Hmmmmnn…have to figure out what to do with Anansi, as last night he took a really serious lunge at me, teeth skating over, but not getting enough purchase to bite into, the fleshy side of my hand under my thumb. You can’t whap them on the nose, as you can ferrets; you’re supposed to say “NO!” very loudly. I suppose it’s a natural reaction to yell, anyway, when you have a six- or eight-pound giant rat attached to you. :( I know that the males get very territorial, which is why you can’t keep two males together – they’ll fight to the death. He was in his box and I was petting them to say hi when he went for me. So I picked him up (carefully!) and sat him on my lap for a minute, then petted him for several minutes as he was walking around in the cage – hopefully making a point, but perhaps not.
We need to figure out a way of blocking the fireplace on the third floor, because then we can give them the front room, all of the stairs, block off the bathroom and bedroom on the second floor, and give them free run in the computer room and bedroom on the top floor. More exercise will help, I think, as they don’t like being supervised in a small area, which was how he bit Phil so badly.
For all of the people that are so desperate to have one of these exotic animals, they’re quite a lot of trouble to own. They require a big cage (ours are in a four-foot by three-foot steel dog cage), they are determinedly nocturnal, they can bite you to the bone, and they’re expensive to feed. Aside from the nuts and parrot food (they can’t eat the small seeds in rodent food, and they don’t like the biscuit things in rat food), they require a varied diet of fruit and veg. They get bored and refuse to eat, so one night they get bananas, salad and berries, one night they get avocado and tangerines, the next night they get mango and broccoli, etc. It’s like feeding a primate – expensive. God forbid they get sick, because I dread trying to find a vet willing to examine them. And, being an exotic, non-pet animal, there’s very little information available on their care on the net. A common disease is ringtail, where the skin on the tail can slough off and that section of tail will have to be removed – they get it from a too-dry environment, so they need some humidity and also fish oil. We give ours a cod liver oil capsule once a week – they love it.
Aside from that, they are extremely interesting animals. I don’t think they’ll ever be pets, as they AREN’T domesticated animals in any sense of the term, but they are very unique. I love those few minutes after they’ve first woken up when I can hold them (after that they want to be put down), smelling their strong, strange, but not bad smell. It’s not musky, like a ferret – it’s kind of a bread smell. But not really.