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Some rats have psychological problems.

We had one rat, George, who was unquestionably not entirely there. He wasn't stupid by any means, as a matter of fact, he was always quite alert and had a most keen sense of hearing. George's mother also was a bit on the delusional side although we had always attributed her behaviors to not being handled enough and to having purchased her as an adult rather than as a child. Unfortunately she had passed away by the time George reached adulthood and started to exhibit delusional behaviors himself.

When George was young, he was like all the other rats. He was very playful both with his fellow vermin and with his humans. Once his pack of rats started to establish dominance, however, George seemingly snapped. There was no doubt that he was one of the top contenders for the rat presidential election, but he just didn't seem to be interested. As a matter of fact, he rarely fought with his immediate competition, but rather would lash out at anyone or anything that was nearby. He would do this randomly, and often without logical reason. By logical reason I mean that if a rat accidentally lands on another rat's butt, chances are, the rat with the touched butt will whip around and teach the offending rat a lesson. George, however, simply heard voices and attempted to kill the nearest rat, person, or object. We just assumed he was highly aggressive and a bit confused, that is until he proved to us that he could hear things no other rat could hear.

When the two little albino guys had their fun with hanging themselves by the neck on our kitchen chair (see "Rats have spacial perception problems.") George, who had taken to following us humans around, was hanging idly by as I rubbed the nearly-dead guy back to life and function. George did not act or seem threatened by this near-corpse. Then, the wind blew and in a second, George was puffed up with his teeth clamped on my shoe, showing it who was boss. Suddenly he got really worried about the little albino guy too so I stood up, dying rat in hand, and continued rubbing from where George could not reach him. George persisted for awhile, trying to climb up my leg, then human Andy walked by and George attacked him. After a bit, George calmed down. After the albino guy was resuscitated and put back where he belonged, George, who was still hanging out in the back was looking a little lonely so I picked him up and gave him a good rub which almost put him to sleep. Unfortunately some inaudible thing happened and George's mouth was what seemed permanently affixed to my hand.

We didn't know what to do at the time, so we put him in a cage by himself. After a couple of days we noticed that no matter what noises existed or did not exist, George wasn't acting threatened anymore so we left him by himself, visiting him often, on his territory, of course.

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Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes:

    1) To entertain.
    2) To help avoid repetition of mistakes

  Remember! Your rat is not a science project, he is your friend!

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