Feeling Like Cinderella
Remember all those little mice in the cartoon Cinderella? Yes, those little singing mice.
Growing up, I think I can safely say I watched Cinderella every day after school, and no, I'm not even kidding. I loved that movie!
Thinking back, to all my favorite childhood movies (that, *ahem* I may or may not still like..), all of them had to do with either outdoors, animals, or both.
Big surprise right?
I believe Cinderella (and Pocahontas) had a huge influence on me growing up. They instilled in me from a tender age to show love and compassion to even the tiniest of creatures. And a sense of adventure to explore and roam the wild blue yonder.
And I mean honestly, she even made little clothes for them; how adorable is that?!
And what spurred this odd post topic you ask?
What is it you ask? A baby rat.
Finished screaming in horror yet? Good.
Yes, I know what you're thinking; "Why on earth are you trying to rear a baby rat??????"
Simple. It's a creature in need, and as long as I am able to help, I will. My conscience wouldn't allow me to do otherwise (says the person who also fishes bugs and flies out of the livestock water...).
Actually, I'm blaming my Mom for giving me this little ratling.
She had been outside that morning and saw Rusty messing with a baby rat, but assumed it was already dead and didn't think any thing of it. Several hours past and she just couldn't get the baby rat out of her mind, so she went to check on it and found it still alive and blindly trying to crawl around in the grass. She scooped it up and brought it in to me. I fed it some luke-warm cows milk and wrapped him up in some towels to get him warmed up, then I tracked down Bessie and got some fresh cows milk and mixed up a homemade formula for the ratling. He eagerly drank (with only minor protesting), and did well for several days. Meanwhile, I contacted a wildlife rehabitor and asked if she could give me any tips and advice for raising this young one, she did and I followed them as best I could, which included ordering some very expensive milk replacement formula, made exclusively for small baby rodents. I also did a bunch of research online about raising rats, and learned all sorts of things. Such as after each feeding, using a Q-tip or something else soft and wet, you have to encourage them to use the bathroom. Too much information? Sorry.
Baths were also essential in keeping him clean.
So for several days my life revolved around bottle feeding the baby ratling, keeping him warm, stressing over him, waking up at all hours of the night to check on him, feed him and just make sure he was OK, and doing other interesting mother duties, and sending pictures to my brother's girlfriend and keeping her updated with him, because she was the only one who didn't question my sanity...I think?
But despite my efforts the little one passed away. R.I.P little one, <3 Who knew a little baby ratling would bring so much joy to my life and teach me so much!
I am anxiously awaiting the day I can finally apply for my wildlife rehabilitators license this fall: