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SURPRISE!
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Vanita's SURPRISE! Litter
Born August 04,2005




Mom: Vanita
Silvered Black Veriberk Standard-coat with a headspot Top-eared Doe
Vanita
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Father: Unknown - one of her brothers
?????????




Sunday, August 07,2005: How stupid can one feel? REALLY stupid.

For the last 3 days, twice, just for a second, I had heard what sounded to me like rat pups squeaking. Each time I heard this I checked Feta's cage because hopefully she is pregnant and I thought maybe she had had her babies. Nope, no babies, and I just chalked it up to the girls power-grooming each other. Never even crossed my mind that there were babies elsewhere in the rat room.

Well, tonight I'm cleaning the youngest girls' cage and, um, , I find four pups in the bedding in the corner of the cage. I'm stunned, to say the least. These pups are *very* quiet, but healthy. Three days old, they're black berkshires, top-eared, and they're Vanita's babies.

Not once did Vanita show any sign of pregnancy, or giving birth. She even free-ranged with the other girls, as usual, no signs, what-so-ever, of motherhood. I only know that it's Vanita's litter because her nipples are larger then normal. I've never had a rat have babies in a communial cage before, and all the other girls kept the secret as well.

How? I guess I've just proved to myself that other forum members are absolutely correct in that it's possible for rats to breed through the cage bars. I never believed anyone because it's never happened to me before. My accidental litters where because someone escaped their cage while the opposite sex was free-ranging. Somehow Vanita managed to get to the top of one of the tables where the boys' cages are, or visa-versa for each others' free-range time. Looks like I'm back to greasing table legs so the girls can't climb up them. Girls might climb the table legs but I've never seen the boys do it. Must be too much of an effort for males to climb.

Try it some time, grease a table leg with Vaseline and then watch your rats try to climb it. It's hilarious.

Anyway, as soon as my shocked brain can come to terms with this, I have cages to clean out and babies to enjoy.

Thursday, August 11,2005: I think Vanita wishes that I had not found her hidden family. She's one of the rats that I got from the Auction last year, and by nature, they are a nervous, skittish, lot, except for Yogi and his mom Uma.

I thought it would be neat to watch the babies grow up in a communial cage but I didn't like how I had a hard time finding the babies amongst the bedding, and they were being trampled on by the other rats while they are under the bedding. Vanita did not have a permanent nest for them which led me to believe that she kept moving them in a vain effort to keep them safe. I had to clean the cage more often with a larger group of rats then I would have to with just one rat and her babies. It was cute watching Kasseri wash the babies.

So I moved Vanita and her little family to their own cage. Vanita has built a permanent nest in the corner of this cage, and she is the perfect mom. Her free range time allows me to handle the babies.

I was looking at the baby pictures of the "Hershey's Kisses" on the Raternity Ward pages of my website and comparing these pictures with "The Surprise! Litter" I got the date of their birth wrong. Last night they had that definite sheen of new hair growing in so they were born August 4, 2005. It was August 3 and 4 when my attention was elsewhere concerning the group of rats I just brought home on the third. Good timing Vanita.

We have 2 girls and 2 boys. I know this sounds sterotypical but the boys really are bigger then then the girls, and one boy is huge. Something else I find interesting is that the girls are veriberks like their Mom and Auntie, and the boys are berkshires like their Father and Uncles. I fear that their Father is one of their Uncles, hopefully Yogi?

I'm looking up East Indian names to keep with the theme of the original family. And "Crocodile Hunter" fans will recognize the names, "Bindi" and "Sheela".
Names were found at Indian Baby Names



Surprise litter
From left to right, at four weeks old, Sheela, Ravi, Bindi, Ashwin



Bindi

SPAZ Bindi
Her name means - buttons worn on Indian clothing
aka: Binni, Bindi-Sue, Zee (for the marking on her side)
Born: August 04,2005

Black Veriberk, Standard-coated, Top-eared, Doe

Personality: Seems to be a genetic factor that this line of rats is a skittish, jumpy lot. Once Bindi is caught she settles down and is ok to be held.
RIP Bindi March 03,2008
Ravages of old age. She died embraced in the arms of her beloved old Teague.

Sheela

SPAZ Sheela
Her name means - Character
aka: She-Rat
Born: August 04,2005

Black Veriberk, Standard-coated, Top-eared, Doe

Personality: Seems to be a genetic factor that this line of rats is a skittish, jumpy lot. Once Sheela is caught she settles down and is ok to be held. She is somewhat less nervous then her sister.
RIP Sheela June 04,2007
Late on-set Mammary Tumor

Ashwin

SPAZ Ashwin
His name means - A star
aka: Ash, Winter (opposite of what is black)
Born: August 04,2005

Silvered Black Mis-marked Irish, Standard-coated, Top-eared, Buck

Personality: Seems to be a genetic factor that this line of rats is a skittish, jumpy lot. Once caught Ashwin turns into a mush and he's content to stay in your arms.
Ashwin's marking is like an elongated star that runs the length of his chest and belly.
Ashwin has gotten rather, how do I put this politely? Rotund
RIP Ashwin September 17,2006
Due to his obesity I believe Ashwin died of a sudden heart attack

Ravi

SPAZ Ravi
His name means - sun
aka: Rave
Born: August 04,2005

Silvered Black English Irish, Standard-coated, Top-eared, Buck

Personality: Seems to be a genetic factor that this line of rats is a skittish, jumpy lot. A bit more nervous then his brother, but once caught, Ravi turns into a mush and he's content to stay in my arms.
Ravi's marking is like the sun on his chest.
RIP Ravi April 25,2007
Chronic Myco


RIP ratties can be seen here


Their bodies held in storage in the freezer, awaiting this day,
the Vanita's Surprise Litter were cremated, their ashes mingled,
and returned to me, January 22,2009






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