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Is Mimi Von der Strasse pregnant? This doesn’t look like much, but Mimi is so lean that this could be a baby bump!

With rats it can be very difficult to tell if they’re pregnant. They carry themselves very well, are just as active and hardly show any signs of pregnancy.

If you’re not aware of a mating act, you’d probably not realise your rat is pregnant until she gives birth. The stories of impregnated pet shop rats that give surprise births are countless.

Here are a few pointers your rat might be preggies:

  • Mood change
    If your rat behaves hormonal, that might come with the changes in hormones a pregnancy sets off. Is she more aggressive than usual? Or has she been rather withdrawn lately?
  • Bigger appetite
    Is your rattie eating more? Or hoarding more? If you are refilling your rat’s feeding dish more frequently, it could be because she needs nutrition for her babies.
  • Bigger size
    Some rats do and some don’t gain visibly in weight. First time pregnancy can result in a small litter which might not show at all. To monitor weight gain you’d need to weigh your rat on a daily basis.
  • Nest building
    When your rat starts to get frantic about building a nest, it could be for a real reason and she’s expecting. This includes digging tunnels into your house plants, shredding your newspapers and ripping your clothes.
  • Teats showing
    Your rattie’s nipples might start to protrude about 1 week before birth. Try not to examine your rat’s belly: You can’t feel the babies, but if there are any, you could harm them.
  • No more signs of heat
    Ear-flickering happens when your rat is in heat. If you’re used to seeing your rat flickering her ears, as rats have a cycle of 4 to 5 days, you will notice when this stops. Accordingly she will reject all male advances.

Should your rat be pregnant prepare for a rather large litter: The average is about a dozen which goes with the 12 teats rats have. However, there have been litters twice the size. Fortunately, if it’s a first time pregnancy, litters can be much smaller.

A rat pregnancy lasts about 3 weeks. The ratlets are born hairless and with closed eyes and ears. They develop rapidly, revealing their looks when they grow fur. After 4 to 5 weeks they need to be separated to avoid in-breeding. This is when you can give them to new homes.

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