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African Pouched RatKali aged 6 weeks
Kali's vital statistics
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Species: African Pouched Rat (Cricetomys gambianus)



27 February

I had Babu put down this morning.

Last night when I put him to bed he had seemed a bit frantic and had been worrying the sore spot on his tail. I bandaged it up so that he could not gnaw it. When I came to give him his breakfast I saw that his bedding was covered in blood. I thought he’d harmed his tail but actually he had gnawed his remaining foot. All his toes were gone except for one which was only attached by a strip of skin. I knew at once that it I’d have to have him put down There was no way he could have managed partly paralysed and without both his back feet.

I rushed him to the vet and they gave him an injection immediately to put him to sleep. He slipped away while I was holding him.

He had been though so much since he damaged his back about six months ago. I was amazed how well he coped and how, against the odds, he was actually getting movement and strength back. He kept me hoping right up to the last.

Good-by Babu Ambaa and I will miss you.

23 February

Ambaa is behaving very strangely to Babu at the moment. She really likes being with him but every so often she will come up behind him making little grunting noises. She then climbs on his back, puts her front legs round his neck and shakes his head very violently.

Babu doesn’t protest until Ambaa starts to nip his ears and neck. As soon as I pull her off him he goes back to whatever he was doing before as if nothing had happened. Ambaa, on the other hand, just wants to get back to him so she can do it again.

19 February

Babu is moving about much better at the moment. He is most active when I let him out into the hall to play with Ambaa. He is using his one good back leg quite a lot and there is more strength in it too. He can put on quite a turn of speed for a half paralysed rat with only three feet.

Unfortunately he can’t hold himself off the floor so he is constantly dragging his tummy along the ground. This makes him sore especially as his fur still hasn’t grown back from the amputation yet.

I remember that as a baby Babu grew his adult coat in patches. The same seems to be happening again. His fur has grown back fully is some places but in other places he still has bare skin.

I’m going to have to see if I can put a bandage round him when he comes out to prevent him rubbing himself sore.

18 February

Babu has been having a difficult time during the recent cold weather. He’s had a hot water bottle in his house with him but he hasn’t been able to keep himself very warm. When he gets cold he looks very miserable and doesn’t want to move about much at all. He also gets very ‘snappy’ when I pick him up.

Thankfully it has got a bit warmer so Babu has perked up a bit. I’m also letting him out to play at the same time as Ambaa again. This really invigorates him and he becomes quite active. I have to watch them closely because Ambaa tries to play with him and gets very rough.

Ambaa continues to get more confident. She is climbing on everything and investigating everything. She is also loosing some of her fear of people. She is quite happy to come up to me and give me a good sniff. She’ll also climb on me if I’m in the way.

She seems to like having contact with Babu again. She spends a lot of her play time just being near him. She grooms him and walks round him trying to get him to play. She doesn’t understand why he doesn’t case her.

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