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.
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.
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.
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.
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.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.