Hard to believe that last time I had a litter, the babies had to "go it alone" starting at this age. (Their mom was very ill. I'm happy to say she recovered and all the little ones are strong and healthy in their forever homes.) They are so little and cute right now. Very inquisitive, but it is easy to see their babyness. They have tried out the water bottle and even big pieces of kibble. One (Einstein I think) even tried to move a toilet paper tube!
I let the babies meet the adult lady rats in their cage. All my girls' maternal instincts came out (especially the former mothers). Fortune immediately started cleaning her "grandkids" and pulled them back to her if they wandered off. Some climbed into a box with Domino who was quite possessive of them and actually bit me (like many mom rats do) when I tried to take the pups away again!
Anyway, the big thing I did today was hold them all with me while I read a book for my literature class (The Hobbit, to be precise; I haven't read it since I was a child...). I held them in a winter hat, which I lined with a soft velvet thing my mom donated to my rats. They were restless at first but settled down in the soft and warmth, with my hand over them or among them most of the time.
Well, I learned what Dash has to put up with because some pups wanted to sleep and others wanted to play. When I got tired of catching them "on the fly" to return to the soft "nest," I put the rowdy ones back into the aquarium to wrestle and play so their siblings could sleep.
The remaining pups (Eve, Einstein, Exor, Erika, and Elixir) slept very soundly there, and I felt guilty when I finally had to put them back. After all, my "nest" of soft chenille and velvet must be much armer and cozier than Dash's nest of aspen and napkins...
My little pups are becoming quite fond of me, I think. Yesterday they would scamper away when I reached in the aquarium, but my soft nest and petting will win them over soon enough. :-) And today I leave you with a very unique picture of an animal (Exor) so very sound asleep and comfortable with his surroundings, it is downright eerie...