Eileen Buhrmann and her partner Gina are parents to seven pet rats. The happy family lives in the Netherlands.
The oldest two of the rats are Ratthew and Oliver, who have just turned two years old.
The others are Momo, Sokka, Zuko, Tofu and Tempeh – all adorable females, who are around six months old. Tofu and Tempeh were adopted only recently.
Tofu and Tempeh are both albinos, which makes telling them apart a tad tough. Both have a white coat without any spots and red eyes, so the only way to tell who is who is by their personalities.
Besides the two that were adopted, the other five were all bought from breeders as rittens, the name for baby rats.
“Every single one of them has a different personality, the only thing they really have in common is their curiosity,” Eileen says.
“They all love to go on adventures, and explore their surroundings. Momo, Zuko and Oliver are more timid, and love to cuddle from time to time.
“Ratthew and Sokka just want to run around and try to climb all over us. Tofu and Tempeh are still a bit cautious towards us, but when they sense it’s safe they become more energetic and start to explore their surroundings,” Eileen says.
Not only do they love to explore, they also love to destroy any hammocks and cardboard boxes placed in their cage, especially Oliver who likes to redecorate the cage and build nests, Eileen says.
“Tofu, Tempeh and Zuko can be a bit jumpy when it comes to sudden loud noises, but the others don’t seem to be afraid of anything,” Eileen says, remarking that they even seem rather interested in the vacuum cleaner, especially Ratthew and Sokka, who stand at the edge of their cage to inspect what the noise is all about.
“Rats are known to be a bit hesitant when it comes to trying out new foods, but our girls seem to be an exception. They will grab anything out of our hands as soon as they can,” Eileen says.
“Only Sokka can be a bit picky when it comes to snacks, but the other girls will eat almost anything. They love all sorts of veggies, fruits and a few types of herbs. Their favourites so far are peas, bell peppers, cucumber and thyme.”
Eileen adds that rats are very intelligent animals, and can be taught tricks. “But we haven’t tried to teach them any yet, although Ratthew has perfected the art of getting our attention.
“She rattles a metal chain outside of her cage, then pauses for a moment to see if it’s caught our attention. If not, she will continue to rattle the chain until we take notice of her.”
Eileen says that when the rats are let out to play, they love to climb on top of the cage, or try to climb into their parent’s shirts.
“Momo has been falling asleep while inside our shirts a few times, while Zuko loves to play with us. Every single one of them is super friendly towards us, but sometimes they fight. This is mostly to see who is boss. Fortunately, there has never been any injuries due to these fights,” she says.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PET: FMT Lifestyle readers are invited to send in pictures (landscape format) and a short video (if any) of their furry, scaly or feathery friends to [email protected]. Don’t forget to include details like your pet’s name, age, breed and a short story about them.