How to tell if my Rat is Pregnant
Rats can be sexually mature before six weeks of age, therefore if your female rat was not isolated from all male rats, including family members, at around five weeks of age, she may be pregnant. If you did not witness the mating or if your new pet rat becomes pregnant, predicting the delivery date will be tough. Rat gestation duration ranges from 21 to 24 days, and a female’s body undergoes numerous changes during pregnancy and fetal development.
Here’s how to tell if my rat is pregnant
One of the first signs that your rat has successfully mated is the formation of a copulatory mucous plug in her vagina, which is generated by mucus and secretions of the male rats’ accessory sex glands. The plug keeps the sperm in the female’s vagina and may prevent other guys from impregnating her. The existence of a plug does not prove that a female rat is pregnant, but it does suggest that she is.
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Throughout the year, rats go into heat every four to five days, with a typical cycle lasting around 12 hours. If your rat’s cycles can be tracked and she misses one or more, she could be pregnant. Only missing one cycle could suggest that your rat was pregnant but lost the litter. Because some female rats do not have visible cycles, you must rely on other indicators to establish if she is pregnant.
An increase in your rat’s appetite is a symptom of pregnancy, as the pregnant female’s body requires more resources to maintain her health and strength, as well as to nurture her growing offspring. Some pregnant rats steal food from other females who used to share meals with them. Pregnant rats may be more possessive of their food and seek for hiding places to stow it if they are determined to have enough meals. Your rat will rely on you to provide healthy snacks, as well as fresh water and balanced meal essentials like lab blocks.
Changes in Behavior
Being pregnant disrupts the hormonal balance of a female rat, which might result in behavioral abnormalities. Pregnancy could explain why your normally calm and sweet female rat is territorial and aggressive with her rat and human friends and relatives. During pregnancy, a hyperactive female may become more quiet or sleep more, especially as the due date approaches. Your playful rat might cease playing, or your submissive rat might turn dominant. Your female rat’s pre-pregnancy personality is likely to return after pregnancy, birth, and the first few weeks of caring for her newborns.
Reactions to Male Rats
Female rats frequently lose interest in males once they get pregnant. Even if your female has strong reactions to the presence of males in her environment or the odor of a male rat on your skin and clothes, your pregnant rat is unlikely to sniff at, seek out, be curious about, or respond at all to the fragrance of male rats.
If you can weigh your female rat prior to mating, you will have a baseline against which to measure her weight gain. A typical female rat whose pregnancy is developing normally would acquire weight immediately after conception, then gradually gain weight over the majority of the pregnancy, and ultimately gain significantly at the end of her pregnancy. Weight fluctuations are normal during pregnancy; however, if your rat does not acquire weight or is losing weight, a significant concern may emerge. A veterinarian who is familiar with rat care should examine your rat.
When your rat is about two weeks pregnant, her abdomen may begin to expand. The third week is when you will notice her midsection expanding and possibly moving. Avoid palpating your rat’s abdomen to feel the foetuses because they are very fragile and can be harmed by even gentle handling. During the final stages of pregnancy, your rat’s hips will broaden and her lower abdomen will grow much rounder.
Another indicator of pregnancy is when the female rat’s nipples become more prominent and noticeable around the third week of pregnancy. Your pregnant rat will lose some of the fur that surrounds her nipples about a week before giving birth. The fur loss is done to expose the nipples so the new newborns may feed more easily.
Certain hormone levels rise a few days before a pregnant rat gives birth, while others fall. Hormonal changes amplify a rat’s maternal behavior, triggering her innate nesting instinct. Your female rat’s nest building suggests that her kids will be arriving soon. Some females construct simple nests, while others construct intricate nests to conceal their infants. You can assist the expecting mother by giving a single-level cage, some hiding boxes, and secure materials for her nest.
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