Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to Tell when a Pet Female Rat is in Heat

*My first female rat, Romi*

A female rat is called a doe and male rats are called bucks. Because rats have such short life spans, females will go into heat about once a week but it only lasts for about twelve hours. This can be a time when a female rat might act differently and should not be confused with being sick or otherwise ill.
Can I handle my rat at that time?

Since it happens every week a female rat may act a little different during that time but then most animals will act differently when they are in heat. You can handle your pet rat when she is in heat but she may act a little strange when you do.

She might be more skittish or jumpy and she might also stop and not move if you rub her lower back. I noticed my doe would totally freeze where she was standing, lift her tail and arch her back, while eye boggling if I rubbed her back during that time of the week.

Do Female Rats bleed while in heat?
No, they don't. While there might be a different odor coming from your doe, she should not bleed while she is in heat. I found that my doe would have a slight musky odor when she was in heat. It is very common for rat owners to be able to sense when their doe's are in heat from the difference in odor and the way she acts.

Why would my female rat be bleeding?
There are several reasons a doe might be bleeding. It could be from a urinary tract infection, bladder infection, vaginal infection, polycystic ovary disease, tumors, cancer, infections or she could have gotten into a fight with her cage mate and gotten bitten.

In any case, if you see blood you should call your Vet's office right away and make an appointment. Most of the ailments I stated above can be treated with the right medications or with spaying. The problem is most veterinarians don't work with 'exotics' and have no experience in dealing with pet rats.

Make sure to find a vet in your area that has experience with 'exotics' before you bring a new pet rat home, and have the phone number to their office handy in case of emergencies.