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Now What?

Gosh. It looked like a little mouse. It was incredible that it was still living. And I was beginning to feel responsible for the little tyke, while at the same time knowing next to nothing about rodents. Looking through the kitchen, a carton of cottage cheese seemed to be the most likely baby rodent friendly food. And the wee rodent did eat a teeny bit once the cheese was warmed slightly in the microwave. It wanted to live.

Baby rodent asleep with back leg curled next to headKitten formula is what is recommended for baby rodents who are still nursing, so kitten formula it was, purchased with a syringe for feeding. While the kitten formula was a hit, the syringe was a Bad Idea. It was difficult to carefully control the flow, which inadvertently resulted in covering the little creature with sticky formula with every feeding. The formula soaked into the fur and dried into thick mats.

Eventually the eyes and ears started to open, which was a remarkable thing to witness. First one would open, then close, as the other opened. In just a couple days, eyes and ears were all fully open and in action, changing how the baby rodent was able to interact with the world around it.

The “plan” was to nurse the creature until it could survive on its own, then release it into the wild, far from humans. Towards this end it was handled as little as possible, only for feeding, and always while wearing gloves. Because the formula had matted its fur, several baths were attempted, but unfortunately without much success in cleaning the formula from the fur.

Two things happened at about this time. First, as it was now clear that the little rodent was probably going to survive, it was time to find some regular rodent food. In my mind, I had been thinking it was a mouse. In the nearby pet store, bulk food is available towards the back, after passing by their wall of caged animals for sale. Walking by the cage of mice, it suddenly struck me that my rodent, definitely still a baby, was obviously larger than these adult mice… Then there was the cage of rats. The conclusion was inescapable and quite uncomfortable: this was a RAT!

Secondly, as the little rodent had started to grow, the matted fur would not expand, and so, instead, began flaking off, removing the fur all together; Kind of a rodent depilatory. It was becoming a sadly naked little RAT.

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Blog_post | by Dr. Radut