This is many weeks overdue, but I'd like to formally introduce my rat, Egg! And with her introduction, comes eighteen more.
I had wanted rats long before I stumbled across Egg. I was in the process of researching (a lot), asking my parents (who were strongly against rats, especially my mom), and crossing my fingers that I would end up with a couple of ratties. A friend who owns four males rats helped me by supplying information and support. So, when I started working at the local pet store, I was fairly disappointed to learn that they didn't sell rats - pet rats, anyway.
They did, however, sell feeder rats. When I first started working there, there were three feeder rats. Two of them were PEW's, and one was black (Berkshire, I believe). Well, I didn't have much time to visit them, being that I was working. Eventually, there was only one PEW left. On my break one day, I went to pick her up. I had handled the feeder rats before, and I went slowly and carefully...but she bit me. Hard. I blamed myself, of course, for not being more careful. But it wasn't my fault. The next day, I learned through a coworker that the Berkshire had been a male...and that the remaining PEW was pregnant.
Of course, my heart melted. I asked what they were going to do with the babies...they were to be feeders. In hindsight, it was probably reckless and a bit risky, but I couldn't watch these babies grow up and be feeders as well. That same day, I made the commute home to bargain with my mom, and back to the pet store, to adopt (well, buy, really) the PEW. I was nervous beyond belief, but I looked up as many guides as possible, used my friend as a resource about general care and the internet as my resource for caring for a pregnant mother.
I set her up in an old (cleaned, of course) aquarium and she nested like crazy. That night, she gave birth to eighteen healthy pups, and I had never been happier or more overwhelmed in my life.
I named the mom Egg. I didn't really want
to name her something so...silly, you see, but she just liked the eggs I provided her with as a treat so much...it stuck. I'm a bit embarrassed, but it suits her well. I originally had nine Berkshire and nine PEW babies (it was so exciting to watch as some of them gained color while the others did not!), but one of the Berkshires must have fallen ill because one day, it was missing. I had seen Egg carrying around a Berkshire baby, which was odd, but I didn't want to disturb her. I was upset about the loss, but happier that Egg was such a good mother.
Now, I'm down to seven baby girls and five baby boys. A few have found homes, but I'm hoping to send more on their way to a happy forever home. I'm keeping Egg (of course), and two of the girls...I haven't decided which two yet. They're all thriving and Egg is such a patient girl, I can tell she doesn't have the same energy as the babies but she puts up with their nonsense so well. I couldn't be a more proud parent.
I'm terrible at taking pictures, not only do I struggle to remember to do so but I can never capture the cuties just right. Here are a few, for your entertainment...I'm definitely posting something in the adoption board, so I'll have to take some new ones soon. But, for now:
Egg the day I brought her home, before she had the babies...look how big she was!
The babies a few days after they were born, and then some of the Berkshires(?) at maybe a week and a half?
Two different boys, this was taken about a week ago.