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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought what I was assured were two male ratties a few weeks ago, one much older than the other. They introduced well, got on quickly, with the older being the dominant.

Tonight I observed the older one mating with the younger. I thought it was funny, looked up the behavior to make sure all was normal, and was satisfied that boys do that.

Then I saw the younger one crawling up the side of the cage, as is "his" wont.

"he" clearly had not just been humped, "he'd" been penetrated. Which made me think back--

He had not really fought off the other rat's advances. He'd arched his back like a female...

Uh oh.

I had just assumed that his testicles hadn't dropped yet. He scent marked all the time--typically more of a male behavior. The pet store "only sold males." I just assumed that he was too young and hat not hit puberty--but uh. Maybe that's not the case. I looked at some pictures online, and I think I have a young girl.

I guess my first question is--what should I do? I really like this rat. She (I'm pretty sure) is a sweetheart! Can I demand that the pet store take the male back? I like him too, and have spent tons of time socializing him, but I can't have babies!

Secondly--I'm pretty sure at this point that babies are coming. When I thought that they were both boys for half an hour of humping, I was giggling at the "silly frustrated boy." There was MUCH humping. I can see that there was definitely penetration, as there was a bit of blood on the other rat's genitals, and they looked sore. What can I do with the babies? I hate to think they'll be feeder rats.

Thirdly--GRRRRRRRR!

Fourthly--How young is too young for rat moms? Will my rat be okay? I think she's about ten weeks (?) old? She seems so light and tiny!

Any advice? I have the boy stuffed in a little dark box till I can take him in tomorrow morning. Don't want there to be more humping. Rapid advice needed!

Thanks!
 

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OK, by ten weeks if a rat isn't very obviously a boy, she's definately a girl. I'm pretty sure not every mating results in babies, but chances are very good since a female goes into heat every five days. No offense but i wouldn't have let two rats hump like that because either one is a girl and babies will result or the humped boy will be very upset I'm pretty sure. It's usually a submission thing and not pleasent.

If the deed is done, no point sending the male back. One more rat with all the babies there will be will hardly matter. I would seperate them as soon as possible in case you're lucky and no babies yet. Cages can be found cheap second hand for the boy, or even an aquarium. Mommy to be will need to be in an aquarium when she has the babies anyway so they don't get out. I would keep both if I were you.

I know from experience it will be hard to find a home for the babies that isn't only interested in snake meat. You'll find though it isn't all that much more work to take care of so many. Just extra cleanings and food and socialization. rescue groups might help, and so might advertising here.

Ten weeks is very young. Build her up as best you can. Also: socialize, socialize, socialize. I'd only had Nippy two weeks when she gave birth, and she didn't know yet that I could be trusted with her babies. Extremely protective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! She's very well socialized--that's one reason I really don't want to give her up! She's sweet and is already partly clicker trained. Also, I didn't stop the humping because she seemed as amused by it as I was. She wasn't complaining or trying to get away--like she did when I'd intervene in play that got too rough. Now I know she obviously was in heat and stuck around. And I, ignorant fool that I was, thought she was just patient like usual when he power grooms her. Rolls over and closes her eyes, goes all relaxed without a peep. When she started trying to evade him, like "enough is enough buster!" I separated them.

I think it's probably too late to hope for no babies. There are some animal shelters, and I'll ask around my school. I don't think I can take on more than two rats, honestly. I spend a lot of time socializing them and playing with them, so two is about my limit.

I was thinking I'd move the male into a colony we have in the classroom of two neutered males. This would require some work, as he's pretty masculine, but he'd be safely away from breeders. I'll probably keep one of the female babies--and I'll ask the vet to be SURE which is which!

When you say build her up--lots of healthy foods, exercise, trust and love? Are there any specific foods to avoid or provide?
 

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Sounds like you know how to really bond with your rats. I have an amazing bond with Nippy's babies, but I know what you mean. I love them, and know they love me, but I always had to play with them in groups to make sure they had enough time being held and loved. Best of luck finding homes for them.

Glad he won't be going back to the pet store. Hope it all works out. And good idea double checking with a vet.

Pretty much, yeah. There's a whole list of foods rats can't have. I'd give her a normal rat diet plus eggs, which are high in protein. Baby food, ensure, almond milk, and avacado are good for weight gain.

Also, don't be afraid to handle the babies. Mine have been handled since the day they were born. I started with like a minuet each until they got bigger and gradually built up how much time we spend together each day.
 

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I was in a situation similar to yours. Sometimes people working in pet stores can't tell the difference, especially when they're young and their balls haven't completely dropped. One of our three "boys" was really a girl. She was living with the boys for weeks. We kept waiting and watching for the family jewels to drop, and to make matters more confusing, she is enough of a tomboy that she was humping the boys!

After separating them, for weeks I was definitely terrified of a pregnancy with a two-daddy litter. I hadn't seen the boys humping her, but I assumed they probably had when I wasn't looking. Since we don't get pregnant every time we mate, I'm sure the same is true for rats, but it is definitely a possibility with their quicker heat cycles. I read up in the Caring for Accidental Litters section for tips just in case it happened. Some tips I remember off the top of my head: feed extra protein to expectant and new moms, and keep the new mothers in a 20-gallon aquarium or bin or something similar so the babies can't squeeze out. I found some more useful information in the sticky here: http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php?39482-Information-for-accidental-litters.

The things that were suggested to me to avert pregnancy by other forum members/friends: see about getting the female emergency-spayed as soon as possible. The veterinarians I consulted with did not feel comfortable spaying a rat as small as mine (she was 6-8 weeks old at the time), but yours might, so I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to ask if you feel comfortable going down that route. I also had a drug named Galastop suggested to me on this forum, to avert pregnancy. However, my vet had never heard of it, and I have the impression that this drug may not be available in the United States. However, if you are comfortable asking your vet about this drug, it's something to consider bringing up.

I was lucky enough that my girl didn't get pregnant. However, I now have more rats and cages than I intended--a boys' cage and a girls' cage, since I ended up having to get a friend for the girl. You can find a cheap temporary cage if you have to quickly separate rats. If your rat does have babies, you may want to look and see if there are rat rescues in or near your area. You may want to put out your social networking feelers among people you know and also consider advertising the babies on Craigslist, with a rehoming fee to discourage the people looking for snake food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for all your help! I will get some of the foods mentioned and get her good and fattened up! (Wish human women had this same requirement, haha!)

My biggest fear at this point (Aside from finding a babysitter for her birth that I trust, cause I was planning on being in the car for a looong time in 21 days, and don't want to put her through birth+car trip, one was gonna be bad enough) is that she's so little, she'll have too big a litter and will not be able to handle nursing them all.

One site I read said that with such a small doe (she's only 180g/6oz!) you should remove all but three or four kittens, since it will exhaust the little doe trying to nurse them all, and the kittens themselves won't get enough milk. The idea of killing off a couple of her newborns is horrifying to me! (And I'd have to ask the loving babysitter to do it, to boot!) But at the same time, I don't want them all to suffer and have ill health. Anyone have experience with young rat moms? Is this really something (shudder! Sadface!) I should do for my dear ratty's health?
 

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My girl was 12 weeks when she gave birth to 13. She nursed all very fine. I found some homes through the forum and through Facebook rat groups.

I would try to keep the male while you wait to see if she is pregnant because if she isn't you can get one neutered or if she is he can be friends with his son.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all so much for your help and advice! Just a quick update:

I took our baby to the pet store that sold us a "boy" and there was much confusion. The first associate that looked said, "Oh jeez, that's a girl." The second one, who was wonderful with her, said she thought that the gap between her urethra and anus was wide enough to be a boy. At this point, the poor mite started bleeding from her (we now know) vagina. The associate thought that it might be that the other rat was just too frisky, and managed to injure the penile pocket. This just didn't seem right to me, so we asked a third person.

The person was a rat breeder before she came to work for PetSmart, and she looked and looked. "I thought she was a boy, because that's an unusually long gap for a female. But if she were a male, the testicles would have dropped by this age."

So we have a female that looks like a male juvenile. She may even be some kind of hermaphrodite, with mixed sex organ expression. Which is rare, but apparently happens. She also said that the bleeding was probably uncomfortable but okay, and was normal for a smaller rat who was breeding with a large buck.

They offered to take her back, even though it was past their return policy date, because it had been their mistake. But we just adore her, so she's staying, possible babies or no. If there are babies, we'll keep a girl and find homes or shelters for the rest.

We now have two cages. We're waiting to see if our little girl is preggers (I'm thinking probably, yup). Our boy seems very sad and lonely without his girlfriend. I can almost see him singing sad country songs in his furry little head. I'm going to take a few shots at integrating him into the school mischief of neutered adult males, and see how it goes. If it goes well, he'll be a class pet, adored and scritched and petted and probably fed too many treats. If it doesn't go well, we'll introduce him to one of his sons as nanashi suggested, or if there are no sons, he may be a solo rat. He's a pretty lazy rat to start with, so he may be pretty content that way.

Again, thanks to all of you who took the time! My mind is set at ease thanks to your swift and helpful responses!
 

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If she continues to bleed she will need a vet. A rat does not bleed unless they're in labor or something is horribly wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
She stopped bleeding, and spat out a mucus plug at me while grooming. I had noticed a...how shall I put this delicately...sexual smell around her before that. Grooming, then PLEH! She spits out the plug on my hand (Gee, thanks girl!), and she's stopped bleeding completely. The smell stopped too.

But yeah, I'm gong to take her in for a checkup soon anyhow, just because of her apparently strange anatomy. Get those pre-natal doctor visits!

Thanks again, Nanashi.
 
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