My sad-sack line is my original line that started in 1989 with "Coco Chanel" an adorable and graceful Agouti hooded ladyrattie(pictured left pics 5.1) and "Spud" a self pew boy that was our first rescue-rat who became a beloved pet. (unfortunately I don't have any photos of Spud)
The reason this line has this nick name is rather hard to describe. The females from this line are unusually (for any female rat) lap-worthy, and the males kind of have this tendency to slide off your hand/lap/where-ever they're sitting at the time, like say a water-filled, clip-seal plastic bag would, as I said, it's hard to describe. Probably the best comparison I can think of, well at least for catlovers, would be, that they are the equivalent of the raggiest Ragdoll cat.
They're so flopsy to hold, that more than once, while being held by a person who's not aware of their sacky nature, they've slipped through their fingers and just about been dropped on the floor. They seem to be completely trusting that you'll keep a hold of them, and don't bother to hold on for themselves. Lets just say that the rats from this line (well the males at least) are not ideal shoulder rats for obvious reasons.
There was the time that "Banjo" (pics 5.2) and his brother "Kazooie" (pic 5.3), were asleep on my lap, while I was busy answering e-mails. I must have moved just a little, but it was enough for "Banjo's" weight to shift a bit, and next thing I knew, he'd slid off my lap to land with a plop on the carpeted floor, upon which time he woke up, yawned in that wide-mouthed ratty way, before realising he wasn't on my lap anymore. I wasn't sure whether to laugh at the hilarity of it, or be worried about him having hurt himself, which thankfully he hadn't.
The temperament of the males of this line is very laid back with a type of 'nothing phases me' attitude. In fact ever since the beginning I've housed all my males together in one home and all my females together in another home. without ever having had any problems with fighting or male aggression, which I've heard is a problem in some lines elsewhere.
The temperament of the females in this line is very different than that of the males. They're a very strong-willed, upwardly mobile bunch, who know what they want and how to get it. This is definitely a matriarchal line. The females have characters that almost remind one of a proper old fashioned school marm. We've noticed they're enduring mothers, but when they've had enough, they firmly let the pups know it's time to settle down. Their treatment of their young (as well as younger ones in their home group) is strict yet fair. They never bite or hurt the younger ones, but they do rough them up a bit.
At first we were more than a little worried when introducing newer ratties to the colony, as this line are fairly vocal. They've been observed often, with some poor rattieperson pinned on their back, with both ratties little necks stretched back, and lots of breathy squeaking noises going on. But it appears that this is some sort of initiation process, letting the new ones know the chain of command. No-one has ever been hurt through this process. Many a time we've wished we have a video camera to catch this amazing ritual. One day we will, and then I guess I'll have a few little mini-movies to put on this site too.
Some other ratties hailing from this line are pictured here also. They are: *Carawatha Mira (pic 5.4) a very over opinionated fawn Hooded female, one we've never seen the likes of again. She was one of the best mothers we've ever bred, but was a grumpy old lady in her twilight years.
*Carawatha Pocahontas (pic 5.5) is an exquisite fawn hooded female, so very gentle. She's the most enduring mum we've bred from this line. In fact I don't think I've ever seen a rat treat their babies in a more loving way, than this girl. She's our 'mother of the Earth" rattie. If there was ever a time I'd need to either foster babies onto another mother, or breed a mother for this purpose, She would be the one I'd choose.
Rat mothers in general are known to often be over-protective of their young. It's often wise to opt for the 'Keep your hands out of the till' approach while mums around. While we have had the odd mother who would give you a nip if you tried to touch her babies while she was there, most of the females from this line are usually more concerned if I'm looking at their babies, and some will even hold my hand or finger in their mouth without biting, just as a warning, that I've looked enough.
But when Pocahontas had babies, she blew me away by grooming and washing my hand along with her babies, all the while, she was lying on her side still suckling some of them. She did this numerous times, as I always check the nests and handle the young daily.
*Carawatha Neferatiti (pic 5.6) This lovely agouti hooded female could almost be a re-incarnation of our original ratty "Coco". Her personality, her manerisms, her cheekiness and even some of her bad habits, are exactly like Coco. She even looks like her in appearance, with her hood markings being almost the same and she has the same face. I guess because of these reasons, I hold a particular fondness for her, which usually results in her getting away with a lot more than she should.
I hope that we can retain this line forever. Even when I'm as old as the hills, I'll still have my ratties and it would be lovely to think that we could still have decendants from this line decades on.