Thursday, November 27, 2014

Random rodent ramblings (FD)

Some amusing rodent antics, and other random rodent related thoughts.

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We often hear squeaking coming from the rodent cages, since the degus are quite talkative, but when we heard some squeaking coming from over there recently, and Kelly went to look at who it was, he saw Baggins opening and closing his mouth, apparently squeaking. This was strange - and a little worrying - because gerbil squeaks are usually too high pitched for the human ear to detect; except some distress calls. However, closer inspection showed us we had nothing to be worried about. Turned out it was one of the degus squeaking, and Baggins was just opening and closing his mouth in time with the degu's squeaks.

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During feeding time the other day, Bilbo came to see what was for breakfast before we had his bowl back in the ring that holds it in place on the side of their cage. On seeing the lack of bowl, he grabbed on to the ring with both paws and started shaking it. He kept it up - getting rougher and rougher with his shakes - until we were lowering the bowl in to place, then promptly climbed in to the bowl as if to stop us removing it again.

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Rats and degus both make cute noises when grooming each other. The degus make a sound almost like a purr, and the rats make soft squeaking sounds. It's really cute to listen to.

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The weather's been quite cold most of the time lately. Well, cold to the UK, which is just bearly chilly to many countries. But, anyway... We put blankets over the cages on cold nights to help keep the rodent gang warm. Luckily we use old blankets, because there are several holes in them; even the one for the rats, which has only been used a couple of times, already has a couple of small holes in it. Sometimes they seem to just make enough of a tear that they can see out, but a couple of times the degus have torn out pieces of blanket, and we've found them in their nesting box.

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While watching the rats play the other day, Kelly saw Star reach up to the next level of their cage - where Skye was stretched out - to be pulled up by her sister instead of jumping or climbing up herself.

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Skye's generally a very nervous little girl, who spends a lot of time hiding. But if she smells something cooking with cheese - like pizza, for example - her twitching nose will appear almost before you can say "melted cheese"... Star's nose appears even faster, but she's often out of hiding to be sociable and get attention, so you don't notice it as much, if you know what I mean.

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When we put fresh sand in the degus' sand bath, they dive in to it like a child jumping in to a pile of leaves.

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The gerbil cage is between the degus and the rats. The degus often like to go over and check out the gerbils. Now Star and the gerbils are trying to figure each other out too. Skye doesn't seem to have noticed her neighbours yet, but Star is very interested in what those little guys next door might be, and Bilbo and Baggins are curious about her too. I'm not sure how well the degus and rats can see each other, but we have also spotted degus looking over towards the rat cage, while Star stares back in their direction, even when the gerbils are asleep in their burrows, so they might also be checking each other out.

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Star no longer attempts to eat our fingers, but instead grabs them and alternates between giving a gentle nibble and licking. I think she's trying to groom our fingers; she's very gentle when she does it.

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Gave the rodent gang some short sticks of wood to chew on. Mostly they just settle down to chew on them, but Star held hers in her front paws while bouncing about from one ledge to another in her cage before she settled down to chew it.

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One of the rat toys is a wooden toy with a bell in it. Skye mostly ignores it, but Star seems to like it; we often hear the soft jingle noise of the bell as she rolls it around in the cage.

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When we got the degus their new cage in September, one of the things we got them for it was a rope and wood climbing toy. The toy has chains at the top, which we used to attach it to the roof of their cage. The degus have mostly pulled it apart, but they can't quite figure out how to remove the last piece of wood - which was once the top bar where the climbing net was attached - from the chains. One of them (Jenks, I think) is determined to do it though, and keeps trying. I could help him, but trying keeps him busy, and gives him something to puzzle out, so I'm leaving him to it.

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One of the degus keeps pushing a toy under the wheel to stop it spinning when one of his brothers is running on it. I'm sure it's on purpose.

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That's all for today. I should have some photos of the girls to show you soon. And a few new ones of the boys too.

6 comments:

Rita said...

Rodents are very sensitive to smells of food on your fingers and have been known to bite if your fingers smell enough like food to them. It's not that they are being mean. Therefore, it's always a good idea to wash your hands before interacting with them. And even with clean hands...they are attracted to the salt on our skin. They are much more individuals with their own personalities than people think. Sounds like a lot of fun at your place. :)

Victoria Zigler said...

Rita:
Even with clean hands Skye will often nip. I don't think she's being mean though... I think it's sometimes that she gets a bit rough when trying to give an affectionate nip, and other times that we startled her. Jenks was the same way when we first got him (in fact, worse, since Skye hasn't drawn blood, but Jenks often did) but he's learned to be gentler now. I don't hold nipping against them; I'd nip too if I was scared by a giant hand coming towards me!

It's amazing how even sibling groups have such different personalities.

Intense Guy said...

Such a bunch of characters!! They certainly keep you entertained!

Sounds like the Degus are smart too - they want the blanket inside the "bedroom"!

Victoria Zigler said...

Iggy:
Yes, they certainly do! And, yes, they're very smart little critters!

AliceKay said...

Sounds like the rats and degus keep you pretty busy. lol I personally wouldn't want anything like that for a pet, but I'm glad you were able to get them.

Victoria Zigler said...

AK:
Yeah, they keep us very busy!

I know they're not everyone's idea of good pets - especially the rats - but I think they're sweet; very smart too!