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Aren't you concerned about Hanta virus? Or the plague?

A commonly encountered misconception is that rats like Scribble, and especially Eek, are dirty and laden with pestilence. This is just not our experience.

Both rats, but especially Eek, spend more time self-grooming that the cats that live here. Both rattie girls are always quite clean and sweet smelling. Both rats, but especially Eek, are litter box trained. Occasionally there are a few slip-ups usually for understandable reasons. Scribble, in particular, typical of her species, sometimes "leaks" a little urine to scent mark her territory. Fortunately, as a female, it's pretty scentless, and this behavior has also been declining. Eek has never done this. Both rats are surprisingly picky about what they eat, and would not find garbage appealing unless, perhaps, they were starving.

Both Eek, the woodrat, and Scribble, the "pet" rat, could carry Hanta virus, but it's very unlikely, not having been around other rats that could be carriers. The bubonic plague is spread by a specific rat flea, different from the ordinary fleas we find on our pet cats and dogs. The plague has not been been found in our area, though in 2012 infected squirrels were found in two California parks. Both Eek and Scribble are flea free, and, as they do not roam outside, are extremely unlikely ever encounter a flea carrier, especially of this kind of flea. Woodrats like Eek are a primary vector for Lyme disease in our area. Again though, Eek does not have fleas, and, therefore, does not have the capacity to pass on Lyme disease.

Rats are more likely to have mites, like in their ears. These, though they bother the rats, do not afflict humans. And both rats in the Eekosphere have been treated to ensure they are mite free.

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Faq | by Dr. Radut