I've gotten a skosh paranoid, since unexpectedly losing a rat a little while ago. I refuse to worry that my pets are going to die one by one of a mysterious disease whose only symptom is "rat presents as completely normal" -- that way lieth only madness -- but I am keeping an eye out for distress.

If you aren't used to rats, it's a little difficult to tell the difference between imminent death and sheer indolence. Rats spend most of their day in a sort of torpor, for much the same reason you used to when you got the summer off from school, except that they can't really watch The Price Is Right while they're lying around. They're prey animals, even if domesticated rats don't really have a conscious recollection of that, so the more they stay still and hidden during the day when other critters can see them, the longer they can get away with playing Call of Duty on the Xbox scuttling around looking for food all night, and not get caught out at it.

So it happens on occasion that novice rat-keepers -- or even experienced rat-keepers who are temporarily very, very neurotic -- can walk by the cage and go OH GOD HE'S NOT MOVING, only to discover, upon poking the puddle of rat, that he is in fact just fine and wondering why you woke him up if you are not giving him any food.

For instance, this looks terribly dire:
...but there is actually nothing wrong with Bones that can't be fixed almost instantaneously by walking within ten feet of their cage with a plate of Thai food. (And giving him a bath. I gave them pasta and marinara sauce to munch last night -- apparently they also decided to roll in it. They're good about cleaning their coats, but sometimes they forget that those tails belong to them, too.) And, indeed, when I offered to share some fried banana, he launched into action as fast as his fat little legs could carry him.

A brief reminder that my birthday is next month and I'm running a pledge drive of sorts. Also, bonus blurry picture of the other two rats: