Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Net-Net’s Nest, Day 15: Here’s Looking at You, Kids

Filed under: Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 4:09 pm on Friday, August 29, 2008

Hi, everyone! I want to assure you first that my finger is doing well, and I’m feeling less freaked out about it. My doctor has looked at the cut, says it’s healing well for an animal bite, and has me taking an antibiotic just to be safe. I guess I’ll live!

Meanwhile, the babies are growing rapidly. And the cute behavior abounds. Tuesday night, I sat peeking down the entrance of the plastic igloo they nest in. The pile of little, blind babies was squirming all around. There was much mutual grooming going on, little tongues licking. I saw one little baby take another’s ear in its mouth and go nom-nom, it was just so yummy!

As if that weren’t enough, one of the little black ratlets was washing a neighbor. Then it stopped and used its paws to wash its own face and ears, looking every bit like an adult rat giving itself a full bath.

Just when I thought I had already died and gone to cuteness heaven, that same little black ratlet flopped over on its back, grabbed its own hind foot in its front paws, and started nibbling on its toes! O! M! G!

Sadly, my attempts at photos taken through the cage walls and into the interior of the igloo have been a complete failure, or there’s some chance you might be seeing some of the action I just described, too. But, oh! I just couldn’t believe that so much cute could be packed into such a tiny pile of fur!

Yesterday, Thursday, Net-Net’s little babies turned 2 weeks old. As I was having their daily handling session, one of the black ratlets opened her eyes! She was the only one to do so at that moment, but it was the beginning.

Later the same day, I noticed Net-Net fussing at the igloo entrance, trying to fluff something into the door. I looked closer, and realized that there were babies trying to come out! A couple of them, eyes closed and all, did get past Mom and have a good walkabout, exploring the entire cage before finding their sightless way back into the igloo to rejoin the ratlet pile. There was a repeat of the walkabout with different ratties later on as well, and by the end of the night, I counted at least three that had opened their eyes.

Today, the little ratlets are all eyes wide and taking in the world. Their fur and markings have all come in enough to really tell who’s who. And I’ve had to re-evaluate some of my initial assessments – it turns out that they are not dumbo-eared, as was originally thought. All have standard ears. Even so, however, there are still some surprises that turned up as their fur came in…

I believe that Net-Net’s Nest will be properly announced and displayed on the Mainely Rat Rescue site later today, so I feel free to give you an advance introduction here. So, without further ado, I present Net-Net’s Nest!

(As always, click through for larger and even more charming images.)

Alice

Alice is a black rex female. “Rex” means she has curly fur. Her feet are white, and she has a small, dumbbell-shaped white spot on her belly. There’s a possibility she may be a double rex – that would mean she has two of the rex gene instead of just one. If she is a double rex, she may lose her fur at around 7 to 8 weeks old.

You can see the waves of curls in Alice’s fur better here.

Ethel

Ethel is a beige female. She has a white stripe on her chest that blends into her main coat color, and pale front legs.

Harriet

Harriet is a beige self female. “Self” means that she is one color all over. Her belly is pale beige. She has a slender build. Her near-twin in the litter is Trixie. Harriet’s belly is a little paler than Trixie’s.

While I was taking these pictures, Harriet settled down onto my finger and began licking it.Harriet Licks My Finger

Laura

Laura is a black female. She has white toes on the rear feet, and all white feet in front. There is a long, thin, white stripe on her belly. Laura is a robust, precocious little ratlet – she was the first one to open her eyes.

Lucy

Lucy is a black female with white toes. On her chest, right where it belongs, there is a small, white, heart-shaped spot.

Lucy may be a very special ratlet. She is the runt of the litter, and has several physical features that suggest she could be a hairless rat. Although she has fur right now, if she is a hairless rat, she is likely to lose it by around four weeks old. She has very curly whiskers (a trait of both hairless and rex rats), and there are hairless rats in her family tree.

Norton

Norton is a beige male, with pale front legs and a white stripe on his chest.

Ralph

Ralph is a beige self rex male. Up until last night, his fur hadn’t looked curly, but when I handled the babies yesterday I realized it had come in distinctly wavy, and his whiskers are very kinky – a trait common to rex rats.

Ricky

Ricky is a beige varieberk male. A Berkshire rat has a certain pattern of markings, with the main color on the head, back, and sides, and white on the belly, legs, feet, and sometimes the tip of the tail. A varieberk is like a Berkshire, but with some variegation of the color pattern with white coming up the sides of the body. You can see the white markings on Ricky’s side here.

Ricky was the first ratlet to go walkabout from the nest yesterday.

Trixie

Trixie is a beige self female, like her near-twin Harriet above. When you see her in person, she appears to have a dark spot above each eye, but that may be a trick of the light and the way her fur lays. She is not as slender as Harriet, and her belly and front legs, while paler than her back, are not as pale as Harriet’s.

OMG, How Do I Bring One Home?

These little rat babies will be ready to go to new homes at around five weeks old – somewhere around September 18th. If you live in the New England area and are interested in putting in your claim, you can go to the Mainely Rat Rescue site and read the page, “How to Adopt“. You’ll be asked to fill out an Adoption Application. Adoption fees vary, and are outlined on the Adoption information page.

Here’s the direct link to the listing for Net-Net’s Nest in the Available Animals pages: Net-Net’s Nest. There, you can learn more about Net-Net’s history, and how this litter came to be.

If you’re not within reach of Mainely Rat Rescue, but you’re feeling the pet rattie bug, there may be a rat rescue organization near you. Mainely Rat Rescue has a number of links to other groups on their sidebar. You could also search at PetFinder.com, and find rats for adoption anywhere in the country.

Have a Great Weekend!

Here in America, it’s a long weekend in celebration of Labor Day. Gryphon and I expect to spend it playing EverQuest 2, maybe eating some hot dogs, and spending time staring in delight as the little ratlets begin to explore their world. I hope you have something planned that is every bit as enjoyable!

3 Comments »

Comment by christina

August 29, 2008 @ 5:41 pm

I hope you’re feeling well! It sounds like you’ve been having quite the adventure as a rattie foster mom. The babies are adorable!

Comment by Carol

August 30, 2008 @ 5:19 am

Adorable behbehs! O suspect that if Ethel were a cat, she would be a “tuxedo cat” since the markings onthe chest and belly resemble how a tuxedo shirt oeeks through. CAn we nickname her “tux”? Very cute!

Comment by Laughingrat

August 30, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

Good lord, those are some cute animals. Yes, they will walk around sightless–very bold babies! No wonder Mom was trying to keep them in the nest, can you imagine how dangerous that behavior would be in the wild, with crows and hawks around?! Silly creatures.

Baby rats seem to love their human mommies, too…have the babies tried to nurse from your hand yet? It’s really precious. Lucky was not nearly so ferocious about my handling her babies as Net-Net is with you, so the little ones got used to my presence pretty young, and would try to creep up under my hand to nurse, thinking I was Mom. Busted me all up inside when they did that. *sniffle*

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