Urs’ birthday party!

We had a little party for Urs today. We don’t know his exact birthday, but we’ve estimated that it’s around nowish. He is 3(ish!), which makes him the oldest rat we’ve ever had and he’s doing remarkably well considering!

I made cake (what party would be complete without?) which Urs got first dibs on the sofa before it was broken up and presented to the hoarde. David helped with the candles but Urs needed no help with his wish – he wished for new back leggies!


"all for me?"

He wasn’t that bothered by the cake at first, he licked at the frosting and covered his paws in it.. but once the wrapper was off he got very excited and decided he needed to take it somewhere a little more private.

Definitely all for Urs!


Even the wrapper was too delicious to waste and must be defended from thieving humans!

Not rubbish, apparently!

The others didn’t seem to think cake was worth getting out of bed for. Ptarmie and Burdock were already up and Minnow managed to drag himself out of bed.. and Boo just appeared as if from no where! Everyone else stayed in bed.

"you snooze, you lose" says Boo

Happy birthday Ursula, keep going strong!

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Littlies and fosters!

The littlies are at that funny teenager stage, where they start to get grown-up faces but still look like little babies. They’re growing into really lovely, naughty little men – they spent the majority of last nights free range making life very difficult for David every time he tried to leave the room by trying to follow him everywhere.

Ptarmie ❤

Burdock ❤

Ptarmie with the Pootster

Poot is beautiful

We’ve got some fosters staying with us at the moment, called Hovis and Marmite. They are a lovely reminder of how trusting rats are, and how well they adapt to new situations. They arrived in a rather manky “mouse” cage and didn’t know what to do when I opened the door – they just huddled in their box at the back. After a while they’d come to the door but would dart back to the box if I moved or made a noise, so in the end I had to take the cage apart to get them out. They’ve been with us a few days now and run straight over to see you as soon as you show interest in them, climbing the bars and asking to come out. Marmite especially will be out and exploring as soon as you open the door – he’s very clever!


Funny dumbo face close-up!

Hovis is taking a little longer to get his confidence back, but he finds reassurance in his brother and is more than happy to follow his lead. We had our first boggle from Hovis yesterday which was lovely!

Hovis says "hello!"

..and then *pose*


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Pea fishing, lovely Urs and recycled toys.

Last night’s free range activities included some pea (and broccoli) fishing, which we haven’t really done since it started to get cold. Everyone got stuck in, but it took Ptarmigan and Burdock an hour or so to work out what was going on. They’ve not had many free ranges in the hallway so they’re still a bit jumpy at the prospect of being allowed on the floor in a room which smells of cat. They love the tree house though! They spent a lot of their time climbing to the top, clambering up the coats and sitting up high on top of the coat hooks with Esme and Oak.

Urs thoroughly enjoyed the fishing and was really happy, which was wonderful. He even came for a cuddle and sat on my lap licking malt paste off my fingers.

Licklicklicklicklick ^^

Kisses for mummy!


Boo didn’t leave the side of the fishing dish for the whole free range *rolls eyes*

Boojum's peas. All for Boojum.


MiniMallow ❤

Oak's a dunker!

Tasty pea!

After free range I decided I’d take apart a toy which has been hanging around for ages without really being used. It was originally a little flower bed border thingy from 99p stores which I used as a ladder in the cage.. it’s now 2 bridges and a perchy rope-type thing!

New old toys!

The plan is that the top bridge will be more difficult to walk across, since all the support is in the middle.. but hopefully not impossible! We shall see.

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In Memorium: Krindle.

From time to time I will be writing about past ratties, in no particular order and just when I am reminded of them. Krindle will be the first.

Krindle was a rescue, he arrived with his brother Dandelion as a youngster in October 2007 and left us almost exactly a year later aged about 15 months. He was never a well rat and suffered with respiratory problems for most of his life, but he was a bright little man with oodles of charm and a brilliant personality. His rather extreme naughtiness meant that he was sometimes a little hard work; he somehow managed to escape free-range no matter the obstacle, he was a thief, a carpet shredder, he terrorised his cage-mates and made life very awkward for new additions. Despite all of his bad habits he was a truly loveable and highly amusing companion. I’ve been thinking about Krindle recently as we are spending our final (hopefully) months with Urs, who is old and frail but with a real determination very similar to Krindle’s. We have a phrase here, when a rat is ill or old or battling some disability or other with grace and grit – they’re “kickin’ it for Krindle”. Urs is very much kickin’ it for Krindle right now, long may he continue.

Krindle in his prime.

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Welcome to this rather awkward first post. Toesandwhiskers will be an occasional diary chronicling the life of our colony of rats, so let me introduce them all.

At the time of writing our cage is home to 8 beasts; ranging from just over 3 months to almost 3 years.

Boojum. 25 months, wonderfully squishy ginger dumpling. Boojum is a rescue from a breeding situation which got out of hand.

Boojum in his wooly sock-jumper ^^

Shunamite Mr Minnow. 16 months, handsome and burly but soppy too.


Shunamite Poot. 16 months, Cheeky and slight (in comparison to his brother!).

"Time to come out and play?"

Esme. 16 months, tiny, cantankerous and fiercely independent. Esme is a rescue, she was found living wild.

Esme on her first birthday, enjoying some mousse.

Urs. 35 months, determined, occasionally grumpy but always charming. Urs is a rescue from Woodside Animal Welfare Trust in Plymouth.

Beautiful Urs enjoying a snack on Christmas day 2010.

Oak. 7 months, small, springy and eternally curious. Oak is a rescue, he was the only boy baby from his foster group.

Shiny beast.

Valiance Ptarmigan. 3 months, bold, energetic and friendly.


Valiance Burdock. 3 months, playful, bouncy and always up for a cuddle.

Burdock contemplating escape..

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