Rat enthusiasts pack club at Reading Pet Expo

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Mar 17, 2012 in Rat News | Subscribe


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In a corner at the Reading Pet Expo, Barnabas climbed a tiny ladder and wandered around on a hodgepodge of shapes before he stopped to sniff the air.

It’s practice for the rat agility shows held over the weekend at the expo. For rodent fans, there’s also a rat show, where rats will be judged by the breed standards and a fun rat show for older rats, handicapped rats and rats that aren’t perfect.

The women at the Rodent Club booth wear rat hats and let rats crawl around on their shoulders, but they acknowledge not everyone shares their passion for rodents.

“Sometimes, it’s ‘Ewww!’ ” said Barb Lemasters, of Hackettstown, N.J. “And sometimes it’s ‘Wow! We had no idea.’ “

The pet expo at the Greater Reading Expo Center has animals for everyone: dogs, cats, reptiles, birds, bunnies, horses and more.

The expo continues through Sunday.

The Rodent Club of Rising Sun, Md., shares a booth with a rat rescue group and an exotic pet breeder.

Lee Simms of Laureldale makes tiny hats for pet rats or other small animals like hamsters or guinea pigs. One dollar will buy a teeny sailor hat, top hat, straw hat or sparkly green hat just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

She has two pet rats, Barnabas and Edgar.

“I’m not allowed to have a dog,” she said. “They have the same personality as dogs and they’re smaller.”

Bobbie Johnson of Exeter Township was offering mice, rats and guinea pigs for adoption at the rat booth. Her business, Exotic Rodents, offers animals socialized from the day they were born and varieties not available at pet stores, she said.

She had teddy bear guinea pigs, a double rex agouti rat with dumbo ears and fancy mice such as hairless mice, fawn mice, rex mice and satin mice. Johnson also brought two cages of skinny pigs or guinea pigs that are mostly hairless.

Cordelia Knarr, 6, of Oley Township pleaded to touch one of the skinny pigs.

“Because they look like piggies,” she said.

So Johnson lifted one out of the cage. She explained the skinny pigs take weekly baths and need lotion to stay moisturized.

“That’s the good thing,” Cordelia’s mother, Angie, said. “You get to touch everything here.”

She was looking forward to seeing the reptiles at the show.

Cordelia’s friend, Grant Herber, 6, of Wernersville was giddy over petting a Siamese cat.

His mother, Rachel, was excited to see the cats and the dog shows.

New this year to the pet show is a dog dancer, a bigger goat show and two cat parades, show promoter Karen Garetano said.

She expects about 20,000 people to attend the show through the end of the weekend.

Contact Erin Negley: 610-371-5047 or enegley@readingeagle.com.

Article source: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=371822

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