Rattie Ratz Rescue: The Rascally Adventures of Beans and Chowder

 by Stephanie Cameron 

Stephanie Cameron is a volunteer with Rattie Ratz Rescue in the bay area of California. Each month KRL features a column from Rattie Ratz. 

When it comes to animal rescue, many organizations rely on each other just as much as they do on their local network of supporters, volunteers and adopters. Every once in a while, a situation arises that calls for a whole lot of teamwork and just as much determination and forethought.

Beans & Chowder

At the beginning of 2021, a rat rescue organization in Canada was coordinating a massive rescue operation that involved hundreds of rats, many of them pregnant females or mothers with young litters. The alarm was sent out and through a network of rescue contacts from Canada to Southern California, and they were able to find homes for all of the rescued rats. Thus began the Great Pacific Rat Train of 2021. 

Many rescue groups were involved in transferring babies to foster homes and arranging adoptions within their local communities. Rattie Ratz was one of these rescues. Rattie Ratz took in 17 babies and found homes for all of them immediately, as they were all weened and the rescue groups holding them did a wonderful job of making sure all the babies were socialized. A tremendous feat in itself with that many little ones running around! 

Today’s feature tells the story of two babies, who journeyed from Canada to the Bay Area of Northern California, and to a forever home with a lovely family. Gretchen Himes adopted two baby boys from Rattie Ratz in March 2021. In the following sections Gretchen shares her thoughts on the boys, and recounts their life with her family, describing their rambunctious antics in delightful detail.

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The boys when they were little
In early 2021 one of our two senior rats passed away. Thinking the survivor would appreciate company, we adopted two baby boys, whom we named Beans and Chowder, from Rattie Ratz. Although friendly, they were too rough on the old man and could never live with him, so we adjusted and gave them a cage of their own until our old friend passed a few months later.

As little ones, they were massively energetic, always wrestling and running around. We've had young females before, but these boys were off the charts active. They enjoyed chasing our hands or zip ties up and down the sofa. Beans, a brown Berkshire, was the bold one. His favorite activity was to climb people and furniture to try to get on the kitchen counters. Chowder, a pink-eyed, smudge-nosed macaroon, was the boss rat, but outside the cage was content to wait on the side until he felt confident to join the fun.

Once they learned to recognize their names and to come when called, they were allowed to free-roam the family room every evening. At a year old now, they seem more settled, more content to duck in and out of hiding places, making sure the humans are watching as they steal things. The two spend their free time running back and forth across furniture and watching us from secret hide-outs to see if snacks are on the way. They take joy in absconding with small items such as pencils, erasers, socks, homework - whatever they can find! To appeal to their mischievous side, we leave out tissues and paper napkins for them to "steal." A little protest from us as they run away with a napkin brings them joy, so we oblige. Some afternoons they are lucky and get to nap outside the cage. They slip into little hiding places and snooze, a delicious break from the norm, the rat equivalent of humans taking a nap on the sofa.

Beans all grown up sneaking under the blanket
As they entered adolescence, we worried about their aggression. The wrestling intensified and Chowder received some injuries. We strongly considered having them neutered, but they have mellowed.

Chowder grown up & hiding in Gretchen's sleeve
Chowder is the friendly one now. He comes to visit us on the sofa for pets, which we enjoy all the more because he has that soft PEW fur. If snacks are involved, he's involved. Sharing is caring and he wants to know how much we care! He is still the cage boss, making sure he gets both his treat and his brothers’ whenever possible.

Now that Beans is grown, he wants to live on his own terms. Instead of hands that try to pet him, he likes feet. Are you sitting on the sofa? Watch your feet! He may sneak up and give your heel a gentle nip to make you squeal. Have you thrown a blanket over your legs? Your feet are now his punching bags. We'll never know exactly what he is doing down there, however. Once we lift the blanket to get a look, he either zips away or stops, pretending nothing is going on. He's a weird little dude.

We've had rats since the kids were four and seven, and now they are about to turn 17 and 20. The older is off at college and not around anymore to play with the rats. It's possible this will be our last batch of rats and if so, they will leave us with many fun memories and warm hearts.

Beans and Chowder most definitely hit the jackpot with their family. These spoiled boys know they are loved and are enjoying every minute of it. They sure have come a long way and so obviously enjoy their days now, filled with adding to their cache of stolen treasure, getting all the pets, and plenty of snacks. 

If you would like to know more about Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their Facebook page. If you are interested in adopting or volunteering for Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their website: www.rattieratz.com

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section & watch for more stories from Rattie Ratz every other month. You can also keep up with our pet articles by joining our KRL Facebook group. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Rattie Ratz. 

Stephanie Cameron works and lives in the Bay Area, and has been active in the rat rescue community for a number of years. She got her first pair of rats - sisters named Snowflake and Diamond - when she was eight years old. In her spare time she enjoys reading, walking her dogs, traveling, discovering fantastic vegan recipes, and singing in the shower.


  1. Always good to hear about successful rescues and placements.


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