It’s our favourite routine in a life that has so few. It happens in the morning when everyone wakes up. “Runaway time” is what we call the daily exploration of our bus by our four rats, and we love to play with them and cuddle them and let them run!

Rats coming out of their cage, October 2013
It's morning, and the rats know the routine as well. As soon as the cage door is open, they're out!

Rats runing on the bed, September 2013
During runaway time, there's often still someone lying on the top bed. The rats quickly make their way from the back of the bus to the bed to join the cuddles.

Rat exploring, November 2013
Knowing that they'll be exploring every nook and cranny of the bus means that we're careful about putting things away.

Rats prefer to always poo in the same place, so when we take them out of the cage, they tend to not leave any droppings around. When I clean the cage, I sometimes find odd bits and pieces that have been smuggled in. Yesterday I solved the mystery of my missing mini-pawpaw cream. It had been carried all the way from the driver’s seat to the back of the bus and nibbled clean through!

Brioni with her pet rat Shadow, November 2013
Throughout the day, the rats receive plenty of extra attention from the girls, but no exploration is so free as runaway time!

I’m so thankful that Brioni asked for a pet, for these little rodents have enhanced our lives. I didn’t know that I would enjoy them so much — I was simply responding to Brioni’s request. Instead, I’m in love with rats as much as she is. They’re personable, cute, clean, small and easy to manage — perfect travelling companions. Most of them respond to being called by their names, and they like to be around us!