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Nursing Baby Rats

Six months ago I rescued two cute little rats from the pet store that were in the “snake food” bucket. Now I know that everyone deserves to eat, but I couldn’t resist taking these two home with me. The pet store owners assured me that they were both girls. However, about two weeks later, I discovered that one of them was definitely a boy! I separated them immediately, but Alice, the female was already pregnant. Patches, the boy, became a proud father of 9! 

Sadly, three days after she gave birth, Alice started showing signs of illness. She was losing her balance, rolling to one side, and was unable to eat or drink on her own. The veterinarian gave her antibiotics, claiming that it would be her only chance. I fed her apple slices to keep her hydrated and a mash of chicken liver and hard boiled egg–very nourishing food. But alas, the next day she passed away. She gave her all to nurse her babies and to care for them as best she could until the very end. 

The babies were still so tiny! Their eyes were closed and they had just the slightest hint of fur on them.
I got some tiny rubber sleeves to fit onto syringes and fed each one of them baby formula for the next two weeks.
They were very hungry and needed their bellies rubbed after each nursingto eliminate.
Quite a bit of work but every single one of them survived!

Once they were 6 weeks old I brought them to the vet to have them sexed and separated the boys from the girls.
I gave the girls away to people who promised to keep them as pets. Now I’ve got Patches the Daddy,
and three of the boys: Scarface, Big Al, and Peeps. More pics to come of the grown ratties!

Here’s an outdoor playpen I built for them. They are all happy and healthy!

Stay tuned for more pet tales and tips on nutrition for critters.

Yours in fun and health,

Sylvie Nalezny, MA, CNE