Perhaps one of the less common pets on campus, Evy and Baby are two rats cared for by proud owner Isabelle Knott. A sophomore environmental studies major, Knott never owned rats until last spring, but she had just about every other pet. She was excited to have a new kind of critter.
“I think they're all the fun of a dog, but you can hold it in your hand. They’re pocket-sized,” Knott said.
Evy is an 11-month-old rescue rat, while Baby is nine months old from Animal House in St. Petersburg. Rats live for about two-and-a-half years. Evy, an albino with white fur and red eyes, was rescued on campus from someone whose snake wouldn’t eat her as a feeder rat.
“They tossed her in the grass and said something else will eat her. My friend happened to be walking by and picked her up for me,” Knott said.
She talked with her friend about how everything happens for a reason, so she named her new friend Evy, short for “my everything”.
“Since rats are social animals, I had to get her a little sister of course,” Knott said.
So Baby became part of the family. Baby prefers to hide in her soft burrow, while Evy is more outgoing.
“Evy is a very mischievous little rat. She likes to steal shiny things and markers. Baby is pretty shy. She likes to keep to herself. Her favorite place to play is my sock bin,” Knott said.
During the week of Nov. 17, Evy had mycoplasma, sort of like walking pneumonia. So Knott has been keeping her separate and making sure she gets better soon. Usually, she is quite a ball of energy.
“I call Evy my crack rat because she always runs around like she’s on crack,” Knott said.
To feed her furry friends, Knott gives them pelleted food with seeds or yogurt bites for rats. But their absolute favorite is applesauce.
Knott uses squeaky dog toys for her rats’ burrows. They have holes that the rats can hide and sleep in. Evy and Baby have a cookie jar and a jack o' lantern, and they also love to hide in and eat paper towel rolls.
Knott must be careful about her things, and can never leave out things that she doesn’t want to be chewed on.
“You always have to let them out for playing time,” Knott said. “I let them run around on my bed, which then becomes on all of my furniture because they just jump from thing to thing.”
Baby and Evy will continue their adventures with Knott and can be found on Instagram @rats_at_college.