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Baby rattus rattus (roof rat)

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Gryffindor
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Baby rattus rattus (roof rat)

Postby Gryffindor » Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:05 am

Thursday night our cat caught a baby roof rat. It's fine and looks to be about 4 weeks old. It's so tiny and utterly adorable! It's quite calm, definitely not tame but it's not stressed or terrified of people. It just sits there and stares at me. I haven't tried to handle it or anything yet but once I touched its tail and it scurried a little ways away and hid under some newspaper shreds with its little face poking out and staring at me lol.

I think it could tame up, and since I don't want it to be alone I want to get some domestic rats for it. I imagine that would help with taming too. I'm not expecting it to be as tame as domestic rats, if it is great but if not that's ok too.

I'd be getting very young rats i.e. 5 week olds. My question is, how many should I get? And which sex? I haven't sexed this rat yet but if it's a male should I get male rats?

Apparently they can interbreed but it doesn't result in live babies according to this http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm ... 04&aid=889 "It is possible for domestic rats (Rattus norvegicus) to mate with roof rats (Rattus rattus) although the babies will not survive. The embryos will be reabsorbed, aborted, or born dead." But surely it wouldn't be good for females to be getting pregnant a lot even if they were just reabsorbed? Unless mating is uncommon? I know I've heard of people keeping mixed sex groups but maybe all the males were neutered. Then again, everywhere else that I've read says they CAN'T interbreed. :shrug:

Judging from this http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php? ... tus-rattus! they can do well with a group of brown (domestic) rats. I'm just concerned of the rat being ostracized from the group? I'm guessing I should avoid a trio where that would be more likely to happen..

Then there's this: "I've only known one person who kept a Rattus rattus in captivity. He was kept with two domestic females (the species can't interbreed, but they can have hormonal aggression between males, so female cagemates were chosen)" http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc/index.php?topic=4081189.0 I guess male roof rats are more territorial than male brown rats? Because I know territorial behavior, while possible, isn't a huge problem in domestic rats.

Anyway, I was hoping someone on here might have some advice. I'll probably cross post this into the rat forums above but I wanted to try here first. icon-smile
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pat
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Re: Baby rattus rattus (roof rat)

Postby pat » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:38 pm

sorry, I cannot answer your question. don't know anything about captive rats. all I know is the wild ones are horrible, they multiply so fast.

I don't know what to suggest, but, I would be concerned if the baby rat has some type of disease. not that I know what all they carry.

other members have experience with captive rats. someone will chime in.
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Re: Baby rattus rattus (roof rat)

Postby Ana » Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:15 pm

Whatever the sex is, make sure the companion is the same sex, and as close in age as you can get.
They should be fine together. I've done this with both mice and rats who needed a companion without trouble. I'd do 10 days of quarantine first, to watch for any weird illness. Also, careful hygiene practices when dealing with the bedding of a wild rat! :)
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Re: Baby rattus rattus (roof rat)

Postby Gryffindor » Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:56 pm

Thanks for your responses!:)

That's reassuring you haven't had trouble introducing a companion before. Have you always done same sex? Can it work with opposite sexes, assuming most of the sources I've read are correct and they can't interbreed? I'm worried I'm going to mis-sex it.. I used to be good at sexing baby hamsters but I haven't sexed any in several years...feel like I'm out of practice lol.

I was going to hold off sexing it as long as possible, because the older it is the easier it'll be to tell, but I feel like I need to get the companions for it now since I want them to be babies since it'll be easier to introduce them then.

This rat is on day 4 of its quarantine now, and the new rats I'll want to quarantine for 10 days too, so I figure the sooner I get them the better. I'm talking to someone now who may have some babies for me, so I'm going to put it in a glass jar and sex it tonight.
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Re: Baby rattus rattus (roof rat)

Postby Ana » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:19 am

They ABSOLUTELY can interbreed, and will. Vigorously! Don't let this happen!

http://angelratdesigns.com/sexingrats.html Use this handy guide to sex your bub, and if you're
still feeling uncertain (and a 'lil freaky!) take some pics of those naughty bits and put 'em up,
we'll all happily give a gander and try to help!

A billion years ago, this lady, Sandy (http://spazrats.tripod.com/), helped me create an amazing
diet for my rats that kept them healthy and sveldt throughout their lives. Peruse her stuff, she's
been at this a LONG time, and if she's still active in the rat community, she's a great resource
for Weird Questions At Odd Hours (which is my middle name). :D

P.S - there are certain species that are removed from each other in such a way that the offspring
will not be viable. This could result in deformed infants dying hard deaths under your care, so it's
super important the sexing be right. If you absolutely cannot make a determination, you could get
a male companion and have him neutered before introduction! Would be a weird week for that guy!
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Re: Baby rattus rattus (roof rat)

Postby Ash » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:28 am

Having raised a bunch of rats as feeders, I think it's relatively easy to tell the difference between the sexes. Males have a very obvious scrotum once mature. Impossible to miss.

This may help you though depending on the age:

http://www.joinrats.com/RatHealth/OOPS/BoyOrGirlRattyRat/
3 red fox, 4 iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, tarantula
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GitaBooks
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Re: Baby rattus rattus (roof rat)

Postby GitaBooks » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:55 pm

I'm not sure if this is true or not, but sometimes keeping wildlife as pets is illegal. In which case, releasing the baby once it is big enough would be the best option.

However, if you plan to keep the little guy you might be able to find another Black Rat for sale in your area. If you use a Domestic Rat then make sure it is of the same gender and around the same age so they don't fight or reproduce, as this leads to all kinds of issues.

I'm glad you're giving the little guy a helping hand. Best of luck! icon-smile
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Re: Baby rattus rattus (roof rat)

Postby Gryffindor » Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:05 am

Yeah, I've looked up the laws before for my state with roof rats (because I did have one previously for 2 months) and they're legal.

Thanks for the links! :)

I'm still really, really confused...ok, so yesterday I tried to sex her (I've just been calling it a her for now because I have a feeling it's a girl and I also haven't seen any testicles the few times I've seen her climbing upside down on the mesh lid, but then at this age I don't think they'd be so obvious that I could see them at a glance). She was in her paper towel roll so I tipped the paper towel roll into a jar but I didn't realize she'd blocked one end of the roll with bedding, so she just climbed out of the other end of the paper roll.

I didnt want to scare her by chasing her around the tank (and she'd probably just end up escaping out of the tank anyway, which would not be good - she can jump and climb amazingly well) so I decided to figure out another sneaky way of getting her into a jar.

Or maybe just take all the bedding out of her tank (she's in a 10 gallon for now, I'll be upgrading her to my 55 gallon when I buy a good lid for it and then when she's bigger I'll be getting her a nice big cage, probably a critter nation) and put the tank on a metal barred shelf and look up from below and sex her that way. Because trapping her is counter productive to taming her, I imagine.

So anyway the confusing part is I've had this reply on a rat forum (I'll put it in quotes).

Although I haven't had a roofie of my own, I've worked with a couple people in socializing or training theirs. They are bright and some can have very social personalities. For the most part when they are young they tend to accept other small brown rat pups, but when they get older they tend to stay away from brown rats they don't know... which might be a very good idea because brown rats tend to eat roof rats in nature. Despite some really strange stories on the internet, I've never heard of successful interbreeding between black and brown rats, so mixed sexes shouldn't be an issue and someone here had a boy black rat with a girl brown rat friend. When she tried to introduce another brown rat later on, things didn't go well.

So if you are thinking of doing a domestic brown rat friend for your roof rat, I'd try and get a domestic pup of similar size asap. A girl might be best as girl brown rats are typically more active. Once your roofie gets older, it's going to out climb and out jump any brown rat. Roof rats are arboreal and are designed to jump around and climb trees which is a stretch for most brown rats. A big lazy boy isn't going to make too much of a playmate for a super agile roofie when it gets older.

Also do keep in mind, roofies have more complicated dietary requirements than brown rats and need lots of climbing room. For the most part they are usually found in warmer climates and prefer it warmer than brown rats do.

We had a part wild brown rat that killed and ate mice... I'm thinking a roof rat would have made a nice snack for her, although normal domestic brown rats don't usually hunt and kill other rodents, we had another domestic rat that chased the wild mice around the house although never seemed to catch them. I don't think she knew what she would do with one if she ever did... but maybe she might have eaten them too... So I wouldn't introduce your roofie pup to any adult brown rats just in case...

Best luck.


It seems like every source I read says something different in regards to which sex companion to give a roof rat! lol. So even if I knew which sex she was I still wouldn't know what to do...it seems foolish to risk pregnancy but then again if they really can't interbreed (well I guess they can according to this that I found on the spaz website, but mating must be incredibly rare or else there would be more accounts? http://ratbehavior.org/Hybridization.htm) and female browns really would be better playmates...I just want to make the right call!

I was thinking if my parents agree I might get both sexes and that way I could at least get the brown rats now (or like sometime this week), quarantine them for 10 days, and then hopefully by that point I'd know her sex and which sex I ought to put with her. I've wanted rats ever since I was like 9 years old and I've always planned on having both sexes (in separate cages obviously!), but getting the boys first because I have a slight preference for them. I love how the girls are more hyper and playful and the boys more lazy and cuddly. So I'll see...
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Re: Baby rattus rattus (roof rat)

Postby GitaBooks » Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:22 pm

Rats are really smart. Maybe you could teach her to enter a jar for a treat to get a better look. If your worried about an escape then before you do it maybe you could cover up all the places she could hide in the room (if possible) or move the cage into a bathroom or something.

I'm glad your allowed to keep her. Good luck with taming her (or him?)! : )

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