Having pets, especially rodents, is always a great pleasure, whether you are an adult or a child. It is a source of joy, wonder, a very important richness in the heart of everyone.
But when your pet is pregnant and a litter of 1, 2, 3, even 4 or 5 little ones “fall” on your arms when you did not expect it, when you did not hope for it, how do you react? What are the first gestures to have? How should you behave towards the little ones?
Choosing your animal
At first, it all starts with the choice of the animal: if it is possible, if you can choose your rodent, it is important to check it from every angle. It sometimes happens that females and males live together and reproduction and therefore gestation are then common consequences.
When you have not been able to choose the animal (the animal is very well in your home or was offered or given to you without you having been able to check its health), you must then know a few rules about the animal’s young. Do not hesitate to ask the former owner about the animal’s living conditions, its environment, whether he has ever consulted for his animal, etc.
For your part, don’t hesitate to go to pet stores, specialized stores, veterinarians or go to forums on the Internet or specialized sites to ask all your questions.
Managing the birth of young
Depending on the animal, the care to be provided to the young are not the same. Usually, the maternal instinct will help you a lot. For example, the mother will cut the umbilical cord herself and give them their breast milk needs in the first few seconds.
For rodents, generally, the females are several in the same cage and they will help each other to develop their maternal instinct, develop the social life of their young and teach them the basics of their education.
It is not good for a baby rodent to be taken away from its mother and then given to its new owner at physiological weaning without any preparatory stage: it is important for the baby to learn the codes of socialization, communication with peers, games, respect, hierarchy, etc.. In the long run, if he does not know all this, he will have an unstable behavior and will not be able to get along with other individuals of his species.
Where to adopt?
Adopting an animal is not something you do lightly. It requires commitment, seriousness, personal and financial investment at times. It is an act that will take you over a more or less long period of time, it is necessary to know it. For example, a cat or a dog can live up to 15 years or even more!
But what are the possibilities to adopt an animal safely?
. The pet shop: at first glance, this seems an excellent decision, but it often happens that the sellers don’t know much about it, that the origins of the animals remain unclear and that the conditions of care are not very good for the animal.
. Family breeding: the major advantage is that you know the animal’s origins, you know its background and the animal is already more disposed than others to human contact. This is a very interesting solution that is echoed by animal lovers.
. Shelters, rescue associations: you most probably save an animal from euthanasia but you must cover the veterinary fees if the animal is sick. Whatever happens, the animal’s health is not always at its best.
. Classified ads: you must be very careful when you go through this channel because it is impossible to judge the seriousness of the person. It is important to contact the advertiser directly and meet the animal to find out its condition and see if you can adopt it.
Managing a pregnant female
It is possible that you may inherit a so-called pregnant or nursing female.
Be careful because this one can be extremely aggressive: she doesn’t want to be touched or carried, especially when she has 6 to 8 young in her belly.
If the female has already given birth, it is necessary to leave her alone because she protects her young very well. If one is always beside her, the stress could lead her to devour her litter (rats, in particular but also hamster, guinea pig…).
It is important or even crucial to inquire in pet shops – if you buy your pet there – about the conditions in which the animal is kept. It is known that some animals are kept and bred for breeding purposes only and that the young are taken away from their mothers at a very early age.
Is there any recourse? What to do with the little ones?
As a general rule, pet stores mix sex for animals and that’s why nearly 9 times out of 10, it’s a good bet that the females are already pregnant.
You have to wait until the physiological weaning is done and then you have to try to place them, give them away.
Note that pet shops are not obliged to take back the young but you should not hesitate to ask for information.