Rat Cagemates during and after pregnancy

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Well-Known Member
Oct 16, 2020
Cape Town, South Africa
I have an older rat called Io, she is about 1 year old, who has been bred about 10 days ago (I put her with one of my males so they can breed as their colours are pretty and I want to try and start a line of Himalayans with soft spiky fur). This is the first time I am dealing with a pregnant rat scenario. She is the Alpha in the cage - she lives with two younger females (about 4 months old now).

While the younger girls are not aggressive, they are quite active. It is very rare for them to show aggression towards each other, unless the younger ones upset Io - she is the Alpha in the cage after all. When I got the younger girls and dropped them in with Io (her previous older mates all passed) there wasn't even any argument, just play, wrestling and humping and they integrated really well.

With Io being pregnant now, I am wondering if I should move her to a separate cage for childbirth and rearing or if I should leave her with her current cage mates. I have heard that sometimes virgin females can kill and/or eat babies, and I don't want my baby rats to be meals.

Is there anyone who has experience with this? Would it be better to leave them all together or should I split my pregnant Io to a different cage?

I currently have a large empty cage and if I split them I'll be taking the smaller girls and putting them in there (the beds in the spare cage are quite elevated as it is a tall cage with ramps and the beds and hammocks are at the top levels).

The problem with splitting her is that later on after 4-5 weeks of rearing her kiddy rats they will all need to be integrated together again, and with having had babies and all I am not sure how well re-integration will go - the first integration was fine.

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