Owning rats, or as some say, being owned by rats, is a journey. For me it began with being intensely rat-phobic to where I am now, rat-obsessed (ok, i admit it).


Otis, the rat formerly-known-as Ziggy, formerly-known-as Mr. Bubbles

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Rat naming is a royal pain in the ass. It seems like it would be easy but there are several criteria which must be followed:
  • the name must fit the rat
  • it must be easy to say
  • it must not sound too much like another rat's name
  • it cannot have any unfortunate connotations or connections
In addition to that, all the good names have already been taken, so finding a unique name adds a whole nuther layer. Sometimes names that seem good on a cognitive level just don't fit on an emotional level. And sometimes after a week or so it just isn't right anymore.

Some rats resist telling you their names. Perhaps it is because of some superstition that if you know their name you will have power over them. Perhaps it is because their real true name is unpronouncable in human-speak. I don't know. Some rats tell you right off, others prefer to be mysterious.

Such was the case with Otis and Bunnyman. No names sounded right. For the longest time they were the blue boy and the scruffy boy.

So we finally ended up with the name Otis because he's a blue agouti and we decided to name him after a blue's singer. (actually his full name is Otis "Bobblehead" Brown, most of our animals have Brown as a last name. No, I have no idea why.)

I thought he should be Stevie because he does this odd Stevie Wonder move with his head, sort of swaying it back and forth. (I have heard of pink and red-eyed rats doing that to see better, but he has black eyes so I'm not sure why he does it). Otis seemed to be the first name of several well-known blue's singers and then I had a dream conversation where someone said the name should be Otis. Maybe my subconscious was sick of thinking up new names. Anyway, that clinched it.

Otis is an interesting little guy. He is very sweet and very playful. He is the one who loves to hand-wrestle the most. Sometimes he will do little, gentle play nips and then run away like crazy and then run back for more wrestling. He loves to be scritched and will scrunch up his eyes and hold very still.


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  • Portland, OR, United States
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