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Baby Rat Growth & development: Crew of the Nostromo first two weeks

Bright lights, bright lights!

Day 1:

Ripley, our other rat mama, had her litter on the 16th of February. Although she gave birth to 10 babies 3 were stillborn.  As sad as that may be I still find it preferable to how we lost some of Deadpool’s little Deadites later down the line. I can only hope that these lost squeaks didn’t suffer long, if at all. We didn’t remove the stillborns from the cage and Ripley took care of them in her own way, as nature does. Making them took a lot of energy out of her, so it’s only fair that she be allowed to recycle them, which is what they’re naturally wired to do.

Ripley checking on her stillborns, separated from the nest of happy lively little wigglers.

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 5:

Already starting to show some of their patterns!

Day 6:

It might not be terribly easy to see, but the little guy facing the camera is totally rocking a big bald spot on his little head. He reminds me of Vizzini from Princess Bride… “Inconceivable!!”

Day 9:

Starting to get fuzzy now, and look at the variety in their patterns!

Day 13:

See no evil, hear no evil…

Day 14:

They grow up so fast, don’t they? *sniff*
Only a short while ago these little snuggle bugs were little blind, deaf jelly beans and now they’re running amok! At this stage they were pretty hard to keep corralled, though if offered a hand to crawl under or snuggle against they’d pile up for a cuddle. Even now, after their eyes have opened and they pop corn around like crazy, they’ll come running to our hands and eagerly climb all over us. We make time to play with them every day and they’re SO friendly and sweet! Each one has really started to develop a personality all their own~ 
It’s going to be hard to say goodbye when they have to leave for new homes… 
(u_u) le sigh…all part of life, though~
We knew we couldn’t keep ALL 14 of the babies and there’s good homes lined up for everyone, whether they get adopted out (as most will be) or stay with us. 
It’s hard not to get attached when you’ve been involved in the day to day development of the little ones! 
How about you?
Have you ever raised pets from birth?
We’d love to hear from you! 
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Baby rat growth & development part two: days 11-16

11th Day:

Please ignore the haggard nails, we’d been doing tie-dye. 😉 
The rat babies have been growing like little weeds! At this stage they were still unable to see, but their ears have started to open up and showcase themselves. All of Deadpool’s babies, AKA the Deadites, inherited Dumbo ears as both their parents had them. Only a few of Ripley’s crew (of the Nostromo, naturally) developed dumbo ears despite having the same father. Genetics! While I certainly claim no great depth of understanding when it comes to the intricacies of rat genetics, I do find it very intriguing to learn about. I believe that by breeding our dumbo eared double rex to a standard coated dumbo we’ve gotten a batch of 100% rex babies, some with silky coats and others with short, curly fur…but then I’m not entirely sure as some of her litter look pretty bald. 
This little sweetie is Bendleton, or Ben for short. He’s definitely gotten a luxuriously silky coat! So soft and shiny! He’s been growing bigger, faster, than the rest of the Deadites. 

Cuddle puddle!
A couple of the babies were still pretty runty… 🙁 

12th Day:

Starting to get harder and harder to keep them together long enough for a photo…
The one closest to the camera is Newt, who developed a striking resemblance to her aunt Ripley, hence the name. Behind her is Orcha, another little girl, but you can see how beautifully shiny her coat is!

Aww, hi sweetie!

13th Day:

14th day:

This is the big day! The Deadites have started opening their little eyes and trying to take in the world around them. They’re still on the clumsy side but are definitely getting much more difficult to keep in one place. One of our runts passed away peacefully in the cage during the night… 🙁  They’re still nursing at this stage but have begun to show a little interest in other foods in the cage.

15th Day:

This little sweetie never opened his eyes…poor little guy was a runt until the end, which wasn’t very long after this. 🙁 He was kicked out of the nest and ignored, when we’d check on him he’d be hunched in a corner shivering…over a day or two he got progressively worse. He’s no longer with us, but he’s not suffering either…

Still far from agile, they can wiggle their way out of the nest and will scamper short distances before tiring out and returning to the cuddle puddle. Found one little guy trying to nibble on a piece of carrot when I checked on them. 

16th Day:

I love how at this age they’ve begun lifting their heads to smell the breeze…looks like they’re little wolf pups trying to howl for the first time! ^_-
They’ve also started trying to groom themselves, though they’re pretty clumsy so you’ll catch one toppling over or even tumbling off of edges pretty often. Really have to keep a close eye on their adventuring because they’ll get right up to the edge and…fall off. They’re starting to actually look like little rats now. 
No photos of the 17th-20th days, sorry! 🙁
We were in the process of moving and it was a bit too chaotic to pull out the little guys as often as I had hoped to…To try to compensate for that, I’ve been taking a lot of photos of the other litter to chart their progress during these weeks. I’ll have that post up soon!
Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into their development!
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Baby Rat Growth & Development Part 1: the first 10 days

In this post I’m going to cover the development of Deadpool’s first litter, from birth to day 10. 
This will be a fairly image heavy post as I tried to accurately and thoroughly document their growth process. Hope you enjoy!

First day:

They’re not the prettiest little things fresh out of the oven, but they make the cutest little peeps and squeaks! One thing that consistently came up when I was researching rat pregnancy and birth was that when the moment comes, you’ll usually hear the babies before you realise it’s already happened. Both Antho and I had been out of the house and when we got back we were surprised to find a few little warm and squishy things squeaking under Deadpool when we checked on her. We set her up in a clean aquarium tank with lots of shredded paper for nesting materials and she went about doing her mama business right away. It’s recommended to separate the rats from their cagemates a day or two before labor begins, but aside from an occasional tussle for dominance the girls had gotten along fine. Even so, we separated Deadpool and her babies for the first couple days just to be safe.

2nd day:

Dead pool is still a bit protective and doesn’t appreciate having her babies manhandled, so we tried to keep the disruption minimal. The little yellow spots in their tummies is milk, so it’s easy to check if everyone’s getting fed well. Their fingers and toes are barely defined little nubs still and they’re almost completely hairless aside from a few short whiskers.

3rd day:

Their skin has grown a little lighter in colour and slightly more opaque but not much else has changed. Ripley has been reintroduced into the cage with Deadpool and shows little to no interest what-so-ever in the pinkies. 

4th day:

By this stage we’re starting to be able to see a little bit of light colour on the babies, giving us a hint as to what their patterns are going to be like when they grow up! I’d taken more photos outside the cage but lost them when I rebooted my computer..womp. 

5th day:

A few of them have little white spots or blazes on their faces! How cute!

6th day:

While they’re still not stable on their feet, they’re starting to wriggle around a little more and it’s getting harder to keep them still for photos. The tips of their ears are starting to stick out from the side of their heads. They should all have low-set, large dumbo ears since both parents had them.

7th day:

Whisker kisses!
By now their ears are definitely starting to stick out and their little digits are starting to look more like real rat hands and feetsies.

8th day:

By now their patterns are definitely visible, with the dark coloured babies looking especially pretty. Their thin coats have a nice satin-like sheen to them and they’re starting to actually resemble little rats, though from some angles they look like little seals! They’re definitely getting harder to keep still and have started trying to lift their heads up high while they wiggle around. Still quite squeaky!

9th day:

They’ve started exploring their environment a little, crawling out of the nest or across my hand when I hold them but they’re far from nimble. I’ve been trying to hold them several times a day now to ensure they get comfortable with human handling and to familiarise them with my scent. Our other female, Ripley, has been showing more interest in them now and I’ve found some of the babies curled up next to her outside their nest. While opinions vary about housing two pregnant does in the same cage, we’ve had no real problems. Initially Deadpool was a little defensive but the girls sorted it out with the usual bit of wrestling and submissive squeaking. No one was harmed. Also, at this stage Deadpool has shown more interest in leaving the nest herself. I’ve found her cuddled up with her sister instead of the babies and she’s been eager to climb up my arm when given the chance. She’s also resumed her peculiar habit of standing on the rim of the dish she’s eating out of.

10th day:

Their whiskers are getting long while their fur is getting thicker by the day!
The bigger ones are starting to hold their head up and crawl with intention though they still can’t see. 
Meanwhile, our other doe Ripley had a litter of 7 pinkies this morning, so I thought for comparison sake it’d be interesting to see the newborns next to a 10 day old:
Again I’ve separated the girls. While Ripley hadn’t shown much interest in Deadpool’s litter, the reverse has not been true. Deadpool tried to pick up one of Ripley’s little newborns and carry it off, which could lead to the girls having a deadly tug-of-war with the infant’s life at stake. It’s earlier than I’d wanted to be transferring DP & her litter to the fortress of squeaktitude, as I’d hoped to wait until her kits opened their eyes before rehoming them, but it’s likely safer for all the rats involved. 
So, there you have it!
10 days worth of rat growth and development.

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Happy February’s & brand new babies

Hey guys, been a minute!
Needless to say, January got away from me. 
Between working on a book cover, volunteering with Critical Care Comics, adopting two new rats then losing our beloved fat rat Pendleton, working on trying to resolve the situation with my grandmother, car troubles and the rest I didn’t find much time to work on the blog. For that I apologise.

Yes, we adopted two new rats last month. 
The little baldy above is Deadpool, a female double-rex. While she’s mostly hairless, she has little bits of soft curly peach fuzz on her face and legs so she’s not a true hairless rat- to her benefit. True hairless rats were bred in laboratories for their utility in science and tend to have compromised immune systems and many health issues throughout life as a result. Double rex rats, like our little wrinkle-belly above, are much more resilient. 
And our little Deadpool is pretty robust, just like her namesake! Just yesterday she gave birth to a litter of 9! 9 is actually pretty small by rat standards, but that’s plenty of little guys for us. Pendleton was the proud papa but he didn’t get to meet his progeny. 🙁 May he rest in Rathalla. I’m glad that his legacy lives on and I’m really excited to see how their coats develop. They’re not really the cutest of things right now to non-rat lovers, but one thing that’s fun to note is that you can see the little light spots full of milk in their bellies in the photo above.
Then we’ve got Lt. Ripley, an odd-eyed (one eye is red) fluff ball. She’s an absolute sweetheart and cuddle bug, recently having developed the particular propensity for sticking her tongue up our noses and trying to groom us. It’s a sign of affection that shows she considers us part of her family and cares about our tidiness and wellbeing, but it’s kinda gross when she pulls away with a booger and starts chomping away. x_x;; and her tiny little tongue is quite probe-y…but love is love, right? And pet rats are exceptionally clean animals, probably cleaner than us, so it’s no wonder she’d want to groom us… ^^; she’s just trying to hold us up to her standards of grooming, which mean cleaning your face every 5 minutes or so, lol. 
There was some tie-dye as well. 
I’ll resume posting on the regular again shortly. Thanks for your patience, guys!