American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the Winter 1997 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Breeding & Stuff

Hairless Rat Babies; Males Help Raise Babies; Pedigreed Rat; Babies Savagely Killed/Tailless Mice
Hairless Rat
A Hairless Rat.
Hairless Rat Babies

Q My Hairless girl, Beatrice, had a mere three babies 2 days ago. I found one dead this morning. The remaining two felt coldish, but looked like they had a little milk in them.

I figure two babies just aren’t enough to keep the nest warm. I was also afraid Beatrice’s milk would dry up. I was in a pet store yesterday and they were selling two litters of babies as pinkies for snake food. I returned there today and bought three babies to be adopted by Beatrice.

Hopefully this will give my two Hairless babies some warmth. I am really hoping they survive as I wanted to keep some baldies for breeding. Beatrice was pregnant when I bought her in Toronto, and she is probably the first bald rat ever to enter this part of the country. Marion Banfield, Canada

A Unfortunately, problems with breeding Hairless rats are fairly common. Often, Hairless rats either do not make good mothers, or they do not produce enough milk for the babies to survive.

The way to overcome this problem is to breed another female rat at the same time you breed your Hairless. That way, if the Hairless is unable to raise her litter, you can give them to the other female to raise.

If you breed your Hairless again, you will have to use a haired male since you do not have a Hairless one. All the babies you produce will have hair. If you keep a male and a female of these haired babies and breed them back together, you will produce some Hairless.

Many breeders prefer to use haired females who have one Hairless parent to breed for Hairless. When bred to a Hairless male, they will produce a litter in which half of the babies should be Hairless. Because the female has hair, she should not have any problems raising her babies.

Males Help Raise Babies

Q I have read that male mice do not participate in caring for their young. In my experience this is not the case. Not only have my males “helped out,” but also older siblings. Is this really unusual?

A Most of the pet shop books we have found can be inaccurate in their information. Yes, the males will help care for the babies. Many breeders have reported that many times the males will help wash the babies, keep them warm, as well as hovering over them as if to feed them. Many times older siblings will do the same.

Pedigreed Rat

Q I have just recently bought a Siamese pedigreed rat. I was thinking of breeding her but I don’t know exactly what to do? Do I have to send for pedigree papers?

A Before you breed you female rat, you will want to make sure she is in good health and at the right age for breeding (usually between 4 and 5 months). It is not necessary to send for pedigree papers unless you want to make sure that her offspring also have pedigree papers. Unlike dogs and cats, there is no national registry for rats and mice. Pedigree papers are simply a means of tracking the background of a particular animal, and in no way mean that the animal is “purebred” or rare. Pedigrees are not necessary for show or breeding animals, though most responsible breeders do maintain them. I would suggest contacting the breeder of your rat for more information on her pedigree.

Babies Savagely Killed/Tailless Mice

Q I have a small rat and mouse colony. In my rat colony I have seven females and four males. They live in harmony (usually). A couple of months ago I found a holocaust! I had two litters—one just ready to wean, and a newborn batch. When I opened the crate door, I couldn’t believe my eyes. ALL the babies were dead!! They had been savagely killed. Under the pile of little bodies I found one newborn survivor. What to do?? My mice had just had a litter so I picked up the little rat baby, rolled it in the soiled mouse shavings in the corner, then dropped it into the mouse nest. The mice all started sniffing, poking, and then mother mouse covered all the babies. Weeks went by and baby rat outgrew his surrogate mom.

I finally found the rogue rat. This black male destroyed another litter minus one again, and my mice are raising their second rat. Has anyone else successfully had mice raise rats?

This second orphan is a female. She is smaller than a normal rat for her age. I wonder, if her growth is stunted and when she becomes sexually mature, could a male mouse inseminate her and would she conceive? A “rouse” or a “mat”?

One of my mice was born tailless, real cute! Is this common? This is a first in 2 years for me.

Find Mouse An orphan mouse raised with rats.

A I’ve heard of one lady several years ago that had her mice raise an orphan rat. Also in one book I saw, they told of how in experiments, mice raised on rats are more sociable and calmer, whereas rats raised on mice take on some mouse behavior. I’ve had great luck raising mice on rats.

To my knowledge no one has ever bred a “rouse” or a “mat”. Since mice and rats are different species, this should not be possible.

No, Tailless mice are not common. When you do get one it is difficult to breed them and get more. A lady up in Northern California had a Tailless mouse at a show. They look just like the rats—rounded butt, smaller, etc. Tailless rats have become more common and are very popular pets. They do have breeding problems and you must be very careful when breeding these rats. *

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Updated December 2, 2014