But, I know what you are a thinking they are vermin, they are lab animals, and " it's a shame about the tails"! Well, read further....
I have owned guinea pigs regularly; they are delightful, vocal and responsive pets...and they don't kick and scratch, which, to me, put them ahead of rabbits as a choice when it came to selecting my children's pets. Believe me, rats didn't even get a look in for beng chosen in those days, hence depriving them of what would have been wonderful pets. Sorry kids. Along with all their cats and dogs, we also owned and bred lots of mice. My mother will be shuddering at the memories of my breeding mice while still at school as they kept escaping and appearing in the kitchen cupboards... white, tan and obviously mine, not wild ones.. On reflection, I can say that although fun, the mice can smell musty, particularly the males, and when handled, cover your clothes in "eau de mouse" pee...as ours did, until the cats broke into the cage of our last batch and ate them :(... that will teach me for upgrading to a super duper, fab space age mouse hotel....the tunnels fell off and the cats just ate them when they came out. In fact, they probably dislodged the tunnels deliberately.
Rats... no never. Rats... that tail... eeeeeeew - well - that was how I felt for many years... until I started working with them. I initially avoided the rat cages, but one day, the students acquired a particularly fine, pure white one and named her after me. Hmm.. I remember feeling a bit strange about it at the time. I started to look at her admiringly (studiously avoiding the tail) when I went past; until finally managing a careful stroke... eventually getting to the point where I would open the cage and give her a cuddle when no one was looking.... Sweet Fi. Since then I have had a few rats named after me... "Ratafia" perhaps my favourite variation...all of course beautiful and intelligent specimens! The tails don't worry me at all!
These days we can't breed them fast enough for the market demand from people who love our well handled and healthy rat babies...
Emily - showing off her lovely markings, and a TAIL:
So, a here is a celebration from one of my past vet nursing students', Chantal, member of the local Rat Club, posted to celebrate the rat's first birthday.
There was cake for everyone:
and a feast of spaghetti and peas
with a juicy chop
Happy Birthday ratties..