Pets

Rat mama brings her babies to her human owner in super sweet viral video

Despite the reputations of their sewer-dwelling brethren, fancy rats make awesome pets.

Rat mama brings her babies to her human owner in super sweet viral video
Annie Reneau

We started our pet rat journey with two baby rats, Cinnamon and Midnight.

Rats get a bad rap.

When people hear "rats," the first thing many imagine is the honking huge rats in the sewers of New York. Words like "infestation" may come to mind, along with horror stories of people's unexpected encounters with the creepy creatures.

However, such images and stories are a sharp contrast to the delightful adorableness people with pet rats associate with the word.

Our family has had several pairs of rats as pets over the years. The first pair came from a man we affectionately nicknamed Weird Al the Rat Guy, who had an entire rattery in his basement where he bred fancy rats. And after our first pair, we were hooked.


"Fancy rats" are one breed of domesticated rat. Dumbo rats are another. These are not your NYC sewer rats. They're smaller and cuter and smart and sweet. Yes, they do have that weird, hairless tail, but once you get past whatever willies you may have about rat rails, they're the best.

Have you ever seen a rat eating a Cheerio with its tiny little hands with almost-opposable thumbs? You'll never be the same.

Rats were our kids' first furry pets and they were perfect starter pets. They're comparatively low-maintenance, especially if you have at least two. (They're social creatures, after all.) They're affectionate and rarely bite. They love to play and are quite intelligent, so you can train them to respond to simple commands. (Rats have even been trained to sniff out land mines and conduct search and rescue missions.)

Their cages can get smelly if you don't change the litter frequently enough, but females tend to be less smelly than males and rats themselves are super clean. (A rat washing its face is every bit as cute as one eating a Cheerio.)

Our first rats were babies when we got them and oh so very adorable. Allow me to convince you:

Baby rats, Cinnamon and Midnight.

Annie Reneau

How could anyone resist those faces?

Anyway, pet rats are awesome, which is why people keep sharing a sweet video of a mama rat bringing her babies to her owner for safekeeping. Fun fact: Rats generally have between six and 12 babies in one litter. (Can you imagine having a dozen babies at once? OMG.) This mama appears to have nine or so, and she brings them one by one to the crook of her human's arm.

Watch:

The video was posted by Whispering Grove Rattery in Atlanta on YouTube two years ago and has nearly 6 million views. It was reposted this week on Reddit, which has pushed it into virality all over again.

How could it not, though? Teeny little baby rats, a sweet mama rat and a human she trusts enough to hand her babies over to? It's the stuff of dreams. (Or nightmares, if you really can't get past the common squeamishness about rats. I highly recommend reconsidering, though. They really do make awesome pets.)

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

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