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back to  Week 5
March 18

The babies' time away from Dash is interesting...  They spent the first bit of it hiding and running from me, especially in the morning.  They like to take cover behind the wheel.  I took the wheel off and got the picture below.  (They look like bats clinging inside a cave.)

Eventually they calmed down and trusted more.  It was a nice day today, so I had the window open, and I think they had to get used to the sound of traffic and birds.  Letting them lick my ice-cream bowl probably helped bring me into their favor too. ;-)

A problem some rat owners encounter is that their pets will nip fingers through bars (accustomed to getting treats that way.  I have never had that problem, and I think this is what helps.  I frequently let them investigate my hands and fingers through the bars, sometimes "teasing" by keeping my fingers a little out of reach (this is how hesitant people often get bitten).  I also offer my fingers after touching something tasty like potato chips or candy.  When they are young like this, experimental nips don't hurt, and they are learning very quickly to recognize fingers even when they smell like food.  Soon they will only lick and never nip...

I did one other thing with the babies in terms of their development and helping them "grow up."   I like to let baby rats spend some time with an adult male.  It helps my adults recognize baby rats and tolerate them and learn to play gently, and it helps the babies "learn their place."  If they meet bigger rats that are not tolerant of them, they could get into some trouble by pestering them.  Actually, this "tradition" of mine started when I had an adult that was beaten up horribly by a cagemate and had no extra cage for him, so he went in with the weaned boys.  Later, I had a litter that was essentially orphaned at 2 weeks and introduced a surrogate dad to them so they would feel safe and have a "role model."  Now, I figure, I shouldn't change something that works well.

He is being good, mostly.  He does a lot of sniffing and licking them.  Mostly, he isn't really interested in them.  I may let them meet Aerik tomorrow, but I'll watch them closely.  Mack had a bad track record with babies (but only ones that weren't HIS).

Dash has no remorse over the end of her parenting career.  She is quite glad to be back with her friends.  She is resuming play with Sugar and the others, and I hope she will put weight back on soon.