Monday, May 24, 2004

  Rat tails

I don't know the reason why, but some folks think that there's something creepy about a rat's tail. I've taken Rugby around the neighborhood and into the office to meet people, and every once in a while you'll get someone who says, "Well, his face is cute..."

well thats true

"...but the tail freaks me out. Ick!"

its okay i have strong self-esteem so their anti-rat prejudice doesnt bother me. anyway they are just being dumb becuase my tail is actually very pretty and useful

You're a brave little trooper for not letting the rat-phobia get to you, Rugby. Here, have a little piece of my French toast with raspberry j-- .

NNGGGGRAAAB!! chunf chuhnf chunf muuuuhmmmnnnnfff. ummm, ummm, umm, nggarrffff chunff chunfff

Dude, you eat like that fat German kid in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Anyway, you're right about how useful a rat's tail is. Many people wrongly assume that rats have "naked" or "scaly" tails, and it's true that at at first glance, Rugby does appear to have some pink reptilian horror hanging off his butt.

for that i'm going to leave a nice juicy caper in your cereal when youre not looking

I said your tail appears reptilian, but only at first glance. Unlike a bird's feet, which really are scaly...

birds are dinosaurs you know

Yes, that's right. Anyway, Rugby's tail is actually covered with extremely fine, short hairs -- or maybe bristles would be a better word. His tail feels smooth if you stroke it from the base to the tip, but if you rub your finger against the grain of those bristly little hairs -- towards his body -- it feels coarse, as though it really were covered with scales. The hairs act like cleats on football shoes, giving the tail traction and a bit of grip. Whenever I pick Rugby up, he whirls his tail around in the air just like Indiana Jones with his bullwhip. When his tail smacks against something solid -- like the rungs of the wooden ladder that leans against the outside of Rugby's cage -- the tip of the tail will wrap around the object, thus giving him an "anchor point" as he orients himself.

because it is a little disorienting when i am just minding my own business and a hand just comes out of the air and grabs me. i dont really mind though because i get i good view of the world from your shoulder and your big fleshy neck is warm to lean against

Rugby also uses his versatile tail as a stabilizer and "feeler" when he's scooting along a narrow walkway, such as the railing on our balcony. 
Rugby the Rat was an intellectually gifted representative of the species Rattus norvegicus; now he dwelleth on a higher plane and aspires to become a member of the Hindu pantheon. But he still likes food.

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