Everyone knows that female humans have a period every month. But is the same true of female rats?
So, do female rats have a period? No, female rats don’t have a period. If your female rat is bleeding, this means that there’s something wrong with her, and you need to take her to the vet. The only time a female rat will bleed is if she gave birth in the past 24 hours or if she’s giving birth at the moment.
Rats are fascinating creatures, but their health can be a bit confusing, even if you are a long-term rat owner. In order to keep your pet healthy and safe, you should learn all you can about female rats, their reproductive cycles, and what’s normal. Read on to find out more.
Why Is Your Female Rat Bleeding?
Some people see blood coming from their female rat’s vulva and automatically assume that they are having their period. Some mammals and pets do have them — at least some sort of reproductive bleeding. However, rats are not one of those animals.
A female rat will ovulate every 4 to 5 days, and there will be no blood involved. You can expect them to spray more and behave differently — like arching their back when you touch them — but they will not bleed.
There are many reasons why your female rat may be bleeding. For one, there are normal circumstances, like after they give birth. You would know if they gave birth, most likely. Also, it could be that they are giving birth at the moment. In this case, you should check to see whether they are actually pregnant or if they had intercourse with other rats that you may have.
If neither of these things happened, the situation could be much grimmer. For example, female rats bleed around their genital area if they are miscarrying, or if they have a tumor or pyometra.
Either way, you should take your rat to the vet and check it out. It might be serious, or it might not be, but health issues in rats escalate quickly, so you should take them as soon as possible.
If you just bought a rat less than a month ago, they could be pregnant without you knowing it. Breeders and pet shops often put them in the same cages, not separating the two sexes, so breeding is possible. Female rats ovulate every 4 to 5 days, so they would have had plenty of opportunities to find a mate and get pregnant.
Baby rats come after about 25 days of gestation, which means that your rat could have been pregnant when you bought her without you — and sometimes even the pet shop owner — knowing it.
The length of their gestation will depend on the health of the mommy rat, the number of baby rats they have, the age of your new female rat, and many other factors. However, a rat will usually deliver her babies between days 20 and 23 of their gestation.
Make sure that you are aware of the signs of labor and that you’re on the lookout for them if you noticed bleeding.
Rats and Miscarriage
Bleeding could also be a sign of miscarriage in female rats. If she delivers before the day 18 of her gestation, this means that she’s miscarrying.
So, if you notice any blood, you should watch out for small baby rats, pinkish in color, your pet rat nesting and looking for a good space to give birth, etc. On the other hand, you may not see any baby rats since female rats often absorb them in their womb.
You’ll find even less evidence of a miscarriage if they lose the pregnancy earlier in the gestation. If it happens really early on, you probably won’t even notice any of it.
Of course, you won’t know how far along your pet rat is if you just got her, so you should prepare both for birth and for miscarriage.
Why Is Your Rat Still Bleeding After Giving Birth?
So, your rat just gave birth, and that was her cause of bleeding. Great! You have plenty of new ratty buddies to play with. However, what if your mommy rat is still bleeding after giving birth?
In general, your rat should stop bleeding after 24 hours of giving birth. This is what’s considered normal, so if she’s bleeding and 24 hours haven’t passed yet, you shouldn’t worry. It’s perfectly normal.
But, if she’s still bleeding after that time passes, you should take her to the vet. As mentioned, health problems in rats escalate more quickly than you can imagine, and she could be in serious danger.
They can bleed out and die if the problem that caused the bleeding isn’t fixed quickly. For instance, a female rat can get serious injuries to her vulva, uterus, or birthing canal during delivery, and this can, in turn, cause numerous infections. All of these can lead to the death of your beloved pet.
As a way to prevent that, your vet will be able to administer antibiotics, perform surgery, and so on.
This is why it’s crucial to find a good vet as soon as you get a pet or even before you get one. Then you can have them on call for these situations or any problems you run into with your pet. You’ll be more at ease if you do this on time rather than rushing and searching for a vet who can care for a rat when a crisis happens.
Finding a good vet that takes in rats is quite difficult, especially if you live in a rural area where there are only one or two vet offices. But it’s possible, and you should know where to go.
What If Your Rat is Not Pregnant, But They Are Bleeding?
In case you are certain that your rat isn’t pregnant, but they are still bleeding, you should take her to your vet. Your rat could be suffering from some really dangerous issues, and they need immediate attention.
If you want to keep them alive and healthy, it’s better to be quick. Female rats get various conditions that could be life-threatening like pyometra, which is common in older female rats or uterine prolapse.
Tumors are rare but still very possible, and they can spread quickly.
Rats and Pregnancy
Considering that gestation in rats is only 25 days long, you probably won’t know it’s happening until the last week. But, there are still some signs you’ll be able to see during your rat’s pregnancy.
- Female rats will gain weight during pregnancy
- At the beginning of the last week, your female rat will lose hair around the nipples
- She’ll be more aggressive to other rats in the cage
- She won’t be in heat at any point during her pregnancy
Signs of a female rat in heat are:
- Their ears will vibrate
- They will spray more
- They will arch their back if you touch them on their lower back
- They will be more interested in males
Since their ovulation is every 4 to 5 days, you’ll probably notice the lack of this behavior in another 5 days.
What If Your Rat is Pregnant?
A pregnant rat will need more protein. You can give them kitten food with their regular meals and allow her to eat plenty.
Keep in mind that a female rat could have many babies, and they all need to be fed.
You should move a pregnant rat away from the other rats. She’ll give birth in a separate cage and spend the majority of her time there with her babies until they are a bit stronger.
What Are The Signs of Pregnancy in Rats?
If you know when your rat got pregnant, you’ll probably be expecting a birth after 20 days. But in case you’re not sure when your rat got pregnant, you can notice it by watching out for these signs:
- She’ll be very fat, especially in the belly area
- She’ll begin nesting
- She won’t be able to move as quickly as she did before
Give her the best chances possible by preparing the cage. Put it somewhere warm and give her plenty of toilet paper and newspaper pieces she can cut up and make a nest.