I had a poke about the business centre near work on Google maps. Lots of furniture stores. Lots of flooring stores. Ooo, a pet warehouse! And they sell Ferret Toys! Ratties like ferret toys!
So I kitted up on my lunch break and sallied forth to bring back many treats for the spoiled little shitbags at home.
When I got there, there were two females in a smallish cage, about two rats long, one rat on her hindlegs high and about a rat and half wide with one of those demented mouse tube things arching over the top of it.
Contained therein: a PEW, about a month and a half old, and a tiiiny little hood.
The PEW was full on bat shit fucking psychotically insane. She'd snap at anything passing by the cage, was surrounded by "FOR THE LOVE OF ALMIGHTY FUCK DO NOT TOUCH
" signs, and as I stood there watching her choof and dance and chew on the bars and snap at anything that came close enough, no less than three employees walked past and told me "DON'T go near that one"
The hood, on the other hand. was a tiny little baby thing crammed up in the tube all "SHIT FUCK MAN I AIN'T GOING DOWNSTAIRS THAT BITCH BE CRAZY"
Broke my fucking heart.
I spent a few minutes with the PEW, and it took me about five minutes to tranform her from "SNATCH SNARL SAVAGE" at anything that came near her to "Grabby! - issit foood?" snatches at stuff poked through the bars (Seriously. I was testing with the arm of my sunglasses and poofing air at her when she snatched. She responded very quickly, if a little confused. "What is this discipline shitfuckery??")
An employee had been lurking around, understandably wanting to keep an eye on the mad redhead and the thing she was doing with the sunglasses and the fissing noises to one of their rats, and she came up and told me she'd never seen a rat that crazy. Apparently the PEW had a bad mite infestation when she was "dropped off" (read: dumped) and it had probably been driving her nuts. And "she was on her own for a couple weeks before we got the other one" (hood, who's still hanging out in the tube going "OHFUCKNO")
They put a four week old baby in with a crazed couple-months old juvenile. In the juvenile's territory. With no introduction.
i very calmly walked away, (the entire time the PEW was running along the cage, following me, looking like she wanted to lunge but knew she wasn't allowed to) called up torasin
and told him I found a pair of babies I very desperately wanted to give a proper home.
He told me to take them.
So! Two carriers to be purchased, two water bottles, some snackies, some fluff and we were ready to roll. The employee actually went and fetched a leather glove to grab the PEW, hesitated and said "uh....do you want to get her?" (She was that terrified of being bitten). Considering if you tense up near a crazed rat they get tense and then YOU get tense and then THEY go crazy and yeah, guaranteed recipe for being savaged, I took the glove, calmly snagged the rat (with only a minor "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA *nip*) and popped her in the carrier. The hood, we had to puffabutt to get her out of the tube :P
Two carriers, two ratties, and a purchase of a cheap dog towel to cover them over and I sailed off with my two darlings (with a brief detour into bunnings for some gloves and a bottle of filtered water). Once I got them back to work I set them in a little box in their carriers, draped the towel over them and gave them some doggie biscuits. A few paper tests (poking cardboard at the PEW to see what her bites were like) determined they weren't bite attack patterns - they were food snatches. Meaning she'd probably been fed through the bars for a long time -_-
They both calmed down nicely at work, and by the time I took them home were sleeping happily. Once home, I let them loose in the bathroom, and the PEW was all peaches and cream (as long as you stayed away from her ears, understandably). She sniffled me, sniffled this, sniffled that, explored, clambered up into my lap and after a long period of all three of us just being together (and a judicious application of rice bubbles), completely changed her personality. Considering it was completely foreign territory for both of them, they were doing well together, so we popped them in a single cage for quarantine.
So now we have two new ladies - Snapdragon (no prizes for guessing which one she is) and Poppet, so named by torasin
when he came home and fell in instant love :)
Poppet is very sedate, and now that the Snapster has calmed down, has no qualms with snuggling her. Snappy is still being eased out of the biting habit, but considering they've just come to a completely new realm has done pretty much a 180 in terms of personality. They're still pretty hesitant, but that's fairly normal and they've already discovered the marvellous things a rat can do with a hammock :)
Amazing what you can do with an animal when you know what the fuck you're doing, isn't it?