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Benji
Benji  
Hi Natasha,
   First,thank you so much for so advice to us. I have a 21 month Fancy rat, Benji, and he's a single rat (we were wrongly advised that single would make him more attached to us). The past month, we have noticed more clumsiness and waddling. Benji's cage is on a table 1.5 ft X 6 ft X 29 inches (height). We keep his cage open so he can free move about the table and explore various cutout boxes and toys. He also gets free time in the sunroom a couple of times a day when he has lots of space to roam and explore - also plenty of boxes and some a an angle plant to climb. For the past few weeks he's sometimes misjudge and lose his balance & fall off the edges of the table, about 1-2 times a day. I am concern that this repetitive falling from 29 inches height will injure him, will it? If so, I'd need to find a way to set up a barrier to help prvent him from falling over. He also doesn't bounce around like he used to. He mainly waddles around. I supposed this is due to his older age? Sadly, I have a feeling this might be? He also hasn't been affectionately grooming me as he used to, though he absolutely loves being receiving attention, petting, and gentle scratches. Benji is our first pet rat. My persuasive son convinced me to get a pet rat and I quickly got over the "ick" factor & grew to love him! Thank you so much for your time and any advice your may offer.

Answer
Dear Juliette,

Every time he falls off that table he risks serious external or internal injury, paralysis, and death. I don't think I can make it more clear.

Please. Do not let him ever, ever fall down again. Rats have been killed by shorter distances than that. He may already have sustained serious internal damage.

Figuring he's about 4" tall standing on all fours, he falls seven times his height. Say you had an eight year old kid who was 4' tall. Now say he falls-- not jumps-- from the top of a 28' tree -- several times a day. Falls because he is clumsy-- meaning, he has far less ability to land correctly than other kids his age might be. Now does it make sense? :(

Please, please don't let it happen again. Get him a pen so he can be with his toys on the floor for his out time. Please don't endanger his life.

The best thing to do right now would be a vet trip, both to determine the cause of the clumsiness, and to be examined for injuries from the many falls he has taken.

Best of luck and hope of good health for him,

squeaks,

Natasha  

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Natasha Millikan

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Consider me a sub, when no one else is available. NOTE YOU MUST NOT HAVE ONLY ONE RAT. JOIN MY FACEBOOK GROUP (because there are smarter people than me there!!): ***** https://www.facebook.com/groups/RatsandMiceareAwesome/. ***** Excellent sites: http://ratguide.com/ **** http://lilspazrats.wikispaces.com/ **** http://www.ratbehavior.org/rats.html **** http://www.ratfanclub.org/ **** http://www.sandyscrittercity.com/ **** http://www.ratwhisperer.net/ ****

Experience

I have had rats for 3-1/3 years and have researched them extensively. I am a mouse expert with 40 years' experience with mice. The two species are similar and yet also quite different.

Organizations
My Facebook group is Rats (and Mice) are Awesome. https://www.facebook.com/groups/RatsandMiceareAwesome/

Education/Credentials
I have a Bachelor's and two Master's degrees in Linguistics

Awards and Honors
I am honored that my rats love me!

Past/Present Clients
My Facebook group, Rats are Awesome, serves at the moment 5300 members, and, considering all the huge rescues, probably averages 5 rats per member. That means my clients are about 25,000 rats!!!

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