Rat pregnancy is a fascinating time for rat owners. It can be difficult to tell how many babies you’ll end up with. There’s always the chance that you could end up with an even number or one baby.
How To Tell If A Rat Is Pregnant – 12 Signs
Luckily, several ways can help determine if your rat is pregnant. Read on for more information about how to tell if a rat is pregnant!
1. Swollen Stomach Is A Sign Your Rat Is Pregnant
When your rat is pregnant, she begins to show a swollen belly. This swelling should not get confused with a recent meal or eating a lot of food.
A pregnant rat’s stomach will become rounder and more defined. This gets caused by the growing fetus inside.
There are two main signs to look out for when observing these bumps. The first is that they are directly on both sides of the stomach.
The second sign is that when you touch them, she doesn’t react with pain. If she reacts to these bumps when touched, it’s most likely not due to pregnancy. A swollen stomach in a male rat can also cause this, but if he has an enlarged belly in general, there may be something else going on.
2. How To Tell If A Rat Is Pregnant – She Starts To Pick Food With Nose
Many female rats tend to eat or pick up food and move it to the side with their nose. This is normal, but if you notice your rat doing this a lot more than usual, it may be an indication of pregnancy.
Since they cannot feel the babies moving inside them, some mother rats will even gnaw on wood and other materials (up to their hair).
The only way to ensure if your rat is pregnant or not is with an x-ray or after she gives birth.
3. Nest Building Is A Sign Of Your Rat’s Pregnancy
In the wild, rats build nests to protect their young from predators. In captivity, rats also tend to build nests more when they are expecting young.
The nesting behavior may increase in the weeks leading up to birth. It is important to provide your pregnant rat with nesting materials.
4. Lack Of Energy Is A Sign Your Rat Is Pregnant
A pregnant rat may sleep more in the days leading up to birth. She will also have an increasingly difficult time getting around.
If she moves slowly, it might just be because of age or weight gain. However, if she is moving more slowly than usual, it might be an indication of pregnancy.
5. Restlessness Is A Sign Your Rat Is Pregnant
When she’s near her due date, your rat moves around more in her cage and rarely stays still for long periods. It’s quite common in humans as well, so is the case with rats.
It can be a reason the babies are moving inside her belly and making her uncomfortable.
6. A Rat’s Nipples Will Become More Noticeable If She Is Pregnant
When a rat is pregnant, her nipples will become more noticeable as they increase in size.
The breasts swell with milk during the later stages of pregnancy. After birth, this is when they are at their largest. The reason for this is to prepare the body for lactation.
7. She May Stop Eating Or Lose Weight During Pregnancy
You may notice that she becomes pickier with her food choices.
In the final weeks of pregnancy, your rat will begin to eat less and less before giving birth. If she is eating at all during this time, you should offer her high-quality foods filled with nutrients for a healthy supply of milk for the young.
8. Her Nipples May Darken – A Sign Of Pregnancy
The color of her nipples may darken in the later stages of pregnancy, but this doesn’t always happen.
Some female rats’ nipples will turn black when pregnant, yet it is more common that their nipples will become darker in general.
This is one way to tell if your rat is pregnant or not!
9. How To Tell If A Rat Is Pregnant – Her Tail Might Grow In Length
Many pregnant rats will grow in length. Also, it would be difficult to fit in their running wheels and other types of exercise equipment.
This is because the belly gets in the way. She will need enough exercise to stay healthy, but at this stage, you should be more gentle when handling her if she struggles or tries to escape.
You can assist her by providing larger exercise wheels if she struggles with the ones you have.
10. She Becomes Aggressive If You Touch Her Belly
A pregnant female rat is possessive about her belly and will attack you if she thinks that you are trying to touch or hurt the babies. It may be hard to handle your pregnant rat without injuring her, especially in the later stages.
You should also be careful around her nesting area if she has chosen one. She will be protective of that space and may attack you if you get too close.
The best time to examine her is when she’s asleep or after she has given birth.
11. Labor Pain Can Begin At Any Time
A pregnant rat can go into labor at any time (sometimes it’s only 12-24 hours!)
When it’s time for her to give birth, you might not be given any warnings. Some females will begin to labor in the middle of the night, while others may wait until morning.
The rodents can also take up to 24 hours from beginning contractions until they give birth. If your rat hasn’t given birth by the next day, it may just mean that she will give birth later.
Expect to see contractions about one minute apart and then grow further apart as time goes on. The babies are born with their eyes open, so you might be able to watch the process if you have a good view of her nesting area.
12. How To Tell If A Rat Is Pregnant – Pregnancy Lasts About 22 Days
It might give or take a few days, depending on how many babies are being carried at once.
Your rat will be pregnant for about three weeks, give or take a few days.
You can expect your female to give birth after about 22 days of pregnancy. The exact date she gives birth is determined by the number of babies inside her. It depends on position of the baby in the uterus, and other unique factors to each female rat.
If your rat is showing any of these signs, she may be pregnant. I hope you found this blog post informative and helpful. If your rat is pregnant, please tell us about it in the comments below!
Also, if you have any questions or concerns about rats, feel free to ask them in the comment section.