She's all of two weeks old and it's been two days since she opened her eyes. Beady. Alert. Mischievous already.
I'm a little lost when it comes to taking care of orphaned baby rodents but good ol' Google puts me in touch with Debbie, whose article on 'Care of Infant Rats' becomes my mousecare-bible. .
Thumbelina drinks infant formula off a piece of cotton wool. Impossibly tiny and with all the enthusiasm of a Mexican jumping bean, she wriggles with delight - and is drenched with baby formula in the process, making her look like a bedraggled baby Otter. She shivers theatrically after her feed and Debbie warns me that baby rodents can't regulate their body temperature. I find that if I close my fist around her, she falls into a deep, food induced sleep. .
And so I sometimes find myself going about my day with a baby rat asleep in my fist. I think of the day when she will no longer be a thumb-sized ball of cuteness and I will have to let her go (where and how? I'm not sure). But in the meantime, Thumbelina sleeps, ensconced in the warmth of my hand, her little heart beating against my palm. Her whiskers twitch in her mouse-dream. .