Pet Rats/breeding

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Question
Hello, I have 5 rats, 3 girls and 2 boys. I have them in a critter nation cage and it is split so that the girls can't get to the boys.
One day last week, one of my boys got put in the wrong cage, and was left for no longer than 3 minutes. I went down and saw that he was in the wrong cage, and quickly got him out and put him back. Is that long enough for anything to happen between them? I am really worried because they are all over a year old. I have no idea if any of the girls were in heat.
Thank you so much!

Answer
Copulation can occur in a few seconds if yit's going to happen at all.  Females go into heat every 3 to 4 days.    

The only thing you can do is to hope that pregnancy didn't result.   Mark the date that this happened on your calendar and in 2 weeks watch the girls every day for a bloated looking stomach and possible behavior changes, such as nesting instincts, ie nest building, which should start a few days before birth.   The gestation period for a female is between 21 and 23 days.   If you do notice swelled belly and nesting behavior a few days short of 21 days, remove the female and place her into a small enclosure separate from the rest.  If more than one girls appear pregnant, each one should get her own enclosure to prevent fights and competition for food and nesting material as hormones elevate during this time.  A deep plastic bin works well that is approximately 2 feet x 2 feet square...or rectangular Ina similar size, but .not much larger.  Make sure you provide food and water in the bin.  Place lots of nesting material in there.  Plain paper towels are a good choice as the mom to be will enjoy shredding it and making a nest.

If in fact one or more of your girls are pregnant, please begin making plans for finding good safe homes for the babies if you don't plan on keeping them.  I highly advise against giving them to a pet store or advertising on craigslist as chances are high that they will become snake food sadly :(.  I can help you place the babies through the rat groups I'm part of on Facebook so please contact me if you don't plan on keeping the babies.

There is much more to know about the gestation and birth process.  There is plenty of info in the internet but here is a good website for trusted information on this topic

http://www.ratfanclub.org/repro.html

Good luck.  Let me know what happens and do write again if I can help in any other way.

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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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