Late last year, Michele Raybon, 51, of Palmdale, Calif., became a hit on Facebook after posting a video of her 50 mice, 25 males and 25 females, bathing in her kitchen sink. The publication received over 350,000 views.
Michele, who is currently retired, welcomed her first “babies,” as she calls her pets, in 2018 from a breeder in Texas. According to the British newspaper Daily Mail, it was from the arrival of the naked mole rats, Elvis and Chuck, and the hooded rats, Lucy and Ethel, that she began to breed the animals.
When she moved to California, she noticed that there were no mouse breeders in the area. Because of this, the pensioner started selling the rodents, but soon decided to stop and kept them as pets.
“That’s why I have so many, because I bred them out of temperament, just so I could sell them to other people who love mice,” he says.
When Michele has visitors, people are often shocked at the number of rodents they encounter, but she says her ‘babies’ captivate them quickly and that each has its own personality, with some being more sociable than others.
“All my mice have a good temper, so I introduce someone to one of them and usually I win them over, or the rats win them over.”
The American’s desire is to change people’s stigma about rats, who believe that rodents are dirty and sick animals.
“Many people have changed their minds and surprisingly want them as pets. Some people are very open, others not so much,” says Michele.
Along with the rodents, she also raises four dogs, three cats and two pigs. “I love animals, I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up, but that never happened.”
* Intern at R7supervised by Pablo Marques