A year in the life of our Miss Riley

Throwback Thursday: Percy

on May 14, 2015


Meet Percy. He was my first-ever pet rat (I’ve had 5), and I got him under rather unusual circumstances: one of my college roommates had a boa constrictor and Percy (and his littermate Darcy) were actually intended to be snake food. The snake (which for some reason was named Baby even though he was freaking huge) was in a somewhat dormant period and didn’t want to eat. My roommate handed the box of rats to me and said, “You need to keep these in your room, or I’ll never be able to feed them to Baby.”

I have no idea what made her think I would be able to hand over rats I’d met, but the next day, I handed her money and told her to get new rats when Baby wanted to eat and under no circumstances was I to ever meet them.

Darcy, sadly, didn’t last the week. Percy almost didn’t either, but I found a small animal vet who was able to save him: he had pneumonia (Darcy had it too) and would be on tetracycline off and on for all of his life (hence the eye droppers in the shot glass in the photo). But in spite of that, he was a smart and happy rat, the first and finest of the rats I cared for over the years.

He would climb all over my bedroom, then curl up in my lap while I was studying. He wouldn’t run in his wheel; instead he’d lay across it with his food. The routine was go to his bowl, pick out a morsel, then go to the wheel to sit and eat it, repeat. When I wasn’t at college, but I wasn’t with him, he became Houdini. He used to break out of his tank and apparently go looking for me. Once he did it when our house was filled with boxes as we prepared to move, and my mother despaired of ever finding him again, but he came out and sat by his tank, waiting to be given ice water, as if it was perfectly normal for him to go on walkabout.

Apparently I have a history of pets with extremely strong wills!


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