Topi Rats

Specializing in Healthy & Charming Fancy Rats for Pet and Show

5 Tips for an Unplanned Litter

Sometimes if you adopt a female rat from a friend, shelter, or pet store, you may be shocked to find your new pet with a litter of tiny pink babies at her side one day. Rat's have a gestation period of 23 days, so if your little girl doesn't grace you with any babies within a month of you getting her, provided she has no contact with any in tact males, she will not have any babies. But if she does, these are five ways to make the process easier on both of you.

1. If your girl does have an unplanned litter, give her extra food while she is nursing. A lactating mother may require up to four times more water daily, so provide her with constant fresh and clean water. Give her safe nesting material such as plain, white paper towels with no fragrance or dyes so she can make a nice warm nest. The warmth can also be provided by a heating pad set on low and placed under the cage, but make sure mom and the babies can move away from the area warmed by the heating pad if it gets too hot. Keep an eye on the babies, checking them a few times a day to make sure they are nursing and appear to be thriving. Be aware that a mother rat is very protective of her babies, especially when they are first born, and she may bite you. This does not mean that she is a vicious rat or has any kind of temperament issues. Just that you are bigger than her and coming near her babies.

2. When the babies are a few days old, begin handling them so they get used to people and being picked up. They will begin snacking on their mother's food at this stage, and will become more independent from mom.

3. When the babies are weaned at 4 to 5 weeks of age (depending on the size of the litter), separate them by gender. Continue to handle them on a regular basis so they will be well-socialized when they go to their new homes.

4. When the babies are about 5 weeks old they can go to families of their own. It may be hard to find homes, but using resources like Craig’s List, local newspapers, signs in feed stores, Pet Finder online, and word of mouth you should be able to find homes for your babies. Make sure you stress that these rats are pets only and are never to be used as food for another animal. To ensure they go to pet homes, it is suggested that you give them a small adoption fee. Make sure this fee is more than what a rat their size would cost as food, but low enough people are willing to adopt them. A good range is normally between $5 and $10 dollars.

5. When you find a good family for your babies, send the new owner home with instructions on how to feed and care for their rats. Taking this route will help ensure the well-being of your unplanned babies well into the future.