Acquired: Pet store
Posted Feb 16, 2019
I've been lucky to have quite a few animals in my time from gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, cats, dogs, to horses. The coolest one I ever had was my rat, Snuffaluffagus. My brother had gotten him from a pet store and then given him to me (I can't remember why). His habitat wasn't fancy - just a giant aquarium with a screen lid. Knowing what I do now, I would have better digs.
If I was home, he normally wasn't in his cage because I'd close my bedroom door and let him run around as he pleased. He would climb up onto my bed (he would crawl up some books, jump on my bookshelf door and swing over to the bed; or simply scale the duvet) when he wanted attention. He was my little homework and reading buddy.
He was the absolute smartest creature. I would watch TGIF (remember that?) with him and he would take out every single chip from a Pringles can; take a single bite; before "discarding" it. This meant he got all of my chips. Again, knowing what I know now but back then I let him be. He also stole my Halloween candy in the best heist ever. He made a whole in the back of the candy bag and would squirrel away the candy to the back of my closet. When I was older, we replaced the carpet in my bedroom and had to clean out the room when we discovered the decaying stash (shocking I didn't have bugs!).
Of course, all of this intelligence comes at a cost. He knew how to get out of the cage so he had to have books to keep it closed. My older brother was watching him when I was out of town with my mom and Snuffy got out - he lived wild in the house for nearly a month before we could catch him again.
He also had a very sensitive nose and hated the lotion my mom used. Or loved. She could not enter my roof if he was out without him attacking her. No, really, he would full on chase her and bite her toes. She'd jump on my bed and he could climb up even faster. We eventually figured out it was the lotion because if she came in without putting it on, he didn't care.
I was incredibly luck with his health. He died peacefully in his sleep when he was about 5 years old. He never developed any tumors or any other issues. My friend had one that lost her eye and then developed cancer later on. Another thing to remember is that these critters require a veterinarian that specializes in exotic animals - which will come at a higher cost than your normal small animal vets. This can be hard for someone to process for an animal that you can buy for under $5.
Regardless, this is one of the sweetest (to me) and smartest pets I have ever had. I would not hesitate to have another one if I had the time.