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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I got a very young rex rat, supposedly a male? I'm not too sure how old, the guy didn't seem to know either - I'm pretty sure it was a going to be a feeder rat. It's eating lab blocks, but since it's so young, is there anything else I should feed it to help it out? I've never had a rat this young, but I have plenty of time to take care of it and make sure it gets what it needs. Anyway, I'm just curious if anyone can tell that it's truly a male, I was planning on it being a cagemate for a slightly older rat (though still very young!) once it gets bigger. However, I know rats can breed pretty early and I don't want to be irresponsible, so I'd like to know if I need to keep him/her separated from the male rat. I'm sorry the pictures kind of bad, the baby is extremely wiggly! My phone's not too great, either. And there's so much fur, I'm having a hard time determining the sex. I can try to take more pictures if needed.
 

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It ~looks~ like a male, but definitely keep seperate for now and try and get a clearer picture. About how old is the baby? The most obvious way to tell is to feel around and see if there are testicles or nipples. Males have no nipples, females no testicles :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It ~looks~ like a male, but definitely keep seperate for now and try and get a clearer picture. About how old is the baby? The most obvious way to tell is to feel around and see if there are testicles or nipples. Males have no nipples, females no testicles :)
I'm not too sure how old it is, one of its eyes is still about halfway closed so it has to be pretty young. I don't feel any nipples, I think maybe some testicles. Was a little unsure since I was having a hard time feeling anything with all the thick fur. I took another picture which might be a little more useful:
 

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I will bet my lunch money on him being a male... Cookiebear is right though, keep them seperate until you are absolutely sure. Rats do the deed very fast and they can do it already between 5 and 6 weeks. From the first pic it almost seems like testicles are busy dropping, meaning he would be around that age too.
 

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for food you can give him, soy infant formula is great for young babies. It's pretty close to rat's milk and is used as a substitute when needed. He may need the extra nutrition from it. You can soak his lab blocks in the soy infant formula, or buy rice baby cereal to thicken it up. Baby foods are always good, and he will need extra iron and protein. Canned oysters or beef liver are great option for that. Eggs, chicken, tuna, and sardines are all great too. congrats on your new baby! (I think he also looks like a boy, and probably around 5 weeks)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone! I definitely haven't felt any nipples so it seems he might be male, but I will still keep separated until it's obvious either way. Thanks for the food suggestions too. :)
 

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Raw goat's milk is also super good if you can't get the soy formula. Best wishes :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I did find some goat milk that he seems to like! I'm a little concerned about his half-opened eye? If he's 5 weeks it should be open shouldn't it? I took a picture which has his whole body in it so you can see his size better (I have small hands, too.) I think he looks male too but there's so much fuzz!

Rat Muridae Rodent Mouse Gerbil
 

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Looks at very least three and a half to four weeks to me. Eyes should be open. What does he weigh? Any discharge from the eye? Probably nothing to worry about
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
He seems active enough but I can't help but be concerned about him, I've never had a rat so young. :( I don't think I see any discharge. Eye seems a little irritated. I didn't see what he was being housed in - the store owner brought me a few baby rats from the back to look at. However, I saw some guinea pigs and hamsters with what looked like cedar in their cages... He's sneezing quite a bit, but not wheezing, breathing is fine. Is it likely to just be him getting used to the surroundings or maybe the bedding irritated him? I'm already super attached, I want him to be okay. He licks goat milk off of my fingers/nibbles on oxbow blocks. He's not too interested in water, but seems to know how to use a water bottle? Is he nervous? Should I leave him alone for a bit? He's been sleeping/resting in my lap a lot and I offer him the milk/oxbow every once in awhile. I'm not sure how much he should be eating or what's normal for a rat this small.
 

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When they're so little and you're used to older rats it can seem like they aren't eating enough. With my current baby boys I had a little bit of regular oxbow and the young rat blocks (oxbow)- they decided they liked the adult formula better (with protein supplement). If you have some of that, see if he likes it better. Since he just got home with you, sneezes from stress are normal, but any polyphorin or lethargy needs to be closely watched for. If it seems like sneezes produce liquid a vet trip should definitely be in order. Since the eye seems irritated and he very well may have been on wood chips he might have gotten something under his eyelid or scratched his cornea. If he allows you too, no signs of pain and does close his eye in response to normal stimulus, I'd suggest slightly dampening a q-tip and very gently stroke it back over his eyelid where it meets the skin (obviously he should have it closed then) to see if a- you can remove debris and b- look for any polyphorin potentially dried around the eye. In your lap just put a blanket on top of him if he seems nervous. If your situation allows it's always best to have a vet check it out, mild symptoms might equal something wrong or it might not, it's hard to tell. Good luck and update soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm not sure he loves the oxbow, but he is eating it. If he becomes disinterested I'll try giving him some adult oxbow. He drank some goat milk out of a bowl instead of just off of my fingers, too. He seems to sneeze more when his environment changes (being put in the cage after being out, carrying him to a different room, a new smell) and when he sneezes on my hand it just feels like air, not liquid. He has no crust on his eyes or his nose. I think he may have been in wood shavings. I realized he smelled a little strange when I brought him home and now that I think about it I think the smell was from wood shavings. I didn't immediately recognize it because I've never used wood shavings. His eye doesn't seem red either, but it's hard to tell because his skin has pinkish tones. It seems light sensitive and he blinks it more than his other eye. He's started bruxxing a lot and grooming my hand, does this mean he probably doesn't feel too bad? I've been gently cleaning the area around his eye and where his eyelids meet. He doesn't act like it hurts. I haven't found any debris. He seems alert and curious although he seems to want to stick close to me/places he can hide rather than explore too much, but I think that's understandable. He's in a scary new place. Thanks for all the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Also, I'm having a little trouble pulling his eyelid back to look for debris. I can easily pull back the eyelid on his other eye, but not the squinting one. Is he tightening it because it feels uncomfortable?
 

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He seems younger than 5 weeks to me. My girls were 3 weeks old when I got them and they were bigger than he is. He is the cutest little guy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you! He does seem a little small, but he's definitely male - his testicles are visible now. Now my concern is his sneezing, I hope it's just him getting used to everything and not something worse. Might take him to the vet soon.
 

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It honestly really just sounds like nervous sneezing and maybe leftover minor irritation from the wood shavings. The way you describe it sounds like the environment change unless it's constantly. It's definitely normal to hear a wee little bub sneeze and immediately worry more than nessesary. Just keep an eye on it and make sure he's growing up big and strong! The eye thing is probably just something he was born with and it might become normal or might not. If it seems dry you can put a sterile (saline only) eyedrop in, just watch for any irritation or discharge with it and it will be fine :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you. I'm not sure how much sneezing qualifies as constant, it's definitely a lot but increases during/after I do something he doesn't particularly like, like when I lift him up to look in his nostrils for crust or clean his eye. I feel a little better about it but I'll watch for any changes and if he seems to start getting worse I'll take him to the vet. I am putting saline in his eye and I think it might be just a little better today, but not sure. Thanks for all the help. :) Here's a picture of him sleeping in my lap, he's so soft!

Tail Fawn Claw Muridae
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I got a good look at his eye and he has a scratch on it (on the eye, not the outside) it doesn't look cloudy or deep though. Instead of bedding he has soft towels to try to keep dust out. Sometimes he goes long periods of time without sneezing much and other times it seems like he's just sneezing one time after the other, countless times.
 

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Scratch without irritation of the eye is healing well. Rats are great at healing (minor) injuries :) with my stewie (rest in peace) he was neutered to live with the girls. The vet used dissolvable glue (sutures are more likely to be messed with) and he literally had his intestines hanging out. After we got him to the vet, glued him up two more times (they turned and he ripped it open again..) He was perfectly fine, I truly expected him to die- blood everywhere and bedding stuck to his intestines. he was mad we had to wrap his midsection to prevent him from doing it again but physically he was just fine within about two weeks. Literally healed up!
Any crusties or polyphorin? You're doing great with such an adorable cutie pie! Give him a treat for me ;D
 
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