How We Became a Zoo: A Cautionary Tale

Don’t get comfortable, little rat dude. You’re here for dinner, but not in the good way. Things haven’t quite gone according to plan, but you are not staying,pal.

I bought you yesterday. I asked for an ugly one and there you were, beady little pink eyes, tattered ears, battle scars. Perfect. Every other time I’ve bought a rat for the snake, my daughter has bonded with them on the ride home. They were so little and fluffy and cute. No WAY would she get attached to you. She commented the entire ride on how ugly you were. HAHA!

She tossed you into the snake cage and made a rapid retreat. Ugly or not, this whole circle of life thing is not our favorite part of snake-keeping. We have never had a snake feeding on live before, but this one is new. We haven’t had time to get her converted, so live ones it is. Well, Lily the Ball Python came out briefly to investigate, but she must have thought you were pretty ugly, too. She went back into her hidebox. Drat! I held out some hope when you followed her in there. But apparently the two of you made friends. Awesome.

Finally I decided it was time to remove you so that you didn’t eat the snake. My daughter did the honors. I heard giggling. Whispering. More giggling. Then my daughter and her friend came up the stairs and into the living room. WITH YOU! “He’s the sweetest rat!” they gushed as you kissed their ears and sniffed their chins. Manipulative little rodent! “We can keep him, right?” Um, no. You are gone one way or another.

They named you. Peter. After Peter Pettigrew. That’s close to what I’ve been calling you. PITA. A nice little acronym for Pain In The….

All afternoon they played with you, brought you treats. Your last meal, pal. You’re outta here. Don’t look at me like that. We can’t afford your vet bills right now. Don’t ask how I know that feeder-rats turned pets are VERY expensive. That’s a sad story and still makes me cry. Quit the quivering whiskers. I mean it. Quit holding your little tail between your paws and looking so pitiful. It’s not going to work. Just go back to blithely cleaning your fur. You must do that a lot because it’s so sleek and soft… Very soft.

Quit licking my finger. That tickles. Your whiskers are so silky. No, wait! Bite me, you son of a gun! No, I mean it. Really bite me. Take a hunk out of my hand. Because then you’d go back to being an ugly old rat again.

How’s that hay? Is it nice and warm? Are you comfy? Let me fill up that water bottle for you. Do you like cheerios?


12 thoughts on “How We Became a Zoo: A Cautionary Tale

    • I whole-heartedly agree! Mice are for dinner, not companionship. But it takes several mice to equal the staying power of a medium rat. It’s hard to buy three of the little critters and hope she’s hungry for all of them. I have lots of rat stories to share. I love them so.

  1. Maybe there’s hope that if the python ignores the live food, she’d be fine with something less affectionate and recently thawed? I don’t know much about feeding snakes live dinner, but my heart goes out to poor Peter. He walked right into the beast’s den and survived, so I don’t really know if you can send him in for another trial.

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