American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2008 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

TV Review

Modern Marvels: RATS

By Hattie McRattie

TV: The History Channel
Air Date: April 30, 2008
Run Time: 60 minutes

It started early January 2008 with a simple e-mail from Kaylan Eggert. Who’s Kaylan Eggert? She is a Writer/Producer for Modern Marvels: a production of The History Channel. She was researching an educational documentary on Rats and wanted some general information about the more delightful side of rats and she thought AFRMA would be a good resource. After several Q & A emails, Kaylan told me that she had visited our website and was very interested in our rat shows. I told Kaylan AFRMA would be having our Annual Color Show on January 26 and she should join with us for an out-of-the-ordinary, but fascinating day. She was so excited at the prospect of spending the day filming and interviewing, she cleared it with the History Channel right away and on January 26, Kaylan and the cameras were at Woodcrest Community Center bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (excuse the pun). They spent the whole day with us and everybody got their picture taken and almost everybody was interviewed. How were they going to cut this down to a twelve-minute segment? We wanted the whole hour. April 30, 2008, was the air date on the History Channel and we could hardly wait. DVD recorders and DVRs set and ready to record that satellite signal soon to beam AFRMA across the world.

We knew, of course, there would be the obligatory segment on extermination. That was out of the way, first thing. Second, they did an interesting segment on how rats are bred and hand raised in laboratories. Then came miscellaneous information that we could have done without; however, it was interesting to learn that the Norway rat didn’t come from Norway, but was studied in Norway and that’s how it got its name.

2008 is the year of the Rat. The rat is the first sign of the Chinese zodiac and it is said that it is quite an honor to be born in the year of the rat. Just some of the traits of the Rat are they are born leaders, clever, charming, energetic—on the down side they are cunning, controlling, aggressive, and can be quick tempered.

At Nebraska’s Wesleyan University, the Extreme Rat Challenge is the final exam for the laboratory portion of their psychology class called Learning. Rats are taught to use their natural abilities and skills in challenges such as long-jumping, swimming, climbing, agility courses, and hurdles.

After more miscellaneous information, IT’S OUR TURN! A flurry of people and rats and we see Karen Robbins, our President, as she talks for the camera while holding a beautiful Russian Blue Agouti owned by Ken and Connie Van Doren, bred by Carol Lawton. We see Carol Lawton doing a health check and watch Karen do a demonstration and explanation of the how and why of the health check. Aubrey and her mother, Sandra, are asked to speak to the camera and each gives their rat a big kiss. We see Gina Pomeroy in her white judge’s smock explaining the Stud Buck class and indicating what she is looking for. The Cinnamon Pearl wins Stud Buck. Next shot, Gina is about to announce Best in Show and it’s the Cinnamon Pearl again—bred and shown by Mayumi Anderson.

We are next taken to Rachel Miller’s Rattery, Package Ratz, for a tour. The rats have their own room (of course). Rachel has boys’ cages and play area, a nursery, and girls’ cages and play area. Rachel gives the camera a cute demonstration of how and why rats clean themselves.

After Rachel, we are taken to the Medical College of Wisconsin, where research is being done whereby the green fluorescent DNA of a jellyfish is implanted and the product is a pup that glows green under a blue light with a yellow filter. This does not hurt the rat yet it allows critical research to be done.

Lastly, we are introduced to Roborat as scientists at the University of New York show us how a remote controlled rat could become the ultimate rescue animal.

If you didn’t happen to catch the show, it will undoubtedly show again as a rerun, so keep checking your local listings for The History Channel. Yes, we would have loved the whole hour, but we enjoyed our 12 minutes of international fame. *

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June 11, 2015