I just purchased my FIRST pair of rats at a pet store about a month ago. At the store I was told that the rats were litter mates and that they were 2-months-old.
Knowing absolutely nothing about rats, I took the store's word for it and took home Hope and Faith...
For 2 weeks everything seemed to be going pretty well. Faith was clearly smaller and always went to Hope for protection. Though Faith was smaller she was far more outgoing, though both tended to be not well socialized.
About 2 weeks in I went to check on my 2 girls and heard some new peeping sounds coming from their tank and Faith appeared to be sitting on a lot of red stuff. Upon closer inspection I found out that my baby had had babies of her own!!! I was in shock and fascinated all at the same time.
A million question came to my head at once and so I googled and did A LOT of research on rats and pregnancy and babies, etc.
I decided to place Hope in a separate tank ASAP and left Faith with her 7 babies. Both Faith and Hope seemed pretty lost without each other but Faith was a new mommy and had a lot of responsibilities with her new family.
Faith was/is an excellent mother and nursed her babies and took care of each one. Slowly the babies developed each week. I made sure to supplement Faith's diet and ran out and bought out all the pet stores in the area
to take care of ALL of my babies.
It has been almost 3 weeks and I'm happy to report all 7 babies are fantastic! They are already spoiled rotten and I am constantly introducing them to a new food or other fun treat.
During this time I tried to put Hope and Faith together as much as possible to keep both of their spirits up. Hope became very depressed and even started biting out of fear and squeals and runs away from me when I go to pet her or pick her up. I feel really bad for her but I am too concerned for the safety of the babies.
This weekend I bought a brand new BIG cage for Faith and her babies. I was hoping to put everyone in one cage but I am still hesitant about letting Hope in with my little ones.
I know her and Faith miss each other and get along really well. I'm actually beginning to believe that Hope is really Faith's mother! (sounds like a soap opera doesn't it?)
It would explain the size difference and why Faith is so attached to Hope.
Either way my question is - what do I do with Hope? Do I keep her in the 10 gallon tank alone until the babies are separated by sex or later? I *think* I have 5 boys and 2 girls. I am terrified that if she is biting me she could easily hurt one of the babies. I realize that she is just scared and probably lonely but I would die if something happened to one of my little ones.
What would be the best way of introducing Hope to Faith's litter? Should I even attempt to do so? I am planning on keeping at least a couple of the babies so they will have to be introduced some time.
The first day and a half after Faith gave birth Hope was in the tank and she never even came near the babies. She just curled up in the corner and left mom and babies alone.
I really want to include her with the rest of the family. Faith is beginning to get more and more upset when I have to take her out of Hope's tank and put her back in the baby cage. She keeps trying to get out and get to Hope and she doesn't want to go back when I leave her with Hope for a few hours.
I'm really at a loss?
I try to give Hope attention and attempt to soothe her and pet her and take her out for one-on-one time but like I said she won't even let me touch her anymore! The most I can do is give her goodies when she stands on her hind legs when I take the top off of her tank.
Any suggestions, help, advice would be greatly appreciated! I just want all my rats to be happy.
Hope can't be that much older than Faith, I'm guessing maybe 2 months older tops? Faith's head is still small compared to her body, while Hope's is more proportioned and adult-like. I know they can't be from the same litter. The rats were in a tank of all females. I'm guessing Hope got pregnant from a brother or sister like Faith did and Hope was in the female tank with her litter (which included Faith) and I just happened to buy a mother and daughter. All the rats were separated by age at the pet store. The adult rats were in one tank and on the other side were the young "baby" rats.
Sorry for so much info but I don't really know of anyone to ask these questions to.
Thanks for your help in advance!
I have quite a few videos of all of my rats on YouTube for reference or to just enjoy cute baby video! http://youtube.com/user/etrnluv
I have quite a few more questions but I'll just start with my biggest problem for now and tackle sexing the babies later!