This article is from the Sept./Oct. 1990 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Sheryl Leisure, Upland. CA
When I first went to the pet shop, I had no intentions of buying any more rats. Sounds familiar, right? But, like us all, while there innocently buying shavings, I asked the clerk to see any rats that they might have.
Now, let me give you some background. I own two female rats, nothing fancy and definitely not much hope for an extensive breeding program! My adoring husband reluctantly agreed to allow me to have these two (I’ll let you in on a little secret, he secretly stashes his apple cores and bread crusts from his lunches to feed them when he gets home from work) anyway, he’s not too keen on any more rats. Then came Tinker.
This particular pet shop was The Most Disgusting one that I have ever been to. It hurt me to see the hundreds of rats (and other animals) hidden away in the back room living in squalor. I realized that these rats were . . . ahem . . . snake food and I told him that I was interested in rats for pet purposes. He led me to a dirty aquarium containing two adult rats and approximately ten or so four-week-old babies. Although their fur was dirty and yellowed, I could see that the adults and two of the babies were an unusual grey hooded color.
He went on to explain that these rats were a special grey fancy variety and that his boss wanted $6.99 each for them. Well, to my surprise, I saw “Tootsie,” a Champagne Hooded TAILLESS in there. Even at those prices, I decided to purchase her. I didn’t have enough money to buy both of the unusual grey babies, so I decided on the female because her hood was clean and I still wasn’t sure of myself enough to know whether this was really a rare color. As it turns out, her adult coat has come in splendidly and she is quite pretty. Her color is a silver blue-grey, a light cool version, quite different from the more common brownish-grey rats [see Article on Blue Rats]. I am really thrilled that she is unusual and that the $6.99 was not an expensive mistake.
The same day, we made an attempt to go back and pick up Tinker’s brother. All of a sudden, none of those rats were for sale. Hmmmmm . . . I will try again in a few weeks to see if the parents or the brother have reproduced their lovely color. I hope that their living conditions do not keep this from happening.
Tinker is in fair health considering those conditions. She developed the sniffles while I was on vacation and she gave it to my other two rats despite my request to our relatives to keep them apart while I was gone. Fortunately, I have a wonderful vet named Ann McDowell close by in Claremont who is familiar with treating rats. She prescribed liquid Chloropalmitate twice a day for all three rats and in ten days of treatment, they are almost completely lacking the sniffley sneezes.
With the help of Karen Hauser, I hope to keep Tinker as a pet and still explore breeding possibilities in an attempt to reproduce her color. Be looking for results in a few months. Tootsie in also in the capable hands of a well-known breeder friend and hopefully we’ll see more Tailless from her. We’ll keep you posted!!