Rattie Ratz: And then there were two,The Story of Rose and Annie

by Stephanie Cameron

Stephanie Cameron is a volunteer with Rattie Ratz Rescue in the bay area of California. Each month KRL will be featuring a column from Rattie Ratz.

While some animals have the good fortune of being born in a loving home, there are others who must struggle before they reach their happily ever after. For Rose and Annie, they are still on this journey.

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Rose and Annie are two lovely domestic pet rats who were sadly the victims of an animal hoarding case along with hundreds of their extended (and not so extended) family. Sadly, these rats were running lose because the hoarder didn’t have enough cages, so the rats were breeding indiscriminately. Not to get too technical, but for those not familiar with the breeding cycle of rats, a female rat’s gestation period is only 21 days and a litter can range in size from 6 babies to 20 babies, though 10 or 12 is a more average size for one litter.
Annie the day RR picked her up

That means from conception to birth it only takes three weeks to go from two rats to 12-20 rats. And to make it even more difficult to stop this cycle, not only can a female become pregnant immediately after giving birth, but the babies can become sexually mature as early as 5 weeks old, which is why babies are weaned from the mother at 5 weeks. In a hoarding situation the rats are not separated, so not only are babies becoming pregnant, but most of the animals are related and with inbreeding comes the potential for some health issues. Heartbreakingly, when hoarding cases get really bad and the animals are fighting for resources, young babies often get caught in the middle.

Animal hoarding is a very serious issue that often does not receive enough public attention and what’s heartbreaking is that the ones who truly suffer are the animals who have no voice of their own, like Rose and Annie. If it were not for city officials and rescue organizations that are willing to step in and help, the outcome for these animals would not be very bright. For Rose and Annie, they were two of the lucky ones.

Once the city became involved in this hoarding case, a local rescue stepped in to help but became quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of rats in the home. Even so, a volunteer with this local rescue was able to take away a large group of rats from the hoarder. Of course, many of the females were pregnant and all of the females were on pregnancy watch. Once this local rescue assessed their resources and their rescued females started giving birth, they knew that they needed help placing these rats. One of the rescue groups they reached out to was Rattie Ratz Rescue.
Rose the day RR picked her up

While Rattie Ratz was already very full of their own foster and sanctuary rats, with a surrender waitlist to boot. They wanted to do their best to help, even if it only meant taking a couple of rats. Rattie Ratz ended up taking two females who were still on pregnancy watch and were added to the foster roster with the intent that they were most likely pregnant. The females were separated so they could go into nursery bins. These bins are well ventilated but provide more security than a mainstream rat cage, so that the newborn babies would be safe, and mom would have her own space to nest and prepare for her babies prior to giving birth.

These expectant mothers were being fostered by two different volunteers, who named their new charges Rose and Annie. As luck would have it, neither female was pregnant which the rescue was very happy to hear, as that would have been a lot more rattie mouths to feed! While Rose and Annie were on pregnancy watch they received some extra love and socialization from their respective foster moms. For being in a hoarding situation, these girls were surprisingly sweet and social.

Rose is still jumpy, but her foster mom believes that comes more from her poor eyesight, as Rose is almost completely blind. Although her vision is very bad, this doesn’t stop Rose from going where she needs to go, and if you were watching her explore you would have no idea that she has trouble seeing, but the signs come out when Rose is sitting still. This is when she will bob her head in an attempt to focus on whatever she is looking at.
Annie the day she became Rose's neighbor

This behavior was the first thing that gave away the fact that she could not see very well. Annie also does a little head bobbing, but she can see much better than Rose. Other than some quirky head bobbing, Rose and Annie are in wonderful health and are in much better spirits than when they first arrived at Rattie Ratz.

Now that the girls are cleared for adoption and their pregnancy watch is over, the rescue is working on putting the girls back together. Annie is now neighbors with Rose and Rose’s foster mom is working on introducing the two girls. She is optimistic that this introduction will be an easier one, as the girls had already spent time together before they came to Rattie Ratz. What is even more wonderful is that the girls already have an adopter!

As soon as they are happily living together again, Rose and Annie will be going home with their new family. All of us at Rattie Ratz are very excited to hear this, as these two girls truly deserve this second chance at life. Never again will they be left to fend for themselves, Rose and Annie will know love and affection, will never again be afraid or be cold and hungry. Their new beginning is just starting, and we can’t wait to see where it takes them.

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.com
Call us at: (415) 340-1896

If you would like to know more about Rattie Ratz Rescue or find out about upcoming information/adoption events, please visit our Facebook or Instagram. If you are interested in adoptable rats or volunteering for Rattie Ratz Rescue, visit our website.

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section on Kings River Life, and the Pets section here on KRL News & Reviews. Check back every month for another animal rescue adventure from Rattie Ratz. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Rattie Ratz.

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Stephanie Cameron works and lives in the Bay Area, and has been active in the rat rescue community for a number of years. She got her first pair of rats - sisters named Snowflake and Diamond - when she was eight years old. In her spare time she enjoys reading, walking her dogs, traveling, discovering fantastic vegan recipes, and singing in the shower.