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Hello!

I've recently (2 days ago) acquired an adult female rat. She had been abandoned in a tall flower pot (no chance of getting out) and one of the neighbours recognized her as a domestic rat (she is a docile, pudgy albino that doesn't bite anyway even when frightened). I ended up keeping her since I had a cage and food, but this was all really sudden!

I already took her to a vet (she wasn't a specialist though and made it clear) who said she was fine - at least that her lungs were clean. She was probably outside for no longer than two days. She is also blind, or nearly blind (I'm betting on blind and she has a small-ish growth under her left arm that is apparently common with older albinos, but will probably lead to problems?

The vet said the only vet equipped to deal with rats she knew was a bit far away and told me the name of the city. If worse comes to worst I probably won't be able to afford the surgery - still just a college student - and I don't really know anyone in Portugal who would be willing to take her and pay for it. I'm willing to keep her for as long as she is not in constant pain, and will try my best to take care of her

So, I joined this forum because I'm a bit out of my depth, I have been reading alot about pet rat care - had been before too since I had already considered acquiring two males before (ended up not doing it for various reasons) but there's still plenty I don't know.

That was Couve Flore's introduction ( her name is cauliflower in portuguese, 'cause I found her in a pot and she is chubby and white). Mine is a lot smaller: I'm a 19 y.o portuguese college student and this is my first pet rat, I am thinking of getting a second adult female rat (will probably try to find another rescue though I don't think any of the shelters near by have rats) to keep her company, but not before I get the cage extended. Pleasure to meet you all!

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Hello Milla! Couve Flore looks like a beautiful rat. It's quite a shame someone lost such a lovely companion. In terms of pet care(in which I am no expert) I am hoping you get a better cage, which it sounds like you are I have never owned a blind rat so that's about where my knowledge ends. Hopefully someone else in this community may help you. Kind regards!
 

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Lots of albino rats have poor vision, mostly keep her out of direct sunlight to prevent things from getting worse... as to the bump it's very likely a benign mammary tumor... In some parts of the country it's pretty inexpensive to remove, but where I live it costs over $600.00.... In any event it won't impair your rat's quality of life until it gets larger and shouldn't detract from your new friendship for some time.

Whatever you decide to do about the bump, keep in mind every day is precious to a rat that lives such a short life anyway. A month or a few months is better than what your new friend had before you adopted her. You have done a wonderful thing by taking her in and I'm sure you will be rewarded in kind.
 

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Thank you! She really is adorable.
Yes, I am currently looking for other cages or for a way to expand this one. It might still take a week or two but I will try to get one with at least a second floor asap!
 

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I will try to talk to the vet that was recommended soon, but seeing as there apparently such few specialists around here I'm afraid any type of surgery will be really expensive. Right now she is having zero trouble moving though, I just try to avoid squeezing or pressing too hard when I have to pick her up - I still don't know if it hurts since she is still at the stage where she starts squeeing if I grab her (or try to pet her after grabbing her) but better be safe than sorry!
Anyway, I'm just really happy I was able to find her on time!
 

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Welcome!

Eyesight isn't all that grand in any rat. Albino typically have even worse sight which just progressively gets worse as they age. Any light, even regular house light will do a little damage and over time, well they go blind. However, it's not something to fret about. Rats go by smell and using their whiskers more than sight anyways. Albino's tend to be more careful about jumping and such...basically since they can't see, they are not going to be huge dare devils. Otherwise they really do great and are not much different than a rat with normal sight.

For cage idea's and what you want for size: http://www.rattycorner.com/odds/calc.shtml

Glad she found a safe home with someone who will care for her. Enjoy your time with her.
 

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Thank you for rescuing her! The world needs more people who don't think of rats as villainous vermin! I'm a brand-new rat lover. My husband found a orphaned baby tree rat, very tiny, eyes still closed, and couldn't bear the thought of leaving it to die. We managed to get him used to formula and he is growing like a weed! He went from 11 grams to 27 grams in just a couple of weeks. We're trying to decide now if we should keep him or release him to the wild when he is old enough.
 

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The idea that rats can't see is to a large extent a myth. Normal brown eyed rats actually have rather good, but low resolution vision. In fact they have a greater depth of field than humans do. Some people have equated rat vision to a human who might be nearsighted. A person whose nearsighted sees the world out of focus, whereas a rat sees the world through an old-fashioned to low-resolution television, or perhaps more like newsprint.


With low-resolution vision it is likely true that rats don't have the ability to see the same kind of detail that humans or eagles would, but that's certainly not meant to imply that what they see is out of focus. In my experience, younger rats can actually see pretty well in the dark, but as they age they tend to lose confidence in low light situations which leads me to suppose that their vision does degrade similar to ours.


I've also noticed that there seems to be a learning curve that rats go through as they learn to understand their world. Rats that have never been outside seem to have difficulty understanding what they are seeing. It takes a rat some time to learn to distinguish one object from another and to use their vision effectively. With experience however, rats will learn to distinguish one house from another and to use landmarks to navigate.


In the video below Fuzzy Rat is leading us back to the car after a rainstorm. It would be pretty safe to assume that any scent trails were washed away and we had carried her from the car to the playground. So basically she's navigating by sight. You might notice that she takes a moment to look at the wrong car before she finds the right one. Unlike the other landmarks that she's following, cars tend to move around and it takes her brain a few seconds to interpret what she sees and identify the correct car. To some degree this would be just like when we look for our car in a mall parking lot.

https://vid.me/BzNQ





Both of the rats that we have had with black – ruby eyes were less confident outdoors. They seemed more stressed at night and in the daytime and they tended to stay closer to us. Their eyesight was perfectly fine for indoor use, and I wouldn't say that they were severely handicapped, but compared to normal brown eyed rats I would guess that their vision is impaired.


Rats have an amazing ability to understand three-dimensional space and map areas in their minds and they can navigate by scent and the touch of their whiskers in absolute darkness so even a completely blind rat is not helpless I can still the calm a cherished friend.


To keep in mind that as far as rat owners go, there aren't too many of us that train true shoulder rats. Excellent eyesight makes it easier for rat to get through the program and pass the required tests, but out of the four that have made it through the program one has had black – ruby eyes. To some degree she cheats by staying close to us, but despite her handicap she doesn't panic and she's qualified to go outdoors, which is a real accomplishment. Here's a video of Misty playing with some kids. Notice how she tends to key in on their hands. Misty is certainly nowhere nearly as competent as Fuzzy Rat was, but she does well with what she has.

https://vid.me/SgmU


A couple of years ago there was in fact someone with a pink eyed white shoulder rat, so although I've never trained one, I suppose it is possible. But to be honest, I wouldn't take a pink eyed rat outdoors in bright sunshine. And like other people have said, if you plan to keep your rat indoors, I color doesn't matter much.


Best luck
 
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