Rattie Ratz: Party Animals Armand, Gaston and Pliny

Dec 21, 2019 | 2019 Articles, 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.

Party animals Armand, Gaston, and Pliny give us some holiday inspiration in the below story from Rattie Ratz volunteers Anne and Charles.

Armand, Gaston and Pliny are three very handsome guys with soft, glossy coats and bright white whiskers who are always in motion unless it’s nap time. They were adults when they came to us and had already been welcomed back to the rescue twice, so we knew that it would take a little extra effort to help them learn how to be friends with humans.

Armand, Gaston and Pliny

We initially got them this fall as fosters and they were not interested in us at all. They wouldn’t even come to the cage door to get a treat and trying to give them room service as they snuggled in their hammock resulted in some bloody fingers, as they were more worried about fending off the giant intruder than getting something yummy. They were so cute that it was hard to resist invading their space, but I guess that if someone tried to stick their big, weird, smelly hands right in my face, I’d be a little “bitey” too! But when you bring someone new into your house, you want them to be able to have fun!

Fortunately, with time, patience, and treats, Armand, Gaston and Pliny have come out of their shells and started to enjoy their lives here. As they’ve gotten used to us and their confidence has grown, they have started to love exploring and hanging out during their free-range time on the bed. They are noisy rats, thumping around the blankets as they run around, play fight, and generally take up space, and squeaking mournfully at each other when one of them loses. Sometimes they even take a break for a side trip to the humans to politely inquire about the availability of treats. Please note that no rats were served alcohol during the accompanying photo shoot- much to their great disappointment!


Armand, a sleek, caramel-colored guy with a white forehead spot, is very interested in meeting new people, which would be great except for his method of greeting them. He’s actually gotten very gentle about it, but he just doesn’t feel like he’s said hello until he’s slowly and delicately made sure that your finger (still) isn’t a treat. What cracks me up is how deliberate he is, as though he really doesn’t want to frighten you. You need to accept this step in the process, which must happen before he can receive actual treats. He has his own ideas about etiquette, and who are we to judge?

pet rats


Gaston has a brown hood with a white wedge along the front of his nose, which is a clue to his talent, which is vacuuming up every treat in front of him before anyone else gets a crack at them. He can gobble up eight or ten rice puffs or sunflower seeds in the time that Armand and Pliny can eat one or two. It happens so fast that I am not positive how he does it. Maybe he doesn’t actually chew them?

Pliny, who has a glossy brown hood with a white forehead spot, has a bit of a head tilt, probably from an ear infection when he was younger. He’s fine now, but his equilibrium was permanently affected, so he’ll always think that “up” is a few degrees from the actual ceiling. This gives him a permanent Fashion Police side-eye vibe. He’s still the most reluctant around humans and hates to be picked up, kicking and hissing until we put him back down, but he’s very curious and interested in what’s going on as long as we let him come to us. I like to think that his good looks and sassy attitude bring a certain red-carpet glamour to free-range time.


This holiday party season I think we should all follow the boys’ lead! Be like Armand, and observe whatever you consider proper etiquette, even if other people have no idea what you’re doing. We should certainly all learn from the master partygoer Gaston to bolt down all the treats we can, as quickly as possible. Evaluate how much chewing is truly necessary and stick to the bare minimum; those hors d’oeuvres trays aren’t going to empty themselves. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, like Pliny does – everyone else will get with the program eventually! Most importantly, all three boys’ unbridled enthusiasm is absolutely delightful. You’ll be the VIP of every party as long as you (a) are super enthusiastic and (b) have a total body weight of under two pounds.

These three boys will be home for the holidays, because their quirks won us over and we’ve adopted them permanently. I love volunteering for Rattie Ratz because I get to help create the world I want to live in: a world where everyone, “bitey” weirdo rats included, is safe and valued.

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.

We also have a brand new pets newsletter which is still a work in progress but will likely go out every couple of months. We also hope to provide some additional content and maybe even some pet related giveaways. You can use this box to subscribe!

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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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