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  1. #1

    Default My Five Week Old Rat Was Pregnant!

    Yes, you read the title correctly. A rat I adopted at the age of exactly five weeks was pregnant.

    Date of birth: November 11th, 2016
    Date of adoption by me: December 16th, 2016 (exactly five weeks old)
    Date she gave birth: January 2nd, 2017

    Counting back, she must have been only four weeks and three days old when she became pregnant.

    Some back story:
    Her parents were rescue rats themselves. Her mother was already pregnant when taken in (by someone other than myself). The rat in question, Ollie, was kept with her brothers until five weeks of age, when I adopted her and her sister. About a week into having her, I noticed she was gaining weight at a far faster pace than her sister. What started as a ten gram difference between the two became a fifty gram difference very quickly (I weighed them every day).

    My dad laughingly suggested maybe she was pregnant. It wasn’t possible, based on everything I’d read… so I pursued other options, such as megacolon. But nope, she was too healthy for that or anything else that would cause weight gain and bloating. So I prepared for babies.

    She gave birth to nine healthy babies on January 2nd.

    I am posting this to help anyone who thinks their young rat may be pregnant. When I searched “pregnant five week old rat” very little information came up. Mainly false alarms, people thinking their young rat was pregnant when it actually was something else. I only found two cases of rats suspected of being only five weeks old when they became pregnant, and those couldn’t provide the exact birthdate of the rat in question. I on the other hand have the date of birth of this rat, so we know exactly how old she was when she became pregnant.

    Thankfully, so far, things are going well. No stillborns or serious birth injuries and she is feeding and caring for them just fine. I don’t know if I will keep this thread updated on them or not. I really just want this info to be out there.

    Below is the weight in grams of Ollie and her sister from the day I got them to the day I am writing this. I did not weigh Ollie after she gave birth that day because I didn’t want to stress her.

    Date / Sister’s weight / Ollie’s weight
    12/16/2016 129g 138g
    12/17/2016 138g 145g
    12/18/2016 141g 143g
    12/19/2016 145g 154g
    12/20/2016 147g 164g
    12/21/2016 153g 174g
    12/22/2016 158g 182g
    12/23/2016 165g 190g
    12/24/2016 170g 198g
    12/25/2016 173g 205g
    12/26/2016 173g 212g
    12/27/2016 180g 211g
    12/28/2016 185g 222g
    12/29/2016 192g 249g
    12/30/2016 197g 267g
    12/31/2016 198g 275g
    1/1/2017 206g 292g
    1/2/2017 209g gave birth
    1/3/2017 209g 233g

    I don’t want anyone worrying about the babies’ wellbeing. They are well cared for and have a permanent home with me. I likely will not attempt to rehome any of them, as I do have enough cage space for this many rats.

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  3. #2
    Squishy Laprat moonkissed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Western New York


    My first thought is that people make mistakes. You got the birthdate from another person, and they could have easily been mistaken. I have seen that happen a million times.

    But even if it is true and she got pregnant under 5 weeks old, I don't want that to freak people out.

    It would be nearly impossibly rare but yes not impossible. Myself and most other breeders I know do not even separate their babies until 5 weeks old. I've never had an oops from it. Females are usually not able to get pregnant until after 5 weeks old.

    And in cases when a young rat does become pregnant it is almost 99% of the time not by her brothers but by an older male. Baby boys are by far not ready to get the job done lol Most do not even show any interest until far far older then 5 weeks old. I've never had a baby boy interested that young in girls.

    As i said insanely nearly impossible rare. But nature is weird, and sometimes stuff like that happens. Just like how most human girls hit puberty at 12 but crazily weird sometimes a girl will get it at like 8!

    But I would never ever suggest letting a mom so young go through with her pregnancy Its too late now ofcourse. But for others reading please have the pregnancy terminated, it is not healthy for the baby or her babies to be born this young.

    I hope all goes well with your litter.

    Some helpful links for the babies development & sexing:
    my pages:

  4. #3


    The person I got her from new the exact time of day, so I do highly doubt the birthdate was wrong. The mother was spayed so the owner kept the father in with the litter until they were weaned. She didn't say what age they were separated from the father, though, so I suspect he fathered this litter as well.

    I definitely didn't want to make this post to scare people. That wasn't my intent. I just want the next person searching to find if it is possible for their five week old rat to be pregnant to be able to find a confirmed case of it, so they can be prepared.

    By the time I realized for certain she was pregnant, it was far too late to do anything about it. Luckily things are going smoothly. I definitely did NOT want her to have to go through this at this age. Perhaps this information can help others realize their young rat is pregnant early on so they can catch it before it's too late.

    I've actually already been looking at your pages for info! It is very helpful.

    It is lucky, though, I've researched the heck out of raising litters before this. So despite the fact that I'd never had a litter before, I was very well prepared. And I've had some friends with experience with litters helping me with anything I wasn't sure of. These babies are in good hands.

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  6. #4
    Squishy Laprat moonkissed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Western New York


    The person I got her from new the exact time of day, so I do highly doubt the birthdate was wrong. The mother was spayed so the owner kept the father in with the litter until they were weaned. She didn't say what age they were separated from the father, though, so I suspect he fathered this litter as well.
    lol I just have zero trust of people. I hear insane stories all the time and people just lie alot. Even when it makes zero sense to lie about it lol. But when was the mother spayed? That is weird that they would have her spayed while she was nursing? Unless it was an emergency birth and was done then?

    But yeah it was really stupid of them to keep the dad with them (don't ever do that people for any reason) so he likely was the one. As i said it is nearly impossible for her brothers but older males will indeed.

    It is nice to share the info for others to be helped. It is just a hot topic issue for me, far far far too many people use it as an excuse to remove babies from their moms way too young of an age. It is so important to keep babies with mom for as long as possible and it kills me to see them rip them away so young. And they always quote stories like this. I just want to make sure people know that it is so rare that it is not something to even really worry about, though yeah don't keep adult males around!

    Im glad all is going well! It is so hard on young moms

  7. #5


    I have no idea when she was spayed or why the owner thought it was a good idea to spay the female while she was nursing rather than neuter the male... The owner is clearly new to rats in general. I think she didn't want the male to be alone (those were her only rats). I don't know the full story and I don't plan to ask, but a lot of strange things were done. I don't really want to talk badly of her behind her back, though. I think she did what she thought was best, even if she didn't have the knowledge to know what was really best for everyone.

    I 100% agree she shouldn't have kept the male in with momma and babies and he had to have been the one to father this litter as well. I don't know why people insist and letting rats besides the momma rat be with babies. >.< It's an unnecessary risk to the babies' well being.

    I haven't been able to do a real check on them yet today, but the babies still seem fine.

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