Orphaned River Rats - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
Animals in the Wild Want to share something about a wild or endangered animal? Look here!

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-04-2003, 09:43 PM
RiverRat
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Orphaned River Rats

My kids uncovered...well, actually destroyed....a nest with baby water rats. After about 5 hours of trying to hide them from me, they finally let me in on their little secret. So, now I am feeding these baby rats! They are about the size of a hamster. Their eyes are still not open. I ahve been feeding them for a day and 1/2 with a small syringe. Tehy seem to be doing great. My question.....WHAT DO I DO WITH THEM???? They are cute now, but what do water rats eat when they get older? Will they bite me? I have guinea pigs...have had mice and hamsters...but wild water rat babies??? Anyone out there??? Can you help me??? Point me in the right direction???
 
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 08:02 AM
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 156
 
Sorry I have no idea what a "water rat" even is. They have usally have wild life animal places that would take them in and care for them untill they are ready to be released into the wild. Maybe you can look in the yellow pages for one in your area. Sorry I could not be of more help.
glidertales is offline  
post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 01:46 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,000
   
Exclamation Water-rats, Hydromys chrysogaster

Here's what I could find... Is this the animal we're talking about?

Water-rats, Hydromys chrysogaster

The Water-rat is an attractive native rodent that was once recorded from many localities around the harbour and along the Parramatta River. Water-rats are large rodents that are superbly adapted to aquatic life. They have webbed feet, sleek dense fur, small ears and strong whiskers that enable them to detect invertebrates such as mussels and crabs, even in the murkiest of waters.

Specimens of Water-rats in the Museum's collections date back to 1879 when they were apparently common in places such as Hunters Hill, Point Piper, Elizabeth Bay, the Botanic Gardens and further up the Parramatta River near Gladesville. Water-rats appear to have disappeared from many parts of the harbour but can still sometimes be seen around the foreshores of Manly and Rose Bay and have recently been recorded on Goat Island, Clarke Island and Sisters Bay. Having a relatively little known species of native mammal in the middle of Sydney has allowed researchers from the University of Western Sydney to embark on studies of their distribution, abundance and genetics.




Source

Where are you located River Rat? I also found california river rats that are found in or near california along the colorado river.
Becki is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 02:27 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,000
   
I would assume that you would hand feed them and care for them like any other rat, so on that principle (just my opinion by the way) I found this great page.

Caring for Orphans
This article was taken from the AFRMA Breeding Rats & Mice, Care and Guidelines book.


Formula
As far as a formula to use, many people have used different ones to their advantage. Whole, raw, fresh goat milk; KMR® (Kitten Milk Replacer); Esbilac® (puppy formula); Enfamil (without iron); or Soyalac human formula have all been used. The powdered formula is usually used rather than the liquid as you can mix up a fresh batch each day and the powder will last longer. The liquid formulas have to be used within 3 days after opening. Lambert Kay™ makes a Mother’s Helper™ puppy formula that can also be used for rats and other orphan babies.
Nursing
A baby bird feeding syringe with a fine curved tip or a very small doll nursing bottle will work as a nurser. You can also use a piece of absorbent string, acting like a wick from bottle to baby, for the very small ones until they are big enough to grasp the bottle tip itself. Another idea is to take a piece of small plastic tubing (strip the plastic tubing off a piece of wire—22 or 24 gague for mice; 14 to 20 gague for rats) about ½ to 1 inch long. You can then insert this tubing into your syringe or nipple of a nurser bottle. Four Paws® makes an Easy Feeder™ Hand Feeding Syringe For Small Animals that has two syringes in the pack—one with a nipple tip and one with a tapered tip. The tapered tip syringe has an opening equivalent to a size 12–14 gague wire tubing. The baby bird feeding syringe has a tip equivalent to a 22 gague wire tubing. Also, you can get a gluing tip from a hobby/beauty supply store. Heat up the tip and slip it on the syringe. This will “glue” it to the syringe.
Feed small amounts at each feeding, being careful not to get any in their lungs (if you see milk bubbling from their nose, it’s an indication some is getting into their lungs). Always feed warm (not hot or cold) formula to your babies.
You can tell when their tummies are full by the white patch in the left middle of their bellies (do not overfeed). It will take about five minutes to feed each one.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
. . . you will need to feed them EVERY 2 hours, so be prepared for some sleepless nights.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Don’t be discouraged if they appear smaller than others their age. This is common with hand-raised babies. Sometimes they will even lose their hair for a short time, but it will eventually grow back.
Care
After you feed each baby, they will need you to massage their abdomen and rectal area with a warm, damp cloth to stimulate them to urinate and pass solid wastes. You will need to do this until they are eliminating on their own. Remember to always handle these guys carefully as they are very small. It is very important to keep these little guys warm at all times. Many people use the plastic critter carriers lined with a towel and either a hot water bottle under the towel or an electric heating pad (set on the lowest setting) with the carrier placed on it. (The temperature of the nest should be between 75°F (24°C) and 90°F (32°C).) This makes it easy to take them with you to work or school to feed them on their schedule.
Diarrhea
Diarrhea is one problem you may encounter when feeding these small rodents. The main cause is overfeeding. Another cause can be coccidiosis—a one-celled internal parasite that can be diagnosed by your veterinarian. Dehydration occurs with diarrhea no matter what the cause and can kill the babies if not treated promptly. You will need to stop giving all milk to your orphans and replace it with the same amount of electrolyte solution for human infants. Milk will irritate the digestive tract and prolong the diarrhea. Your babies will need, not only the fluids from the electrolyte solution, but also the salts and chemicals it contains. It will often be necessary to also give a few drops of kaolin-pectin every 2 hours to help halt the diarrhea.
Weaning
Once the babies open their eyes, you can start adding dry baby cereal to their formula (make sure it will pass through the tip of the nurser) as well as cutting down on the nightly feedings. You can start to wean them off the bottle and onto a dish when they are about 3 weeks old. Dip your finger in the gruel mixture and let them lick it off your fingers. Decrease the amount of bottle feedings and give their meal in a small dish three to four times a day. You can start to add different things like oatmeal, bread, lab block powder, and baby food to their mixture. Also by this time, they will start to nibble on bits of apple, carrot, fruits, seeds, etc. Make sure fresh water is also available at all times as they will start to drink from a bottle. Give fresh meals each time, taking out any uneaten foods. You will also need to clean them up after they eat as they are very messy eaters. They can lose their coats and go bald temporarily if they are left dirty.

Source
Becki is offline  
post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 05:40 PM
Princess in Waiting
 
Crittercall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Central FL - beside the Mouse
Age: 67
Posts: 1,377
 
Cool

Wow, Becki, you did good!

I've never heard of a river rat either, so this is all new and interesting to me, too.

Normally small mammals will open their eyes at around 14 days old - give or take a day or so.

Any kind of babies that I have raised I have always used a heating pad under their container (whether an aquarium, plastic or cardboard box, or cage) but I've always used a towel between the heating pad and the container. I also try to leave a part of the container that they are in off the heating pad in case they get too warm.

Another thing I've routinely done with mammals is to put just a bit of Karo syrup in with their formula. Their bodies can use the glucose and it does make the food taste better!!

You should be able to find a Fish and Wildlife Department under the government section of your phone book, and they should have a list of rehabbers or the name of a center if you want to send these guys to someone else. Or veterinary clinics usually know who to call for rehab; they could probably help you.

Let us know what happens with these guys - they sound interesting!

CRITTERCALL


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


"If they care, it doesn't matter; if it matters, they don't care."
Crittercall is offline  
post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 06:21 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,000
   
Talking

hehe, it's all about google!
I don't know how good that would be if you're planning to let them go though, that is for domestic rats. I would imagine that if they're so small their eyes aren't open yet they will probably be perfectly friendly to you and your family as they grow up.
Becki is offline  
post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 09:34 PM
Princess in Waiting
 
Crittercall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Central FL - beside the Mouse
Age: 67
Posts: 1,377
 
Cool

Don't try to be modest - Google rules!!

You would definitely have to figure out some way of keeping these little guys from imprinting on their person. Not handling any more than absolutely necessary, etc. I've seen tv shows about rehabbing raptors where they would put up a curtain and wear a glove when they had to feed the bird (or clean the cage, etc.) to keep it from seeing a human face. I never went quite that far.

CRITTERCALL


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


"If they care, it doesn't matter; if it matters, they don't care."
Crittercall is offline  
Reply

Tags
baby rats, cardboard box, guinea pig, heating pad, lab block


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome