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Pet Rats/Rats too young?


I just got a nice little rat from a breeder at the age of 5-6 weeks. She is very sweet. But today was looking at some pet stores which were selling rats that look very small much smaller than mine, still probably under 4 weeks and in the weaning stage. I don't buy them, but was just curious what problems they might have if they are separated at that age? Would they be unhealthy? Would they bond to a human closer as a foster parent?

Hi Eric,
It is okay to wean rats at 4 weeks, but they need to stay with their siblings for a while to play and develop good social skills. Depending on the number of rats in a litter the babies can be bigger or smaller. The babies in a large litter can be much smaller. You have to go more by confirmation and not just size to estimate their age.

Do you only have the one baby?  She needs another baby to play with!

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Debbie Ducommun


I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.


I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

BA in Animal Behavior

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