My kids and I have been caring for 7 baby wild rats for the last 4 days. We have all been washing our hands after handling them. They were very small probably about a week old when we found them in our yard. We thought about releasing them into the national park after they were old enough but I dont know if they will be able to eat on there own. Is this the right thing to do? Is this safe to care for them?
Pet's Age: <1
Type of Animal: Wild Rat
Do you have any idea how old the babies are?
What type of diet are they on?
What State do you live in?
My guess would be they are about 11 days old now when we found then on Saturday it lloked like their hair had just come in. Their eyes are still not open. We have been feeding them kitten milk (is this ok?) from a syringe thing. I live in Orange County, CA
We do feed KMR which is kitten milk replacer. http://ratfanclub.org/orphans.html The problem is releasing them. Since Rats are prolific breeders and can over run an area is the big problem. The best solution would be to turne them over to a Wildlife rehabilitation center where they can continue to care for them and then properly release when it is time. They may separate the males and females and may even spay or neuter them so they do not over populate an area where released.
This is a link with all the Wildlife Rehabilitators in California. They are sanctioned by the Fish and Game Commission who regulates the wildlfe and their care. http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/WIL/rehab/facilities.html
This would be the best thing for the Rats to be sure that they get the best chance for life whether it be in the wild or to teach about Wildlife at the rescues.
As far as handling them, using the proper hand cleaning and sanitation is the best way of protecting yourself. There is always a chance of parasites when dealing with wildlife, so be sure to clean with bleach water if the pass stool and you have to clean an area.
Vet Tech for 30+yrs. Small Animals and Fish