September 26, 2002
Today, I built a ramp from the office cage complex to the top of my desk. I opened the aquarium and hooked the ramp over the top. I placed an open tupperware of cooked macaroni noodles on the desk. I sat back to watch, and type what I saw...
After a minute or two, Widget ventures onto the ramp. Inch by inch, pushing out the boundaries of his known world. He retreats often, but returns again, a few inches further each time. He does not dare to leave the ramp completely. He stretches to his furthest extent, but keeps his hind feet on the safety of the ramp. A minute later, Cricket dares. All four of Cricket's feet leave ramp for the strange smooth surface of the desk. Cricket discovers the tupperware of noodles. Grabs a noodle, retreats to the safety of the cage to eat it. A minute later, Cricket emerges again, makes a beeline for the tupperware, claims another noodle. Widget and Snip, inside the cage, are driven to distraction because Cricket has a noodle and they don't.
Cricket emerges to steal a third noddle and retreats. He must eat quickly and run often to finish the noodle before his brothers get it. Undeterred, he emerges for his 4th noodle. Widget follows him out, but retreats again without leaving the ramp or finding the noodles.
Widget emerges, leaves ramp briefly with all four feet, hops back on ramp, and retreats to the cage to steal Cricket's noodle.
Cricket darts out and gets his 5th noodle and retreats. Widget tries again. Keeping his hind feet on the ramp, clinging with his toes, he manages to stretch far enough to reach the tupperware with his front paws. Hanging precariously between ramp and tupperware, like a suspension bridge, he manages to grab his first noodle. Retreats in triumph.
Cricket reappears and grabs 6 noodles that are stuck together and dashes back to the cage with his prize.
Widget re-emerges and grabs one noodle that is stuck to the lid, closer to the ramp, and vanishes to eat it.
Cricket explores around the ramp. Widget ventures onto ramp again. Cricket steps on phone cord, scares himself, both Cricket and Widget scamper back to the safety of the aquarium.
Widget emerges to grab his third noodle. Actions smoother and surer now.
Cricket emerges, ventures even further onto the desk... checks out the pens, the files. Widget emerges and grabs his fourth noodle. Both rats retreat.
Widget grabs three noodles stuck together, and Cricket grabs three more. Both retreat.
Anne, deciding that 20 noodles between three rats is enough, closes tupperware and hides it.
Several more forays onto ramp and desk. Slight distress due to the absence of noodles.
Snip ventures a few inches onto the ramp for the first time. Climbs onto the desk... hurries back. Next time, makes it to the pens before hurrying back... then a bit further. Then comes out furthest of all, crawls under the computer monitor and circles it before running home. Out again, hurries to computer, and discovers me. Stands happily for a shoulder rub.
Anne puts the tupperware of noodles on the desk for him. He discovers it, grabs a noodle and retreats to the aquarium with his prize.
30 minutes later... aquarium is closed, all rats are snoozing after their big noodle adventure :)