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Pet Rats/strange behavior after babies 'lost'.


Hallo. I really hope you'll be able to assist me. I am very worried about my girls. I recently bought two females from our local petshop. After about a week it became clear that at least one of them are pregnant. Chippie became very protective of her domein and built a huge nest. She was also very dominating of Fudge and sometimes even aggresive. Fudge then also started showing and i realised we will soon have a whole lot of babies!

Then Chippie's waist stopped growing, she stayed in her nest for the most part and only came out to eat, drink etc. I was was sure she had had her babies but i couln't hear or see any evidence of them. She then started acting strange toward Fudge. Very dominating, groomed her aggresively and would drag her back to the nest whenever she tried to leave.

Last night i managed to get Chippie away from her nest and had a look inside. No babies! Her little body is back to its normal size now but she is definately acting like a mother. Is she projecting her maternal instincts into Fudge. Fudge beeing a substitute for her 'lost' babies? Or does she know that Fudge's babies will arrive soon and wants to claim them for herself? Will they then mother them together?

Please advise!!!


Hi Melanie,
It sounds like maybe all of Chippie's babies were born dead and she ate them, which is the normal thing for them to do. Now her hormones are still making her feel maternal. Depending on when Fudge has her babies, Chippie might help raise them, or maybe try to steal them away from Fudge. You'll have to see what happens. You don't want her to steals them because babies can be injured while the moms try to pull them away from each other, so then you will have to separate them.

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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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