Thursday, August 9, 2012


Taliesin wanted pet rats for his birthday. He is certainly getting old enough to shoulder the responsibility of a pet, so we let him do the research and planning for his intended pets. But the litter he registered for wasn't due until after his birthday, so he had to make do with chocolate-cake rats!

...but we ate those rats. He served them to his friends at his birthday party. That crown on his head is his very special 10th-birthday crown. It is our family tradition that children receive a crown for their "crown year". Taliesin's is a golden circlet with fluorite beads worked into it.

Taliesin had registered for a litter of rats that were due on or about his birthday. When he hadn't heard anything by 2 days after his birthday, he emailed the breeder, and received the devastating reply that the doe had died in labour, along with all of her babies. He was so very sad; this is him replying to the breeder with his condolences.

The breeder he'd originally chosen didn't plan any new litters, so I got on the internet and looked for new breeders. As luck would have it, we did find a lovely person on the mainland who had a litter of rats almost ready to be adopted, and one male still unspoken for. She had another male that she'd intended to keep for herself, but after hearing Tal's disappointing story she offered to sell him both together. She had originally named these two brothers Harry and Ron, but Tal changed their names to Mercury and Star. Here they are at only a few weeks old.

And here they are as teenagers! There have been a few little bumps in the road as we get to know them (rat-lice, right off the bat, and then stress-induced respiratory illness, and potty-training woes), but Tal has so far overcome each hurdle with grace and dedication. He is a very responsible rat-owner, does all the care and cleaning himself, and luckily still smitten, as they are with him. A few months ago I knew next to nothing about keeping rats, and wasn't particularly excited about the idea, but they've definitely grown on me. They're incredibly personable, intelligent, and entertaining, and I think an excellent choice of pet for a dedicated 10-year-old boy.

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