Pet Spotlight Interview – Flower & Annie


spotlight interview

Meet Mary & Her Rat Pack; Flower & Annie from the blog Stale Cheerios. I absolutely adore, rats as pets, I had one named Stewart Little in high school. He was extremely intelligent and made an amazing pet!

To find out more about what Mary, Flower & Annie are up to check out their blog & Facebook page!
Website: Click Here
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stalecheeriosanimaltraining

*What is your name?
Mary Hunter

*Where are you from?
Denton, Texas

*What are your pets’ names and ages?
I currently have two pet rats, Flower and Annie. They will both be two years old this spring.

I also foster dogs for a local rescue group, but I don’t have a foster dog currently. I work full time as a professional dog trainer, so I get to spend my whole day with dogs when I’m at work! One of the perks of my job is that when I do have foster dogs, they can come to work with me. The dogs usually think that this is a whole lot of fun.

Flower and Annie in their house
*What are some interesting facts about your pets?
Many people think that rats are gross, but domesticated pet rats are actually very sweet and loving pets! They are quite affectionate and social and enjoy spending time with people. Mine (like most rats) love being petted and scratched.

They are also very curious and intelligent pets. This means that they are fun and easy to train, but that they also can get into quite a bit of trouble. Flower and Annie love getting to run around the living room and explore, but I have to watch them closely because they will chew on things and steal things.

*What are your pets’ favorite treats?
Rats will eat just about anything and can have most human foods. My girls love fresh fruits and really enjoyed a pomegranate that our vet gave us a couple of weeks ago. They also really love scrambled eggs, chocolate, and granola bars.
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*What is your pet’s favorite trick?
I’ve done more training with Flower than with Annie so far. Flower knows a handful of different tricks. One of her favorites is what I call the Inside-Out trick. She goes into a tube, flips it up, and comes out the other side! Here’s a video clip of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYgEhCfv15w

We also started working some this fall on rat nose work! One of my interests right now is the sport of canine nose work and I wanted to see how well a rat would do with nose work training. Here’s a video of Flower practicing a beginning nose work exercise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le2cPJMWyzA

If you’re unfamiliar with the sport of canine nose work, there is more information about it on my blog here: http://stalecheerios.com/dog-training/nose-work-dog-training/

Both girls are also great at coming when called. I train all of my rats to come running when I call them. This way, if they are out of their cage and I lose sight of them, it is easy to find them by calling them back to me! Here is one of my past rats (Amy) demonstrating this trick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqvdmyJ9Xrk

*Where is your pets’ favorite place to go?
My rats really don’t get to go a whole lot of places. Rat owners have to be careful about taking their rats outside or to other places, since there are no vaccinations for pet rats. A pet rat could become ill if it came into contact with a sick rat (or even if it came into contact with droppings left behind by a wild rat or mouse).

Annie the rat in her hammock
*Perspective on Adopting a Rescue?
I definitely support adopting! The three rats that I had before Flower and Annie were all adopted from our local SPCA. (I got Flower and Annie from an acquaintance who purchased three “female” rats from a local pet store and ended up with several dozen babies that needed to be re-homed.)

Many people do not know that rats often end up in shelters and that in many areas there are local rat rescues and adoption groups. Rats often end up in shelters or rescue groups because people purchase them and then grow tired of them, or do not realize that they actually require quite a bit of time and energy to take care of!

If you’d like to have rats as pets, please get them from a rescue group or reputable breeder. Many people get pet rats from pet stores. However, many pet store rats are of questionable breeding and are likely to be in poor health or have genetic problems.

*What’s your favorite thing to do with your pets?
My rats love getting to spend time outside of their cage. (Although, they actually have quite a nice cage, as they live in a six foot tall bird cage.) They get to spend 2-3 hours a day out of their cage running around my living room and exploring everything.

They also really enjoy learning new tricks using clicker training.

*Favorite website to get pet information from?
I have some pet rat information on my website here:
http://stalecheerios.com/clicker-training-pet-rats/

Several other websites that are full of great rat information are:
Join Rats: http://www.joinrats.com/
Rat Guide: http://ratguide.com/
Rat behavior: http://www.ratbehavior.org/


*Do I have permission to copy this to my blog? Yes, you are welcome to post this on your blog!

*Do I have permission to use the photos you provided me with? Yes!

 

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