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New baby rat with head sway

390 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  PeekaBoo
This morning we picked up two super cute beautiful girls from a good breader.
One of them, Smoezie, is beautiful argente with red(-ish) eyes. I noticed she is swaying her head when she sits still, I suspect because of poor eye sight.
Is there anything extra to keep in mind with intros and cage set up with this kind of girls?
She climbs and balances and act normal and healthy, bit skittish but she just moved today so that might change.
Rodent Fawn Pet supply Domestic pig Snout

Grass Rodent Fawn Wood Hamster

Thanks for tips to make this girls life the best we can!
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Hiya! Your girls are so cute! Welcome to the forum :D

For the cage, I can't tell if you made the cardboard bedding yourself but it's very hard to do so properly. The best beddings are aspen, kiln-dried pine, hemp, and equine-grade cardboard! The cardboard is usually hard to find in the US but I'm not sure about the Netherlands. Avoid paper bedding at all costs! Misinformation online about rats is rampant, especially with rat care changing because of increased research. Paper bedding is in no way safe for rats! Fleece is also not a good option unless it's for a hospital cage where bedding would stick to a rat's wound.

Hemp is the most hypoallergenic but it may be hard to find, I'm not super familiar with the Netherlands but I believe it's easier to find in some parts of Europe. Aspen and pine (kiln-dried) are absolutely wonderful though!

For cage cleaning, you'll need to change the bedding, wash hammocks (or put in clean hammocks), wipe down the bars of the cage, and wipe down other surfaces (surfaces of hides, bins, floors, etc.)! The wood will need to either be boiled once a week (it's notoriously hard to clean wood, especially with all the ammonia rats produce) or thrown out and replaced. The best cleaner to use is just soap and water! I use dawn dish soap like many other owners, but any kind of unscented dish soap is fine! You can go over the surfaces again with diluted vinegar (half vinegar, half water) if you're worried about the smell, as vinegar is an odor remover! It isn't suitable for cleaning everything though, since it doesn't really disinfect.

You'll need to have lots of hammocks, bins, baskets, and other hides to fill up the empty space in the cage! Any drop or open space more than the length of your hand (downward) can result in injury if the rat falls. I can send some good cage inspirations if you'd like! You can also diy hammocks and get cheap baskets from a dollar store! They don't need anything fancy.

You'll see wheels in some cages, and if you'd like to have one, make sure you get or make one that has a diameter of 14 inches for females or 16 inches for males. I can provide a website that sells suitable wheels if you're interested!

For food, I believe Science Selective Complete Rat and Mouse is the best in Europe! You'll feed 15-20g per rat per day. Pellets are the best kind of food since mixes are very difficult to get right and can be dangerous if they aren't made perfectly- and even a recipe that someone else has made will never be perfect. Treats like plain cheerios, dry pasta, baby puff snacks, and baby food are very good!

Here are some sources! The Google document is just a short version of care I wrote, with sources, and the other one is from a very reputable breeder!
rat explanation - Google Docs
Rats 101 | Silver's Rattery (silversrattery.co.uk)
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Thanks for your post, but I am not new to rats 😉

I just never owned a rat with (possibly) really bad eye sight so my question was if there is anything other than the normal care I can do for her and with starting intros with my other rats 😊

But I really appreciate your response!
No worries!! Give it a read-through anyways though, lots of rat care has changed and tons of stuff online is wrong!

For the head sway/bad eyesight, all rats have bad eyesight but red-eyed ones have even worse eyesight. You don't really need to do anything extra! Just make sure to fill up all those empty space in your cage so that they don't get hurt, since there are some spots with big gaps! 🥰
Thank you both for your responses!
Good to hear Foto, I was wondering what would happen with aging but for now I will just tread them like all the others :)

And Cheesefather, don't worry. This is nog the 'real' cage setup but the first few days I like to keep the cage super accessible so it's a bit easier to interact with them and get them used to us picking them up (or getting to them when needed) without having to 'hunt them down'. It will fill up soon enough with hammocks, plateaus, steps, ropes and space pods!
Wonderful!! Good luck with your sweet girls 💜
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