Week One for the Litter
Ok.... So your pregnant rat has just given birth to some very small, faceless, webfooted, blobs of warm, pink, squirmy, play-dough textured creatures. Do not fear... this stage is only the first in the developement of baby rats.
When born the babes have no openings for the eyes. They can only be seen as dark spots beneath the skin. You can tell within the first few days if the eyes are pink or black, but it is hard to distinguish between ruby and black.The ears are small buds that are sealed and lay attatched to the head. The fingers and toes aren't yet developedThere is no fur and only slight whiskers. Shortly after birth you can distinguish whether or not the babys are rexed by checking to see if the whiskers are kinked or curly. This is a good time to
introduce the rats to people who rataphobic. Even the most wary people can't help but resist these little delicate babies.
In photo 3 you can see the milk filled belly of a young babe. Occasional checks can be made to ensure that the mother is feeding them sufficiently especially in a large litter. Breeding 2 litters at a time ensures a foster mother if the need arises.
By day 4 the beginings of colors and patterns are showing.. The ears are slowly developing and by this time an experienced breeder should be able to tell whether the ears are standard or dumbo. This baby is a dumbo. It can't yet be determined what his color is although he seems to be a berkshire or a self.
The babies get more active as the first week progresses. All of their needs at this age are supplied by their mom. She feeds them, cleans them, stimulates their bowells, and protects them.At this age some rat moms will not let you handle the babies. But, if allowed by the mother, early socialization is good.
Although still quite small the babies become more active with each passing day, as you can see in photo 6 ,when photographing them becomes a bit more tricky..
The ears start to protrude more, the fingers and toes are lengthening and separating, and by the end of the first week the baby rats even have tiny soft fingernails.
In the day 7 photo slight fuzz can be seen on this baby. He is an agouti capped baby with a tiny headspot. Notice that the facial features at the end of the first week have finally become more prominant. It is getting easier to sex