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Rat-Sized Lobsters! Yum.

We always try to get the rats new foodstuffs when possible. Although it's great that they have tried and true favorites like Yogies, peanut butter, avocados etc, the sheer look of excitement that they show when something new lands in their treat dish is enough to put me on the quest.

And we're very fortunate to have a great grocery store here called Jungle Jim's that always has something in the markdowns from various parts of the globe for us to bring home to the rats, but there's a huge list of not-so-affordable things as well. Seafood is one of them (that's what happens when you're nearest body of water is the Ohio River).

As fortune would have it (or perhaps that's not so fortunate if you were the delivery boy), Andy-human had to go to Louisiana for work. For $2.99 per lb, the notion of mini-lobsters couldn't be passed by (pre-boiled for our convenience nonetheless!) so Andy-human grabbed a lb on his way home and the party began!

Here's some snippets from the escapade:

This is Harold. He doesn't look too bright but he was one of the few who actually figured it out all by himself.

Harold took his crawdad and headed into the basement where his igloo is. In privacy (well, an interrupted privacy) he began to crack open his Little Harold Lobster.

When asked if he had any advice for the inexperienced rats out there, Harold responded, "the best way to eat one is to use one's sharp nibblers to break the shell then scoop out some portion of it and eat it like you would a sno-ball. Oh, and wear goggles tp protect yourself from the flying Charmin-debris!"

Meet Lunch. There's nothing in the name, really. When presented with a Little-Lunch-Lobster he walked right past it because he wanted to run about and play.

Fret not. We wouldn't let him miss his experience by letting all of his cagemates take advantage of his Little Lunch Lobster so Andy-human broke the tail open for him so he could see what was inside. It kept him busy for about a minute and then it was time to play :o)

When we asked Lunch for lobster-dining advice, he said "Eat quickly, leave some on your beard, and get back to work! You can always enjoy the leftovers later."

This is Charmin. He has worked long and hard to maintain his, um... figure...by preserving energy and avoiding activity at all costs, that is.

And he wasn't too happy when we gave him this puzzle. He was at first, of course, giddily hopping about the cage showing off his new find to all of his cagemates (who were at that point disinterested as they had one as well), but after a few moments he realized that this thing he had in his mouth was more evil than the strongest of nuts. I mean, really, what is this thing?

So he dropped his lobster and decided to inspect the others' progress with their little lobsters. Maybe they knew something he didn't and, of course, one can preserve more calories if one steals another's find, so it's always worth ambling about to find those little pots of gold.

But he still didn't get it. Poor Harold was protecting his lobster against, essentially, nothing. Charmin still didn't understand that there was something inside the shell. But we tried just one more time to offer him, tail-opened-end-up, his lobster and WOW! The lights came on!

There was no stopping him now! Bits of shell were being tossed aside (really, if you were a rat, being near Charmin at that point in time was a very dangerous place to be) and he just couldn't get inside fast enough. His solution? To put as much in his mouth, shell and all, that would fit inside at any point in time.

That doesn't work, by the way.

Anyway, we asked Charmin for his advice and he said, "I recommend you have someone scoop it all out for you. If you can't have that, though, just steal the tails from everyone - that's the best part! And don't forget to furl your nose: It makes the humans think that they've made you really happy (they have!) and they'll give you more!"

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