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RE: dumbo

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Posted by: PHLdyPayne at Sun Apr 25 13:07:17 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by PHLdyPayne ]  
   

It depends on the rat more than anything. Some can be very defensive when they have a litter of babies, others are pretty laid back and don't mind if you touch her or the babies.

To be on the safe side, especially if this is her first litter of babies, is to leave the babies alone. When it is time to clean the cage, take her out first. Wait till she is not nursing and out and about in the cage before you take her out. Then you can get the babies and set them aside while you clean the cage. It is also a good idea to keep some of the bedding from around the 'nest' when you clean. This you can add in the new 'nest' after cleaning and put the babies on.

My rats are a little defensive around their babies but take little interest if I am handling the babies while they are not nursing. Its only when they are nursing they sometimes look like they want to nip. Watch for warning signs..rats have alot of body language. If you move your hand towards her or the babies if she fixes on your hand and seems to crouch or shrink into herself she is nervous and may nip when your hand or finger comes into reach.

Avoid sticking your hand into the 'house' if she is nursing inside something (be it a PVC pipe, box, fancy plastic house or 'igloo' home bought at a petstore etc). Seeing fingers entering her lair/nest is likely to make her think its a predator and she will nip. Its best to check out the babies after she's out of the hide but watch her as you lift the house or move your hand inside...if she is watching what you are doing like a hawk, she may end up going after your hand..if she's more interested in food, water, toys etc and not really paying attention to what you are doing, then you are pretty good to go to take out a baby or two to look at.

In my opinion pinky rats are pretty boring to look at, they are all pink or dark (depending on the fur color..blacks tend to have black skin instead of pinks and most other colors will be pink). After about a week though, the pinkies start growing in fur and after about 2 1/2 weeks, the fur is much thicker and their eyes should be open. Then they hit the 'hopper' stage (I think in rats they call this the pup stage...but i am not sure) When handling babies that have fur be careful, they can crawl really fast for a blind fuzzy thing. When their eyes are open, they are a bit more inquisitive but can still jump or run so be careful about dropping them. It is probably better to just hold them over their cage or near something soft and not far away (less than a foot) so if it does get away from you it doesn't fall very far and avoids risk of injury.

Baby rats are very cute when their eyes open and definitely hard to resist handling. It is good to handle them at this age as it socializes them and gets them used to being handled by people. About two weeks later they will be weaned and can go to new homes. Also, you want to separate the boys from the girls by the time they are 4 weeks old to avoid any new pregnancies. All the boys can be kept together as they will get along fine. Unlike mice male rats are far more tolerate of each other even into adulthood. (sell boys in pairs...so they will have a friend. This will work much better than introducing a young male to a strange adult male if the buyer already has rats). Females should go in pairs too (2 females) when you find homes for the babies.

I probably gave far more info than you asked...but hopefully my long post proved useful.
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PHLdyPayne


   

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