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The Ratlist Glossary

(Commonly Used Terms)

(click here to skip to commonly used acronyms)

agouti:  The traditional color of wild rats.  The color is an even muddy brown  mixed with
               black guard hairs and silver ticking, with a slate to dark gray base fur.  See "ticked"
               for more information.

barbering:  Obsessive grooming which causes bald patches.  Rats may do this to a cage mate
                    or to themselves (self barbering).

berkshire:  A pattern of coloring on a rat.  A berkshire rat is all one color, except for a
                    white belly, white "socks" and tail tip.

The Bridge:  see "Rainbow Bridge" below

bruxing:  Teeth grinding or chattering;  rats do this when they are either really agitated or
                  especially content.

"The Conspiracy":  Many rat lovers believe that the general pet rat population is conspiring
                                    (apparently through mind control) to coerce us into adopting as many of
                                     them as possible.  Often blamed for impulse-buying of rats.

crepuscular:  active at twilight and/or just before dawn.  Though rats are supposedly nocturnal
                        animals, our resident child genius has determined that our pet rats really seem
                        to be "crepuscular".  Thanks a lot, Emily.

culling:  The practice of "weeding out" (i.e. killing) those babies in a litter which lack a desired
               trait.  In many breeding circles and rat clubs, this is apparently condoned as an
               acceptable method for developing the best show quality animals, but the RMCA (see
               below) has condemned this practice as inhumane (and a betrayal of our responsibilities
               as lovers of rats).  For more information, go to

Debbie Ducommun:  "The Ratlady".  Founder of the Rat Fan Club and queen of rat-care
                                        experts.  Her book, Rats!  A Fun & Care Book, and Rat Health Care
                                    guide are both required reading for rat owners.  Go to the Rat Fan Club
                                        web site, for more information.

head sway:  Rats with poor vision (especially pink-eyed rats) often sway from side to side
                       to help themselves distinguish objects better.  This is normal, and no cause for

head tilt:  Exhibited in rats who have had inner ear damage due to an infection (such as Myco--
                  see below).  If your rat is doing this, something is wrong and you should get to a vet.

hooded:  A common marking in rats.  A hooded rat is mostly white, but with a colored "hood"
                 on its head, and usually a stripe running down its back.

HTML:  (HyperText Markup Language) An internet language used to format Web Pages, often
                 used in Email programs to create colors, hyper links, and other cool stuff.  Since many
                 Email programs convert HTML to gibberish, members of the Ratlist are strongly urged
                to turn this feature off when sending to the list (if you're not sure how to do this, ask for
                 help--many listers are computer-savvy).

myco:  A nasty chronic respiratory disease caused by the mycoplasma pulmonis bacterium.
              It is believed that most rats carry this bacterium, and many say disease is incurable.
              Rats with myco can live long, full lives with proper treatment for occasional flare-ups:
              unfortunately, opinions vary on what "proper treatment" entails.  For more on myco,
              go to

PEW:  Pink Eyed white;  any rat that is white with pink eyes is a PEW.  This group includes
             Albinos, but also includes any other rat that is all white in color (with pink eyes).  A white
             rat with black eyes would be a BEW.

Pinkies:  Newborn rats.  Also called erasers, kittens, pups, rittens, ratlets...

Porphyrin:  A red discharge sometimes seen around a rat's nose or eyes which is often mistaken
                      for blood.  It is actually equivalent to having a runny nose or watery eyes, and can be
                      a sign that the rat is ill or otherwise under stress.  (Note:  since porphyrin is also found
                      in a rats spit, it may cause mysterious staining on the rat's coat from grooming.)

The Rainbow Bridge:  A legendary "bridge" to another realm where beloved pets are said to
                                         go after they die.  When our ratties die, they are said to be "crossing
                                         the bridge".  To read the story this legend is based on, go to

(rattie) raisins:  Um....poop.  Also called droppings, turds, doodie, and lots of things not
                             recommended for use on the Ratlist.

rat-help:  For urgent health problems and other questions that you need quick answers for, send
                 an Email to:

rat-info:  For general rat information, newbie questions, and questions you are too embarrassed
                 to ask the whole list, send an Email to:

RMCA:  The Rat and Mouse Club of America, which sponsors the Ratlist (though members of
                 one are not necessarily members of the other).  The RMCA web site is at

scritch:  To rub, gently scratch, or tickle a rat (they especially like this around their face and ears).

self:  (Solid), describes a rat who is one color only throughout his coat.  To read about the many
          colors and varieties of rats, go to

ticked:  "Mixed" coloring, created by having more than one color on each hair, or two or
               three different hair colors to make up the one overall color.  "Agouti" (see above)
               is an example of this type of coloring.

torpedoes:  A male rat's pride and joy, scientifically referred to as his testicles (though the Aussies seem
                to call them (goolies).

Yogurt Drops:  A favorite treat of many rats which has no nutritional value whatsoever.  VitaKraft
                           brand yogurt drops are available in most pet stores.  They come in many flavors,
                           but are not specifically packaged for rats.  Look for packages marked for
                           "rabbits", "hamsters", or "small animals".

(Commonly Used Acronyms)

AFAIK:     As far as I know
BEW:         Black Eyed White
BTW:      By the way
E4N:          Especially for Newbies
FAQ:        Frequently asked questions
FWIW:     For what it's worth
GMR:      Get more rats
IIRC:          If I recall correctly
IMHO:       In my humble opinion
LOL:          Laughing out Loud
NRF:         New Rattie Fever
ObRat:      Obligatory rat reference (in an off-topic post)
OT:           Off Topic (post)
OTC:         Over the counter
OTOH:      On the other hand
PEW:          Pink Eyed White
ROFL:        Rolling on the floor laughing
ROFLMAO:    Rolling on the floor, laughing my arse off
SO:           Significant other
TTFN:     Ta ta for now!

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