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Sunday, January 25, 2015

The New Rats

Yesterday, I picked up the new rats. This is momma Lilly (agouti hooded):
Lilly says "Hi"
And these are her three boys, as yet unnamed:
When you have a nice cage with lots of hammocks, huts, baskets, and a space pod,
the best place to sleep is always the litter box.

The boy on the far right facing away from the camera is a silver fawn hooded. The other two boys facing the camera are a lighter color that was described to me as a "soft oatmeal wheaten color." Their markings, I have been told, are capped stripe. They are likely high whites and thus carry a megacolon risk. I took this picture without flash to try to bring out the color a little bit.

The person who pulled them for me was kind enough to give me a tank with a screen lid to be used as a maternity cage if necessary. There was a small hole drilled into the bottom that I have to patch up before I can move her in. Lilly is very tiny. It is hard to believe she might be pregnant. But I did steal a quick look at her tummy and I can see some tiny nipples (something I have never seen on our past girls). This morning, when I fed breakfast to the rats (mixed veggies and banana today), I noticed that Lilly had pulled as much paper towel as she could from the cage bottom and stuffed it into her igloo. Could be nesting behavior. Could be typical rat rearranging the furniture. I am going to weigh her every day to see if she puts on any weight. Last night she was a mere 242 grams.

They are all very timid, but I think they will warm up to us quickly. All are sweet, none are nippy, but Lilly will gently grab a finger stuck between the cage bars (not a bite and doesn't break skin), so she may have been fed treats through the bars in the past. I can tell they are interested in us. Lilly will come out when she hears my voice, but sometimes, if I get too close, she runs back into her igloo. I can tell she wants some attention and loving, though. The boys spent a lot of time sleeping in a rattie pile in the litter box, but toward the end of the evening, they had ventured out of that litter box and down to the lower level, where two took up residence in the wooden hut, and the third moved from hut to litter box to tube. None have climbed into a hammock yet so they are probably not used to them.

I am giving them all a little time to get used to their new environment.

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