Son of Hard Sell, or, Ten Things I Hate About Baby Rodents

Louise Hope
From the RMCA web site, September 2004

You've read those articles listing sober, serious reasons not to breed your rat or mouse. You can list the arguments standing on your head. But nobody tells you the real reasons you don't want baby rodents around the house...

though the parents could give you some of their own:

Nakuru (Mom)
Photo: Carol Gravley Mouse: Nakuru (mom)

"Hey! Stop flashing that light in my babies' faces! They need their sleep!"

Eiri (dad)
Photo: Carol Gravley Mouse: Eiri (dad)

"Babies? What babies? I never saw that female before in my life. Besides, I was out of town that week, and they don't even look like...

"Oh, all right. I guess they are kinda cute. But I'm not paying any..."

The Sleepless Nights

One minute you have a cute little eeper depending on you for his every need. The next minute you've got a hulking great teenager asking to borrow the car keys... and you know he's not going to the library.

Child Support

It's fun to play with them, and you don't mind buying the odd package of diapers, but when it comes time to write out those nine checks every month...

Photo: Chelle Marshall Rat: Templeton
Goliath and Boys
Photo: "SouthernRat"
Rats: Goliath (hiding from camera) and nine sons

But never mind the parents' unique problems. You, the babies' human guardian, have troubles enough of your own. So, without further ado, here they are: the ten worst, most disgusting, most revolting, most intolerable features of baby rats and mice:

#10: Cleanliness
They make you look like a slob by voluntarily and spontaneously washing themselves before and after every meal, as soon as they wake up, last thing before going to bed... and any other time they feel like it.

#9: Special needs
Just try finding clothes to fit your own, particular, unique, none-like-him-in-the-world little rat.

Photo: Carol Gravley Mouse: Yasui

Photo: Jaime and Cheryl Hase
Rat: Charlie

#8: Their taste in music
You call that stuff music? When I was a teenager we listened to...
Willya turn that noise down?!

#7: Their design sense
You spend a fortune on top-grade furnishings for their cages... and they tear it all down and put up decorations that make your eyes water just looking at them.

Photo: Toni Clark Rats: Gracie, Spot and Tushie

Photo: Jessica Jarrell Rat: Isabel

#6: Their eating habits
They're never satisfied with what you give them, no matter how wholesome and nutritious it is.

Photo: Shawna Oltman Rat: Isis

"You want me to drink this?"

Photo: Shawna Oltman Rat: Isis

"Mm-mm! This is what I want!"

#5: Furniture
You've tried everything that the pet store, dollar store, drugstore and hardware store have to offer... and you still haven't found a bed your little one will accept.

Photo: Shawna Oltman Rat: Nicodemus

"This bed's drafty!"

Photo: Shawna Oltman Rat: Nicodemus

"I can't sleep in this! There's a hole in the bottom!"

#4: Playing with their food
She may claim she lost a contact lens. You and I know better.

Photo: Jennifer Bruce Rat: Ava

#3: Playing, period.
It doesn't matter how nice their cage is or how many toys you give them. They always want to play somewhere else... and act as if you're the horriblest, meanest, cruelest mommy in the world when you won't let them out.

Photo: "SouthernRat" Rats: Elvira and Duchess(†)

#2: Double trouble
When one of them misbehaves, you can never be absolutely, perfectly, completely certain you've punished the right one.

Photo: Jessica Jarrell Rats: Danni and Faith

"Quick! Make a run for it while she's got that black box in front of her face! If you go this way and I go the other way she can't catch us both."

Photo: Jennifer Bruce Rats: Ava and Nico

"Me? I didn't do anything."
"Don't look at me. You know it was my sister!"

Photo: Dianne Hammond Rats: Smokie and Skooter

"Now, if we both jump out at exactly the same time, the priceless crystal goblet should stay in place instead of crashing to the floor like the last three did."

#1: Worst of All
The number 1, most loathsome, horrible, disgusting thing about baby rodents:
they're so cute!!!

Photo: Carol Gravley Mouse: Midas

A special thanks to everyone from the RMCA "Cuteness" Forums that contributed photos!