Posted by: rodentsandreptiles | May 28, 2011

The dogs of the reptile and rodent worlds

Bearded dragons are sometimes described as the dogs of the reptile world, on account of their sociability and the bonds they can form with their owners. Rats are similarly described (substituting ‘rodent’ for ‘reptile’, obviously).

Now, I recognise that my comparison is slightly flawed, as Ottie the dog has two owners (my mother and me) and my ratties and Keiko only have me, but from my experience with the rats, boys especially, and with Keiko, they’re more ‘dog-like’ than the dog is. Ottie loves her humans, certainly, but she also likes her free time, and her sleeping time. She doesn’t stay up to wait for me to come home from work so she can see me before she goes to bed (she did when I first started my current job nearly a year ago, but once she learnt that I return at around the same time in the early hours of every morning she stopped).

The rats, on the other hand, usually time their waking and sleeping hours around mine (Trouble, Bambi and Lily don’t so much, but the boys and Missy do). If the boys are ill during the night they rattle the bars of the cage to wake me up so I can comfort them. I can differentiate between their voices (not that they’re usually very vocal), and they can understand my tone, if not my words, from across the room.

Keiko stays up so that he can have a cuddle with me before he goes to bed. Once he’s said goodnight to me he’ll happily take himself off to bed (either in his vivarium or he’ll curl up next to me in my bed). In the six weeks I’ve had him I’ve learnt to interpret his expressions and body language fairly well; he’s learnt to tell me when he’s tired, hungry, bored, lonely or annoyed.

In short, I love the dog, and I always will, but I’m inclined to say that of the animals which live in the house, Keiko’s by far my favourite, in no small part because he has such personality.

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