My daughter asked me for a pet goldfish, and I didn't want to get her a pet goldfish because they're not that fun to play with, having kept fish. However, at the pet store I saw some rats and I used to keep rats before I had the kids and remembered how great they were as pets. But, I wanted rats that were friendly, well socialised, and I didn't know if these ones from the pet store were friendly. That, and they were all lumped together, so if there were co-sex mingling, I didn't want to bring home a pregnant rat.
So I went online to look for baby rats. There were a few on Gumtree and after a few sms enquiries, I got one positive response, and decided to go look the same day. The pet store they were kept in had girls separated from the boys, and there were only 2 left. I put my hand in the cage to handle them to see what they were like and they were both friendly so I bought them both, and a new cage and a water bottle and set of home.
My daughter held the shoe box reverently for most of the way, and we stopped at one of the pet stores and I opened the shoe box and placed the box in their new cage whilst we went in to try and buy some litter. When we came back to the car, both rats were out of the cage - they were still quite small and managed to slip through the bars and were walking on top of the cage, much to my children's delight. I cringed a little as I saw their little hands trying to pick the rats up and though I put them back in the cage and set off home, they were soon out of the cage again, wandering around the car seats and keeping the children entertained.
I used shredded paper to line their cage as I didn't get the litter, and attached their water bottle, but I was unsure if they knew how to use it - my previous rat had difficulty learning how to use it so I hoped they would be ok. I gave them some dry bread to snack on whilst they got used to their surroundings, and the children spend the next hour looking at them and trying to pat them.
They are both blue hoods, with imperfect pale markings on their heads - my daughter named one Diamond, and the other I named Tyrael Tyrael has a large white patch on her head whereas Diamond's pale patch is much smaller and less noticeable.
The next day, hubby bought them a wheel, a cloth hammock tunnel and a strawberry house, and they seemed to take to that very well. He also got the kitty litter, a paper based one, and used it to line the cage. I wanted to start toilet training them so he set aside a takeaway container and put the paper that they had from the cage before in it, and I moved all their droppings there - but they prefer to SLEEP in their toilet than poo in it!
I will go do more research on toilet training rats!