Finding Inspiration For Rat Names

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 30, 2014 in Rat News | Subscribe

Do you hear the sound of a squeaky wheel during the night or spy a rolled-up ball of fur that is sound asleep during the day? If so, you might very well share your home with the largest of the muroids. Not ringing a bell? How about Rattus norvegicus? Truncate Rattus and you have “rat” — one of the most intelligent critters on the planet. Muroid is reference to Muroidea, which is a large superfamily of rodents that, in addition to rats, includes hamsters, gerbils, and mice. Domesticated pet rats also go by the name “fancy rats.” Although the fancy moniker might bring to mind Roddy St. James, the dapper pet rat (voiced by Hugh Jackman) who makes his home in an affluent Kensington flat in the movie Flushed Away (2006), it’s actually a reference to liking something, as in “I fancy that.” So if you fancy a pet rat, you’ve probably spent time trying to come up with the perfect name.

 A quick look at the names on SmallAnimalChannel’s critter species profile pages shows that, contrary to their negative image as pests, rats endear themselves to their people just as cats and dogs do theirs. With names like Lily, Angel, Alice, Bella and Rosie, you can’t help but think these companion critters are beloved members of a human household. Although their natural color is brown, companion rats also come in a variety of colors and patterns, which can also be name inspiring. Those who have black and white rats seemingly can’t resist the name Oreo, which is a top name on SmallAnimalChannel. 

So Many Rats Needing Names
If you are looking for a rat companion, consider adopting a pet rat from a rat-rescue organization. A little Googling can likely pinpoint a rescue group near you. Unfortunately, a good number of pet-worthy rats find themselves in need of a Forever Home. So how do adoption and rescue groups come up with names of their rats, which can be quite large in number? “In 2013 we did 331 adoptions.” shared Tahna Myers of Rattie Ratz. “That’s a lot of rats to name!” 

© Courtesy Rattie Ratz
At Rattie Ratz, groups of rescued rats that come in could be named after a person, a place or a situation.

Myers also said that larger groups of rats are often given a group name. “The group name can be the name of the person who gave them up — Sarah’s Crew — or the city or area they came from — Palo Alto Boys — or the situation in which they came from — trail rats. Often they will start with a group name and if they stay in the rescue long enough, a foster home will give them an individual name. Naming foster rats is always left up to the individual foster home. Most foster parents love naming their foster rats, others may find they get too attached and it makes letting go when they get adopted more difficult.” 

© Courtesy Wee Companions Small Animal Rescue Inc.
Roberta was named after Robert, the person who found her abandoned and brought her to Wee Companions.

Antonella Piazza, lead rat volunteer/HR director/hospice home coordinator for Wee Companions Small Animal Adoption Inc., said that because there can be a large volume of animals, the group has to be a bit resourceful. “We try to be creative with names but, sometimes we just run out of ideas, so we name some after the person who helped them find their way into our rescue,” she said. “For instance, we have a Roberta who was named after a maintenance staff member. Roberto found Roberta wandering around an apartment complex where someone tried to discard her in the trash chute. We also have an Alisa named after a county animal shelter employee who contacted us and asked for our help.”

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One Rat Health Issue You Can’t Ignore, click here
10 Common Rat Behaviors, click here
Life WIth Your First Pet Rat, click here
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