New member handrearing 4 wild baby rats.

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TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. โ˜บ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€
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Hi everyone.
As the title says, I became the accidental carer to 4 baby wild rats on 18th April.

Parents were killed, I grabbed these babies before they could meet the same fate - I have no idea if I got them all, I feel bad if I missed some as I don't know if they would have survived without their parents.

The babies eyes were closed and they were not yet walking on their feet.

Thanks to the excellent posts on this forum (hence why I have now registered) it seems that they were approximately 2 weeks old when I acquired them.

All eyes are now open, all babies are walking properly (wow, they sure are fast!) and taking their milk well and toileting well.
To my surprise they started eating apple slices yesterday and are very nibbly.

I'm hoping they start to get the hang of their drinking bottle, and I am going to put a small water bowl in their cage tomorrow as I am worried about them becoming dehydrated as their urine seems a deeper colour.

They lost a few grams of weight in the first few days, and my 3rd day with them was the worst....I was exhausted, due to waking up every 3 hours to feed them, alongside going to work (yep, I took them to work with me to keep to the 3 hourly feed schedule!) and juggling human family day to day life, plus I was full of self-doubt and convinced that I was doing it all wrong.

They are gaining weight, very vocal, and have discovered their Playwheel.
I am still waiting for the wildlife sanctuary to contact me about collecting them. The last contact I had from them was on Wednesday, saying that they would hope to collect them the next day.

I have no clue whether wild handreared babies can be kept as pets, whether I have spoilt their chances of "raise to release", or even if they have any diseases that could be passed on to other rats, animals or humans. We are keeping good hygiene at all times.

I don't think my household would be a suitable permanent home for them, as we already have 2 dogs and 2 cats. They wouldn't be able to have any decent free roaming out of cage time.

At the moment my concern is keeping them alive then sexing them this week, to see if separation needs to be done. Which brings another worry...if we end up with one of one sex and 3 of the other, I understand that rats should not be kept alone?

Thankyou to all forum members for your informative posts that have helped me so much, and thankyou for reading this very long post.
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. โ˜บ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€
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Location
Yorkshire, UK
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for joining.:) Where exactly did you get them?
I help out at my friends farm. We were mucking out and discovered the nest. The farm boys killed the parents within seconds. I've never experienced anything like that in my life and I don't ever want to again.
They were getting a little too excited about all the different ways they were going to dispatch these babies, and I suppose I was still very shocked, and definitely on autopilot as I scooped them up and hid them in a bucket until I went home, then took them with me.
 

Rattie

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I help out at my friends farm. We were mucking out and discovered the nest. The farm boys killed the parents within seconds. I've never experienced anything like that in my life and I don't ever want to again.
They were getting a little too excited about all the different ways they were going to dispatch these babies, and I suppose I was still very shocked, and definitely on autopilot as I scooped them up and hid them in a bucket until I went home, then took them with me.
Wow, you're pretty much a hero. How are the babies now, can you share some pics?:)
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. โ˜บ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€
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Location
Yorkshire, UK
Wednesday last week was a very difficult day, The babies were losing weight and refusing food, and I wasn't sure where I was going wrong. They were doing a shaking thing and I thought they were having seizures. I was tired due to feeding them every 3 hours since the Monday, and felt like I was doing a really terrible job, amd I was very tearful.

A client of mine keeps pet rats, and I asked her if she would mind just having a look at them and to sit with me while i fed them, so that she could tell me what I was doing wrong.

She watched me, and said they seemed like happy little babies, and the shaking was something called boggling and definitely not a seizure, and the weight loss might be due to them having a different kind of milk.

After that, I started to feel a bit more relaxed and confident.

I've written a post in the "Diet" section about their current feeding situation, but, to cut a long story short, they have regained the weight they have lost plus put on an extra 1 or 2 grams each.

Today is a week that they have been with me.

I will try to post some photos. The pink ones are the photos I took minutes after I grabbed them, the other photo is that evening after I'd bought a cage, pouch, bedding etc.
 

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Rattie

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Thanks for posting those pictures. They look pretty cute and healthy to me. Is their gender identified already?:)
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. โ˜บ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€
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No, the nearest vet appointment I could get (that would allow "Wild" animals) is 6th May, so I really hope I have aged them correctly and that they don't start getting busy if we have a mixture of sexes. I'm tentatively thinking we have 3 boys and a girl. Now that they are getting hairier it's harder to figure out if there are nipples or not.
Plus I'm registered blind so that makes it slightly harder!!

I really hope we don't have one lone sex, it would make rehousing them.much more difficult, for example the 3 male, 1 female I think we have, or 1 male and 3 female.
 
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Rattie

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Got it, hope they're still too young to start getting busy and you still have time to deal with the gender thing.:)
 

Kye

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If you want to post pictures of their private areas we could try and help you identify/confirm if you'd like(assuming they stay still long enough for a good picture !)
 

RattieTooie

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Aw, that's a lot of babies to raise. You are a saint to take on this responsibility. I successfully raised a baby wild rat. Jr. is now 9 weeks old. When they open their eyes at 14 days or so, they will be imprinted on you and you only. Are you planning on releasing them? That can be done at 5-6 weeks old, in a group they have a good chance of survival. I will be keeping him because he is alone, has imprinted on me and would not likely survive on his own.
 

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RattieTooie

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Also, start offering baby food, at 3 weeks they will start eating soft foods. Jr weaned himself at 3 weeks, stopped taking the nipple and just ate solid food.

He also lost all his fur at around 4-5 weeks, which is normal, but he looked so funny lol. It grew back in nice and thick by 7 weeks. If yours do the same thing, you won't be able to release them until after they get their rough coat.

I think you should be okay releasing them. That is the preferred way to handle wild animals, most people in wildlife rescue don't want wild animals in captivity. That being said, my little wild baby is truly wild, acts wild, is constantly on the alert for danger. He is very serious and doesn't play with his cage mate. He adores me of course and would live in my bathrobe lol. But I don't think he will ever stop being 'wild'.
 

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TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. โ˜บ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
Thankyou, they are all successfully eating all kinds of foods, and the last time they were weighed, they were putting on 5 or 6 grams on at a time instead of 1 or 2.

We have had a bit of an emergency as one of them has escaped while in my husband's care. I'm so worried.
I have made a thread about it a few minutes ago.

I really don't know what to do. Please help me.

Thankyou.
 

Rattie

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Thankyou, they are all successfully eating all kinds of foods, and the last time they were weighed, they were putting on 5 or 6 grams on at a time instead of 1 or 2.

We have had a bit of an emergency as one of them has escaped while in my husband's care. I'm so worried.
I have made a thread about it a few minutes ago.

I really don't know what to do. Please help me.

Thankyou.
Any updates? I hope you found your baby rat.
 

TokenBlinkie

Currently being tamed by 4 rats. โ˜บ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
52
Location
Yorkshire, UK
Hi,
The missing adventurer is still AWOL, even with 4 traps, a book/bucket trap and a ring camera set up with a motion sensor!

It comes out regularly, has a walk around, then goes back into its hideyhole.

The remaining 3 were at the vets today to be sexed. We have 2 boys and a girl.

This means that I have another worry. I don't want the girl to fall pregnant, but I'm worried that separating her in a different cage will upset her, as they are not meant to be alone.

Best case scenario would be for the missing rat to also be a girl.
 

Rattie

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The escape was a blessing in disguise somehow.:) Is she in a separate cage now? Hope she'll be okay.
 

Rattie

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Hi, yes, all 4 are doing really well, thankyou. We think we have a home for the girl, as for the 3 boys, I'm continuing to try to tame them all, and I will probably keep them myself.
Just got a little confused. The one that went AWOL is a boy?
 
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Awww thatโ€™s so good to hear. Ive heard itโ€™s hard to get the wild out. Would love to hear updates about your journey with these wild babies
 

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