Rattie Rats Rescue: Lily & Samantha

Jan 27, 2018 | 2018 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Rodent Ramblings

by Alyssa Nader

Alyssa Nader is a volunteer with Rattie Ratz Rescue in the bay area of California. Each month KRL will be featuring at least one animal rescue adventure story, and every other month there will be one from Rattie Ratz.

Anastasia and her family started their experience with rats, as many people do, at the pet store. After their much-loved ratties left them way too soon, they were filled with a deep need to fill the rat-shaped hole left in their hearts. At this time, they reached out to Rattie Ratz for help finding new rats who were in need of a forever home, who could help them to heal and love again.rats

Those lucky ratties were Lily and Samantha. Before meeting Anastasia in February of 2017, Lily and Samantha were a big surprise for another family. The first was that they were born on New Year’s Eve 2016; talk about a party. The second is that they were brought into this world in an unplanned pregnancy to a very young “teen mom” rat.


Plenty of Room in the Mardi Gras tree stump

This situation is very common, and a big reason so many rats need homes. Here’s why:
Rats are weaned and able to be taken to a new home at around five weeks old. At this age rats are sexually mature and, therefore, able to get pregnant. This is important to consider if you are purchasing a rat from a source like a pet store. If your new pet is a female and hasn’t been properly separated from males at this time, you are getting a pregnant rat.

However, sexual and social maturity are not the same thing. Much like humans, rats are physically able to become pregnant far sooner than they are socially and emotionally ready to do so. A rat gestation period is three weeks. A rat can give birth at only eight weeks old, although rats do not mature socially until six months of age.

In addition to a young mother not being ready, most people who bring one or two rats into their home as pets do not intend to bring home six to 13 additional ones a few weeks later!

We hope this gives some context, and that’s enough rat trivia for today. Back to Lily and Samantha.


Lily and Samantha

By the time Lily and Samantha were six weeks old, they were ready to go home with Anastasia. Because her previous two rats had not been from the same litter, they needed to live separately. (For more tales of dueling rodent dramas, see Disco and Biscuit’s story, also featured in Kings River Life Magazine.) Anastasia had not yet experienced the joy of two rats living together, cuddling, playing, and interacting with each other, displaying their different personalities.

Lily and Samantha were inseparable from the start. They sleep stacked on top of each other, or even cocoon into one tiny hammock, with legs & tails gracefully spilling over and noses poking out.


Plenty of room in here too, just showing off my pedicure

Of course, their individual traits became more noticeable as Anastasia and her family got to know them better. Bold Samantha is an explorer and has earned the nickname “Marco Polo.” Conversely, Lily is shy and prefers home decor and alone time; her main interests include hiding and building fine nests.


Ready for my close-up

Samantha and Lily are in a loving forever home, where they bring Anastasia and her family tons of joy and happiness. They call them their “Therapy Rats.” Thanks to Rattie Ratz, they also have a source of support and information, as well as a community of rats and the people who love them. Samantha and Lily send a shout-out to Jeri and Molly, their rat-sitters and photographers.

Rattie Ratz is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to help all domesticated ratties who come to us find a loving, forever home.

Rattie Ratz: Rescue, Resource, & Referral
Click here to email us at: info@rattieratz[dot]com
Call us at: (415) 340-1896

If you would like to know more about Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their Facebook page. If you are interested in adoptable rats or volunteering for Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their website: www.rattieratz.com.

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section & watch for more stories from Rattie Ratz every other month. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Rattie Ratz.

Alyssa Blake Nader is a writer and mental health professional living in the Bay Area. She is new to the rat community and mother to two rat brothers named Bitey and Pablo. In her free time, she enjoys creating art, improve performance, dancing to techno, and bothering everyone about rats.


  1. Thanks for sharing Lilly and Samantha’s story. I can’t get over how cute that rattie nose closeup photo is. Adorable!

    Thanks, also, for bringing up the problem of unexpected litters when it comes to obtaining small pets from pet stores. It’s all too common between stores not separating animals by sex early enough–or in some stores, at all (!!!). I’ve also heard stories, woefully often, about people being sold two animals of the opposite sex despite asking for two males or two females. When that happens the problem is doubled since rats, mice, and many other small pets can get pregnant within hours of giving birth leading to a second litter starting before the humans even realize they have a first.

    It’s just another of the many great reasons to adopt from a rescue instead of buying a small animal companion. Rescues rock! 🙂

  2. Lovely story! Yes, unexpected litters often result in rats needing new homes. I adopted a mom with 5 2-week old babies. I don’t know any background information. At adoption, the mom was very sociable and at least 6 months old. She had been very well taken care of. I am guessing that when the babies came along the owner was not in a position to keep them. She dropped them off at a friends house and he contacted the rat adoption group at the same time I did and they gave us the contact information. That was a year ago and mom and all 5 of her kids are doing just great! I kept them all, along with a dumbo girl that I also adopted. Adoption is such a rewarding experience!
    Thanks for the inspiring story.

  3. Boy! Does THIS story sound familiar! I purchased Opal, my first female rat, in mid-December, 2007. I noticed that she started getting … plumper. I thought that this could be because she had free access to food for the first time without having to share it. But then I noticed what appeared to be … nesting. Surely enough, in the wee morning hours between January 2nd and 3rd, 2008, my Opal gave birth to sixteen babies! Now what on God’s green earth was I gonna do with sixteen baby rats?! (One ended up passing away and of the 15 remaining, only one was female. I decided to keep the female (whom I named Pearl) but rehome the males.)

    It was through mama Opal’s sixteen babies that I met my best friend in all the world. She helped me place most of the boys. The remaining boys lived out the rest of their lives with my friend at her rescue.

    After having saved Opal from her fate of becoming snake fodder, I later adopted another “feeder rat” from the same pet supply store. It was obvious that Tulip was pregnant. Tulee gave birth to 11 babies. This time, there was a better mix of boys and girls. I kept two girls, naming them Lily and Iris. The other nine went to my best friend’s rescue. She was able to find homes for about half. The remaining half lived out the rest of their lives with her.

    I now have two boy rats (Leonard and Sheldon) whom I also saved from being snake food. I’ve nothing against snakes, but I don’t see why more people don’t look at a rat and see what I see: a wonderful companion! And I think that baby rats are about the cutest beings in all the world!



  1. Don’t miss the latest column from Rattie Ratz rat rescue-the story of a pair of rescued rats named Lily and Samantha https://kingsriverlife.com/01/27/rattie-rats-rescue-lily-samantha/ … – Healthy ProLife - […] Don’t miss the latest column from Rattie Ratz rat rescue-the story of a pair of rescued rats named Lily…

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