to be entered into lightly & ever since my first one showed up back in 2000, I've done a lot of reading up & asking around about it. The result of which, is that I'd not feel comfortable at all, should some time down the track, a less than responsible person got hold of some tailless or carriers, originally from us & bred them irresponsibly.
The potential for abuse in a trait such as tailless is very high. In any type of animal, the rarer varieties are often in demand & people will pay higher prices to obtain one. Some people try to take advantage of these rarities by breeding as many as they can, as quickly as they can, just to make the sales.
The issue of abuse with tailless rats is so much worse, by the fact that the genes that cause the lack of tail are semi-lethal. This is true of most types of animals that come in a tailless variety.
The genetics are very complicated. Specific attention to breeding, completely accuarate record keeping & an on-call vet is a must to ensure the safety of the individuals and the soundness of the line. For more info on our own and tailless rats in general please see the article I've written about them.
The next three ratties live together in our lounge room. We are in the process of making improvements to their home. When we're finished, it will be a thee storey affair. Designed specifically so that it will be big enough to house the babies we keep from their litters.
"Rosie" - (pic 2.15)
"Rosie" is a beautiful agouti hooded lady. She was part of a rescue we took in, of 4 female rats back in February 2002. At that time, it was estimated she was not less than 12months old. It was not hard to see that Rosie & her friends (Pixie-now owned by Andrea March, Minty & Tess) had been pets. She is a very outgoing girl, & is a 'cuddly' rat. A thing most female rats aren't known for. When she's free-ranging, she comes to her name from where-ever she may be. She's the only rat that climbs our double staircase to get to the top level of our home.(It's three levels).. It's the funniest thing. When you call her, if she is upstairs, you can hear her coming down the stairs at full speed..plop...plop...plop, she's really heavy-footed... lol.
All the girls we took in, were well socialised & used to free-ranging. Pixie is the only one I adopted out, although I'd planned on trying to find homes for all of them, I became too attached to them & they stayed here.
Rosie & Pixie were younger than Tess & Minty, by approx 6months. Minty was put to sleep on November 1st 2002 after she developed a cluster of tumours & her health went downhill very rapidly in the space of a fortnight. Tess died in her sleep very early on Christmas morning 2002 at an estimated age of 2yrs & 7months, she didn't have any tumours thankfully.
Rosie developed two small, soft tumours that I noticed on January 17th 2002. We booked her in to see Laryssa and they were successfully removed. She continued her active lifestyle for more than a year. Around mid-May 2003, Rosie appeared to have "lost her mind". I suspect she suffered a stroke. After this she just seemed to forget where she was and who we were, she didn't respond to noise much anymore(almost like she was deaf) and she was no longer active and racing around, preferring to sleep most of the time. She passed away in her sleep on 31st May 2003. I doubt we'll ever have another quite like her. Rest in Peace our unforgetable little Rose.
"Carawatha Georgia" - (pic 2.16)
Little "Georgiagirl" as we call her, is Sateens pastel mink hooded Silk daughter. She too is very like her mother in appearance & ratinality. Georgia though, is more active & has some of the funniest habits. She's forever jumping some-rattie-else's bones, for no other reason than just for something to do... Before she moved into the house to be company for Rosie, she was forever stirring everyone up, bouncing around like a nut. If she happens to be in heat, she'll even get a bit frisky with your hand too...lol...
I've never seen a rat popcorn & play the silly's with your hand as much as this one. She will literally do it for hours, she never seems to grow tired of it. She even feels extra-warm, when you pick her up after a session of it, like if she were a person, she'd be very very red in the face. Georgia is such a sweet silly little soul, she reminds me so much of the character "Scrat", from the ice-age animated movie. Even his facial expressions... I can see she will end up with many, many photos taken of her. In fact the pic, left, of her, is so typical of her look & the expression on her face in it, is so telling of her nature. She's such a wally.
Georgia is in line to be mated to one of our silk boys to help identify the nature of the genes that cause this coat type.
"Lacock Leona Little" - (pic 2.17)
"Leo" is Carawatha Gnala's daughter. Her name is a mixture of things. Leona is the spanish word for Lioness, & the Little part of her name(after stuart Little), I used because her father's name is Stuart(Just appealed to me at the time :) I put the Little second beacuse often-times if something is translated to english from another language, it is literally said in the reverse.
Leo is a silverfawn Berkshire & comes from our original line. We recently moved her into the living room too, as she seemed to be getting picked on in the main girls group. She went through a couple of weeks there where she was squeeking at everything & nothing. At first I thought it was just ocasional & as a number of the girls from her line have been squeeky, (her grandmother, "Pocahontas" was like that) I wasn't worried. However I observed her one evening, squeeking & leaping around as if being bitten by something, yet no-one was anywhere near her. It took me a while to work out what was up. Then I noticed a very small lump on her side, with a tiny bald patch on it. She must have been nicked by one of the girls in the group & it healed, but then developed an abcess underneath. We put her on anti-biotics, & within a day the abcess had lanced itself & she was feeling better. Within a week it was completely healed & she no longer squeeks...or jumps. While she was under the weather there with the abcess, she appeared to stop growing for a couple of weeks. But since she's well again, she has doubled her weight in under a month & is now tipping the scales at nearlly 400grams.
Leo has fast found a special place in my heart. She has a very confident & forceful nature, even from a very young age. But then the females of her line have always been hardy, robust "Amazon Doe's". I've never met a more avid Rodentist either. She's quite unbelievable, she'll actually physically grab your lips with her paws & manhandle you, pushing with her nose too, to pry your mouth open, so she can get inside. I'm sure it must be hilarious to watch. It's sure uncomfortable to be on the receiving end. She also has this re-arranging/tidying up thing happening. esp. when she's out with you.. she's forever grabbing at your clothing, trying to cart it off somewhere, or just dig around in it. She even goes so far as trying to re-arrange & drag around, her housemates, usually by the scruff...
She has the typical face of this line, they have big faces... with very expressive eyes. A friend of mine & fellow rat-lover, Jenny, in NZ, who has also had ratties from this line, made a comment about their facial features, that is very apt... she asked, & I quote "Do the young ones have the unique face with the squishy whisker pads?? "... This is such a good description, they do have more prominent whisker pads than most rats I've seen.
Leo was bred with Bass, one of our DownUnder boys and had a gastronomical pregnancy. She suffered uterine inertia (insufficient contractions) and had to have a C-section. Leo came through fine & in the process was speyed, however the little ones, 6 large healthy looking pups, didn't wake up after the op. This is truly sad for us, as Leo was the chosen girl to continue our sad-sack line. At least she is ok though.
Our last mischief of girls is the one nic-named the "Blazergirls". We have had some problems with some girls becoming rather aggressive towards their cage-mates, as they age. It started With Esperame, who was housed only with the daughter of hers I decided to keep from her litter, "Alley-oop". About 6 weeks later we had cause to move Apache in there too, then the month after that Gabrielle. Ironically, all the girls in this mischief are from the Blaze lines, hence the name. A few weeks later we had cuase to move Kriz in there too.
Even though these girls cause major problems when housed with our others, they seem to live ok together. There are almost daily tussles, but only ego's are hurt. It's like their massive ego's keep each other in check or something. In all the years I've had pet rats, I've never seen behaviour like this.
"Bejayare Esperame" - (pic 2.18) [pronounced S-spare-arm-e]
"Essie" is one of the ratties we adopted from Barry of Bejayare rattery. She is from the Blaze lines, but due to her very mixed markings it's hard to tell if she's a blaze herself or not.
Her name is Spanish, & literally means, "Wait for me". She got this name due to the fact that she always seemed to be left behind, when the girls are out exploring. She if she were a car, she'd be a low-slung sports model. She just looks a lot closer to the ground than the others. Maybe she just has short legs lol. To describe what she looks like(Until I get a decent pic of her)is tough,but here goes. She's agouti in colour. Her pattern is like a capped rat with a large diamond shape on her head which just joins the inlet of white from her shoulders. Her right cheek is all white, and she has a half white chin and marks on her left whisker pads. She has the effect of a dotted line going all the way down her spine and continuing onto her tail. Basically a very mixed up marking pattern. Hence why we aren't sure if she's blaze herself or not.
We bred Essy to our Fawn boy(who has since gone to the bridge) "Shamus". On 20th January 2002 she brought 9 pups into this world. We bred her to Shamus in order to produce some more solid coloured rats with blazes(Like the Initial Irish Blaze boy we got from Barry) later on down the line. We kept two babies from her litter. "Alley-oop", an agouti Cardigan female & "Billy Reuben" a fawn Berkshire male. We also have one boy here that was not re-homed from the litter, & is yet un-named. He is a silverfawn Irish.
We had high hopes for this line, being as Essy's brother "Bejayare Remus" is reported to have produced an odd-eye lighteningblaze baby. However, due to the appalling temperament problems that have surfaced in the blaze lines over the last 18months, especially that of delayed aggression in rats as they age, we are not prepared to take the risk of producing more babies that are not suitable as pets. We only bred three litters from the blaze lines & have had at least a couple of the babies in every litter, develop temperment problems.
It could be entirely possible to breed this aggession out, however, in light of the recent discovery of the delayed onset of aggression as the rats age, this would mean you would need to keep all of the projeny for at least 4 generations, so you could see if they're affected by this as they age or not. Because it doesn't show until they're much older, then you have to breed from them when they're young, but hang onto all the babies just in case the line is affected. To be completely sure it has been bred out would take at least 4 generations if not more. That amount of animals could amount to as many as 120. If the aggression skips a generation, like it has been doing, & also has been noted to do overseas too, then it could prolong the process even more.
The amount of rats you'd need to keep would be too much for our facilities here, to even contemplate such an idea. So we've stopped breeding from this line altogether. There are already many breeders with these lines, & the petshops are also full of them too. So I daresay in years to come the behavioural problems even possibly become endemic among the fancy.
"Carawatha Alley-Oop" - (pic 2.19)
"Alley" is a happy, easy-going little ratty. She is the Agouti Cardigan daughter of Esperame. She is very small in stature, & even though she is nearlly two years old now, she still looks like she's more like 5months old.
She spent a short amount of time living with our main group of girls, about 6weeks. We only moved her out of there, when we had to move her mother out for aggression. Her mother & her got along well & we didn't want her mum to be alone. They've lived together ever since. Alley herself however, has never shown the aggressive tendencies of her house mates yet appears to fit in well and not get picked on, which is good.
"Bejayare Apache" - (pic 2.20)
"Patchi" was originally Indigorats Blaze girl. She is silverfawn & has an almost perfect white blaze that covers her nose & comes to a point on top of her head, between her ears. We adopted her at the same time we got our blues from Indigo's, as she was nursing the blue litter, after their mother died in a bad heatwave when they were only 3weeks old.
Patchi, was always a mild mannered, sweet rat & only developed aggressive tendancies a few months ago. She just started really laying into most of the others she lived with. She is still fine with us though. So we moved her into what is now aptly called the 'blazers' group.
Just prior to her nursing the blue litter, she had just finished with her own litter. She was bred to Indigo's blaze boy, "Bejayare Cherokee", who now lives with Diana at Lacock. The females from her litter were found homes for, as were several of the males. However I still have 4 of the males here. They live in the 'Blazer' group of boys. There are periodic tussles between them, but so far no-one has been hurt. I've handled these boys a lot, & they have grown into big, healthy pets.
"Bejayare Gabrielle" - (pic 2.21)
So-named because she has the face of an angel. "Gabbie" is our black blaze(mm hooded)female. She was always a very kissy rat. She is still fine for us to handle, but alas, in september of last year, she developed aggression too & was placed in this group.
She has a perfect blaze going up to between her ears. I picked her over all the others as my first choice, because she has these little whispey marks of grey through her white whisker-pads - very appealing.
Gabbie is mother to the third & final litter we bred from the blaze line before closing it. The father was "Carawatha Jambalaya", the DU spotted blaze carrier male we kept from our first blaze litter.
They had 8 pups. We kept a black DUspotted male "Tommy Brock" & a girl who looks to be almost his identical twin "Karizma". We did this mating in the hope of finding out if the DU & the blaze markings would mix togehter on the one animal. & to our delight, they do. (pic 2.22 - "Carawatha Serengeti").
"Carawatha Karizma" - (pic 2.23)
Karizma was so-named because she is full of it. She is possibly the most charismatic rattie I've ever known. If she were a human she'd be a politician or ambassador for something really worthwhile. She is a black DU spotted with exquisite markings. Up until January this year, she lived in the main girls mischief, & got along fine with everyone. She was always a busy girl & the best stasher of all of them. Then the first couple of weeks in January I was forever being called to the rat-room with this awful screeching & carry-on. Every time, it was her, laying into someone. It was after she physically injured two of her house mates, that I removed her to the blazers mischief. So far, so good. They appear to be getting along fine.
She still has a good temperament with us & enjoys her free-range time immensely, needless to say, there'll be no breeding from her.
Now for our Newest Additions. Lotus' baby girls & a little rescue. At present they are all still living with Lotus. A situation that will change shortly, as Lotus is now rather tired of their antics & abounding energy all the time, so we'll be placing her back into her usual home again soon.
"Carawatha Star-Anise" - (pic 2.24)
Anise is one of our most recent litter from the manx line. She & her sisters are a playful mischief of fuzzy cuties. Anise is an Opal hooded. She is one of the two most out-going of the girls.
"Carawatha Star-Jazmin" - (pic 2.25)
Jazmin is a silver hooded (pink-eyed blue). She is the Anise's constant companion.
"Carawatha Star-Flower" - (pic 2.26)
Named in honor or her grandmother Flower, this little Dove hooded baby is the a very kissy & fairly quiet little girl. She's the one who's tucked up under your jumper with you, while her sisters are off making mischief in the loungeroom.
"Carawatha Ylang" - (pic 2.27)
Ylang is the baby from this litter that first stole my heart. As is usually the case for me, she is an agouti. Her markings are quite irregular, based on the hooded pattern, but very broken up with lots of body spots. She's one of the first to come out at play-time.
"Carawatha Peony" - (pic 2.28)
This little girl was the last to get her name, & was inadvertently named by my flatmate, after having peed on her... As my naming theme for this line of rats is after flowers & herbs, Peony was a polite way of saying Pee on me. She is the quiet one of the bunch, quite wary to try new things or explore too far from her home. She is an agouti hooded.
"LUCKY" - (pic 2.29)
Lucky came to me as a rescue. At the end of May this year my mother was looking after some of my ratties for me.
My brother had been given Lucky(my Bro's choice of name too :) - by a man he knew, because the guys snake wasn't hungry *hrmph*
My brother gave her to mum. At this stage she was the size of Lotus' two week old bubs, but you could see that she was a bit more advanced, so we estimated her age at that time to be around 3weeks old. Taking into account the amount of time that this 'guy' had her, this would mean that she was taken away from her mother at the tender age of around 10days old. How appalling!
We fostered Lucky onto Lotus, hoping that she'd end up drinking from her along with her own babies. Lotus accepted her well, with no problems, but Lucky never tried to drink from her ever. I expect she'd forgotten how. So we made sure there was a more than plentiful supply of various baby foods for her to eat.
Lucky is an Agouti hooded & super friendly. She's the same size as Lotus babies & still lives with them, looking just like one of the family. We have no plans of ever breeding from her & she'll remain our treasured pet for the entirity of her life.