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Carebear
Apr 16, 2003

If you stay here too long, you'll end up frying your brain. Yes, you will. No, you will...not. Yesno you will won't.

Original Rat FAQ Thread by Skutter

The Rat Faq
Welcome to the Pet Island Rat FAQ! Here you can find out if the fancy rat (Rattus norvegicus) is the right pet for you, or answer questions about the rat you already own. This FAQ has been put together from questions asked and answers given by other rat owners. We hope that it will be helpful and informative for you. Please feel free to ask questions or answer ones already asked, post pictures of your rats, or submit a section of your own.

I am interested in owning a rat as a pet. What are some things I should know about rats before making a decision?

Well, we’re glad you asked. There are many things to consider when buying a new pet, and rats are no exception. Rats are very social creatures and will do poorly if they are alone, so you should be prepared to buy at least two rats. It is recommended that you buy rats of the same sex, as a male and female rat can breed every one to two months and have up to fourteen babies in a single litter. Males are typically more laid-back, but are prone to rough-housing with each other and are “smellier“. Females can be hyper and are very social, so take the sex of the rats you choose into consideration. Something else to consider when you are buying your rat is where you are buying it from. Many people suggest either adopting a rat from a shelter or buying one from a breeder. Pet stores have many animals and do not have enough time to properly socialize all of them. They also do not have the facilities, and sometimes the experience, to properly quarantine rats to isolate diseases and infections. Buying from a reputable breeder or a shelter ensures that the rat is healthy, has been taken care of, and there has been some sort of attempt at socialization. There is a list of rat adoption sites in the Links section.

Rats live from two to three years on average, but sometimes as long as five or six years. Rats can be taught tricks, learn their own names and are very athletic. They are mostly crepuscular (active in twilight), although if you socialize with your rat often, it will learn your schedule and adapt theirs to fit it. A study done by the University of Georgia showed that rats have metacognition, and an MIT study showed that rats can actually laugh. Rats are social, lovable, smart and are fun pets to own. Please read the FAQ to learn more about rats and rat ownership. Check out the Links section for rat clubs, rat owner guides and other useful information.

A. Basic Care, Housing and Toys
…What do I need to get started?
…What should I feed my rat? What about treats and water?
…What kind of cage should I buy?
…How should I clean the cage, and how often should I do it?
…What kind of bedding should I use?
…What product should I use to help keep my rat clean?
…How do I keep my rat cool in the summer months?
…How do I keep my rat warm in the winter months?

B. Medical Advice
…How do I do a basic check-up of my rat? What signs should I look for to see if my rat is unhealthy or sick?
…My rat has diarrhea, what should I do?
…Oh sweet Jesus! My rat is bleeding out of it’s eyes/mouth!
…How can I get my rat to eat it’s medicine when it refuses?
…What can I do about my rat's sharp nails?
…My rat has a scratch/cut on it. Should I do anything about it?
...My male rat is greasy, he has orange dandruff and/or his fur is slightly yellow. What is going on?
...Why is my rat scratching himself constantly?/Why is his skin is flaky, scabby and has a lot of dandruff?/Oh no! There are bugs!
...I'm allergic to my rat. Is there anything I can do about this?
…What should I do when my rat passes away?

C. Behavior
…How can I litter train my rat?
…Why is my rat making a chittering/clicking sound?
…How should I socialize my rat?
…What kind of behavior and activity levels should I expect from my rat?
…How do I introduce my new rat to the rat(s) I already have?
…Help! My male rat is going insane! -or- Should I neuter my guy?

D. Links

A. Basic Care, Housing and Toys

What things do I need to get started?
Here is a quick list of things you will need to purchase to get your home ready for your new rat:

-cage
-bedding
-food
-house
-chew toys
-water bottle
-vitamins

Optional:

-litter box with litter
-wheel or ball
-snacks

Questions about cages, bedding, and food are answered below. It is recommended that you get the cage set up before you get your rat, so you can introduce him to his new home immediately and he doesn’t have to wait in a small cardboard box while you get everything ready.

What should I feed my rat?

There are different diets you can feed your rats.

Here are your choices:
-Whole food diet (100% homemade)
-Lab block supplemented diet (lab blocks plus other healthy foods)

There are different diets people have created for rats with their nutrient requirements in mind. Here are a few:
-Superconsndar's Whole Food Diet
-Suebee's Rat Diet
-Debbie D - 'The Rat Lady' Diet


Along with homemade diet, many people feed lab blocks. They contain much of the essential nutrition a rat requires for their diet. However, lab blocks should never be fed alone. Other foods must be supplemented in. You should read the homemade rat diets to see what you could add. For example, you could add dried fruit, raw whole wheat pasta, low-protein dog food, dried beans, whole wheat cereal, unsalted seeds or nuts, brown rice, or oats.

Where should you obtain lab blocks?

The best block you can find in stores is Mazuri; it is easy to find in pet store chains like Petco and PetSmart, and it is for rats of all ages. Another highly-recommended lab block brand diet is Oxbow’s Regal Rat, but it is only for adult rats. If you are looking for the best rat lab block out there visit Harlan Teklad. They make rodent diets specifically for lab animals, so their food is top-quality and perfectly formulated for the animals. The biggest thing of note about HT is that you can not buy this food in retail stores, nor will the manufacturer ship it to you. You must order at least $100 worth of food and find a warehouse to pick it up at. You can also try to find an online supplier who can ship it to you in smaller quantities; Kim’s Ark is one such supplier (they don’t have an online store, but you can e-mail them for the price and send money via PayPal, and they will ship it to you). There are nine different rodent diets, but the one that has been recommended by a HT nutritionist for rats is diet 2014.

Do not make a seed mix your rats' main food source. Seeds are very high in fat and rats get fat very easily. You do not want to have an obese rat and the associated medical problems. Also, be careful about how much protein you are feeding your rat, too much of it can lead to kidney damage. A non-breeding rat requires 9% crude protein in their diet, whereas a breeding rat requires twice that. Keep an eye on the amount of protein you are feeding them in both their treats and their regular diet.

Treats should be limited to a few times a week, and should mostly consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, as opposed to lots of seeds or sugary treats. Don’t over-feed your rat fruits and veggies or they will get diarrhea, and make sure that you remove all uneaten fresh food from the cage every day. If you can’t afford fresh fruits and vegetables or don’t keep a lot of them around, you can substitute baby food instead. Rats also love beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, oats, pasta (cooked or raw), yogurt and wheat bread. Give your rat as varied of a diet as possible while providing for their nutritional needs. It is also very important to make sure that your rat has adequate hard items to chew to keep their teeth in check; cooked animal bones, small-size Greenies, Nylabones, wood toys, pumice blocks and nuts will accomplish this (be wary about rawhide though, as it might not be treated properly or disinfected before curing; try to buy rawhide that was made in America or is from a trustworthy source). Also, this link will take you to a website with a list of foods that you should be cautious about feeding your rat, or foods you shouldn't feed your rat at all.

Rats should not drink tap water. The chlorine in it is bad for their system. You can buy filtered drinking water from your grocery store, or invest in a water-filtering pitcher from Brita or Pur. Rats need fresh water, so make sure that you change their water supply every day.

What kind of cage should I buy? How big should it be?

There are many different types of cages on the market, but one of the most highly-recommended cages (at least on this forum) are Martin Cages. Many pet owners in the forum currently have one or have purchased one for their pets, and most are pleased with it. Another popular choice is the Midwest Critter Nation Small Pet Habitat - it comes in two sizes and has wide doors that open up, for easy access to both rats and cage. Other larger cages you will find in pet stores that are advertised as being for rats are not bad either. You want to make sure that it will be large enough to hold an 8”-10” animal, and that if it has a wheel, the wheel is solid with no spokes (so the rat doesn’t get it’s tail caught). It is suggested that you have two cubic feet of space for one rat, but many people feel that it isn’t enough. Remember to take into account how many rats will be in the cage, and how much room you have in your home.

Rodents need places to hide while they sleep, or somewhere to hang out, so purchase a rat home for your rat. You can find many different types of rat homes. Anything made for a ferret (hammocks, fleece houses, etc.) is perfect for your rat. 8 in 1 makes a line of products called “Ecotrition” that features “Snak Shaks” which are rodent homes made out of pressed alfalfa and honey, so your rat can safely chew on their home (you can find these at Petco and PetSmart). If you are a pet owner on a budget, you can re-use empty pop/beer can boxes in the cage. Cut a few openings and peepholes and provide your rat with a hiding place and something to chew on.

What kind of bedding should I use?


A very popular type of bedding to use is shredded paper. It’s absorbent, has no fragrances and isn’t toxic to your rat (if you are using newspaper in the cage, make sure it is printed with non-toxic soy or vegetable ink). Many rat owners use CareFresh, which is made from non-toxic paper pulp. It has good odor control, although some people complain about the smell, especially when it’s wet. There is also pellet bedding, one of the most popular ones being Yesterday’s News, which is made out of non-toxic recycled newspaper. It does tend to crumble and get the cage dusty after it has gotten wet and then had time to dry out, which might not be good for sneezy rats. Cell-Sorb Plus is another pellet bedding brand. If you have any old towels or clothing lying around, you can cut it into strips and put that into your rat’s cage as well. Make sure you don’t use cloth that unravels easily, or your rat could get tangled in it and hurt themselves. Wash the cloth in a hypoallergenic laundry detergent with warm or hot water. Some people line the cages with fleece or other fabrics that you can find cheap at Walmart, Target, or other stores.

You should never use cedar or pine shavings as bedding, EVER. They are softwoods that contain phenols which are very toxic to rats and other small animals. Inhalation of the fumes can harm your rat’s immune system and make it more susceptible to respiratory problems, and studies have shown that phenol alters your rat’s liver enzymes, which could lead to liver damage and possibly even liver failure. Aspen shavings are alright to use as bedding because it is a hardwood that doesn’t contain any phenols.

It has also been mentioned that you should be careful about store-bought bedding because they can sometimes be host to mites and other parasites that get into the bedding while it’s waiting for shipment at the warehouse. If you are worried about this, you can place the bedding in your freezer to kill off any pests before you use it.

What kind of toys should I buy for my rat?


Rats need toys to occupy themselves with while they are in their cage. There aren't many rat-specific toys on the market, but you can buy pretty much anything that is marketed for other rodents, or ferrets and rabbits. One line of toys that are often recommended is the Kong Dog Toys (site requires Flash). The rats will love chewing on the rubber (don't worry about them eating it), and it's great watching them trying to dig out the treats inside the toy. You can also buy small cat toys that they can pick up and hide, or push around the cage. Bird toys are good as well, especially if it has some tasty rope on it to chew and climb on. One user has found that their rats love playing with a clothespin clipping to one of the cage bars. Another user ties a ribbon around a few treats and hangs it from the top of the cage. Try getting a few of those small plastic bubbles from the cheap candy/vending machines. Wash them well, fill them with a treat, put the cap back on and watch the fun as your rat tries to get at the treats inside. As long as the item is non-toxic, easy for them to grab with their paws and fun to chew on, rats will love it. Experiment with different things around the house such as place bottle caps, shredded newspaper (non-toxic ink of course), paper bags, PVC piping and whatever else you think your rats might enjoy.

How should I clean the cage, and how often should I do it?

You should clean the cage at least once a week. Many pet stores sell non-toxic cleaning solution that you can use in their cage to wash it. A popular solution is Nature's Miracle. Rinse out the bedding tub with hot water, spray some of the cleaning solution in the tub, scrub hard, rinse again and dry. DO NOT use regular household cleaning products in your rat’s cage. They contain harmful chemicals that could get your pet sick. Make sure to wipe down any surfaces that your rat might have gotten dirty, especially their wheel (if they have one). You should also clean the cage structure every few months, the easiest way being is to put it in the shower and spray it down. You can also take it out in the yard and spray it with a hose.

What product should I use to help keep my rat clean?

Rats can be bathed occasionally with baby or animal-appropriate shampoos (kitten shampoo will work). There are also animal wipes that can help out too. Unscented baby wipes should also work. Rats are pretty good at grooming themselves, so you shouldn't have to worry. You shouldn't bathe them too often, as it isn't good for their skin and will strip them of their natural oils.

How do I keep my rat cool in the summer months?

Rats are most comfortable around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (21-24 degrees Celsius). You can tell it’s too hot for your rat if they are acting very sluggish and/or lying on their backs (rats sweat through their paws). Putting a dish of ice water in the cage is very helpful, and you can always buy a second water bottle if you think they might run out of water while you are out. If that isn’t enough, fill up a 20-ounce plastic bottle with water, freeze it and put it in your rat’s cage. You can also freeze a wet washcloth and place it on one of the ramps or balconies in the cage. If you decide to use a fan, don’t point it directly at the rats so they don’t get too cold.

How do I keep my rat warm in the winter months?

Rats are pretty good at snuggling to keep each other warm, but if you're worried about them getting too cold, there are lots of things you can do to help them stay toasty. Get a heavy blanket to drape over the top of the cage to help trap in heat. Make sure it is made of something that is rat-safe because they will chew it up. You can give them pieces of heavy fabric (fleece is great for this) to shred and stuff in their house or create a nest out of. Pet stores also sell miscellaneous fleece cage accessories in the ferret section (such as tubes, "beds" and hammocks) that are the perfect size for multiple rats. If you can't afford the sometimes-expensive hammocks, make your own! One user says go to a fabric store, buy a few yards (or meters) of fleece, cut it into 2' x 1' (~60 cm. x ~30 cm.) rectangles, fold them in half and sew some grommet holes into it. Another user has also suggested cutting up sections of flannel pajama pants and hanging them with shoelaces.

The most important thing you can do to keep your rats warm is to minimize drafts. Are they near a window, or a door that leads to the outside? You can always weatherproof them, but a less-expensive idea might just be moving them to an area where it won't be so cold for them. Rats are also sensitive to temperature changes, so if they are a bit sniffly or sneezing when it gets colder, don't worry too much about it.

B. Medical Advice

Disclaimer: All of the answers contained in the medical advice section is just that -- advice. This is to help rat owners take care of their pets by helping them look for signs of infection and injury, and ways to take care of them. If your rat has a serious problem, please take it to a vet that specializes in small animals.

How do I do a basic check-up of my rat? What signs should I look for to see if my rat is unhealthy or sick?

Things to check for on your rats include tumors, tooth overgrowth, parasites, abscesses, and just general outer health. At least once every week you should examine your rat thoroughly with your eyes and your fingers. Feel around their ears, jaws, bellies, backs, paws, and tails for any strange lumps or wounds. Check through their fur for cuts or parasites. Check their teeth--the upper teeth should be a full orange color, and the lower ones should be more of a darker yellow. If their teeth start to curve or bend to the side, take your rat to the vet to have their teeth trimmed. Also check to make sure the rats' feet are in good order, without sores or cuts, as wounds on the feet can lead to bumble foot.

Please visit this site for more information about performing rat check-ups.

My rat has diarrhea, what should I do?

The most common reason that a rat has diarrhea (or “wet tail”) is because it has eaten too many veggies and/or fruits. Remove all uneaten veggies/fruits from the cage and do not feed any more to them until their stool returns to normal. Sometimes introducing new foods can cause diarrhea as the rat’s digestive system isn’t used to it. If the diarrhea continues for a few days, stop feeding them the new food. If there hasn’t been any change in their diet, and the veggie/fruits haven’t caused it, go to your local pet store (most PetSmarts and Petcos don’t carry it) and purchase Mardel Dri-Tail. If you can’t find it anywhere, try burning some toast. Get some good charring going and break it up into small pieces to feed to your rat. This simulates activated carbon/charcoal and should help cure your rat of his diarrhea. If you have tried all of these and the diarrhea persists, take your rat to the vet.

Oh sweet Jesus! My rat is bleeding out of it’s eyes/mouth!

Calm down, it’s not blood. It’s a substance called porphyrin. Rats will produce this if they are stressed, so it is a common occurrence. If there is an excessive amount, you can take them out of the cage and gently clean it off with water. Rats will also produce porphyrin if they are eating a poor diet. Examine your rat’s space and see if there’s anything that might be stressing them out, and make sure that you are feeding them a proper diet. If your rat has frequent porphyrin staining and is showing any of the other following symptoms, get it to a vet right away: disinterest in food, lethargy, head-tilting, limping, squeaking when handled or touched, hair loss, bloody urine, very loose stools, and any unusual behavior for the rat.

How can I get my rat to eat it’s medicine when it refuses?

Try mixing the medicine with a tasty treat such as plain non-fat yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream or even grenadine. Make sure that they eat it all though. You don’t want to risk under-medicating them.

What can I do about my rat's sharp nails?

You can cuts your rat's nails with a regular pair of nail clippers, but make sure it's the straight kind, and not the curved edge (it's much easier). You will most likely need someone to hold the rat for you while you cut the nails. Make sure that you stay away from the pink area (the quick) of the nail. You don't want to make your rat bleed. If you do end up cutting the nail too short, you can use styptic powder to stop the bleeding. If a rat is too hard to pin down for clipping, or you don't feel comfortable doing it, just use an emery board on your rat and file their nails instead. Doing this when they're sleepy will help cut down the chances of a struggling rat, and you can also bribe them with a treat so they are preoccupied. Small animal vets will also perform this service, but you can do it yourself for free. Remember to reward your rat with a treat after the procedure (or during) so they learn that it's not all that bad, and it will help calm them down.

My rat has a scratch/cut on it. Should I do anything about it?

Rats have sharp nails and will frequently scratch one another while they wrestle (help prevent this by keeping their nails short). If you notice a cut on your rat, wash the cut in warm water and leave it alone. Keep an eye on it to make sure that it stays clean and is healing, and your rat will be fine. They heal very quickly and you should notice the cut will be gone in a few days. If it is a large gash, clean it with warm water and antibacterial soap. You can put some Neosporin on the wound to help it heal. Put the rat in a cage by himself so that his cage mates don't aggravate the wound further, or try to lick off the delicious medicine. Don't use bedding in the cage; you don't want debris getting into the wound. Use a towel or some old t-shirts. Depending on the severity of the wound, your rat will only need to be by himself for a few days, and you should wash his wound at least twice a day (you can choose if you need to continue to use Neosporin, if you did in the first place). He can have play time with the other rats, but make sure he is supervised at all times. Clean off any medicine on the rat so that the others don't try to eat it. Rats are really great animals in that they will take care of their sick and injured. They will clean the hurt rat's wound for him, and this will make it heal a lot faster than anything you do. If the cut isn't healing on it's own, or it seems to be getting worse, contact a small animal vet and discuss it with them in case you need to bring them in for a check-up.

My male rat is greasy, he has orange dandruff and/or his fur is slightly yellow. What is going on?

That is a substance called "buck grease" and it happens in any un-neutered male rat, from an overabundance of testosterone. You can give them a bit of flax seed oil or olive oil on a piece of wheat bread two or three times a week to help cut down on the buck grease. It will also improve the condition of their coat overall. Dry dog food also works well for this, but watch the protein content.

...Why is my rat scratching himself constantly?/Why is his skin is flaky, scabby and has a lot of dandruff?/Oh no! There are bugs!

If your rat is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed in the questions, he or she probably has mites, lice or fleas. Mites can cause mange in rodents just as they can in dogs. Although rats and mice may both be infected with lice, those lice will not cross over from one species of animal to another. This also means you will not catch lice from your pets, and if you were infected with head lice, you could not transfer them to your pets. Transmission from mouse-to-mouse or rat-to-rat is by direct contact and by fomites (objects).

Rats can get three types of mites:
1. Fur mites - generally doesn't cause problems unless the infestation is heavy; known symptoms are patches of hair loss with possible skin ulceration or lesions.
2. Burrowing (ear mange) mites - they attack the ear pinnae, tail, nose, and extremities; lesions caused by this mite are reddened, crusty, itchy areas.
3. Bloodsucking - almost the same causes and results as lice (anemia, blood parasites, etc.).

HOW TO CURE YOUR INFESTATION

1. Buy some 1.87% ivermectin, which shouldn't cost more than $20. You can find it as horse paste or dewormer at a horse, feed, or country store. Make sure it is 1.87% ivermectin and not some other multisyllabic alternative!
2. Read HOW TO PREVENT AN INFESTATION. Remove rats to safe place. Toss all wood, bones, straw, hay, litter, etc., and sterilize everything remaining with bleach, or boil or bake. Vacuum very well.
5. Squeeze out all the ivermectin into a resealable container such as a clean dry photo film container. Stir the gently caress out of it to make sure the ivermectin is evenly distributed throughout the paste.
6. Get your rat's favorite small treat, or use a chocolate chip. Stir the ivermectin again. Place a very small amount (the size of an uncooked grain of rice) on the treat. Feed to rat. WARNING DO NOT OVERDOSE ON IVERMECTIN. OVERDOSING CAN CAUSE NEUROLOGICAL DAMAGE. Remember, the tube of ivermectin is measured for a 1,500 pound horse, and you're treating a 1-2 pound rat. Take it EASY on the ivermectin - you can always give your rats another week's treatment if necessary, but you can't un-dose a seizing rat.
7. If your rat won't eat the ivermectin on the treat, gently rub the same amount on their paw(s), on the inside of their ear flaps, or on the side of their nose so that they'll lick it off (hopefully).
8. Mark on your calendar when you dosed them, then mark off 2-3 more weeks. Repeat steps 2-7 for the next 2-3 weeks or until the mite infestation is gone. You'll have to treat your rats for three weeks to a month to completely eliminate mites. Treating the rats with ivermectin will kill the current infestation, but not the eggs or little mitelings scattered about bedding, litter, or even the carpet. Mites can jump quite high, so make sure you sterilize EVERYTHING and keep up on the ivermectin treatments to ensure complete elimination of the parasites.

HOW TO PREVENT AN INFESTATION

1. Every time you buy a new bag of bedding, freeze it for 48 hours. You can also bake it to a minimum 140 degrees Fahrenheight, but since Carefresh is paper, and paper + oven != profit, I don't recommend baking your bedding.
2. Vacuum weekly. Disinfect everything in the cage at least weekly, and dump old litter in a bag and put it outside away from the house immediately. Bleach is recommended, but make sure you rinse anything you wash with bleach very very very well. You can also bake said toys in the oven for at least a half hour or boil them in water for a half hour. Or, you can bleach, then bake, then boil, whatever gets your hat off.
3. Don't buy wooden toys, as eggs or parasites can hide in the porous cracks. Wood is not easily disinfected.

I'm allergic to my rat. Is there anything I can do about this?

Some of the rat owners here are allergic to their pets, and they have come up with some suggestions as to how to deal with it. Before you try anything else, you could talk to your doctor and see if they will prescribe some antihistamines for you. If it's a mild-enough reaction, you can always take over-the-counter Claritin. If you welt up badly when a rat scratches you, try putting some Benadryl spray on it (trim or file their nails to keep them from scratching you in the first place). If the cage is what makes you have a reaction, try keeping it in a well-ventilated area with a lot of traffic, but not a place where you spend a long amount of time. When you clean the cage, put Vick's Vaporub under your nostrils and cover your mouth/nose with a bandana or face mask. You can even buy an air purifier with a HEPA filter in it to help keep the fur and dander out of the air.

What should I do when my rat passes away?

If you wish to bury your rat, place them in a plastic zipper bag and store them in the freezer until you are able to bury them. You can also take your deceased rat to a vet that will cremate it, and you can keep their remains in an urn, or bury them.

C. Behavior

How can I litter train my rat?


Litter training for rats takes some effort. Observe your rat's bathroom habits for a few days, making note of where they like to do their business; most times they will pick a corner. After you've seen where those spots are, remove all the poop from the cage (set some aside), clean their cage and set up litter boxes in the prime areas. Use a litter that is different in texture and smell from their bedding. Make sure the boxes are also large enough for a rat to sit in, and has high enough sides that they won't fling poop out of it. After you've placed the boxes, add the litter and the poop you set aside earlier. Over the next few weeks remove all the poop that is outside of the boxes and put them in the boxes (changing the litter out as needed). Eventually your rats will associate the litter material with pooping and learn to use it. But even litter trained rats won't necessarily use it for peeing too.

Why is my rat making a chittering/clicking sound?

It depends on what the noise is. Rats, when happy or stressed, will grind their teeth (this is called bruxing). It makes a bit of a clicking, chittering, and grating noise at once. If a rat is VERY happy its eyes will start to bulge in and out, and this is called boggling. Chittering noises on their own can sometimes mean respiratory distress, so check for the context and keep an eye on your rat. Every one is different and you'll learn yours.

How should I socialize my rat?

Don't try to grab your rat of the cage and force it to socialize with you. You don't want them to associate fear and discomfort with you. One thing you can do is sit in front of their cage with the door open and let them inspect you, crawl around on you and sniff you. They have their safe zone of their cage nearby in case they get spooked, and they can choose when they want to interact with you. You can even bribe them with treats to get them to engage you. Scratch them, gently wrestle with them, speak soothingly, etc. The more positive actions they associate with you, the more likely they will want to associate with you. They will be more comfortable than if you just yanked them out of their home and put them somewhere they don't recognize in order to play with them. When they become comfortable enough to stay on your shoulders for more than a few minutes, take them around the house with you. If you have an intended play area that isn't right next to their cage, sit down in it with them and hang out with them (if they aren't litter-trained or mark a lot, put a towel down to save yourself the trouble of cleaning up). They will associate the area as a place where they can be out of the cage and with you, and will learn to recognize the new area. Another idea is to put an old shirt into the cage so they can get used to your smell. If the smell is in their home, and you smell like it, you can't be too bad, right?

One last thing: Your new rat will test EVERYTHING to see if it is food; this includes fingers, toes, earlobes, noses, clothing, etc. Most of the time it is a gentle nibble, so try not to freak out when you feel your rat's teeth on your fingers. A stern "NO", a squeak or anything similar will help them learn not to chew on your clothing, furniture and body parts. Rats also have a thing for Band-aids. We don't know why, they just do. Be careful when handling your rats if you have a Band-Aid on your finger.

What kind of behavior and activity levels should I expect from my rat?

Rats have very different personalities and there is really nothing that is "normal" across the board. Each rat will have it's own way of interacting with you and it's cage mates. Don't be alarmed if you have a lazy rat or a hyperactive one. You will learn what is normal for each individual rat that you own. Some rats will be a snuggly lap rat that sleeps all day and ignores his pals, and some will be constantly exploring, digging, climbing, running and playing with his fellow rats. Learn what your rat is like so that you can note any behavior changes in case of sickness.

How do I introduce my new rat to the rat(s) I already have?

Rat introduction can vary greatly depending on the age and gender of the rats involved. Males will be more territorial when meeting a newcomer, but females can get aggressive too. Some rat owners have no problem putting new rats together on the first day, others have to go through an introduction process that can last almost a month. Do not put a rat younger than six weeks in a cage with an adult rat; they will sometimes kill strange baby rats if they are younger than that.

If you are thinking about getting another rat, get a new cage. It doesn’t have to be anything terribly expensive or large, but remember that you might have to keep your new rat in there for a few weeks. Place the two cages next to each other and let the rats become accustomed to the scents of the other cage. After a few days, have the rats trade cages. If this goes well, have your rats meet in neutral territory (somewhere that your old rat’s smell isn’t overpowering). Rats are extremely sensitive to new smells and you might want to put everyone on even ground before the meeting. Putting a few drops of vanilla extract on the rats will help mask their scent, or you can try bathing them. The Rat Fan Club’s rat introduction page even suggests smearing the rats with some chocolate pudding so they all smell the same, and this has the added bonus of the rats bonding by cleaning a tasty treat off of one another.

Watch for signs of aggression from the dominant rat (and any of the others), including raised fur, back arching and swinging the body sideways at the other rat. If you notice any aggression, separate the rats immediately; you do not want to risk having one of them injured. Watch out though -- an aggressive rat might bite you, so take care when you are picking it up.

This is the stage where the dominant rat will “fight” the new rat. He will pin him on his back and stare at him, to put the new rat in his place. As long as you don’t see any aggressive signs or biting/scratching, let this continue. It’s normal rat behavior and part of the introduction process. Depending on how many rats you have, everyone will want to face the new guy. Just keep an eye on them and let things develop from there. This fighting can last up to a few days, so don’t worry about your rats not getting along. Eventually things will calm down and the rats will just power groom and play fight. If the aggression doesn’t stop after a few days, separate the rats and try again a week later. If it continues for a prolonged period of time, then you need to keep them separated permanently.

Help! My male rat is going insane! -or- Should I neuter my guy?

Some male rats are hyper balls of energy that seem to go non-stop. A lot of people will jump to the neuter suggestion too hastily sometimes. Surgery should always be the last option, especially because surgery on rats can be so difficult. Look at your guy’s situation before going that route:

-Does he have any playmates that he can interact with?
As stated before, rats are very social creatures and do not do well as solitary pets. If you have only one rat, think about investing in a second one. This will give the guy a playmate and someone to wear him out.

-How socialized is he? Do you take him out often enough to play with him?
Your rats need attention from you, and that includes playtime. Take them out of their cage for at least an hour every day and have fun with them. Use your hand to wrestle with them, have them sit on your shoulder, or let them explore a special “rat-only” play area where they can have fun outside of their cage.

-What does he have in his cage to keep him occupied?
Rats should also have toys in their cage to keep them occupied while you are gone for the day. Make sure they have plenty of things to chew on. Rats love crawling, jumping and any other acrobatic activity, so buy them a house that they can climb on and play around in. You can also buy your rat a wheel. As mentioned earlier, make sure that it is an enclosed wheel that is large enough to fit an 8”-10” rat (not to mention the tail). Rat has a very informative thread with links to rat wheels.

Also, if you have two (or more) adult males that are rambunctious and play a little too roughly with each other, think about getting a younger rat (not younger than six weeks) for them to play with.

You can always try a process know as "reintroduction." This will involve cleaning the entire cage with a bleach solution (one capful of bleach per one gallon/3 liters of water) to get rid of any smells. You can also go over everything after this with some white vinegar. Wash any fabrics and accessories that will go back into the cage, and buy new accessories that can't be washed. Before you put the rats back in together, wash them all at the same time (preferably with some animal shampoo), and dab some vanilla extract under their nose and on the tops of their heads so that it masks their scent. Go through a formal introduction in neutral territory, and then put them back into the cage. Watch their behavior for a week or so to gauge any changes that may have occurred. It might sound like a laborious process, but it's better than having to put your rat through risky surgery.

Sometimes though, you just have a rat that does need to be neutered. Talk with your vet before committing to the surgery. Rat neutering usually cost along the same lines as a cat neutering. It can take up to eight weeks for your rat’s behavior to change, and if you are neutering him for reproductive reasons, note that a neutered male can still impregnate a female up to four weeks after his neutering. Please visit this for more discussion of rat neutering, and surgery on rats in general.

D. Links

Rat Owner Guides:
http://www.afrma.org/kidsguide.htm
http://exoticpets.about.com/od/careofrats/
http://www.petratscanada.com/ratcare.htm
http://www.petrat.info/
http://www.ratfanclub.org/helpinfo.html
http://www.ratguide.com/
http://www.dapper.com.au/

Rat Clubs and Owner Communities:
http://www.fancy-rats.co.uk/community/index.php
http://www.rodentfancy.com/
http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ratlist/

Rat Rescues/Adoptions/Breeders:
http://www.kimsarkrescue.org/
http://www.ratrescue.com/
http://www.goosemoose.com/
http://www.petfinder.com

Rat Cages, Accessories, Food, Toys, Treats:
http://www.theratshop.com/

Thanks to: Chickan Raptor, Cuddlebottom, dagger dragon, demozthenes, Finite Pasta Bowl, Fnordia, The Hoobit, Moraine Sedai, Mo Schmuck, The Phantom Goat, Rat, RazorBunny, Rhizoid, Ruthie-chan, Skutter, Silver Nitrate, Slidje, Superconsndar, Traumatic, Zapf Dingbat

Carebear fucked around with this message at 20:18 on Jun 23, 2010

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Carebear
Apr 16, 2003

If you stay here too long, you'll end up frying your brain. Yes, you will. No, you will...not. Yesno you will won't.

I would like to update the medical section on information for more information on tumors and mycoplasma - if anyone has any ideas let me know.

Plus, if anyone has any ideas on changes/additions to the FAQ please post them!

Also post any new rat pictures you have.

Supercondescending
Jul 4, 2007

ok frankies now lets get in formation

I wish we could mention forced socialization in the OP, the whole "don't force them to interact with you" thing is outdated and LOTS of unsocialized rats never get to the point where they're super friendly without it. I've had a lot of rats that would have remained jerks their whole lives if I hadn't just grabbed them, threw them in a hoody pocket, and made them stay there for an hour or so once or twice a day.


Also I so wish we didn't push lab blocks so hard here. They're so gross.

Professor Wayne
Aug 27, 2008

So, Harvey, what became of the giant penny?

They actually let him keep it.

Let's get this thread started right.



The most thing that ever happened.

Professor Wayne fucked around with this message at 20:16 on Jun 23, 2010

Carebear
Apr 16, 2003

If you stay here too long, you'll end up frying your brain. Yes, you will. No, you will...not. Yesno you will won't.

Superconsndar posted:

I wish we could mention forced socialization in the OP, the whole "don't force them to interact with you" thing is outdated and LOTS of unsocialized rats never get to the point where they're super friendly without it. I've had a lot of rats that would have remained jerks their whole lives if I hadn't just grabbed them, threw them in a hoody pocket, and made them stay there for an hour or so once or twice a day.


Also I so wish we didn't push lab blocks so hard here. They're so gross.

I agree with you for both counts. I edited the food part, and I'll change the socialization later.

If anyone else has any thoughts on what I wrote for the food section, let me know.

Supercondescending
Jul 4, 2007

ok frankies now lets get in formation

Yaaaayyy that's so much better, you rock!

THE WORST DOCTOR
Mar 18, 2009


Hey everyone, first time rat-owner here. I just bought a couple of pretty ladies. Moved them into their cage, and they're exploring, but I think one of them started sneezing. She wasn't when we got her, she just started to do it suddenly. I thought she might not have liked the soap I washed my hands with... Should I be worried? She's active, and doesn't seem to feel awful at all or anything.

edit: Oh, and I cut up some old shirts and put them down on the wire floor sections for now... could she be reacting to those?

THE WORST DOCTOR fucked around with this message at 21:48 on Jun 23, 2010

Professor Wayne
Aug 27, 2008

So, Harvey, what became of the giant penny?

They actually let him keep it.

That's a normal reaction to a new environment and can be due to stress, new bedding, etc. Give it some time, and she will likely adapt. If the sneeze starts to not sound right, she stops eating, or is lethargic then you should be concerned.

Also, some believe that rats kept in a cage with only bare wire floors can develop ulcerative pododermatitis, or as it is commonly known, "bumblefoot." You might want to cover the wire floors of your cages, you can use cardboard, linoleum-type tile, plastic needlepoint canvas, unprinted newspaper, etc

Professor Wayne fucked around with this message at 22:20 on Jun 23, 2010

THE WORST DOCTOR
Mar 18, 2009


Professor Wayne posted:

That's a normal reaction to a new environment and can be due to stress, new bedding, etc. Give it some time, and she will likely adapt. If the sneeze starts to not sound right, she stops eating, or is lethargic then you should be concerned.

Also, some believe that rats kept in a cage with only bare wire floors can develop ulcerative pododermatitis, or as it is commonly known, "bumblefoot." You might want to cover the wire floors of your cages, you can use cardboard, linoleum-type tile, plastic needlepoint canvas, unprinted newspaper, etc

Okay, that's a relief. I'll keep an eye out. And don't worry, I've covered the wire floors. Thanks for the advice!

EVG
Dec 17, 2005

If I Saw It, Here's How It Happened.


One thing I saw that was incorrect in the OP - Harlan Teklad does sell their blocks to retail consumers now. You can buy a 50lb bag for $25 (about $40 shipped) from Amazon under the name "Native Earth".

http://www.amazon.com/Native-Earth-...77337135&sr=8-1

EVG fucked around with this message at 23:55 on Jun 23, 2010

Lady Stormcrow
Oct 22, 2005

The fun never stops in Ivakatown

Well, Crowley and Aziraphale turned a year old today, but they didn't have a very happy birthday. They've both got lice (poor Crowley has it the worst), so they've been given an olive oil bath and dosed with Ivermectin, and they spent most of the day in their traveling crate while I washed everything with bleach.

Now that the Scouring of the Bathroom is complete, the Great Washed are back in their cage and seem to be doing okay (I think they're mostly happy that they don't smell like a pizza anymore). I have the Ivermectin for the next few weeks, and I know to clean everything a lot, but is there anything else I should be doing? I freeze their bedding, so I'm not sure how they got lice in the first place, but I'll be on higher guard in the future, and meanwhile I want them to be comfortable while the Ivermectin does its thing.

Skutter
Apr 7, 2007

I was curious to see how far you'd go to find me. Well, here I am.


Yay Carebear! I re-read the FAQ (for like the hundredth time) and laughed at my corny old jokes. I'm really glad to see that the PI ratters are still as interested as ever. I hope everyone enjoys this thread as much as the last one. Thanks again to Carebear. You are awesome! <3

Asstro Van
Apr 14, 2007

Always check your blind spots before backing that thang up.


I just wanted to pitch in that if you stick in a section about mycoplasma, definitely mention nebulizers. Since it is a chronic disease, the secondary bacterial infections eventually become resistant to whatever antibiotics are being used. Each round of treatment buys you a little more time with your buddy, so once you run out of oral antibiotics to use you should ask your vet about a nebulizer. It opens up a whole different set of antibiotic options and bronchodilators. The best part is that it is pretty affordable to get started.

I bought a brand new pediatric nebulizer for about $30 on amazon with free shipping, if you hunt a bit or buy used it could be even cheaper. My treatment chamber is a $5 storage container from Target, modified to connect to the nebulizer. The best part? I paid $13 for a bag of sterile saline, syringes, needles, and the medication. The antibiotic was only $4 and it goes a long way. That is a grand total of $48 which is not bad considering most vet expenses.

Dylan has been doing really well with it; I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who has exhausted oral antibiotics. The first time we did the treatment he panicked, but by the third treatment he learned to just settle down and wait for a treat. Before I started using the nebulizer, it felt like he was on a slow but obvious downward slope. He never really lost his piggy appetite, but he had trouble keeping on weight and muscle-tone. It feels like this has helped him turn back the clock a bit. He is perkier, plumper, and getting into things that he shouldn't again. Of course this is not a permanent solution, eventually we will have to either switch antibiotics again or try broncodilators, but it has given us a few more quality months together.

bonus glamor shot of Dylan in his prime

Click here for the full 600x800 image.

shadysight
Mar 31, 2007

Only slightly crazy

Carebear posted:

I would like to update the medical section on information for more information on tumors and mycoplasma - if anyone has any ideas let me know.

Plus, if anyone has any ideas on changes/additions to the FAQ please post them!

Also post any new rat pictures you have.

I feel it's a little weird there's no section respiratory problems.

ballgameover.mp3
Oct 21, 2008


Hi. I have 3 rats, all females. Their names are: Chuhi, which is the Hindi word for "female rat," her full name is Mme. Chuhi Jawla, which is a portmanteau of the name of this popular 80s Bollywood actress: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juhi_Chawla. My other rats are Lili, who is a few months old and, uh...she's cream-and-tan colored, I'll post a pic when I can borrow a camera. The last one is C.C., who is a hairless month-old critter. She's very very friendly, despite having been abused - I work at a Petco, and she was returned by a girl whose boyfriend teased and hit the rat. I took the little critter home. I don't know why the gently caress people get animals if they don't care about them. It's not as if it's the situation with children, where, "Oh no, I forgot to wear a condom! Oh no, due to my religious beliefs I can't do anything about this." And then 9 months later a baby rat pops out, which you resent, but have no choice but to deal with. Anyway, below are pics of my other 2 rats and Gustav who passed away a few months ago - I let him go out like a loving king, btw.

C.C.


Chuhi after knocking over a beer and lapping some up (she was caught and stopped quickly!)


This was Gustav, with Meowley, the stray I nursed back to health. They were gay interracial lovers.

THE WORST DOCTOR
Mar 18, 2009


Sorry for all the newbie questions! How can I prevent my rats from getting mites or lice or whathaveyou? I've always been really worried about that sort of thing, even with my dogs. They just give me the willies.

Rats seem to be settling in nicely. The other one isn't sneezing, and as you can see we still haven't named them yet. I'll post pictures eventually.

Vulvarine
Mar 23, 2008


I think there should be a section on selecting a good vet; not all of them are familiar with small animals such as rats, and you want to find one who knows what he/she is doing, especially if you take them in for tumor removal.

Which is another point: cost. Starting cost for keeping rats is low, but if you plan on being a good rat parent, you should be prepared to take them to the vet as least once for a respiratory infection, and once or twice for tumor removal (more if you have girls, since mammary tissue tumors are the most common type), and possibly for a euthanization when tumors become inoperable or persistent. All of this costs money, and you should be prepared and willing to spend it.

To keep my rats cool in the summertime, I used cold rocks. Find some medium-sized, smooth, river rocks, wash them thoroughly, and keep them in the freezer. When you put on in the cage, its like an AC unit and the rats can get as close to it as they like. In contrast to bottles of frozen water, rocks don't leak, crack, and can't be chewed on. And also look nicer.

Also, its important to have a lenient attitude towards cage design and what you put in there. you might think this little cubby house is so darling in that corner, but they will turn it upside down and move it somewhere else, tear the hammock you put up off of the cage ceiling, ignore the toys you buy, and if they can grab onto any fabric outside the cage (curtains, blankets, your favorite jacket) they will do their best to drag that thing in and tear it to shreds. Little fuckers.

Make sure the cage is un-openable by rats (who can push doors open by bracing on a nearby fixture); spring-loaded closures are best. Rats can and will figure out how to get out if possible, and if properly socialized, they will come cuddle with you at night. Or they might wander off and get lost or eaten.

daggerdragon
Jan 22, 2006

My titan engine can kick your titan engine's ass.

EVG posted:

One thing I saw that was incorrect in the OP - Harlan Teklad does sell their blocks to retail consumers now. You can buy a 50lb bag for $25 (about $40 shipped) from Amazon under the name "Native Earth".

http://www.amazon.com/Native-Earth-...77337135&sr=8-1

Came here to post this, and Kim's Ark does not sell Harlan Teklad anymore. I asked ~2 years ago and she directed me to Native Earth (which IS Harlan Teklad, just consumer-ified).

Supercondescending
Jul 4, 2007

ok frankies now lets get in formation

I never post pics of my guys so I took some today.




















I'm down to just Magic and Judge now. Temper and Justice both had horrible battles with pneumonia, resulting in Temper being put down and Justice passing very suddenly one morning. Justice was always sickly and miserable from day one, But it was pretty sudden in Temper's case and he didn't respond to antibiotics at all and, yeah.

Magic and Judge have always been pretty healthy dudes though. Judge just celebrated his first birthday, as well. Can't believe I've had him almost a year.

Serella
Apr 24, 2008

Is that what you're posting?



Are those crawfish in that salad there? Your rats eat better than me. :P

Supercondescending
Jul 4, 2007

ok frankies now lets get in formation

Serella posted:

Are those crawfish in that salad there? Your rats eat better than me. :P

Haha yeah, I made crawfish bisque today and saved them a couple. Theres also chicken salad leftover from my lunch there, and the tops from greens and some peppers leftover from cooking.

AngryGuy
Sep 30, 2008


So my pulmonary doctor is pretty sure I've developed a bad allergy to rat urine. I've been pretty miserable for the last few months and can't get it under control so this means that I have to give the rats up. Luckily, the breeder is taking them back from me to take care of them or find someone who will take them. If any of you guys are looking for a breeder near Davis, CA. the girl from Amour Petite is awesome.

Needless to say though I'm pretty drat bummed right now and I am going to feel absolutely awful when I hand them over to her.

Serella
Apr 24, 2008

Is that what you're posting?



Superconsndar posted:

Haha yeah, I made crawfish bisque today and saved them a couple. Theres also chicken salad leftover from my lunch there, and the tops from greens and some peppers leftover from cooking.

Are there pics or videos of them eating the crawfish? I would love to see how that went down. I bet they ate the faces first.

shadysight
Mar 31, 2007

Only slightly crazy

Superconsndar posted:

I'm down to just Magic and Judge now. Temper and Justice both had horrible battles with pneumonia, resulting in Temper being put down and Justice passing very suddenly one morning. Justice was always sickly and miserable from day one, But it was pretty sudden in Temper's case and he didn't respond to antibiotics at all and, yeah.

I lost two this year to pneumonia too. Weirdly, I'm glad to hear it happened to someone else too because of that feeling like I must be a horrible parent to them.

Pickle Chops
Sep 25, 2008


The Bi-Odour finally arrived! Here's hoping it works as I've moved into a studio apartment and they are stinking the place out. Even with daily cleans! Is it still working for everyone else who has tried it?

CompactFanny
Oct 1, 2008



I just put my first dose in the water this morning! Very excited for this.

Supercondescending
Jul 4, 2007

ok frankies now lets get in formation

Serella posted:

Are there pics or videos of them eating the crawfish? I would love to see how that went down. I bet they ate the faces first.

Haha no, I was hoping to get some but they were so disgruntled about me sticking the camera in their faces that they wouldn't eat until I put them back in their cage. They've had shellfish before, but never anything whole like that, so I had to crack them open before they got it and then they went nuts and fought over it. The heads were definitely the most coveted bits.


Pickle Chops posted:

The Bi-Odour finally arrived! Here's hoping it works as I've moved into a studio apartment and they are stinking the place out. Even with daily cleans! Is it still working for everyone else who has tried it?

It's freaking awesome. By the end of the week, when it was time to clean the cage, I could only detect the absolute faintest smell and only if my face was practically touching the cage. Love ittttt.

Grimster
May 15, 2004

you suck

Superconsndar posted:

It's freaking awesome. By the end of the week, when it was time to clean the cage, I could only detect the absolute faintest smell and only if my face was practically touching the cage. Love ittttt.

I had my wife stop and get some earlier this week and it seems to be helping, I haven't cleaned every cage yet so I'm sure most of what I'm still smelling is the uncleaned couple of cages. I don't like to clean the cages with newborns if I can help it.

Ferretten
Jun 13, 2006
behind tired eyes, behind tired eyes, he is waiting. and knowing our destinies.



I can't seem to find bi-odor in the UK but I can find it made especially for ferrets here http://www.companionschoice.co.uk/p..._details_66.htm
Do you think it'd be ok to use for rats too? It'd be great because I could use it for my ferrets too even though they have their own little room, it pongs a bit in there because we don't de-gland ferrets here.

Supercondescending
Jul 4, 2007

ok frankies now lets get in formation

Ferretten posted:

I can't seem to find bi-odor in the UK but I can find it made especially for ferrets here http://www.companionschoice.co.uk/p..._details_66.htm
Do you think it'd be ok to use for rats too? It'd be great because I could use it for my ferrets too even though they have their own little room, it pongs a bit in there because we don't de-gland ferrets here.

I looked at both the ferret and "small animal" formulas when I was at Petsmart and they're literally exactly the same. The only difference is the animal picture on the bottle. You can definitely use the one marketed towards ferrets.

Skutter
Apr 7, 2007

I was curious to see how far you'd go to find me. Well, here I am.


Superconsndar posted:

I never post pics of my guys so I took some today.

Your Magic (I think) has the same face blaze that my Hubble does. I love rats with little face masks. That salad idea is awesome. I think I might make one up for my guys soon.

CompactFanny
Oct 1, 2008



I volunteer a lot (about 12 or so hours a week plus all the phone screens!!) I meet a lot of people. Usually they're really dumb people and today was no exception. A woman called me back about ferret adoptions and told me that she'd already gotten 2 hairless rats from the pet store. Ok, great. We talk about rats. Then she tells me that there's a local woman who wants to sell her a pregnant rat for $15.

She tells me that she's kept rats before, but never a pregnant one or a litter and she's not comfortable doing it. She feels like the rat should get out of that place because it seems very sketchy! At this point, I googled the lady's phone number...

She has a litter of rottweilers on the ground and some siamese kitten litters too! Oh boy. Nice lady on the phone asks me if I will go get the preggo rat, maybe she will keep her after the babies are born.

Well I went over to the "breeder's" house and found:
- at least 3 adult rotts, and puppies outside
- 2 macaws together (breeding???????)
- a Ferret Nation cage with maltipoop dogs in the top and siamese kittens in the bottom
- pregnant rat and two males
- ASH TRAYS ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Oh my god. I took the lady rat and got the gently caress out. I'm contacting everyone I know in the rescue business to see what can be done about this (but I suspect nothing, unless we all go over and buy animals until she has no more ).

PI what do I do with this rat? I gave her some turkey and gravy baby food earlier. She seems underweight. Apparently they "bred" her "about a week ago." Is there a good chance that she didn't take? If so, when will I know this?

If anybody has any suggestions about who to contact, maybe get them inspected or something, I'd be appreciative. I don't know if there are any kind of restrictions in the area about the number of animals you can keep in a given space or whatever, but there were a lot and they live in a trailer.

Also here's Lucy. She bit me already. Sorry I'm a horrible photographer. Her name is Lucy because Pinky was retarded and I'm pretty sure the lady named her that off the top of her head when I asked.





e: table breakage

Carebear
Apr 16, 2003

If you stay here too long, you'll end up frying your brain. Yes, you will. No, you will...not. Yesno you will won't.

She's so cute.. she looks like a dumbo, maybe that's why they bred her.

Supercondescending
Jul 4, 2007

ok frankies now lets get in formation

CompactFanny posted:


PI what do I do with this rat? I gave her some turkey and gravy baby food earlier. She seems underweight. Apparently they "bred" her "about a week ago." Is there a good chance that she didn't take? If so, when will I know this?


Just keep increasing her protein, anything is fine within reason. High quality cat food is great, as are eggs and lean meat and that kind of thing.

Some rats start showing a week before they pop, and some don't until 2 or 3 days before. Gestation is 3 weeks total, so just keep an eye on her and once she starts to show move her into an appropriate cage to birth in. I liked to use 20 gal aquariums for moms and young litters, but a sturdy rubbermaid bin with a wire top would totally work in a pinch.

I very, very rarely had breedings with rats not take. If a boyrat nailed her, there's a 90% chance shes got something in the oven.

Rodent Mortician
Mar 17, 2009

SQUEAK.


Superconsndar posted:

Some rats start showing a week before they pop, and some don't until 2 or 3 days before. Gestation is 3 weeks total, so just keep an eye on her and once she starts to show move her into an appropriate cage to birth in.

This exactly. This last litter I had, I got five females in with two males from a wildlife center. Some nutjob had dropped them off to feed to their animals, but they only feed prekilled and no-one was very enthusiastic to kill these shabby and terrified rats. I split the group with another rescue and kept two females. Both looked normal and I figured they had probably recently had babies which didn't make it and that they were, at best, in early pregnancy.

12 hours before the first rat's scheduled e-spay, I heard eeping. We spayed the second rat and she wasn't pregnant.

CompactFanny
Oct 1, 2008



Carebear posted:

She's so cute.. she looks like a dumbo, maybe that's why they bred her.

She's a dumbo ~*SIAMESE*~ which is why they bred her. But they had a whole litter (looked like around 6 or 7) siamese kittens in a one level ferret nation cage so the rats kinda lost her interest I guess.

Lucy's definitely acting pregnant. She acts pretty cage dominant, but once she's out she is very cuddly and calm. One of my other rats is like that too except that she's still pretty bitchy once you get her out.

I'm going to Goodwill tomorrow to try and find a 20gal aquarium. Wtf kind of water bottle do you use on those?

Rodent Mortician
Mar 17, 2009

SQUEAK.


CompactFanny posted:

I'm going to Goodwill tomorrow to try and find a 20gal aquarium. Wtf kind of water bottle do you use on those?

You can buy metal water bottle holders at pet stores that slip over the side of teh aquarium. Or if you want to be a cheapass like me you can buy some industrial velcro from Walmart and put half on the bottle and half on the aquarium.

Supercondescending
Jul 4, 2007

ok frankies now lets get in formation

CompactFanny posted:

She's a dumbo ~*SIAMESE*~ which is why they bred her. But they had a whole litter (looked like around 6 or 7) siamese kittens in a one level ferret nation cage so the rats kinda lost her interest I guess.



Lmao its funny because those are literally, and I absolutely mean this, some of the worst dumbo ears I've ever seen and unless the pictures are washing her out, she looks like a himilayan, not a siamese.


People are dumb.

Edit: No, on second though, she is a siamese, just a really diluted one. Still, those ears lmaoo

Maybe give her some good nesting material if she's already feeling maternal, building up a nice nest will give her something to focus on and while it may make her more possesive of her cage, it'll also cut down quite a bit on her nervous mom energy so it should balance out.

Supercondescending fucked around with this message at 04:09 on Jun 27, 2010

CompactFanny
Oct 1, 2008



This woman tried to tell me that she was 10 months old, so she's nearly full grown and her points "should turn more blue in a couple months".

The father was a big giant fat siamese rex. Lady also told me that siameses were the most cuddly breed of rats. I was like "they are literally exactly the same as all the other rats" and she was like "ah..." and just moved on.

I was really afraid to start saying poo poo to her face because I felt pretty vulnerable there, even with my boyfriend along to protect me. They had a bunch of rottweilers! Also I was afraid that she would grab Lucy back from me and the cycle of horrible stupid rat pregnancies would continue. She SAID she wanted to get out of rats, but I feel like anything female in that house was gonna get bred no matter what. The tiny, tiny little chihuahua running around had big giant nipples, like she either had a litter or was preggers.

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Supercondescending
Jul 4, 2007

ok frankies now lets get in formation

CompactFanny posted:

This woman tried to tell me that she was 10 months old, so she's nearly full grown and her points "should turn more blue in a couple months".



I hope this isn't her first litter then. Giving birth for the first time at 10 months could be very difficult for her if not fatal. The oldest rat I ever did a first litter with was I believe 8 months and she had an absolutely hellish labor, lost a ton of blood, and nearly died.

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