Merry Christmas from Pixel and Pica!

Posted on December 26th, 2007 in by Cassi

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Christmas for my rat boys. They didn’t get any special presents (because they’re already spoiled). But they did get a big dish of baby food and a few Flat Earth Fruit Chips - both of which they adore. And their grandmom saved up a huge trash bag full of card board tubes. Maybe tomorrow I’ll pick up a new hammock for them. Right now they’re scampering around in the kitchen… probably getting into trouble.

Good night and Merry Christmas!

Pixel’s Head Tilt Update 2

Posted on December 19th, 2007 in by Cassi

Pixel’s doing a lot better so far. He’s still a little tilty and off balance, but not as bad as before. He’s acting much perkier and more playful than when I first noticed the tilt. He’s basically acting like his old self again, just not as balanced. I’ve read that when rats get a head tilt it may never go away. So far it’s still hanging with him, so that may be the case. I’m glad I bought the flatter instead of taller cage for them, so I don’t have to worry about long falls. The time I notice the balance issue the most is when I pick him up. He sort of rolls over in my hand onto his back, making it hard to hold him. It’s really strange. But I’ll keep everyone updated if he gets better or worse.

Pixel’s Head Tilt Update

Posted on December 13th, 2007 in by Cassi

I managed to get Pixel into the vet a day early today. They prescribed Baytril as an antibiotic and Meloxicam as an anti-inflammatory. Luckily he only has to take them both once a day. I had no problems with the Meloxicam; it’s flavored with something sweet. But he just wasn’t interested in the Baytril, so I mixed it with a little bit of baby food. He ate it right up after that! The vet also wanted me to feed him soft foods to be sure he’s staying hydrated. Hopefully the Baytril will do its job. If he isn’t doing better by Monday, I’ll have to take him back for some tests and x-rays. I really don’t want to have to do that, so keep your fingers crossed for him.

So after he finished the medicine he got to dig into a nice dish of Peach-Banana-Oatmeal flavored baby food. :D Of course Pica had to have some too. Here they are as the dish is getting empty. It also shows more of Pixel trying to walk with his head tilted.

Metacognition in Rats

Posted on December 11th, 2007 in by Cassi

I just came across an interesting article about metacognition in rats: Basically it says a study has shown that rats are capable of thinking about whether or not they know something. Here’s an excerpt:

Researchers have believed for some time that people and non-human primates are capable of “metacognition”–reasoning or thinking about one’s own thinking. There have been studies on birds about this kind of thinking process, but results thus far have been inconclusive. The new study is the first that shows a non-primate species has metacognition–a proposal that may well be controversial.

I always tell people how smart rats are, and no one believes me! Now I have proof. :P It’s an interesting article, and some of the “related articles” next to it are pretty interesting too.

P.S. An update on Pixel - I called the vet earlier to make an appointment, and the person who answered the phone said it definitely just sounds like an ear infection. Unfortunately, I can’t get him in to get some medicine until Thursday :( But at least it isn’t something more serious.

My poor rat baby has a head tilt…

Posted on December 10th, 2007 in by Cassi

I went to take the boys out to play tonight and Pixel wasn’t acting normal. Pica ran right up to my hand, but Pixel stayed in his bed. He just sat there grooming himself for a while until I finally just picked him up and took him out. He seems to be healthy besides the tilt and acting a little disoriented. He’s still eating, playing, and grooming. Here’s a short video of him wobbling around. Sorry for the poor quality.

I’ll keep everyone updated as I find out more about his condition. A lot of sources online say it’s most likely an inner ear infection. Hopefully it’s not something more serious like a tumor or stroke. I’ve also heard that a head tilt can become a permanent condition. :( I’m going to try to get him into the vet as soon as possible.

Why Do Rats Like Beer So Much?

Posted on December 4th, 2007 in by Cassi

I guess I can’t blame them, I like beer too!

Before I go further, please know that they didn’t actually drink any beer except for the couple of drops left on the top of the bottle after I was finished with it.

They have always been interested in the scent of beer though. I’m not sure why that is, but it is pretty funny.

Pixel: “So is this where the beer comes out??”

Pixel Beer Bottle

Pica: “Maybe it’s behind this label…”

Pica Beer Label

“Aha! Found it!”

Pica Beer Bottle

“Sweet, sweet beer….”

Rats Beer Bottle

To be honest, they had more fun playing with the paper packet my tea bag came in than the beer bottle…

Rat Tea