Pets Who Collect

Photo Mar 21, 12 59 14 AM.jpg

The sparse baseball card collection of Ruth and Idgie

My wife and I are proud parents to a pair of dumbo rats, Ruth and Idgie. Rats love to chew, so we keep them well-supplied with toys and toilet paper tubes and other things to occupy their time. A few months back, I had a baseball card (the Sean Rodriguez seen above) that I had been using as a bookmark. When I finished the book, I put the card inside the rats’ cage, just to see what would happen. Their usual pattern, when a new item is introduced into the cage, is to ignore it for a week or so, then partially destroy it. Once the item has been gnawed on, they finally embrace it as one of their possessions. Rats are builders and nesters by nature, and Ruth and Idgie love to move their things around the cage and arrange them in ways that make sense only to their tiny, little minds.

It took them a while to warm to the Rodriguez card, but you can see that they eventually made their mark on it. For a time, they had it flat up against the front of the cage, as though they were proud little Yinzers flying their colors. Last week, I gave them some vintage and handed over the Terry Harper. They took to this one much quicker and have been moving it around the cage pretty much every day. Yesterday, I managed to catch Ruth in the process of moving the card into their hanging bed, an honor rarely given to their other chewed-up sticks of wood, wine corks, and scraps of cloth. Given the girls are named after the principal characters in Fried Green Tomatoes (which takes place in Alabama), I guess it makes sense that they’d be Braves fans.

Any other non-human collectors out there?



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