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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-01-2011, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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A very lucky little rat

It seems I have acquired my first rat.

So a friend of mine has snakes that refuse f/t rats and had some "food" around waiting to be breakfast when I went to visit him a few days ago. I asked if I could play with the rat, promising that it could still be food later and he said yes. I spent hours playing with the little guy. We made fun of his ears because I had never seen a dumbo before and figured it was a sign of genetic defect. By the end of the night I couldn't stop talking about how cute he was and how sweet he was being. My friend asked if he needed to keep the rat and I caved in.

So I have a cute little dumbo named Buck (named before I knew that male rats were called bucks). I made him a cage out of a bookshelf, some pegboard, and hardware cloth, but I already know I'm going to have to expand the cage, and probably search for a friend before too much longer. He loves his little fleece blanket though. I just wish he wouldn't hid all his food there. He loves running up my arm and his favorite napping place is snuggled up in my hoodie pocket or under my breast. He's probably about 4 inches long stretched out (not including the tail) and I'm guessing about 100g.

Questions now:
1) Any guess as to his age?
2) How should I introduce another male rat?

Edit: I was able to put some pic links on my user page in Visitor messages.

Last edited by Odyssey; 01-01-2011 at 01:12 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-01-2011, 02:45 PM
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Hey Odyssey, welcome aboard.

I'm no expert, but he looks like he's roughly 5 -6 weeks old. He can be anywhere from 7 to 9 in inches long full grown and weigh 600-700 g. Intros with another male rat will be easy if you get another juvenile close in age. The rough cut off age for easy male intros is 4 months give or take from all I've read, but don't quote me on it. Rats wean at 4-5 weeks, so he's really young. Just get you another boy of similar size or a little bigger.

If it were me, I'd get a new rat and settle it into a temporary cage for a couple of days--perhaps a plastic storage bin. Then introduce them on neutral territory a couple of times, like in a bathtub. They should have no problems at all at that age. For good measure, clean out your cage well before introing both of them to the cage.

You didn't ask, but for a pair of full grown rat boys, you're going to need at least 18 inches deep so they can turn around. My cage for my two boys is 30 x 18 x 24, but there's lots of variations in size that will work. I've got lots of links on cage related stuff if you ever need it.


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Last edited by Storyseeker; 01-01-2011 at 02:50 PM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-01-2011, 04:12 PM
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Odyssey, that is great that you took this sweetie away from being a snake lunch (grrrr, that makes my skin crawl) and I am glad he lucked out and got to be adopted by you, good for you! It was so funny that you thought he had a birth defect because of his ears, but dumbo ears are the most adorable and cute feature on ratties, aren't they? You will see people on this forum oohing and ahhing over dumbo ears. Both my boys were dumbo eared too. So adorable. I am also very glad you are taking the right steps in trying to get Buck a playmate buddy, very important, and also looking into getting a bigger house for him and his future rat friend. Great! Storyseeker has great links and advice on proper housing that will be big enough to keep your boys happy. Good job!

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You will always be with me, my sweet boys. I will see you at the Bridge.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. Storyseeker, are you in Bama too? I'm in HSV area.

I found a large bird cage on craigslist and ended up buying and modifying that. Doused the whole deal in some bleach water and rigged the cage to be rat proof. The floor was built in such a way that I almost didn't have to do anything to it to turn it into another level except cut a hole. I also made a lovely partial level in the middle out of hardware cloth. I think they'll love it once we get some toys in there. I found some red fleece on sale, so the boys are going to be getting some hammocks and snuggle boxes soon.

I also had to go to the store today to get my friend another feeder, since the snake needs to eat too, and I found out the owner of the shop breeds for pets too. He actually had a little black capped dumbo from Bucks litter, so I bought him. This baby was a little more skittish, but they had just had their cage cleaned, so who knows. I now have the definitive age of 5.5 weeks. I'm going to let the new boy settle down for a bit before I try to introduce them, but since they are from the same litter I'm hoping they'll remember each other and bond fairly quickly.

I can't wait to watch these babies grow up. Even my fiance is head over heels already!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 05:57 PM
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Are you now? I'm in the B'ham area. We're not too far apart.

Awesome that you've got a frankincage. I've got two of those.

Joann's and other fabric stores will sell their fleece remnants for half price or less by the yard. I'm a huge fan of the remnant bin.

Yah, give the new kid a day or three. Since they're so young they should bond pretty quickly regardless. You could put them in a neutral play area and let them play for a couple of hours. I bet they'll be best buds by the end of the session.

My husband has finally come over to the rat side. He loves playing with our new kids. I'm tickled you're enjoying them. Careful though, they're like potato chips.


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Hanging out in the Land of New Feetsies:
Melon, Skinner, Black Pete, Zanna, Custard, Tucker, Jeffrey, Zmei, and Windham.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Cool! I travel through B'ham about once a month to visit my sis in Montgomery.

My fiance helped introduce them tonight by holding Buck while I was holding Tesla(my new boy). They actually got along pretty well. We tried putting them in the new cage together since neither of them had been in it and they did really well. Buck popcorned everywhere and climbed all over Tesla, but Tesla didn't seem to mind too much.

I set up the new cage with a hammock and some toys with aspen litter in the bottom and they both really seemed to like it.
I'll be posting pics on my profile again.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 08:18 AM
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Awesome! I can't wait to be able to put my horde into the same cage. I think tomorrow might be the day.

And, we aught to meet for lunch one day when we both have the time. A little ratty summit.


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Hanging out in the Land of New Feetsies:
Melon, Skinner, Black Pete, Zanna, Custard, Tucker, Jeffrey, Zmei, and Windham.
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