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28 January 2006 @ 08:16 pm
 
Okay... so.
'Nother abandoned animal emergency.
Friend of mine ended up with a box of rats that had been abandoned at a pet store (to make a long story short)... she knows nothing about rats, can't even stand to touch them, so she called me.
I got the females separated from the males (I think) so that's a start. But here's the real thing I need immediate advice on:
One of the rats has a newborn litter with her, and two of the other rats are pregnant. (The pregnant ones are hairless; the one with the litter is not, though the father may have been, if this makes any difference.)
I believe there's a no-kill shelter where I can take the rats this week, but in the meantime, those two girls look like they're about to pop, and I want to be ready to deal with this if anything happens.
I'm a relatively inexperienced rat owner... I've had my two boys for about eight months now... I've never dealt with anything like this. I'm looking up some info online, but is there anything I should be doing _right now_? The boys and girls are in separate cages, and the mother & litter are in a separate bucket.

(x-posted in ratties, florida_aw, and my personal journal...)
 
 
 
jinwicked on January 29th, 2006 01:34 am (UTC)
I really like this site, if you haven't read it already:

http://www.ratfanclub.org/repro.html

It has some info on raising the babies below the mating/don't breed your rat stuff. I don't know what you are feeding them, but someone who breeds or has had baby rats may be able to give you some advice on extra nutrition momma rat might need.

I think they would probably like a nest box, I know that much. Maybe an empty tissue box and some paper towels? My rats also like those empty cardboard oatmeal canisters.

Good luck and thank you for stepping up to help them. =)
Adamagenter on January 29th, 2006 04:51 am (UTC)
Thanks for all the helpful info! This should be an interesting experience...
oh_howsilly on January 29th, 2006 09:00 am (UTC)
Damn you for living in Orlando. Damn you for having rats in dire need of a home that are sooooo close to my home. And I'm going there soon. UGH!
Adamagenter on January 29th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
Heh. If you're interested in any, or know anybody who would, please contact me. I'm about to have a LOT of little rats on my hands, and I don't know if this shelter is going to be able to take them or not --;
Grandma Ionsmithbit_bit on January 29th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
The momma and pregnant girls will need more protein in their diet than what you normally give your boys. You can buy a higher protein lab block, or supplement them with egg, meat, soy, or a good dog kibble. Give them plenty of material to nest in so they can keep their babies warm.

Hairless mothers often have trouble lactating. You can look at the pups when they are a few hours old, and they should all have a white stripe across their belly called a milk band, which means they've been feeding. If you don't see those, the babies will starve very soon, so you should either try to get another momma to adopt them or hand feed them soy based infant formula or formula made for puppies. It might not hurt you to have some of this on hand before the other two give birth, just in case.

It's OK to handle the pups almost immediately, as a rat mom won't abandon her litter for smelling like you. However, if these girls aren't socialized well, they are likely to be possessive and bitey. You can lure or trick them away from the babies when you need to, though. The babies can be sexed and some markings determined from birth, though that isn't essential for you to do right away.

I don't know if the shelter will have much experience with rats or especially with rat litters. Do you know if there are any rat or small animal rescues near you that may know better what to do for these critters?

Adamagenter on January 29th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't... I don't even know if this place my friend was talking about will take them at all. I really don't know what to do here --;