Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Net-Net’s Nest, Day Eleven – A Tale of Miss-Identification

Filed under: Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 4:44 pm on Monday, August 25, 2008

Today was the first opportunity I had to get a photo of Net-Net herself, along with the babies. Well, such babies as you can see under Mama here.

Net-Net remains very protective, but she’s getting used to us handling her as we have to. Which is good, because we do need to handle and examine the babies every day, and that’s easier when we can move her into another location.

That “other location,” for the moment, is a rat carrier we’ve built from a 10-gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck tote. With a rectangular window cut in the lid, and a piece of hardware cloth attached securely with zip-ties all around, we have a roomy, well-ventilated carrier. I’ve put a towel in the bottom, and when we need to work with the babies, we move Net-Net there for a while.

Excuse me, sir…I mean, miss!

After posting yesterday, I thought we had come to solid conclusions about the genders of all the ratlets, and I picked names for them. Today, however, while I was looking over the babies (and testing my ability to tell four beige self ratlets apart), I realized that two of the beige babies that I’d identified as male are actually females.

Oops! Instead of five males, four females, as I thought after examining my photos, we actually have six females, and only three males.

The difference, at about days 10 and 11, is the nipples. Male ratties have no nipples, females have them. Around this age, the nipples have become visible, and the fur hasn’t yet grown long enough to obscure them.

It’s an ideal moment for gender identification. Just don’t make the mistake I did, and think they’ll be obvious enough on a photo of a beige ratlet’s belly, taken while it squirms in your fingers. Be sure to look at the bellies in person.

Having determined where I’d gone wrong on the gender identification, I decided the babies had been handled enough for today. Besides, Net-Net was wanting them back. So I abandoned my plans to get better photos today, and put the family back in the nest.

Tomorrow I’ll make a new try at individual pictures. I’ll also see if I can find more ways to distinguish the beige babies. I’m beginning to see that we have at least a couple distinct shades within the beige family – if I can learn to reliably tell them apart, it will be easier to tell who’s who. Especially now that I can tell the boys from the girls!

Nothing like hands-on learning.

That’s what I’m getting here, in abundance. And I’m loving every minute of it!

More pictures soon, I promise. And I’ll introduce the babies by name, too!


Comment by Carol

August 25, 2008 @ 10:25 pm

Awww, cuteness. don’t worry about the gender identification thing. I have seen people mess it up on puppies and kittens too. And they are just a smidge bigger than the baby ratties you are working with! Net Net is certainly a pretty one too!

Comment by Rebekah

August 25, 2008 @ 11:04 pm

Hey Jen! :]

I thought it looked like there were different shades of beige but second guessed myself and didn’t say anything. It’ll be cool to see how they turn out!

Can’t wait to hear the names!

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