I found Mustard passed away in the cage on Thursday. She’s the first one to die at home and there was no sign of illness or anything, I was so shocked. She was just stretched out in their nest under the shelf with her eyes closed. I guess she just went to sleep and didn’t wake up, which is quite comforting as it doesn’t seem as if she suffered.

She came to live with me in July ’07 with Pepper after being advertised free to a good home as her original owner had got 2 kittens and no longer wanted her rats. They were being kept in a hamster cage and had to be manually extracted from a tube, they were that unused to being held. They settled in with the other 4 girls with barely a squeak. Mustard never liked being held and would wriggle like mad when I got hold of her but she was friendly and liked to clamber about on me, so was never a problem to catch, I just waited for her to come to me!

Mustard was always a skinny little girl, only getting over 300g in her last month or so. When she first arrived she could get out of the Tommy, so I had to mesh up the cage until she grew. I will always remember her for being a livewire, for being the first one out to play and always starfishing even when the rest were all asleep. She used to sit on my shoulder and jump 2 – 3 feet through the air to the playpen wall so she could escape for a wander round the other side. Sometimes she made it as well! And if she didn’t she just came back for another go! She could climb up the playpen wall as well, with one front foot round the side of the door and the other and her back feet propelling her up the wood. She was so light and quick.

Bye bye baby girl, we will miss you and your mad antics.

Pile of pet rats snuggled together

Pile of pet rats snuggled together

Mustard - pet / fancy silver fawn rat

None of the photos capture her that well, she was never still for long enough to get good ones! Here are three videos of her, one from when she first arrived and two later ones of her showing off her agility skills! I think they sum her up better because she is on the go.


August 27, 2008

Just had to share this lovely photograph of Nutmeg and Doughnut sharing the Sputnik. They don’t all squidge in it like the babies and Sugar did with their hamster-sized one, there’s normally just one or two in it but they do seem to like it. Nutmeg in particular seems to have taken it on as her own!

A brief update on Mustard. I just think she’s been eating all the pies and i’ve been unobservant! Have weighed her again and she isn’t putting any more weight on. Will carry on keeping an eye on her and weigh her again in a week but I am happier now that there isn’t anything wrong with her.

A bit more info…

August 23, 2008

on the follicular tumour, from a highly experienced rat breeder on the NFRS forum. There are apparently different types and some contain hair follicules. They can get quite big, which I can imagine as Charlotte’s was growing fairly quickly and there’s no particular reason why some rats get them. The good news is that it’s unlikely to reoccur.

I have been thinking some more about my cages and groups today and have come to a sort-of decision. When I get beau castrated i’m going to put him in with my younger girls (Sugar’s ‘babies’ and Fogwatt) which will be a group of 5. I will then have the group of 4 boys and a group of 7, which will be my six ‘oldies’ who are all now older than a year, and Sugar. I’m going to split the Duetto and put the boys in the bottom, and the girls and Beau in the top and put the ‘oldies’ in the Tommy. I’m going to put the Tommy back to how it should be with levels and ramps though to make it easier for them to get about (not that they really need help!). That’s the current plan anyway! Obviously depends on Beau getting on with the girls.

I also have noticed recently that Mustard is putting on weight and not being quite as kamikazee as usual, so I weighed her today and she is 352g, which is about 70g heavier than the 280ish g she’s been forever! I’m not sure why this is, hopefully she’s just getting old and a bit slower so not burning up quite as many calories. Really hoping she’s not pregnant, which i think is unlikely as i’m sure if she was going to get into the boys cage she would have done it before now and, coz I always think of the worse, another option could be pyometra which is a pus-filled uterus so causes ratty to look pregnant. I will definitely be keeping an eye on her over the next few days.