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back to  Week 3
March 6

A pet store owner once told me (and many books unfortunately also state...) that rats are weaned at 21 days old.  Wrong.  You can tear them away from their mom at this age and have them survive, but they are not "weaned."  The three week old pups now get much of their nutrition from food and water but they still nurse and will continue to nurse some for at least another week or two.  (At five weeks they have to be separated to avoid pregnancy in "early maturers.")  

Anyway, they are now really starting to develop their sense of the world and learning how to interact with other rats and people.  I consider this a really important, impressionable age, so I am hand-feeding them treats, letting them crawl up my arm, giving them some freedom so they learn to come to me when they are scared or I call, holding them on their backs, and letting them visit with BOTH my adult females and my adult males (at separate times of course!)

It is particularly fun to put them in a big box and let them crawl on my hand/arm.  They are so soft and it tickles! :-)  

Not much else to say...  The pictures speak volumes.  They are really very cute, and it is easy to sex them.  For some reason many pet store employees can't, so I recommend you click that link if you plan to ever buy a rat from a pet store, because you just can't trust employees to get it right.  (After all, they say rats are weaned at 21 days and pine is healthy bedding...)

Well, to avoid rambling further about how pet stores bother me and all that is wrong in the world of rats, I'll just explain and show my other pictures for today.  Here are the little ones in the shoe box.  They huddle together a lot.  Adult rats do this too.  (They are very social animals).  And I believe that is Egon looking so adorable in the second pic.  (He spends the most time with me and with the adult males because I plan to keep him.)

One last pic to end the third week.  Rattie faces squished against the aquarium wall.  I don't think they were hot; they just like the feel of glass.  (See the white throats?)