Talented rats perform unbelievable tricks, on The Feed!

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 31, 2015 in Rat News

Last Updated Jul 30, 2015 7:07 AM EDT

Some of the latest and greatest viral videos include rats showing the smarter side of their species and a man single-handedly moving a parked car.

After seeing the unexpected talents of pet rats Pepper, Blue and Puffin, you might view the little creatures in a whole new light — which is the mission of the creator of this video Abby Roeser, who happens to be their owner and trainer. Who knew they were so smart?

Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. The burly gentleman in this video from Joe Loreto takes that to the extreme, putting an entire car into his own hands after discovering it parked in the bike lane.

Want more of The Feed? Check out this playlist of every Feed ever!

Article source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/talented-rats-perform-unbelievable-tricks-on-the-feed/

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Janet Jackson: ‘I’ve always wanted to own a king cobra because they’re so …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 30, 2015 in Rat News

Sitting in an executive-styled chair in the executive-styled “conference” room of her record company’s Los Angeles headquarters, Janet Jackson’s stomach makes a gurgling sound.

“Oh, my!!” she squeaks in gross embarrassment, not knowing where to look. It’s as if she’s wet herself or done something equally unspeakable. Janet Jackson, you see, is a very shy person. She has the most bashful smile you ever did see and her enormous eyes, set in a baby face that’s just like brother Michael’s only smoother and prettier, peer constantly at the floor or thereabouts.

From her left ear lobe dangles a house key – quite a grown up – looking fashion accessory this – but apart from that she looks and acts and talks, in soft tones and nervous whispers, just like a little girl. Janet Jackson is 20 years old. Her LP, Control, has gone “double platinum” (ie sold 2m copies) in America. She is on her way to being as popular as Madonna – and yet the brash self-confidence of Madonna is something Janet Jackson quite clearly lacks. Not entirely surprising when you consider the way she was brought up, protected and in some seclusion, the youngest of the super-successful showbiz siblings.

“My parents are very strict and we were very sheltered growing up,” she quietly recalls, “but it was my brother Jermaine who was most protective towards me. Guys would come up and ask me for a dance and he’d tell them no, I can’t dance, I don’t feel good, I have a headache or something. He just didn’t like them touching his little sister, I suppose. But I didn’t really do any of that, going out dancing, until I was 18. My first time ever going out dancing was in Japan and I was 18. No, I guess I was 19. And I went out every night with my sister and my mother and we had the best time.

“And my very first party I’ve ever had was last Thursday – my double-platinum party– so that was very exciting. Usually I would pretty much stay at home because everything is at home. We have a screening room if we want to see a movie or something, and we have the animals…”

Ah, the animals. Animals are the one and only topic that Janet will chatter about happily and freely until the cows (haw haw) come home. But we’ll come back to them later. What did Janet do all day, hanging around the Encino, California, homestead when she was a wee girlie?

“I would talk to the animals.”


“I would talk to my dogs. I felt that they understood me – everything that I was saying to them. They’re the greatest listeners because they sit there and look at you and listen.”

Anything else?

“Oh, our next door neighbour – we would play together all the time. There’s a brick fence that separates the two houses and we’d get on top of the fence and we’d play and we’d bring cookies and punch and we’d have a little party of our own up there and just play little games.

“And I would write songs. I was eight years old when I wrote my first song and it was called Fantasy. I sang it to my brother and my sister and my mother in the car when we went for a drive and they said they liked it. I hope they were telling me the truth.

“And I would watch TV: The Three Stooges and cartoons. Bugs Bunny, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Speed Racer – those were my favourites. I always tried to do an impression of Donald Duck but I could never get my voice to sound like that. The first impression I did was of Mae West but I can’t do it any more. And I loved to draw and colour and so my brothers would send back all types of crayons and felts and colouring books from Switzerland and London when they were out of town.”

The brothers. The famous Jacksons. What were they like as children?

“With my friends, their older sisters and brothers would yell at them and tell them to get out and leave them alone and shut up, but my brothers and sisters never did that to me. They always wanted me around. I was a tomboy, actually, and they always told me I’d grow out of it but I told them that I never wanted to and I wouldn’t.

“We used to go horse-back riding and swim and play baseball and climb the fruit trees and pick the fruit off the trees and just get into trouble. Michael was the naughtiest – he was a real bad little kid and he was sassy and everyone would say ‘Oh, God, here comes Michael!’ What’s the worst thing he ever did? I think he looked up under a lady’s dress once. I think he did. I’d say that’s probably the worst that I know of. Me? I was good. I never got punished. I got hit a few times but that was all. One time I got hit for saying something I shouldn’t have said. A bad word. I shouldn’t have spoke it but I opened up my big mouth and my mother hit me for it.

“Another time I got hit was when I had an argument with my brother Randy. He would tease me and I’d get upset and start crying and I threw pool balls at him but not once did I ever really hit him. I’d always miss and my mother would hit me and hit him for that. There were other times when you couldn’t separate us, Randy and I. He’d hold my hand, when we walked across the street. We were just glued together. These days I’m very close to Randy and I’m close to Marlon and I’m very close to Michael.”

As the “baby” out of nine children, was she spoiled?

“My mother says that I’m spoiled and my friends say that I’m spoiled … so I guess I am. But we don’t celebrate Christmas and don’t celebrate birthdays, so I didn’t get everything I wanted. I’ve always wanted a horse and I still don’t have one. My brother Michael has an Arabian stallion and I want a black stallion but I don’t have a horse.”

We are family … The Jackson 5 and sisters Photograph: Newspix/Rex Features

Despite her reclusive upbringing, Janet did go to a “normal” neighbourhood school. For a bit, anyway. Until she got too famous. For, when she was 10, she became a child actor, appearing in the TV situation comedy Good Times.

“I played an abused child. I would come in and my arm was broke or I had iron burns on me. The make-up job was really neat. It was a lot of fun.”

But at school…

“The first year in junior high I missed the first two weeks because I was working on the show – I had a tutor on the set – so finally when I did come to school in the third week I was walking down the hallway and I saw a friend of mine from elementary school and we hugged and everything and then she yelled my name down the hallway and, everyone turned and they said, ‘Wow, that’s Janet Jackson’ and all the kids started running towards me so I dropped my lunch and started running too, and for the next week I had school in the principal’s office…”

And then she went to Valley Professional (“a school for kids who are in the business and ice skaters and things like that”) from which she took “time out” to further her acting career with parts on another comedy show, Diffrent Strokes, and the all-dancin’, all-sobbin’ all-lurvin’Fame.

Fame, on which the participants were expected to dance’n’whoop’n’glow from dawn to dusk, was an exhausting experience for Janet.

“I’d get home and I couldn’t eat. I’d just flop into bed. I’m not very fit. At elementary, school I liked track – I used to be a good runner. I used to come in first all the time and I won some ribbons, but not any more. One time I ran and I came in first but I got sick to my stomach and I turned pale and I was about faint and they took me to the nurse’s office and they let me go home. I was so happy.

“I can’t run any more because I have back problems and I don’t like exercising at all. I like clowning around. So I’ve put on a few pounds but I’ve stopped porking out. At lunch time I used to pig out. I’d eat everything. I used to make a lot of chicken with wine sauce and melted cheese and mushrooms and stuff on top of it. I’m not really into candy that much but I like bubble gum…”

Bubble gum isn’t fattening, is it?

“Too much sugar. And one of the vice-presidents of the record company told me to stop chewing so much gum because when you chew gum it exercises your jaw muscles and makes them bigger and they start swelling out. I laughed so hard when he told me that, that I spit my gum out.

“One time I blew a huge bubble and it burst and it got in my hair and in my eyelashes and I was so mad. I couldn’t get it out and I was just washing my face all night long and I was scrubbing so hard I was turning red all round my eyes and they said to use peanut butter to get it out. I guess because peanut butter is so oily it comes right out. So if you ever get bubble gum stuck in your hair, use peanut butter.”

So on that useful health’n’beauty tip, we return to the chronology of Janet Jackson’s career. Well, actually, we don’t. We continue on the bubble gum theme …

“Louis, our llama, he likes to chew gum. He loves gum. I think I’m the only one who gives him gum, so every time he sees me coming he tries to put his lips through the fence and I give him a piece of gum and he just sits there and chews.”

And on that useful zoological tip we…

“Jabar doesn’t chew gum. Jabar, that’s the giraffe – J-A-B-A-R – he’s so big and he’s still a baby. He’s so tall and he eats up my mother’s trees. All the leaves off my mother’s trees – she has a fit. He has big eyes and those beautiful, long eyelashes…”

And on that subject, we return to the chronology of Janet Jackson’s career. When she was 16, already a TV star, she made her first LP, Janet Jackson, a mediocre poppy thing that sold hardly any copies at all. When she was 18, she made a second LP, Dream Street, which was slightly better because she got to sing a duet with our very own Sir Clifford Richard on one track, Two To the Power of Love, although “I didn’t get to know him that well … he’s English.”

And then, also when she was 18, Janet ran off and got married to soul singer James DeBarge. After eight months the marriage was annulled. This is a subject Janet does not care to talk about at all.

“It was something that I just needed to do at the time,” she says, “something that I needed to experience right then…” She smiles a secret smile and giggles a secret giggle. I ask why.

“Oh … I was just thinking about him, that’s all…”

Him? You’d think “himmeant James DeBarge, but it might just as well be, for all we know, Muscles, the Jackson’s late, lamented rainbow boa snake…

“There was something about Muscles that I just loved. He was very different from the rest of our snakes – the pythons – because the rainbow boas are known for squeezing, not for biting, and I would let him sleep on my headboard. I used to sleep with him and I’d wake up in the morning and he’d still be sleeping on the headboard or he’d sleep in the bed next to me and he’d rest his head on the pillow and he’d have his tail curled up on the bed and he’d still be there the next morning and I’d carry him around my neck a lot and he never tried to squeeze me. I just trusted him. I find more guys are afraid of snakes than girls and I just trusted him a great deal.

“The only time I got in trouble with the animals was with our parrot Ricky; he used to bite me all the time and I got bit by one of our pet rats and he was hanging from my finger and I was trying to shake him off and he wouldn’t let go and finally he let go and I had to go to the hospital and my whole hand got so fat and they put a cast on my whole arm and it was my first time wearing a cast and I was real proud of it because all my friends in school had all had casts and I’d always wanted to know what it sort of felt like to break your leg or your arm…”

Well, and, um, so, does Janet feel ready for marriage again?

“I’d like to get married again at least by 30 so I can have kids and grow with them. I’ve always wanted 16 kids but I suppose I should have started a little while back. I’ll never make it now, so I’ll just have between five and seven…”

She’s had training for motherhood, has Janet.

“We used to bottle-feed the deer, Michael and I. We have two deer and we have a fawn because they had a baby…”

And she feeds Bubbles, the chimpanzee, too.

“He’s the sweetest thing. He’s so cute because he greets you. He goes ‘uuh uuh’. He greets you like that and he’ll walk in the room– ‘uuh uuh’ – and he’ll walk over to you – ‘uuh uuh’ – and he’ll give you a hug and rest his head on your chest and then he’ll start rocking and he’ll look up at you and you say, ‘Bubbles, give me a kiss’ and he puckers his lips and gives you a kiss.

“My mother treats Bubbles like one of the kids. One day Bubbles was crying because he didn’t want to have class that day and my mother was standing there watching Bubbles cry and she started crying too. It made her very sad because Bubbles was sitting there crying and screaming because he didn’t want to have class.”

And why, dare one ask, should a chimpanzee have “class”?

“Oh, it teaches him to hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil. It teaches him to shake his head no and to wave goodbye and to kneel down to beg and look up to the sky…”

Of course … but time is running out. Janet Jackson’s stomach is groaning in spectacularly embarrassing fashion and I decided to pose one last question – a predictable and orthodox “Do you have any burning, unfulfilled ambitions, Janet?” I suppose I should have known the answer …

“Yes. I’d like to own a king cobra.”

Janet, eyes off the ground for once, notices my ruffled brow.

“Ok, that might sound like a crazy ambition to you but I’ve always wanted to own a king cobra because they’re so dangerous and poisonous, and to make him my friend … that would be a serious achievement. And I think I could do it.”

Listen to Janet Jackson’s 2015 sound with new single No Sleep
  • © Tom Hibbert, 1986

Article source: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jul/29/janet-jackson-ive-always-wanted-a-king-cobra-control-classic-interview-1986-smash-hits

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Celebrity crushes: Falling in love with Marlon Brando

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 29, 2015 in Rat News

In the summer of 1977, I was worried about starting high school, because I knew I was behind my peers in one key area.

All through eighth grade, my girlfriends gabbed about clothes, makeup, boys they had crushes on and boys they had kissed.

I didn’t get it. None of this boys-and-kissing stuff was on my radar. I was still clinging to my strange girl-world, fretting about the care of my pet rats or filling up notebooks with intricate drawings of imaginary palaces.

But my girl-world was broken wide open when the force of nature known as Marlon Brando blew into my life. Yes, I’m talking about the Academy Award-winning screen legend hailed as the most influential actor in the history of movies.

At least I aimed high with my first love interest. Brando continues to fascinate more than a decade after his death. This summer, the highly anticipated new documentary “Listen to Me Marlon” hits movie theaters in select U.S. markets. The Showtime film screens at San Francisco’s Opera Plaza Cinemas on Aug. 7.

Certainly, I’m not the first young female to have a celebrity crush. But I admit Brando is an unusual object of desire for a 14-year-old girl in the late 1970s. It would have been more typical for me to hang posters of Andy Gibb, Shaun Cassidy or even John Travolta, then the rising young star of “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease.”

In the late 1970s, Brando was an aging star, coasting off his triumphs in “The Godfather” and “Last Tango in Paris.” He was my father’s age, with gray hair, a famously expanding waistline and an ego that almost drove Francis Ford Coppola to the brink of professional disaster on the set of “Apocalypse Now.”

I didn’t fall for that Brando.

My introduction came via a local TV station that broadcast classic films each weekday night. One June evening, the station showed “On the Waterfront,” which won eight Academy Awards in 1955, including a best actor trophy for Brando.

“Waterfront” is still revered as a landmark in American film for its hard-hitting script about waterfront corruption and its stellar ensemble cast, at the center of which was Brando.

Playing onetime boxing champ Terry Malloy, Brando is all tough-guy bravado, masking a wounded, delicate heart aching to do the right thing. The thunderbolt hit me when he appeared on screen a few seconds into the film. Two hours in the company of Brando — even with commercial breaks — left my heart thumping.

I also couldn’t sleep that night, with my mind trying to burn Brando moments into memory — his great “I coulda been a contender” monologue or his tender love scenes with Eva Marie Saint. In this pre-VCR, pre-video store era, I didn’t know when I’d ever see “On the Waterfront” — or Brando — again.

Then, a few weeks later, the station broadcast “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the 1951 film that first catapulted Brando to stardom. He plays petulant, sexy brute Stanley Kowalski. At various points, Brando takes off his shirt — or has it ripped off — to reveal a lithe, toned torso. With his Greek god profile and rough/vulnerable way with women, he was beautiful, dangerous and exciting.

I spent the rest of the summer consumed with Brando. This meant frequent trips to the library to check out Brando biographies and books on film and American theater. I also dived into works by playwright Tennessee Williams, who created Stanley Kowalski. And every week, I scoured TV listings to see if stations were playing more Brando movies.

Fortune smiled when local stations delivered a Brando-filled summer. I got to see him play Mexican peasant revolutionary Emiliano Zapata in another Oscar-nominated performance from 1952, sing serviceably well against Frank Sinatra in a movie version of “Guys and Dolls” and embody conflicted mutineer Fletcher Christian in a big-color 1962 version of “Mutiny on the Bounty.”

But along with those Brando-viewing delights came crushing disappointments. When another local station scheduled a “Streetcar” screening on a night I had to go out for a family event, I cried for days.

My Brando fascination continued over the next few years. It inspired me to take high school drama and to try some famous Brando-esque Method acting techniques to improve my performances.

It also prompted a memorable outing with some drama friends the summer after sophomore year. I convinced them to sneak over to see “Last Tango in Paris” at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre.

Not only did we scam our way into a controversial film that had received an X rating for nudity and graphic sex scenes, we had ventured into the Castro district, then in its early, heady days as a burgeoning gay mecca. While one still-closeted male friend found it a revelation to be in a place where men openly showed affection to one another, I was thrilled to see an artsy film with subtitles set in Paris, not to mention another raw, anguished performance by Brando.

At this point, I need to clarify something. Perhaps unlike other girls with celebrity crushes, I never fantasized about ever being Brando’s girlfriend or anything like that.

For one thing, the Brando I fell in love at 14 with no longer existed. Also, my course in Brando studies taught me that he might be an acting genius, but he was mostly a jerk in his private life to his many wives, girlfriends and offspring.

If I fantasized about a real-life association, it would be me playing the role of platonic gal pal, someone with whom he could free-associate about his art or the meaning of life.

Foreshadowing of my romantic future? To some extent, yes. My teen and early adult years were populated by muddles and misunderstandings with boys and men who also were unavailable because they were 1) gay; 2) in love with someone else; or 3) Brando-esque “bad boys” or commitment-phobes who weren’t into anything long term.

But even if my 14-year-old self never envisioned being with Brando in that way, my introduction to him as Terry Malloy and Stanley Kowalski still stirred something profound inside me. It’s reminds me of Blanche DuBois’ line about falling in love for the first time at 16: “It was like you suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow; that’s how it struck the world for me.”

Going into high school, it would be a while before I met boys who piqued my interest. But at least I was more in sync with my friends. During a late-night sleepover confession, a friend described how exciting and scary it was to be madly in love with her new boyfriend. Finally, I was able to respond, with full honesty and understanding, “Yeah, I know how that feels.” Share your celebrity crushes at features@mercurynews.com.

Article source: http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-living/ci_28550200/celebrity-crushes-falling-love-marlon-brando

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The Difference Between Success and Failure

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 28, 2015 in Rat News

The one thing every aspiring freelancer, college student or person with access to a time machine should know.

It’s all a balancing act.

Perched on a tightrope, with high winds, and possibly some large, angry ravens pecking and cawing.

I make a living on the Internet by being myself and sharing the things I’ve learned. But I’m also scared shitless to be myself and share the things I’ve learned.

Some days, I don’t care about being judged. I’ll write 5,000 words about life with 48 cusses and sweatily hit “publish.” I’ll get 254 emails about how awful a person I am because I: work for myself, voice my opinions on the Internet, give myself permission to do silly things like canceling an almost-funded kickstarter campaign or sponsoring my own podcast or writing about my pet rats in business magazines.

Other days, I care too much about being judged. What people think, who’ll be offended, what the contents of every single one of those 254 emails said and how right they are about everything that’s wrong or imperfect about me. I’ll write 5,000 words on 50 topics and delete every single one (without even hitting save).

People tell me how lucky I am all the time. To have the life I want and be able to live it. And they’re right. I am really lucky. I don’t have to worry about being killed in a war and I wasn’t born into abject poverty. I live in an age where I’m able to communicate directly to the people I want to reach without having to go through any gatekeepers.

Everyone wants the secret. No, not the Rhonda Byrne kind. The secret to working for yourself, to making money, to building an audience, to getting somewhere. What’s the one tip you’d tell an aspiring freelancer or someone just out of school or someone who’s struggling to get their business off the ground?

To which I say, “Type words into the Internet and money will come out!”

Just kidding (that doesn’t always work).

The truth is, I haven’t a clue.

Yes, I know and teach quite a bit on the subject of freelancing and business, but that really comes down to systems and processes that you can use to track, evaluate and iterate on. I’d never teach or sell anything that guaranteed success or preached “there’s only one way to do things, and it’s this way…”

Sometimes the difference between success and failure comes down to how you perceive the results. A lot of folks I know that do far better than I do with money or reach don’t feel like they’re even close to successful. Some folks I know with neither of those things feel untouchably stoked about the life they’ve got. I don’t personally feel successful–mostly because there are still a million things I want to try and even more things I need to learn.

My only advice is to pick a direction that feels right to you and run screaming towards it. WEEEE!!!!! You can always change directions later. Unless you die, then it probably doesn’t matter. But if it does matter when you die, let me know, ok? Also, try not to run in directions that greatly increase your chances of dying (like wrestling polar bears with ninja skills, for example, please don’t do that).

Persistency and bravery always trump following safe bets and proven methods. And bravery doesn’t have to look like free solo climbing mountain or standing on stage in front of 35,297 people. The bravest acts can be simply putting ourselves out there without knowing the outcome or reception or that 254 people are going to hate us for it.

For the most part, I enjoy being scared shitless. This balancing act forces me to keep learning and questioning, and to feel brave because all I did was press the “publish” button.

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-jarvis/the-difference-between-su_b_7876742.html

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Pet rats fascinating, deserve to be on list of pet possibilities …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 25, 2015 in Rat News

Oakville residents Jack Turchet, Myles Vita-Finzi, Christian Tremblay, Carson Margolese, Sam Brewer and Alex Ishmael will play for the Ontario Rangers U17 team at the national ball hockey championships in Newfoundland.

Article source: http://www.insidehalton.com/opinion-story/5748955-pet-rats-fascinating-deserve-to-be-on-list-of-pet-possibilities/

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Pet rats fascinating, deserve to be on list of pet possibilities

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 24, 2015 in Rat News

They are curious, intelligent and playful. They come in many different colour patterns, are easy to care for, feed and maintain. Admirers describe them as being loyal, good-natured and loveable and a great pet for kids. Though their public image, for some, may be a bit tarnished, a rat should by no means be ruled out when considering choices for a pet.

Pet rats or fancy rats are domesticated brown rats. Pet rats are commonly sold by pet stores and breeders. They are quite hardy little creatures, though they are susceptible to some health conditions that a pet rat’s owner should know about.

Especially when young or first acquired, a pet rat should be carefully observed for any skin or haircoat irritation. Dermatitis or skin infections may result from excessive scratching or other self-trauma. This itchiness is often caused by infection with ectoparasites — parasites that live on or in the superficial layers of the skin. All animals are susceptible to such parasites. The two that most commonly are a problem for rats are mites and lice. A veterinarian should be consulted if skin problems are noticed. With proper identification, treatment should be able to successfully eliminate any parasites, allowing the irritated skin to heal.

Respiratory problems can occur in rats of any age. Owners may notice a discharge from the eyes, a nasal discharge and sneezing or chattering. Laboured breathing is also commonly seen. Infectious agents are the most common cause of respiratory disease. It is often a mix of bacterial and viral organisms that combine to cause the most serious infections in the respiratory system. Chronic respiratory disease and bacterial pneumonia are two of the better understood ailments that affect rats.

Concurrent with these problems, owners often believe their pet rat is bleeding from the eyes or the nose. In fact, this is not blood that is being noticed rather the tears are red coloured as a result of porphyrins being secreted from the Harderian gland located in the orbit of the eye. This phenomenon, called “red tears,” is often associated with respiratory conditions, but also may be seen with other stress or other illnesses in rats. Any rat showing these signs should receive a thorough examination by a veterinarian. Respiratory infections are most commonly treated with antibiotics. Doxycycline and enrofloxacin are antibiotics, given by mouth, that are most effective in treating serious respiratory disorders. Occasionally antibiotics are administered via a nebulizer. Unfortunately, antibiotics will be of little benefit with respiratory disease that is caused primarily by viruses. In such situations an owner will need to ensure their pet enjoys good husbandry conditions, in a healthy environment and is receiving a high quality, nutritious diet.

Tumours, in particular mammary tumours, frequently occur in rats. They can be very fast growing tumours and often quickly reach very large sizes. The good news is that in most cases they are benign and therefore surgical excision provides a good option for treatment. The same anesthetics that are used for cats and dogs are used for rats. Rats are usually good surgical patients and with appropriate pre- and post-surgical support, will recover from surgery without complications. Experts differ in their opinions as to whether there is sufficient scientific evidence that neutering or spaying will prevent the development of mammary tumours in rats.

There are a few steps that someone with a pet rat should consider. Rats are prey animals and like other animals in this category, they usually mask any symptoms of illness quite well. Caregivers need to be very alert for signs of poor health. As for anyone, early detection of problems and a prompt response is best. In this respect, it’s recommended that rat-owning clients purchase an accurate gram scale. Weight changes can be an important indicator of health. Losses of even 10 grams of body weight may indicate developing health issues well in advance of clinical signs becoming obvious. Regular weigh-ins will also help an owner recognize and react if excessive weight gains are noticed. Also, since some veterinarians do not treat rats in their practice, anyone with a pet rat should locate an animal hospital that does treat exotic or non-traditional pets in advance of their pet developing any health problems. It should also reassure pet rat owners that if complicated health problems that require help from a specialist occur, referrals for such services are available in most areas.

Pet rats are fascinating little creatures and definitely deserve to be on the list of pet possibilities.

Barry Burtis is a local companion animal veterinarian.

Article source: http://www.insidehalton.com/opinion-story/5748955-pet-rats-fascinating-deserve-to-be-on-list-of-pet-possibilities/

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‘All Your Wants and Needs Fulfilled Forever’ live on stage!

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 23, 2015 in Rat News

Media Release


The Playground
Collective in collaboration with Q Presents

Back in New Zealand after their
huge success at La Mama in New York, award winning theatre
company The Playground Collective in
collaboration with Q Presents, promises to deliver on its
title, giving Auckland audiences All Your Wants and Needs
Fulfilled Forever
in a night out at Q Loft, 9th – 19
th September.

Video games, porn and his pet rats; Simon
successfully distracts himself from the recent death of his
father using all the tools at his disposal – until a
mysterious box arrives that promises to change his life
forever. He will suffer. He will overcome. The Solution will
be revealed. This might just be the one that cracks it

From the team that brought you Like There’s
No Tomorrow
and The Intricate Art of Actually Caring;
nominated for Five Chapman Tripp Theatre
, this existential comedy dissects the
stories we all tell ourselves as we try to make meaning from
the chaos. Written by The Playground Collective core-member
Eli Kent (The Intricate Art of Actually
Caring, Black Confetti)All Your Wants and Needs Fulfilled
attempts to do exactly what the title says by
exploring how to make the perfect show and ensure audiences
aren’t left disappointed.

Eli and director Robin
recently took the show to New York City where
they were given the largest venue in the New Zealand New
Performance Festival
New York where they earned a
4 ½ star review from The Public Review, New York . Now they
have teamed up with producer Molly O’Shea,
a core member of the elusive theatre company You
Me Bum Bum Train
, which had 80,000 Londoners scrambling
for tickets in 2011. Together they are excited to bring
All Your Wants and Needs Fulfilled Forever back to
New Zealand and to its newest audience; Auckland.
Performing in All Your Wants and Needs Fulfilled Forever
will be the award winning writer himself Eli Kent,
Joel Baxendale (Binge Culture Collective)
and Victoria Abbott (Caterpillars, Ash
vs. Evil Dead).

The Playground Collective is a New
Zealand theatre company dedicated to developing innovative
and imaginative theatre based on good storytelling. Since
forming in 2007, they have produced nine shows which have
won nine Chapman Tripp Awards, they are the Theatre Company
to watch. Voted runner up ‘Best Theatre Company in
Wellington’ in 2010 by the Capital Times and highly
commended in Metro Magazine that same year, their work has
toured extensively across New Zealand through various arts
festivals, 16 regional centers through ‘Arts on Tour’,
and most recently to New York as part of the New Zealand
New Performance Festival New York

exceptional work of theatre, striking the perfect balance
between artifice and its acknowledgement; between
emotionally affecting storytelling and uncomfortable humour;
between literal narrative and visually poetic live art” –
The Public Review, New York

defies both definition and expectation.”


All Your Wants and Needs
Fulfilled Forever plays

Q Theatre Loft, 305
Queen Street, Auckland
Performances: 9 – 19 September,
Tickets: $36 – $40 (booking fees may
Tickets available through Q Theatre – 09 309
9771 or www.qtheatre.co.nz

© Scoop Media

Article source: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU1507/S00303/all-your-wants-and-needs-fulfilled-forever-live-on-stage.htm

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APOPO Rats, Rodents of Unusual Size Saving Lives

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 22, 2015 in Rat News

Think of a rat. What comes to mind? Very few people would answer, “a hero,” yet that’s exactly what the rats of APOPO are. The Tanzania-based Belgian NGO uses rats to save lives by sniffing out land mines. Though its difficult to calculate the number of land mines buried in Africa—experts estimate the number to be in the millions—there have been 18,000 land mine related deaths between 1999-2013. Clearly, it’s a huge problem.

why use rats, though?

But why rats, of all animals? Bart Weetjens, the founder of APOPO, notes that the advantage of using these rodents is that they are cheap to train, cheaper to procure, and plentiful. Including all administrative and operating costs, each of the APOPO rats costs about $7,600

how were apopo rats thought up?

Weejns began studying the possibility of rats for land mine detection as a student at the University of Antwerp. As he had grown up with pet rats, he now wondered if he could use them as a low-cost solution to a global problem. “I kept rodents as a boy, so I knew they were very trainable, sociable and intelligent creatures,” says Weetjens. “For me, this was a natural fix.” In 2003, APOPO began using rats, termed HeroRats, to clear land mines in the war-torn country of Mozambique. At that time, Mozambique, due to a devastating civil war that ended in 1992, had the world’s most serious land mine problem. To date, the APOPO HeroRats have cleared over 7,000 mines from Mozambique. The country is expected to be land mine free by the end of 2015. After Mozambique, APOPO plans on focusing on Angola’s land mine problem. Currently, Angola has an estimated 10 to 20 million active land mines.

The rats are capable of clearing almost two hundred square feet per hour. A feat that would take almost fifty hours to accomplish by an all-human land mine clearing team. The HeroRats are cheap, quick, and effective. If their land mine clearing powress were not enough, the APOPO rats have recently been used to detect tuberculosis by sniffing blood samples. APOPO begins to expand their work on Tuberculosis in the next few years. For more information, check out APOPO’s website.

check out the world’s first pickpocket-proof shirt!



Article source: http://clapway.com/2015/07/17/apopo-rats-rodents-of-unusual-size-saving-lives778/

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500 pet rats need the immediate power of kindness

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 21, 2015 in Rat News

In the little shop called Dandelion Dreams on Francisco Boulevard in Pacifica, customers will find supplies for hamsters, mice, rats, guinea pigs, chinchillas and rabbits as well as a small variety of food and treats for dogs and cats. Some of those small animal supplies include: handmade hammocks, footprint kits, wheels, ramp runners, second hand cages in first place working order, bedding, litter, chews, toys and more. The store directly funds rescue and its owner, Jenn Paz, is the director of North Star Rescue, a nonprofit dedicated to the welfare of small companion animals. Any given day in the shop, animal lovers will find small pet rodents available for adoption or fostering. All the animals are rescues.

“We even make houses for them,” Paz laughed. “We are goobers for these little guys and gals.”

Currently the Pacifica shop and North Star Rescue are involved in a massive pet rat rescue of at least 500 rats, all who have been living under one roof in a hoarding situation. The nonprofit is working hard to raise enough money to find enough adopters to place as many rats as possible, quickly. (Visit http://www.youcaring.com/north-star-rescue-379288 for details.)

“The woman who owns them took all of her original rats from a neglect situation but she didn’t separate the genders, and she didn’t have enough cages which created many, many more rats,” Paz said. “Boy rats sexually mature at five weeks and must be separated from the girls. Many of the rats are injured, sick, pregnant, and in dire need of a clean place to live and good food. “

North Star Rescue has taken 100 of the rats already and either brought them to their Pacifica Adoption Outpost for some TLC before they are ready for adoption, or brought them to the shelters they work with, so that all the rats will find a good home.

“Rats are the greatest,” Paz noted. “They are very social and interactive, very intelligent and you can train them.” (They are also good therapists. They have been recognized for helping children with anxiety and stress issues.)

The shop on Francisco will also soon welcome four guinea pigs recently rescued from a cruelty case in Yolo County, where 40 guinea pigs, all dead but these four, were found in the back of a U-Haul.

“We see the worst of people and the best of people,” Paz said. “But all our little pets are amazing and beautiful. While some may not be as people friendly as rats, they still make their families so happy. Often people decide to foster first and then they sign the adoption papers.”

Dandelion Dreams, 1610 Francisco Boulevard, Pacifica. Tuesday — Friday: 12:00 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visit them on Facebook. Learn about all these little critters at: http://www.northstarrescue.org/

Pacifica Tribune correspondent Jean Bartlett can be reached at editor@jeansmagazines.org.

Article source: http://www.mercurynews.com/pacifica/ci_28504083/500-pet-rats-need-immediate-power-kindness

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‘Hoarders’ Rodent-Infested Home: ‘This Is The Rats’ House’

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 20, 2015 in Rat News

If you’re afraid of rats, you might want to cover your eyes. The latest episode of “Hoarders: Family Secrets” was loaded with them.

“Nothing in this house can be saved. This isn’t Mary’s house. This is the rats’ house,” said cleaner Matt Paxton on “Hoarders: Family Secrets.”

Mary, from Fresno, California, had a hoard so filled with rats that her things were severely contaminated, something that was hard for her to process.

“What about booze?” Mary asked the cleaning professional, who was wearing a protective suit. “Beer, or ale…”

“No,” he replied. “There’s really nothing here I would feel comfortable with you consuming.”

This isn’t the first time “Hoarders” has featured a sizable rat colony, or mischief, in case you were wondering.

The season finale in 2011 featured a man who kept thousands of pet rats. 

“I readily admit that I have way too many rats.” (Video via AE / “Hoarders”)

Things didn’t get that bad for Mary, but the animals still did terrible damage to her house, to the point where bulldozing it was the best option. 

We can hope that this is the tail end of Mary’s hoarding problem.

This video includes images from Jason Snyder / CC BY 2.0.

Article source: http://www.newsy.com/videos/hoarders-rodent-infested-home-this-is-the-rats-house/

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