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I was at a local petstore today and I saw something I needed to ask about. The petstore sells live feeders and in some of the cages there were female rats nursing what were supposedly mouse pinkies. How much smaller than a newborn rat is a newborn mouse? these "pinkies" looked like they could have been the rat's offspring by their size but were supposedly mice. I am just curious...

Poor babies either way...
 

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i'm not sure the size difference though i imagine there would be one. i do know that mothers of other species will take on babies though. not every mother and certain species seem more likely to do this then other species and it also depends on if there is enough resources for the additional babies on if the mother will take them on but i would think that it would not be that big a stretch for rat mom to take on mouse babies.

heck i've seen a male cat take on the role of a mother cat for a bunch of rats. the only thing he didn't do was nurse them though its not for lack of trying. and he didn't lick them only because i wouldn't allow it. i was afraid his rough tongue would hurt the pinkies. i didn't mind once they got older but by then sessho had stopped trying to groom them. in any case, if a male cat will do that for rats, a creature they are supposed to want to eat, a rat taking on mice doesn't seem like much of a stretch. so i think it could be possible.
 

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There's a definite difference. The (wild) mice we've rehabbed came to us so tiny, you wouldn't believe it. They were half the size of my pinky, and they had fur (they opened their eyes 2 days after coming here). Just think of the size difference between adult rats and mice... My PEW "fancy" mouse is a bit plump and is about the size of a fully grown male rat's head.

Now, rat babies tend to be about pinky size when born, runts may be a bit smaller. But that's a big difference between mice.

I suppose, if they had no choice, they may have used a rat for a surrogate. Hmm.
 

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my dwarf hamster had babies once and i swore that she had given birth to a batch of jelly bellys! and even dwarf hamsters are larger than many adult mice. i'm not saying it's not impossible, but it would be easy to spot the difference, i think.
 

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By the time a mouse is the size of a newborn rat it is ready to be weaned. By the time a rat is ready to be weaned it's about the size of an adult mouse. Rats are almost ten times larger than mice, at all stages of the life cycle. It'd be very interesting if a rat took on mouse babies! All that milk! The mice would be in heaven! I'm tempted to try it.
 

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I've made it a point to know where an emergency nursing mother is in my general area. A store practically walking distance from me has just this. They introduced me to one Mom they have that has nursed everything they have put in the cage with her, she was nursing a mix of rats, hamsters & gerbils the day I met her. I was told she is from a line that they have had great success with their maintaining nursing mothers. They have taken in countless litters from various species in emergency situations & if they don't have a suitable nursing Mom, the staff steps up & does hand feeding. People can bash pet stores all they want but there are those rare few out there that really do care about all animals. You just have to do your research like anything else. I consider myself fortunate because I know of 2 places that are great about their knowledge & quality of care regarding all creatures.
 

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Mouse babies are VERY VERY small... and they mice share their nests with other mice, so there can be 30 babies in one nest.
 
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