Oh rats!

 As I mentioned in the ketchup post, we had our own little lesson in biology here at The School Down the Lane when K’s new pet rat Willow unexpectedly gave birth to 10 babies.  We were singularly unprepared but luckily Willow was an excellent mother who allowed us to handle the babies without trouble despite barely knowing us.  She actually seemed to look at our daily play session with the  babies as a break, using the time to groom herself and do a little interior decorating in her cage. 

For the record, handling baby rats is a good thing.  It will help them get used to being handled and make them better pets.  Mama will not abandon them or eat them if you pick them up.

Here is a little rundown of their development!

newborn:

Day two:  Still hairless and helpless but their colors are showing more.

Day three:  Coat colors are showing even more and their ears are standing out more, although ears and eyes are still closed.  They are squirming around a lot now and sometimes escape the nest.

Day five:  Fur is growing in now and they continue to escape occasionally.  They are quite active but ears and eyes still closed.

One week:  Coats are almost fully in now, they move on their own and often try to nurse off each other if removed from mama.  I believe their ears are open but the eyes are still closed.

Day 11: Their eyes are looking like they might open any time now!  Ears are definitely open. You can easily tell Rex coats (curly fur) from smooth (this one is a rex).

Two weeks:  Eyes are open!!  They are fully mobile and running in and out of the nest much to mama’s dismay!

At three weeks we noticed some of them were a little thin so we introduced some solid food.  We fed them baby cereal mixed with kitten formula. 

That perked them up for sure much to Willow’s dismay it gave them enough energy to get to her hiding spot 😉

Of course, although I found them all completely adorable and sweet (well, most of them LOL!), there was no way we could keep all ten babies.  We decided to keep two boys to live together and one girl to stay with her mama.  Luckily for us a local rat rescue group stepped in (after I e-mailed them asking for advice on what the heck to do!) and offered to place the extras.  Rats mature quickly, so at five weeks we bid goodbye to all but three of the babies 😦 

The boys;  Peter (the champange) and Quincy (the white patchy one)

The girls; Willow and Daisy

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