Rattie Ratz: A Happy Christmas Dozen

by Stephanie Cameron  

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

In February 2021 Rattie Ratz Rescue partnered with multiple rescues along the Pacific Northwest for the surrender of a large group of rats that had been bred as feeders. A man in Oregon had a friend who owned a pet snake, and he began breeding rats as feeders for his friend’s snake. The rats were kept in poor conditions and because he was a truck driver and often away from home the rats were not properly cared for and often ran out of food and water.

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Eventually the man came to the realization that he cared for the rats and saw that rats do in fact make wonderful pets and he no longer wanted to breed them as feeders. He wanted the rats he had to go to good homes, so he reached out to rescues in his area to help. Because this was a large operation with over 100 rats – many of them mothers with babies – the rescue he reached out to asked other rescue organizations to help. Rattie Ratz ended up taking in two mothers. When the two groups arrived at the Rattie Ratz volunteer’s home, the babies were about one week old. The mothers and babies were fostered by long time rat owner and Rattie Ratz volunteer Michaela (Molly) Darling Roque. 


Mamas and babies when they first came in
The mamas were named Jenny and Bella, and the two groups were blended so the mothers could co-raise the babies together, since the babies were the same age. Unexpectedly, when the babies were 4 weeks old, Jenny gave birth to a second litter. Females can become pregnant immediately after giving birth and it turns out the male was not immediately removed from the group. Jenny was separated from the group so she could care for the new babies and Bella was a trouper, taking care of both 4-week-old litters by herself. Thankfully by 4 weeks the babies are pretty self-sufficient and have begun eating solids, so they weren’t nursing as frequently. 

The babies were all sweet with beautiful markings, so of course the Molly foster failed with some of the babies – it’s an occupational hazard! After looking at their cute little faces I certainly can’t blame her, they are all utterly precious. Molly kept Isla from Bella’s litter and Edie from Jenny’s first litter. From Jenny’s second litter she kept Lorelei, and all five male babies, Harlow, Tucker, Vince, Darwin, and Harry. She also kept both mamas for a grand total of 10 ratties. Molly laments that “every baby from all 3 litters were different and it was so hard not to keep them all!!”

Babies all grown up
All of the rats were spayed and neutered once they were old enough and the two groups were blended. Now the not-so-little family has been reunited without any fear of more babies. Three more females were soon added to the group (Lorraine, Allison and Panda), though Allison sadly passed away recently due to pneumonia, making this a big family group of 12 ratties. 

Molly describes how “now that Jenny and Bella are older, they’re less playful, but all the babies still play with each other all the time. They chase, tumble, pin, and groom each other. They also sleep in piles all around the cage. I rarely see anyone sleeping alone. They do so well in such a large mixed group - ratties really are meant to live in groups.”

Although Molly has a larger group, each rat’s temperament is as unique as their markings. From cuddle king, Harlow, to the quietly patient Jenny, and the treat stealer Tucker, “he’s the brother that eats the last of the fries from your plate without asking.” 

Lorelei is right behind Tucker trying to stuff as many treats into her mouth as she possibly can while holding a couple in her hands for good measure. Edie is a mama’s girl and stays close to Jenny. Bella, Isla and Lorraine have created a girl’s club and sleep together most of the time, “they love cramming themselves into the space pod together.” 

With such a large group it’s so interesting to watch the different dynamics of the relationships of each rat. Everyone has a role in the group and while they may branch off into smaller sub-groups at times, everyone gets along well and at their core they are a family. 

Molly looks back on this group of mothers and babies she took in almost a year ago: “I wish I could’ve kept everyone but that would’ve been a really big group of rats! I miss the ones that didn’t stay here, but I’m so glad for the ones did stay. They’re one big happy family!” This group has come a long way from being in a breeder’s bin and for most of them this will be their very first Christmas, how exciting!

With this happy dozen, the pitter patter of little rat feet will be heard throughout Molly’s home this Holiday season. With such a large family Molly has her hands full making sure everyone’s stockings are hung with care for Santa Paws. Dare I say there will be some dreams of yogis dancing in their heads as they’re snuggled in their cuddly rat piles this Christmas Eve.

If you would like to know more about Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their Facebook page. If you are interested in adopting or volunteering for Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their website: www.rattieratz.com

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section & watch for more stories from Rattie Ratz every other month. You can also keep up with our pet articles by joining our KRL Facebook group. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Rattie Ratz. 

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.


  1. They are all so cute! Glad you were able to keep so many together in one big happy family...


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