Sunday

Ratmates

I once lived with two rats. I should say: my roommate had two pet rats; one of them was named Magic Johnson, and I forget the name of the other one. Magic wasn't particularly big or talented in ball sports. But he could squeeze through an opening the circumference of a dime, and that was enough to earn my respect.

I don't even remember if Magic was a 'he' because one of the rats got pregnant, and it might have been him/her. My roommate was forced to separate the mother from the babies because she* had begun developing a taste for baby food.

Literally. She started eating her own babies.

In nature, mothers eat their children all the time. I'm not an apologist (or a budding cannibal), I'm just morbidly fascinated. Researchers at the University of Montreal found that "baby smell" triggers the same physiological response in mothers as a delicious meal placed in front of hungry people. You can interpret that any number of ways:

- it's a bonding mechanism,
- the smell is addictive so a mother doesn't abandon her baby in the forest or on a long escalator, and/or
- babies as backup food.

Ugh. Gross. Sometimes I disgust myself with the way my mind works.

Do you ever have revolting thoughts? And then another level of 'you' interrupts your internal monologue to tell you how offensive you are? And then you have to wake up every morning, spit in the mirror and go on living with yourself?

I guess it's better than living with rats. Although, I have to admit, they're kinda cute when they're not eating their own babies. Even then it's like, players gonna play.

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*Not my roommate, the mother rat. Pronouns are hard!