Sometimes you're part of the territorial dispute.
Back in those days when rat-life was completely out of control, there were two siblings who decided to fight for a plot of land. Those two siblings were Wolfman (named such because of his solid brown coat and his bad attitude) and Slinky (the wonder-rat). There is no nice way to describe Slinky. He was as dumb as they get. Wolfman was just bitter. Both of them took up residence in Nat's room and Nat was OK with that, for awhile. Wolfman kept to himself in the corner and Slinky followed Nat around and slept in her bed, and licked her awake at random intervals, and everything was OK.
The problem occurred, I think when one or both of two things happened. First, Horny the Gerbil took over Wolfman's corner (see "Do not assume Gerbils are defenseless animals."). Second, George, the big massive male rat decided to take up permanent residence in the Yaffa Blocks directly below his own cage.
Wolfman made the wrong decision. He decided that he was going to take over Slinky's bed. Ahem, I mean Nat's bed. This is when it occurred to Nat that Slinky thought Nat was one of his own species and that that gnawed mess that was once a comforter was not Slinky's doing, but in fact was Wolfman's doing. It went like this:
Nat would come home from class, sit in her bed and do some reading, and Slinky would join her. After about 20 minutes, Wolfman would jump on the bed, attack Slinky, and Slinky would run behind Nat for protection. This was cute, for awhile. Wolfman got closer and closer each time until it was evident that he was going to take us both down. Nat would push Slinky toward the end of the bed and suggested that Slinky resolve his own disputes. Slinky would come flying back, scurrying straight up to Nat's shoulders. Sometimes Wolfman would follow.
After getting nipped by Wolfman a few too many times, Nat decided that enough was enough (Slinky agreed) and tried to catch the angry Wolfman and put him in a closed cage. After missing about 80 times we finally caught him and Slinky and Nat returned to their blissful existences.
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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: