This article is from the RatHealth care booklet. Bespeak one today! check out the info at Rat Books

Raising Orphaned Rats or Mice

by Debbie “TheRat Lady” Ducommun

Note around wild rats: Please view the information at the bottom that thepage.

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Baby rats are around 1 ½ inches (3.8 cm) long at birth(not counting the tail), and also are pink and also hairless. Residence mice are only about½ to 1-inch (2.2-3.5 cm) lengthy at birth. Deer mice, i beg your pardon is a commonwild varieties found as orphans, are about 1 to 1 ¼-inch (2.5-2.3 cm),long at birth. All of these speciesstart getting hair at around one mainly of age. At two weeks old their eyes openand they have a very short coat of fur. At 3 weeks of period their hair getsfluffy. At around four mainly old their fur flattens under again. Native this pointon, their appearance doesn’t adjust much, simply their size. That is normalfor child rodents to be uncoordinated due to the fact that their nervous mechanism isn’tcompletely developed. At 3 weeks they begin to be an ext and morecoordinated.

It’s very complicated to hand progressive a infant rat (ormouse) that is less than a mainly old (a pinkie who doesn’t have any kind of hairyet). The best option is to discover anursing rat to offer as a foster mother.As long as the babies are around the same age as her own, mommy rats arealmost always willing to adopt orphans.The best method to situate a foster mother is to call a pet shop thatsells reptiles and breeds rats for line food. Sell to purchase a parenting mother. Friend canalso shot contacting neighborhood breeders or rat rescues, and you will uncover a list ofboth top top this website.

The best way to introduce new babies to a foster mom is totake the mom out that the cage, then put the orphans in with her very own babies,rubbing lock all together to get the scent of her own babies on the orphans. Ifyou get a mommy who no longer has actually babies, asking for several of her dirty bedding toput in her new cage, and rub her babies in that. Placing them together in asmall cage will assist her accept them faster.

If a foster mom isn’t available, the onlyalternative to save an orphan is to raise the yourself. As soon as attempting to raise an infant rat,there space three elements to consider: warmth, hygiene, and also diet.

The ideal place to store an orphaned rat prior to his eyes openis in a tiny cardboard box on a piece of crumpled felt or fleece (fabric withno threads the can acquire wrapped around the baby’s legs.) child rats have the right to climb far better than friend mightthink. Be certain to use a box with a coverand load it under so the infant can’t climb out.

Until their hair becomes fluffy (at about 3 mainly of age),baby rats can’t save themselves warm and you must offer themsupplemental heat. Friend cansupply warmth because that the baby v a heater pad (the finest option, yet be certain it doesn’thave an automatic shut-off feature), a irradiate bulb, or something like a hotwater bottle or one product design to be heated in the microwave. Of course, ahot water party or microwaved object will should be reheated periodically. It’s finest to keep a thermometernext to the infant so you know specifically what temperature that is experiencing. Use a tiny weather thermometer, not amedical thermometer, as the last can’t record drops in temperature. Save the temperature roughly 100-102degrees F (37.78-38.89 C). This will certainly feel warmth to her hand, yet not hot.Higher temperatures can be fatal.But if the baby gets too cold, that too can be fatal.

Use heater pads with extreme treatment as castle can get veryhot. Start on the low setup andgradually increase as essential until the within of the box is the righttemperature. Put crumpled cloth in package so the baby have the right to crawl up far fromthe warm if necessary. Only use cloth that can’t fray, such together fleece,felt or t-shirt material. At 2 weeks of period you can start gradually reducingthe temperature. Irradiate bulbs canalso get really hot. Make sure the light bulb is not as well close come the babybecause it deserve to actually cook him.You absolutely should use a thermometer if you use a light pear forwarmth.

Infant ratscan’t go to the bathroom by themselves. They’re stimulated to go only whenrubbed around the genitals and anus.This is therefore the mother have the right to ingest the waste and keep the nest clean. You have to stimulate the baby to peeevery time you feed him. He might notpoop every time, however he need to poop at least every third feeding. Use a item of toilet document or tissueand tenderness flick it throughout the genital area like the mother would lick that forat least 30 secs after every enjoy the meal to take treatment of this vital hygienematter. If girlfriend fail to perform so, therat will certainly die of toxicity poisoning from his very own wastes. Infant poop is normally soft and also yellow orbrown until they start eating solid food.

You can clean the baby of spilled food after meals with adamp cotton sphere or by dipping the in a warm bath approximately his neck and rubbingaway the food. Be sure to dry himwell. Additionally give him a full massageafter every meal just as his mother would lick that to stimulate his circulationand aid him come grow.

It is not unusual for orphaned infant rats to lose their fur ordevelop skin skin. Don’tworry about it. The skin will certainly healand the fur will ultimately grow back, usually before wild rats are ready to bereleased. If by some opportunity itdoesn’t, you have to wait till it does flourish in before releasing them.

Abnormal Noises

If the baby starts making a click sound when breathingthat means that he has emerged pneumonia and will dice without therapy withamoxicillin. Pneumonia can also cause the infant to come to be weak, cold, andinactive. Mix a 250 mg capsule in 7.5 ml the formula (stir well) and give thebaby one tiny drop the the mixture 3 times on the first day (spread equallythroughout the day and also night) and then double a day for the next 7-14 days,depending ~ above how quickly the symptoms clear up. For more info ~ above getting and usingamoxicillin, see my article about Respiratory Disease.

The Formula

If necessary, until you purchase the correct formula, for first day friend can provide the infant dilute sugar water, made with 1 cup hot water¾ tespoon sugar, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Stir till the sugar and salt arecompletely dissolved. Discard thissolution ~ 8 hours because it can easily grow bacteria.

I recommend using person infant formula. The nutritional requirements for ratsare closer to the of human beings than dog or cats, and if you look at theinformation top top the materials of rat milk in ~ the bottom the the page,you’ll check out that the portion of protein and fat in the human being formulamost very closely matches the of rat milk.Be certain to buy the powdered formula, and also most rats favor the soyformula, not the milk-based formula. All person formula has iron, and also allbabies need iron, for this reason don’t worry when it states “Now with iron”on the label. Note: The EsbilacSmall pet Goat’s Milk formula is formulated just like puppy Esbilacand is much greater in protein and fat, therefore I perform not recommend it.

Here is the schedule for mixing the formula to give theirsystem a possibility to obtain used come the new formula gradually (this is especiallycritical because that pinkies):

1stfeeding 4 partswater to 1 part powder (eg. 2 teaspoons water to½ teaspoon powder)

2nd feeding3.5 parts water to 1 component powder (eg. 1¾ teaspoons water to½teaspoon powder)

3rd feeding 3 parts waterto 1 component powder (eg. 1½ teaspoons to ½ tespoon powder)

4th feeding 2.5 partswater to 1 part powder (eg. 1¼teaspoons water come ½ teaspoon powder)

5th feeding 2 parts water to 1 partpowder (eg. 1 teaspoon water to ½ teaspoon powder) Then use this mixturefrom now on unless the baby has problems. See below.

If a baby gets diarrhea, getsbloated or i do not care dehydrated, go back to the mixture for the 2nd feeding andprogress on from there. To check fordehydration, pinch the skin on the ago and see how long the takes for it come goback down. If that takes more than afull second, the baby is dehydrated.

If the baby is still bloatedafter going back to the much more dilute formula, then you can provide the infant ahomeopathic remedy called Nux vomica, which is good for digestiveproblems. Friend can get it at anyhealth food store. Carry out not touch thepellets with your hands. Tip outone pellet into a ultra-clean dish and also dissolve the in a little bit of water. Climate suck this up into a clean syringeand squirt it right into the baby’s mouth.

To mix the formula, firstwarm the water to about 105°F (which will feel hot). It will certainly cool as you mix in the powderand you desire it to end up being about 100°F (slightly warm). You have the right to measure the end the lot of waterin a small container and heat the in a microwave for a couple of seconds, or you can heata quantity of water in the microwave or top top the stove and then measure the end thecorrect amount of water. Climate mixin the powder. If you need to feedseveral babies, you require to collection the container the formula in an additional bowl ofwarm water to store the formula warm.A mug warmer (cheap in ~ Wal-mart) is a great tool to keep the bowl ofwater warm while feeding.

The amount to give at eachfeeding is 5% the body load (in grams)as cc (a ml is the same as acc). Therefore you multiply the baby’s weight in grams by 0.05. Soif a infant weighs 6 g, it must eat 0.3 ml at every meal. (6 X 0.05 =0.3) A baby who weighs 18 g need to eat 0.9 cc. This is crucial for pinkies, therefore youmust have a gram scale to save track of their weights. You have the right to buy an electronic postal scalethat will certainly weigh in grams at a stationery store.


Newborn rats normally nurse around every 3 hours. You’ll have to feed pinkies every3-4 hours throughout the day and also once in the middle of the night because that the an initial weekand every 4-5 hrs the second week.Feeding too regularly will prevent ideal digestion.

However, obtaining the formula in infant rats have the right to be achallenge. No matter what methodyou use, it deserve to take 24-36 hours to get the baby offered to parenting on the newnipple and the brand-new taste the the formula, for this reason don’t concern if it seems likethe infant doesn’t want to eat at first. Simply keep trying. Organize the baby upright, grasping itfirmly at the neck. That or she willbe an extremely wiggly therefore you need to host on nice tightly.

They often tend to grow an extremely slowly till they space old enough toeat out of a dish and then they usually grow really quickly.

Unlike some various other animals, such as baby squirrels, the riskof a infant rat aspirating (inhaling) formula is really very low, which renders thempretty simple to raise. However, itis very common for baby rats come suck the formula up their nose. If this happens you will certainly know due to the fact that itwill actually come out the nostrils. Store an eye top top the nose and also stop feedingif you watch a whisp the white at the nostrils. Usage a organization to wipe as lot formulafrom the sleep as possible. The baby will shot to sneeze that out. It will take thebaby a tiny bit that time to clean the formula native the nasal cavities, for this reason bepatient and continue to wipe off any formula that appears in the nostrils.After a couple of minutes the baby have to be prepared to nurse again.

One that the ideal methods of feeding infant rats is to get an IVcatheter or little rubber feeding tube from your vet. These will certainly fit ~ above the tip of a 1 ccsyringe i beg your pardon will assist you carefully monitor the amount a infant eats. Friend will have actually to reduced the feeding tubeshorter yet it will certainly still be about 4 inches long. The finish of the catheter ortube is around the exact same size together mother’s nipple, yet you will certainly still needto slowly squirt the formula right into the baby’s mouth. Girlfriend can also use one eye dropper through anarrow tip. Be careful not tooverfill the baby’s mouth i beg your pardon can reason them to obtain the formula uptheir nose. Don’t shot to use a syringe larger than 1 ml because it willbe too an overwhelming to control the quantity of formula girlfriend squeeze out.

Below is the set-up i use. The catheter is much longer thanI’d like, however that’s how long the is before it tapers down. Noticehow I’m holding the syringe. Girlfriend will have actually much better control of that inthis position rather than trying to press the plunger through your thumb. Likewise see the I have actually the small containerof formula sitting on an electric mug warmer (set on high), which keeps the aperfect temperature for feeding.The formula cools down easily after you suck it right into the syringe, soyou don’t want to suck up too lot at a time. Ns do about 0.2 ml at a time. This babyis a 2-week-old Norway rat.


This 13-day-old roof rat baby is licking/sucking thecatheter.



Another technique is to usage a tiny item of rag and form a nipplefrom one corner. Start by dippingthe “nipple” in the formula and also squeezing drops into thebaby’s mouth. When the babystarts sucking on the rag, you deserve to drip formula little by little onto the ragwith a dropper so friend don’t have to remove the nipple native thebaby’s mouth. You can also try using a little craft repaint brush, or cleaneye make-up sponge, the tiny one top top a stick.

You must have the rag, sponge or eye dropper in thebaby’s mouth as soon as he sucks so the baby suck on the“nipple.” carry out NOT justdrip the formula right into his open mouth since he will certainly swallow too much air. Thiscan be fatal due to the fact that rats can not burp.Air bloating the stomach should be suck out with a needle and syringethrough the body and stomach wall.

Mixed formula can be refrigerated for 24 hours prior to youneed come discard it. Heat only theamount of formula you must feed.One means is to location it in a little container sit in a cup that warmwater. You can likewise microwave theformula if girlfriend are very very careful and also only do it because that 3-5 secs at atime. Test the temperature of theformula on her wrist before feeding it.It need to feel warm yet not hot.When I’m feeding more than 1 or 2 babies in ~ a time, I store theformula heat on an electrical mug warmer on high.

Once as soon as I to be hand increasing a wild roof rat that was justunder 2 mainly of age, I believed he hated the formula since he would certainly lick afew drops and then open his mouth as if he was gagging. I ultimately realized that was opening hismouth to begin power sucking! Infantsuse your tongue and also upper palate to develop the suction. As soon as I acquired the eye dropper properlypositioned up against the roof that his mouth he would suck down about 0.75-1 mlin about 5-10 seconds! all I had todo was lightly squeeze the eye dropper bulb.

This 13-day-old roof rat is power sucking!


Moving indigenous the Nipple come a Dish

When the baby is a week old he will start to obtain hair. At 2 weeks of period his eyes will openand he will start to thrive teeth.When his eyes have been open for 3 days he will have the ability to start eatingformula the end of a little dish. The finest thing to use for a dish at very first is atiny lid native a bottle of molasses or mustard. Girlfriend must place this top top a level magnet(upside-down) to keep the baby from tipping over the lid. The very first time you placed formula in thedish, do it simply after feeding the infant so he deserve to investigate the whenhe’s no really hungry.Otherwise, he will literally dive right into the dish and get the formula uphis nose. It will certainly still take it him alittle if to learn to lick indigenous the dish and also you will need to provide him abath after almost every meal. Aftera couple of days, if you room feeding a team of babies, you have the right to switch indigenous thecatsup lid come a bigger baby food jar lid.Once he appears to know how to eat out of the dish, sell fresh formula inthe dish at the very least 3-4 times a day.At this point, the baby should have the ability to urinate and also defecate ~ above hisown, however it doesn’t pains to proceed to stimulate elimination before puttingdown fresh formula.

Once the infant is eating well the end of the lid, you can stopthe night and bottle feedings. Youcan also start offering foodstuffs such together rat blocks, dry oatmeal and also other grains,and little pieces the fruit and also veggies. (Soft food have the right to be an extremely messy forbabies, and also they deserve to eat solid food fine in ~ this point.) indigenous the period of 2 mainly the infant willgradually begin pooping and also then peeing top top his own. Depending upon theindividual, you have the right to stop stimulating the to go to the bathroom once he is 2 ½-3weeks old.


Until their fur becomes fluffy (at about 3 main of age),baby rats can’t keep themselves warm and also you must continue to provide themsupplemental heat. Through 3 main ofage the rat will be eating greatly solid food, although he wouldn’t beweaned yet, for this reason you should still be offering some formula. In ~ this age you need to move the babyfrom a box into an escape-proof cage through a water bottle. As soon as a domestic rat infant is about 3-4weeks old, that is a an excellent idea to gain him or her an additional rat companion of aboutthe exact same age. Rats are really socialand should learn just how to get in addition to other rats together a baby. In ~ 4 weeks friend can fully wean yourbaby and stop offering formula, and congratulate yourself on a task well done!

Special Notes for Orphaned Wild Rats

The risk of disease when elevating an orphaned infant rat islow. Most illness that have the right to betransferred to humans would easily kill a infant rat. However, ns recommend you usage goodhygiene and be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after managing the baby.

For one orphaned wild rat, the best thing is to relax itwhen that is old enough. This is especially true if you raise more than onetogether together they will be much more bonded to every other and less tame. If girlfriend really, really want to keep awild rat or computer mouse as a pet it will certainly take a lot of extra work. The mostcommon wild rat in California and also the southern claims is the roof rat whichdoesn’t do a good pet. Roof rats are really hyper and agile andeven once tame have tendency to be really nervous and flighty. In the other states, the many commonwild rat is the Norway rat, the ancestor the the domestic rat and they deserve to makepretty great pets if they space handled and socialized enough, however you have to alwaysremember they space wild and might bite if frightened.

If you decide you want to store a wild rat together a pet, climate youneed come handle the as lot as possible. This is specifically true if girlfriend handraise a litter of wild rats.Because they have actually each other to link to, they will certainly not bond to youunless you invest a good deal the time dealing with them. In the instance of more than one orphanedwild rat, that is finest to setup to relax them.

If you decision to save a wild rat together a pet, it is a good ideato raise it with one more rat together a companion. Introduce the infant wild ratto a 4-week-old residential rat when the wild rat is about 3-4 mainly old. By the moment a wild rat is about 6 weeksold, the will probably be as well late because that it to accept a domestic rat as acompanion.

You deserve to release wild rats once they are 6 mainly old. You do not need to separate males fromfemales, also if you should keep them longer. Wild rats do not reach sex-related maturityas young as residential rats, in fact, most likely not until 12 weeks. The finest placeto release a roof rat is an area near a long-term water source, such together acreek, pond, lake, or river, where there room a many trees. This is additionally a good place to relax awild Norway rat, but a Norway rat walk not require trees, just a resource of water,a place to hide, and a resource of food.Some water resources will likewise be a resource of food, providing fish, frogs,snails, etc. When the babies are4-6 main old, you need to obtain them used to eating foods they will uncover in thewild. Offer them live mealwormsfrom a pet shop (in a seasoned lid to store them native crawling away), nuts in theshell, and a variety of various fruits, veggies, and grains.

Here is how to relax a wild rat. Once the baby is around 3 mainly old, givehim a tiny box about 6″ square in his cage for a colony box. Cut a tiny rat-sized door in the forhim. This box have to be smallenough to conveniently fit v the door the the cage. This will be the rat’s safeplace. You will an alert that he willget more and an ext wild as he gets older and is no much longer a little baby and whenyou method the cage he will most likely run and hide in his box. Girlfriend can give him shredded document anddried grass to develop a colony in the box.When it’s time to release the rat, reach in the cage and also removethe box, making use of your hand to block the exit. Have actually packing ice ready and put a pieceover the opened to seal it. Likewise tape closed the lid of the box, and also you mayalso should tape over any other entrances the rat has chewed in the box. Place the swarm box inside another closedbox, simply in situation the rat gets out of the swarm box. Drive to the release location and also placethe swarm box in place hidden by bushes, under a fallen tree, etc. Slowly peel off the tape. Leave some rat blocks or seeds next tothe crate for a short-term food resource while the rat to learn his brand-new environment.

The time that day for the release is not critical. Althoughrats are mostly nocturnal, over there are much more predators out at night too, for this reason duringthe job is more than likely the most safe time to relax a wild rat.

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This is the cage i raise wild rats in. It steps 14" X 20" X24" tall. It’s not a good cage for domestic rats, since the upperfloor is make of ½" X 1" mesh, which pet rats can capture theirfeet in. However, wild infant ratshave much smaller feet. (It’s likewise too tiny for domestic rats toactually live in.) over there is also a wire mesh bottom, which ns cover v rabbitfood as litter. This cable bottom renders the cage virtually escape-proof. Together you can see, I have equipped that withan practice wheel, lumber sticks to climb on and also a swarm box. This is package I will release thebabies in once it’s time.