People on the CHUD messageboards already know about my pet rats. Sacco and Vanzetti ended up being great pets, some of the friendliest creatures I’ve had the pleasure of owning. They’re pretty smart animals, don’t require a lot of upkeep, and are fun to play with and freak out my relatives with when they visit. They’ve lost most of their hair now and look like little big hairy testicles. Too cute, in such an ugly way. The only problem is that they would always fight. Usually brotherly playfighting, but since they’re hairless they’d always end getting little scratches here and there. Took me a little to get used to it, but that’s just the way things are.
Recently though, they’ve started beating and scratching the ever-loving shit out of each other. No idea what started it, but they keep boxing (going nose-to-nose) and just going at it. The last few days have been the worst. I heard an insane amount of squeaking and smashing around the tank from the other room and ran in to see a whirlwind of rat-flesh. I threw water on them and pushed them into their own corners, only to notice that Vanzetti has a friggin’ flap of skin hanging off of his balls. Sacco had apparently latched his teeth on them so hard he tore them up. I fixed Vanzetti up with some Neosporin (probably didn’t even need it- I swear, rats have mutant healing powers) and sent him back in, which might not have been the greatest idea in the world.
Cut to yesterday, and it’s the same song, second verse. I run into see what the hell these little monsters are doing, pull them apart and pick up Vanzetti, who’s absolutely covered in scratches. I learn too late that a HUGE gash is open on the poor guy’s stomach, and is dripping blood on my arm. Sacco’s clearly alpha male here, but Vanzetti put up a fight, cause he scratched up Sacco’s face but good.
So, time for two tanks and their first time alone. Sucks, cause they’re always laying on each other and being adorable, but man, it’s creepy to have your pets trying to kill each other.
On the way home from the pet store this morning, carrying a tank, I got stopped by a guy coming out of his house who started talking excitedly about aquariums, before I can even say anything. He tried to get me to see the tank in the window of his house and kept talking about what great pets fish are.
“What are you getting, tropical?” asks the guy.
“….Y….Yes.” I say, deciding that I don’t want to tell crazy fish guy that I’m going to be using the tank to house a bloody hairless rat.
It was a stupid decision. Now I end up in a 10 minute lecture about PH balance and cleaner fish and water temperature and the right price for this and that fish. Worse than that, because I don’t exactly look like every other 20-something in my neighborhood, anytime I see this neighbor, I’m doomed for fish talk.
Think what you want about rats as pets, but I don’t think there’s anyone that can deny that fish are the most boring pet you could possibly own. Pretty, sure, but not exactly a whole lot of interaction. And people who are fanatic about them (or any other animal, to think of it) tend to be a little bit off-kilter.