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Discussion Starter #1
I got my ratties at the beginning of April. Penny came from Petco, and Ostrich came from another local pet store. I thought they were both female but Ostrich turned out to be a boy (yikes)! I think Penny is possibly pregnant. She was a very sleek rat, and she’s looking a lot more round these days but there are no signs of nipples yet.

Anyhoo Penny, prior to her current condition, has NEVER bitten me. She would occasionally place her teeth on my finger and move it gently out of the way. This usually happened when I was petting her in her sleeping box or if I was accidentally blocking her path from exploring. Now however, she has bitten me twice (both times drawing blood) and I’m a bit sad.

Fortunately the circumstances were the same on both occasions. She bit me both times I had my fingers in her supposed nesting box. I can’t be completely sure that it’s her nest, as it is not inside her cage, but the biting seems to be a good indication.

My question is this….. If she is indeed pregnant does the biting mean she won’t let me come near her and her kittens even after they have a day or two alone time? Also….. I’ve read that rats don’t bite unless they don’t trust the person. Does this mean she doesn’t trust me? She eats from my hand, let’s me hold and pick her up, enjoys when I pet her while she is napping, so I’m a bit confused. I thought she trusted me but maybe she doesn’t. If you have any advice or info please get back to me! Thank You.

p.s. these are my first pet rats so I’m still learning.
 

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I am assuming you've separated the boy and girl? If so, when were they separated? Gestation in rats is about 21 days. If they are still together separate them now.

Some rats get a bit snappish when they're pregnant. With her being somewhat new to you that may mean that she'll be more protective of her kittens.

Rats also bite for other reason. If you startle them. If they think you have food or are food. If they're having a bad day, etc. Another choices are cage-agressiveness (territoral behavior). If you were putting your hands in her hidey place you may have startled her.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Actually I didn’t separate them at the beginning figuring she had already gotten pregnant by the time I discovered Ostrich was a boy. I didn’t wish to buy more rat friends to keep my ratties company because I feared she was pregnant, and that would only appear to exacerbate the problem.

I’ve read on a few websites that some male rats make good fathers; however, I was planning on separating them early this week because I’ve also read that male rats might eat the babies. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there but I am constantly learning and doing my homework.

One more thing…. Even though I’ve had penny for 2+ months that still makes her new to me? I hadn’t realized it takes so long for rats to warm up to people. By my calculations she’s been with me for about 6 rat years now. I’m not trying to be funny I just hadn’t realized.
 

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Well, let's put it this way. If Penny's pregnant (I'm fairly sure she is by now if she wasn't before) and getting snappish, Ostrich is gonna take the brunt of her nastiness. And not only will some males eat or kill the babies but the male rat can also get the mother rat pregnant the second after birthing. So if you do not separate them before the birth you will have dozens more rats.

Notwithstanding you will need a second cage in the first place, as when the babies are five weeks old they will need to be separated, males and females, else the males could possibly get their sisters/mom pregnant.

How much she trusts you will depend on her, on you, on how much time you've spent together, etc. Some rats are naturally skittish and can take months to warm to a person (my oldest boy is seven months and is just now allowing me to pick him up without throwing a fit.)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for your help. I’ve been very confused about all of this, and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of information about my particular problem. I even tried to find books about pet rats but I only ended up finding one in the whole store, and it didn’t seem to be much help either.

I’ll separate her today. I really want what’s best for my rats, and I didn’t want them to be lonely or depressed. I’m pretty worried that Ostrich is going to miss Penny a lot, and visa versa. In fact I’ve considered getting Ostrich neutered but that worries me as well, not to mention it would be a several hour trip to the nearest rat hospital. Anyhoo how do you feel about spaying/neutering in general?

Also I apologize if I posted in the wrong forum. I was debating if it would be more relevant in the rat behavior forum but I went with this forum as it undoubtedly covers rat pregnancy. I should also mention that this was not a purposeful breeding.

Thanks again
Mopy
 

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Hello Mopy, welcome to the forums.

If you have a scout around these forums, you should find lots of posts where people have asked about accidental litters and other questions to do with pregnancy and babies.

There are also books that you can buy from Amazon with lots of information about rats, along with lots of good informational websites that cover most angles of keeping rats.

You really need to start learning about rat pregnancy and babies, like yesterday! You should assume that she could be pregnant from the first day you put them together, and like Forensic has said, the gestation period is only 21 days. You may be in for a lot of stress and worry, particularly if your female is very young. You need to be prepared.

You also need to look to see if you have any "exotic" vets in your area. When rats get sick they can deteriorate in hours, so a several hour drive could be too far!

For now, study lots, weigh your girl regularly and look at getting your male neutered (if you can't get a male and female friend for each of them).

Keep us posted and let us know if we can help any further.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have been a regular visitor to all the major rat info websites since April but none of them quite answered my biting drama question but I've been researching rat pregnancy since I discovered Ostrich was a male.

It seems a lot of information is based on personal preference or rat preference.
 

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Well, it's kind of hard to answer the question without knowing whether she is pregnant for sure, or not. A lot of pregnant rats do get bitey, but there can be many other reasons for biting. The three main ones are, a, your rat is scared, b, she is mistaking you for food or c, she is being territorial. In your case it sounds like she could be being territorial.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
she is 100% pregnant. She built a huge nest in the cage I put her in. She looks as though she's eaten a whole baseball but there aren't any nipples yet. Well not any that I can see but she's been a bit difficult to get a look at. I think it could be any day now. She's bitten me 3 times now (all when I was around her nest) I hope she isn't this difficult when I need to peak at the babies.

I'll try to get some pictures of my ratties up soon. I've just been terribly busy but they are beautiful ratties.
 
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