...I had many surrogate children. Now, take a deep breath, oh ye of faint heart. For what I am about to tell you may shock you to the core.
I like rats. Pet rats, fancy rats that is... rattus norvegicus, rather than the black rat of the "carrying the fleas that carried the plague" fame. They are truly delightful, similar in temperament to dogs, and just as easily trained! I'm giving you fair warning, there will be a couple of photos later, that you may well not want to see - I fully understand that some people think that they are pretty foul.
As I was looking for photos for this blog post, I came to the realisation that I've not scrapbooked about any of the rats so far, hence this post. Here's hoping it doesn't send you reaching for the close tab.
I've had the pleasure of knowing 22 in all, mostly in batches, and mostly females. Female rats are inquisitive, intelligent, friendly and very sociable. Our first big group were 6 girls named after 50s film stars, of which Dot (Doris) was my favourite. She was tiny, but by far the bravest of them all.
(notice I'm easing you in by not showing a picture that shows her tail!)
At one point, we had 13 - due to a pregnant pet shop rat. We gave all the females to good homes, but kept the males, 6 in all, named after Liverpool FC managers. If I could remember the names or thought you'd be interested, I'd list them! *sexism alert* They pretty much behaved as stereotypical male animals - sat around stuffing their faces with food, peeing everywhere and didn't move much. Working on their fat storage, presumably. They were still delightful, but much less interesting to watch than the giddy girls.
I shan't go on any more, but shall leave you with a photo of another glamorous rat Mazz (named after Marilyn Monroe). She was an albino rat, the ones with the pink eyes, and was a grumpy little sod. Unsurprising though, seeing as she couldn't see past her whiskers. The head-scarf is due to hair-loss, the story of which I may well share another day...
So, tell me. Do they make you cringe? Or do you want to reach out and stroke?