Rattie Ratz: Through Loss, a New Beginning is Made, The Story of Fern & Juniper

Jun 18, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Pets, Rodent Ramblings

by Stephanie Cameron

Stephanie Cameron is a volunteer with Rattie Ratz Rescue in the bay area of California. Each month KRL will be featuring a column from Rattie Ratz.


With every ending there is hope of a new beginning and a second chance. Today’s feature follows the story of Fern and Juniper. They were very much beloved by their previous owner, but sadly, the owner was chronically ill. With their condition worsening, they no longer felt that they could care for the girls as they deserved, so they reached out to Rattie Ratz, a rescue located in the Bay Area of Northern California who specializes in fostering and rehoming domestic pet rats. Fern and Juniper were originally part of a ten rat mischief. But ten is a larger number than most rat parents are able to handle, so with the help of their previous owner, the girls were bundled into smaller groups and placed into foster homes.

Enters Claire, a happy rat mom of two girls (Jinx and Bean), who suddenly finds herself in an unexpected situation when Jinx abruptly passed away leaving Bean all alone. One side is the need to surrender their beloved pets, and the other side is the sudden loss which opened the door for a new relationship to form, and on Christmas Eve of 2021, Claire adopted Fern and Juniper.

Bean with her new friends

At the time, Claire was in between two major surgeries that had left her bedridden for the months leading up to the adoption, and the unexpected loss of her girl Jinx was a difficult blow. Although nothing will ever be able to fill the hole that Jinx left behind, welcoming Fern and Juniper into the family certainly helped them to heal. While losing Jinx so soon was heartbreaking to her family, her passing opened a space that allowed her family to open their home to another pair of rats in need.

Claire was new to rat introductions, and after speaking with a Rattie Ratz volunteer, she decided to use the carrier method. It turns out her trepidation was not necessary, as the girls all immediately got along famously. Claire tells us, “now they all sleep on top of each other in the smallest hammock they can find.”

Claire’s first girls, Bean and Jinx, were half Rex, which means they had thicker and curlier fur. Fern and Juniper both have softer standard coats. Claire was surprised to find how soft the girl’s coats were – and how much more they shed!

In her new home, Fern is described as being a clumsy girl who loves to drink her water and run in her wheel. Neither of her companions cares for the wheel, so Fern can be queen of the wheel with no competition—and can run to her hearts content.


Juniper likes to take her time when deciding what snacks she will eat and is far more thoughtful with her food choices than Claire is used to. But be careful of your fingers because when she decides she wants something, nothing will stop her from going after it, even if it means accidentally nibbling her mom’s fingers!

Juniper is more reserved than Fern, but has created a special bond with Claire’s mom Jen and has become a snuggly companion with her human grandmother. Juniper is a quiet girl who loves her lazy mornings, and takes any opportunity she can for a well-deserved nap.

Hammock cuddles

Before the new girls came along Bean (and her sister Jinx before she passed) were content to eat their food from their food dish. But Fern and Juniper quickly taught Bean the art of food stashing, and Claire now finds caches of food hidden throughout their cage, including their wooden house: a sturdy fortress to protect their food from being pillaged by nimble human fingers.

While the circumstances that brought this new rat family together are regrettable, thanks to Rattie Ratz, through loss a new beginning and a new family has formed. And three rattie girls, who otherwise would have never met, now get to spend the rest of their days finding creative ways to hide their food and snuggling together in the smallest hammock they can find.

If you would like to know more about Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their Facebook page. If you are interested in adoptable rats or volunteering for Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their website: www.rattieratz.com.

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section & watch for more stories from Rattie Ratz every other month. You can also keep up with our pet articles by joining our KRL Facebook group. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Rattie Ratz.

Stephanie Cameron works and lives in the Bay Area, and has been active in the rat rescue community for a number of years. She got her first pair of rats – sisters named Snowflake and Diamond – when she was eight years old. In her spare time she enjoys reading, walking her dogs, traveling, discovering fantastic vegan recipes, and singing in the shower.

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