Our son has a pet snake. A really big pet snake. He named him "Raizo" and he's a ball python. I wasn't too thrilled about him getting a snake. He's had many different kinds of lizards, so it isn't like he doesn't know what he's doing. He stays in his cage- the snake, that is- and he hasn't eaten any family members yet, so its all good for now.
For some reason, the snake hasn't been eating lately. It eats live rats. I feel bad about that- and I know, circle of life and all- but till now, the live items being eaten by critters in this house have been crickets and pinkie mice (which are newborn mice viciously taken from their mothers to be used as food! What the hell!). But, Raizo the python eats rats. Live, sentient, furry, and somewhat cute rats. I asked Jase how a feeder rat differs from a pet rat and turns out, that's just luck of the draw for the rat. Lucky rat goes in the display cage for someone to buy as a pet, not-so-lucky rat wishes he had little Nike shoes so he could escape.
When Raizo doesn't eat the rat, Jase puts it into the old gerbil cage in the girls' room. They both live away from home now- Ceej in the dorm at college and Kat has an apartment with her boyfriend- so having a random rat for a day or two isn't such a hassle. Except we've had this rat now for almost two months. Jase has offered it up to Raizo once a week for several weeks. What a hellish existence that must be, don't you think?
DG has been going into the room and talking to the rat and making sure it has food and water. The other day, he decided to clean the cage and in the process of getting the right bedding (Aspen, not cedar), he decided to put it in a bigger cage so it would have more room. It went from a smallish, ten-gallon-sized cage to a twenty-gallon-long with a mesh top and lots of room. There are toys in there for it to play with and the water bottle is now "properly" hung on the side. It took him hours to get this whole thing set up for the rat. He talked to it almost the whole time. He pets it. He hands it treats and it takes them from him. Its a very friendly rat.
So it looks like we have a pet rat now. (Jase has had pet rats before) I asked DG what he was going to name it and he said he couldn't name it or he'd get attached to it. I told him: "You're already attached to it! You just spent more time setting up its home than you ever did getting your cats ready for anything!"
We named it "Cibo" (chee-boh). According to Google Translate, Cibo is Italian for "Food". Cibo's cage has been moved to a part of the house where it will get to interact with humans more often. And I can hear DG when he goes upstairs and walks past the cage. He talks to the rat.
This morning, I said, "Did you notice how small the rat's feet are? Where in the world can it find little Nike shoes that small?"
DG looked at me with squinted eyes. "What?"
I said, "Duh? Rats with the Little Nike Shoes? You know the story."
DG: "Ohhh, yeah. You should go tell the rat that story."
Me: "Shouldn't the rat already know it? Its a rat."
DG: "Yeah, but they still like to hear the story!"
Here is a terrible mobile phone photo of Cibo.
And, because I mentioned him, here is a photo of Raizo.