Baby, Girl, Honey, and Sweetheart: Rattus Rattus Girls
Find the Good Life in the Big Apple
By Jane Adamo
A construction worker in Pennsylvania disturbed a wild
rat nest and mom ran away. Well, she probably would
have come back but he was kind hearted and bought
the 6 babies to AARK Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
When they were old enough, I took the 4 girls and Laurie
Ratcliffe took the 2 boys. I named the girls Baby, Girl, Honey, and
At the time, we all believed they were wild Norvegicus, but
as they grew up, it became apparent that they were wild Rattus!
My girls were installed in my bathroom where they
pretty much lived out their lives free range. They
were hysterical. Unlike Norvegicus, Rattus goes UP!
When you walked into the room, you would find them
sitting on the shower curtain rod, on top of the
medicine cabinet, hanging off the towel hook behind
They grew to love me very very much and always poured
out of the nest and ran over to me whenever I came to
visit. They want to be all over you and will act
like little chicks. If I squatted down, they always
wanted to sit UNDER me. Still, they retained some wild
behavior: Rattus is more truly nocturnal than Norvegicus --
almost comatose during the day. So they have a (wise) biting
reflex if you wake them in the nest. But Rattus also has a very
weak bite so the bites aren't usually serious at all. In fact, it
became a game with me every morning: could I get my hand in and out
to freshen the food dish without getting nailed? And they are even
more enthusiastic chewers than Norways: the bottom of my bathroom door
is still a mess. They retained their skittishness when outside of
their environment. The few times they got out of the bathroom, it was
hard to get them back. They were very freaked out.
Rattus is absolutely adorable, they look like big mice. They have
huge doe-like eyes. And the wild agouti coloring is really wonderful.
You'll read that keeping Rattus is a challenge. I didn't find it that
much of a challenge. The experience pays you back for the damage to the door.
It's like having your own zoo exhibit!
Where can you find wild Rattus? Contact a local wildlife rehabber and tell
them you are willing to take Rattus in. Also, look carefully in pet stores.
Sometimes wild Rattus actually gets in with the domesticated pet Norways!
If you ever get the chance to take wild Rattus in, do so!
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