Pet Rats/Baby Rats

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Question
This is one of them.
This is one of them.  
I was cleaning out my shed this afternoon, and when I went to move the couch my cat ran out from under it with a rat in his mouth. So that was that. But then when I took the cushions out, there were babies. Five of them. They aren't pink. Their bodies are about two and a half inches long (not counting the tail) and they have fur. I can't tell how old they are, but I know it can't be much since their eyes are still closed. I would have left them alone, except I had to move them from the couch and I'm pretty sure my cat made lunch of their mother.

I've been reading up on them and such, because I had the idea in my head that I could take care of them until they wean, then release them. Kind of like kittens. Well, they aren't like kittens. I have seven hours of school during the weekdays. So feeding them every two hours is impossible. I don't know what to do with them. I keep telling myself that if I keep them for now, they'll suffer from malnutrition and such and eventually die and break my heart. A friend told me to just drop them in the woods behind my house, but I don't know. What do I do with them?

Answer
Oh my gosh!  From your description and the picture, I estimate the babies to be between 12 to 15 days old.  

You absolutely MUST find a lactating mother to nurse them or someone who WILL feed them and rub their bellies every couple of hours to stimulate bowel movements like a mother rat would....ASAP!  They otherwise will not make it!!  They must have a mother or mother-substitute for a minimum of 3 weeks.

Please tell me what city in Florida you live in (or the nearest large city).  I have a huge network of rat owners, experts and small animal rescues from all over the country...I am sure I will be able to find someone to help.

If you know of a small animal rescue near you, please call them right away!  If not, then call a nearby dog/cat rescue and ask if they know of a nearby small animal rescue or they may even be able to help.

Please do not hesitate a moment to do this and let me know if you need my help in locating someone in Florida near you.  

MEANWHILE...is it possible for you to follow the instructions about feeding them and massaging their bellies until help arrives?

And PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT drop them in the woods or release them ever...they will die a horrible death.  I hope you get this before you go to bed so that something can be done to help them tonite.

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Irene Murphy

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I can answer a variety of questions regarding adoption and care of pet rats throughout their lifetimes, including questions about their health and well being, temperment, diet, bedding, cages, toys, etc. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a timely manner and I have an abundant amount of resources to help me to help you with your pet rats. I love rattie pictures, so include pics with your question if you can. You may ask me medical questions, but please be advised that I am not a vet. I may use my resources to answer some medical questions, however, I will need to refer you to your local vet with medical questions that I feel I am not qualified to address.

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I have been a huge rat enthusiast for many years. Since becoming a rat owner, I have educated myself in all areas of pet rats from every resource I could find including the internet, books, conversations with local exotic vets, as well as several local rat breeders.

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I have a college degree but not in the area of animals. I have obtained my extensive experience and knowlege of pet rats all on my own because in my eyes, pet rats are the most interesting and fascinating creatures you can ever imagine to have as pets. I also am saddened by how mislabeled and misunderstood these amazing and extremely smart animals are by the majority, and my mission in life has become to educate and change as many people's perceptions of rats as I possibly can.

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