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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-25-2007, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so i have a situation

In my introductions i stated i was getting my new rats in two weeks, and would like to give you guys a story behind it if i may....I also need all the help i can get in how to raise these babies. Ok heres the story behind all this ( I was not expecting to get pet rats at all)


Ok so it was a typical saturday, i went out with my mom yard saleing, anyhow we came upon this yard sale by my house and the lady there had a fish tank i was looking at to put my fish in, well this lady came up to me (the one doing the yard sale) and was like if you want that tank i have some rats to go with it. I'm like really? rats? She was like yea, my husband has a snake and i thought it would be a great idea to buy the rats and breed them myself instead of having to go to the store all the time for snake food, but didn't realize that the rats breed like crazy and now she has way too many, so i was like really so you have babies? and she was like well, yea and if you get the tank you can have a few, because i have way too many rat litters.....so anyhow i asked her to show them to me, and she said sure and took me to a room in the back.....I tell you what...i've never seen so many rats in 2 10 gallon tanks in my life! You know that has to be soo uncomfortable.....at this point i was getting mad cause why would she get rid of a perfectly good 10 gallon tank when by the looks of it she needed the tank so these poor things could have more room, but i held my tongue as she preceeded to show me the babies which were actually 2 litters one in each tank in a "nest" the rats had made...then she went on to tell me how she told her husband that he couldn't feed the white ones to the snake as they were here first...so i'm thinking pet, you know, that she lied about breeding them for snake food but got a male and female and they had babies and so on and so on....and she started using the colored ones (not white) for the snakes dinner, so upon closer inspection i realized there were only two colored babies, (future snake food) so i pointed out a little black and white baby and asked her if she would take him out so that i could see him better, she grabbed him up by his tail! dangled him in front of me! I was like OMG!! Anyhow i told her, not to do anything!! I wanted the caramel one and the blacka nd white one (the only two not white ones in the litter) so next week i'm picking them up as they are not weaned yet. I had to rush home and tell hubby what all happened and finally got him to agree for me to have those two....I've been online all day reading about rats as pets and proper care and maintenance, they actually seem like lots of fun! Oh and i also didn't buy her tank.....i found a 5 gallon and another 10 gallon at another yard sale for 5 dollars, for my fish.....but i did go back to her house later and make sure when they were born so i wouldn't get them too young and she ended up handing me her 10 gallon she had at the yard sale including a rat wheel food bowl and water bottle. Now the thing that concerns me is, she had no idea when theses babies were born, she said 2 maybe 3 weeks ago, i don't want to get them so young they don't survive, but on the other hand i don't want her feeding them to the snake either......She acts very nonchalant about everything, so i doubts she watches if they eat or not, so what should i look for? Theres not much i can do....I can't be there to see if they are weaned, so how old do they need to be? They are about half the size of your pointer finger and they have their eyes open.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-25-2007, 07:34 PM
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wow, that sucks, some people shouldnt have pets. I'm not sure how old they need to be someone else will help you on that.

But i would be surprized if she gave you a rat wheel, those dont really fit in a 10 gal tank.

I couldnt imagin having 2 rats in a 10 gal let alone 2 litters.

1st things first, do you know if they are boy or girl rats. you dont want to end up in the same boat. and dont take her word for it, i dont think she can tell.

Chances are your rats could be imbred which really isnt that big of a deal (honestly) because i dont think you are going to breed them. and normally it takes awhile for effects to be shown. its not a good thing that they are imbred just not the end of the world.

they actually sound like they are too young to me but i could be wrong, i was thinking they had to be about 6 weeks old but im not positive. i think they may be able to breed at 3 weeks though.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-25-2007, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, She gave me a small wheel, it's very small i don't think it would last long thats for sure, I'm just hoping nothing happenes to these babies before hand..

Also i have no clue whether they are boy or girl yet..or same sex...
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-25-2007, 08:18 PM
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if the wheel has metal rungs dont use it. they can get their feet and tail caught and broke

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-25-2007, 09:00 PM
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OKay here we go....

Sexing first. Very important. I sexed my ooops litter at 3 days old and was completely right so I am sure you can do this with these babies.


Anogenital sexing is the spacing between the genitals and the anus. Females have a tiny gap and males have a much larger gap as this the space where they scrotum develops.

8 day old girl

9 day old boy


25 day old girl

25 day old boy


Now onto age

eyes don't open til 12-15 days old and they are squinty. The babies lift their head up but scuttle instead of walking or hopping, their ears are not completely off their heads yet.

baby Bear at 17 days old - squinty, sprawly

hoodie girl at 19 days - eyes are more open, able to climb and their heads are getting a bit more pointy rather than snub nosed.

3 weeks (21 days) old - ears are off head, bodies filling out, active and head shape even more ratlike.

25 days old

Megan and Angel at 29 days old.


I hope this helps you figure out your little rats ages and sexes.

At 3 weeks they are feeding on their own, with supplements from you but there's no handfeeding on your part.

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Last edited by lilspaz68; 03-25-2007 at 09:10 PM.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-25-2007, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Awww you have such cute babies! What kind of supplements do i need to get? They look more like your 17 day old pic, I dunno if this lady will keep them longer than next week or not.....Thats when i'm supposed to pick them up. And i can def. see the diffrence in boy and girl, thanks so much for teaching me that!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-25-2007, 10:58 PM
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ooo a litter of babies would be soo much fun!! i wish i could breed my francis, but she is 2 years old, and a petsmart baby, and i would never do that to her, but she is the sweetest thing ever.

Maybe i will foster someday

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-26-2007, 12:06 AM
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Having a rat litter is fun,but alot of work at the same time!

Anyway,first off...a 10 gallon tank is not big enough for ONE rat,let alone two or 20! And the wheel is small,you say? It is most likely a hamster wheel,not good for rats.You can buy rat wheels in pet stores,they are big and do not have rungs.

Ratlets wean at about 4-5 weeks and can breed at 5 weeks.Make sure you are getting a same sex pair,because if they are male and female,you are going to have to seperate them and then go and get same sex friends for each of them.

That sounds like a horrible situation! I am glad you are taking at least 2 away.Maybe you should try and educate her while your at it.Not that she will listen,but thats an opportunity to educate.Even if they are breeding for snake food,the rats should get better care then that!






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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-26-2007, 12:09 AM
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Ok Spaz covered the age and sex thing.


You definitely need to get a cage. If the rats are of different sex, then you have to go get 2 more rats so each of them has a mate. Rats do best in same sex pairs.
The wheel is probably too small so save it for something else for now.
I'll PM you with some links so I don't have to post them there.

*Missy*
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-26-2007, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, I have a 55 gallon if they are the same sex, that will work right? I've been told yes so i'm assuming its true.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2007, 06:26 AM
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Hi,

Congrats on the new rats!!! You'll love them.

You can put rats in an aquarium but really they are better in a cage. It has better ventilation plus rats really like to climb. Believe it or not rats need a lot of room to roam about. I have 8 rats(5 male and 3 female) and 3 cages--my girls are not housed in the same cages. The lone girl lost her sis but is carrying around a mammory tumor and soon she'll be gone Here are pix of cages. Be aware that babies need cages that the bar spacing is 1/2 or so. The first attachment is of the girls cages--the left is for my two adult girls. It has 3/4inch spacing so not so good for babies. It will hold 4 adult rats. The cage on the right is for my Oreo. It's okay for one rat. The second attacment is of the boys cage. It is huge and could hold 8-9 adult rats. I have 5 12 wk old boys. There are cages called tank toppers. They fit right over an aquarium and give the rats plenty of room and good ventialtion. You can find them at a lot of petstores and on ebay. I don't know if you could find any for a 55 gal tank. Certainly for a 10,20. Check e'bay under small animal cages. If you shop at a petstore, becareful because most clerks don't know much about cages for rats.

Here is a cage calculator link. You just need to plug in the dimensions of the cage and you'll see how many rats can fit.

Ratty Corner Cage Calculator

When you get your ratlets, send some pictures.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2007, 07:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for that info! I knew it wasn't okay long term but the 55 will be short term until i can buy a martins cage since how i've been told they are the best, and you cages are nice! Thanks so much for your info!
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2007, 07:34 AM
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short term would be fine. My boys were in the twenty gallon tank from the petstore we got them from until my cage arrived from ebay. That was about 1 1/2wk.

Oh on the aquarium make sure you have a lid. My boys at 6wks old could climb right out if I didn't have one. Actually they tried bonking their heads on the lid to move it!!! I had to keep a dictionary on it. Those boys

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2007, 11:29 AM
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i had mine in a tank topper for a about 9 months. now i put them in there to clean their huge cage the 4 rats in the tank topper looks like they are in jail.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-27-2007, 02:40 PM
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Yes,the tank is fine temporarily.I personally don't use aquariums for my rodents.

Martins Cages are AWESOME! I love them! I have one currently and it's greyt.





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