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12 August 2006 @ 10:39 pm
All Day I Dream About Sex(ing rat babies)  
In today's episode of the Little Red Rat Diary, Lela has her litter, sex determination is attempted, and we thwart our on-set ASPCA regulator to find fun games that can be played with day-old rat kittens!





Maternity Ward, Version 2.0: Now, With More Nanites: The day began with some sort of dust-up in the maternity ward, resulting in the executive decision to break out a 10-gallon tank for Lela's Home Birthing Experience, and the whole kit and caboodle has been moved to the living room. I will probably sleep better without the squeaking, but I am the only one happy with the transfer. Jadzia dealt with yet more upheaval and loneliness in her living situation by flipping out, running around like a demon, and then hiding in my purse for a few hours. "Don't worry, it'll be a bonding experience!" I say. "We'll hang out!" She shakes her tail at me all, if you really loved me, you would let me eat your chapstick.




Handfuls of Rats! Ezri's litter at one day old. Ezri is in the background, mid-romp around the room. She spent as much time as we'd let her today playing outside the cage and seems to find this whole motherhood thing to be a bit of a drag, but she has learned to count to twelve and searches out any missing babies quickly. Yay! No more losing them under napkins!




Zomg, It Has Proto-Genetalia! Then came the exciting adventure of sexing determining the sex of the rat babies! Curiosity Rats -- from whence I got the Rat Baby Diary idea -- has some nice pictures and diagrams which will explain how this is a bit of a guessing game. Ezri's litter has 8 girls! Here they are at 1 day old.




But they would match the pink layette set so well... And 4 boys!




Lela Gives Birth, OMG! Sick of us telling her, "Have your babies already!" Lela has her babies already. She had a much harder time of it than Ezri did and fell asleep on top of her litter for a few hours afterwards (when Ezri was immediately up and running around and wanting to play with Jadzia). This made it much more challenging for us to count heads, but since she was sitting on all of them, it made it a lot less likely that the babies would wander off and get lost in paper towel. (Oh, and easier for them to nurse, too.)




And When I Say "Devoted Father" I Mean "Mildly Interested Bystander." Rat baby daddies Porthos (the gray one on the right) and Spot (the white one having an oddly camera-shy day) look on, more curious about who is sharing my rice milk and other snack food goodness than about who is giving birth to their young. It is unclear who has fathered which litter, so I will dance around the topic of parentage with skills learned from watching the 8th season of The X-Files until their fur comes in. At that time, we will be able to tell by their coloring and whether or not they can fling pieces of metal across the room with their minds.




All The Beastie Boys Really Want Is Girls: Lela's litter has four girls! I think. There will be a recount tomorrow, and since it's rather hard to tell at day 0, there's a chance someone will end up being named Rodnina after all.




I Have Nothing Clever Left To Say About Boys... But there are seven of them!

***

Allow me to do a little math for you:

Ezri's litter has eight girls and four boys for a total of twelve.

Lela's litter has four girls and seven boys for a total of eleven.

Twelve Ezri babies, eleven Lela babies, two mama rats, two daddy rats, and a partridge in a pear tree Jadzia in the other room means there are now twenty-eight rats in our apartment. (Mom, Dad, if you're reading this, do not send an exterminator, kthanx.) I then went on to calculate how that's forty square feet of floor space per rat (rats only require two cubic feet of space each, which leaves plenty of room for humans, mathematically speaking). I am, however, on the lookout for the Pied Piper.

***

At this juncture, the mama rats are more than happy to leave baby!rats in our care so they can run back to my bedroom and torment poor Jadzia with tales of how they simply don't understand their carefree single friends anymore.




Look, baby rats come with a convenient carrying handle!




"No," says Ezri, and grabs one of the babies out of Gira's hands, carrying it around by the head for a bit to show us silly humans how it's supposed to be done. If the squeaking is any indication, the babies prefer it our way.




We quickly run out of Fun And Amusing Things To Do With Babies That Have No Eyes Yet, so we start arranging them to spell words. Lela's litter is remarkably mobile as a whole -- much more so than Ezri's (they seem to take after their mothers already, God help me) -- and it took about three takes to get them to spell a simple word like Hi without rolling themselves off the paper towel. I find the effect rather creepy, but how will our babies ever get into Brown if we don't start quizzing them on basic spelling right out of the womb!?

Poll #791923 Rat Baby Poll Of The Day, Day Two!

There are twelve babies in Ezri's litter. Which famous group of twelve hypothetically deserves namesakes?

Twelve apostles!
4(8.7%)
Twelve signs of the Zodiac!
24(52.2%)
And when I say "twelve heavenly bodies," I mean "the planets, the sun, the moon, and that new Xena one" not "the girls of the Official Playmate Monthly Calendar"
11(23.9%)
Official Playmate Monthly Calendar! I mean, months of the year.
4(8.7%)
The twelve versions and spinoffs of The Children Of The Corn.
3(6.5%)

And for Lela's group of 11?

Heavenly bodies still works. No one really cares about Pluto, anyways.
8(17.8%)
The Rat Pack And Those Other Guys from the original Ocean's 11! (A girl named Frank Sinatra would be cool.)
20(44.4%)
Well, if you count all the captains, first officers and, er, Q, from the five major Star Trek series...
17(37.8%)

Rat Baby Diaries?

WEE TINY THINGS!!
8(16.7%)
You find time to do this but not to write me Sparky/DRR/CSI/other fandom wackiness!?
4(8.3%)
Well, it doesn't really interest me, but please keep posting because if I don't hear from you, I'll worry that the rats are holding you hostage.
2(4.2%)
YOU HAVE EXPOSED ME TO PINK ALIENZ! *DEFRIENDS*
2(4.2%)
Can I get back to you when they get fur?
4(8.3%)
omg!!1! a poll!
0(0.0%)
 
 
feel: tiredtired
hear: Jadzia playing the world's tiniest violin
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
Little Red: go west little red - besydmylittleredgirl on August 13th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC)
It means that rats are the bestest rodent pets ever! *nods* For they are smarter than hamsters and they really like people and they will bond with you and get attitude. :)

I plan to give the babies away to good homes -- want a pair? ;) *ponders a rat-bringing road trip to LA...*
georgie: gleegeorgierae on August 13th, 2006 09:45 am (UTC)
oh you make me laugh!!

and yay for a Rodnina!

::giggles::
Little Red: gleee! - nenyamylittleredgirl on August 13th, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC)
Wheee!! I wish you were closer and could come play with them! :)
georgiegeorgierae on August 13th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)
me too!

the only thing that recently compares was when we thought Carson(the mouse) was pregnant with Rodney(the mouse)'s babies.

Sadly he wasn't and died :(
Ravennoradannan on August 13th, 2006 12:38 pm (UTC)
I think you should name some of the rats after the Rats of NIMH, myself. Those rats will _totally_ get into the Ivy Leagues.
Little Redmylittleredgirl on August 13th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
You know, we bought that movie from Goodwill a little while ago and haven't been able to bring ourselves to watch it -- neither of us really remember it, only have this recollection that it was very sad. Hrm.
Ravennoradannan on August 13th, 2006 08:09 pm (UTC)
The movie is nothing like the book - it takes out the most interesting parts (the rats' history), and adds in a magic necklace, which just doesn't fit. Read the book. It's still in print, and one of my absolute, all time favorite books ever.

Still a little bit sad, but mostly just delightful.
pellucid: DRRpellucid on August 13th, 2006 01:50 pm (UTC)
ZOMG, 28 rats?!?!?!?!? Are you going to keep all of them till they get to be grown up? *is vaguely uncomfortable with rodenty things in large numbers*

Yet they are sort of cute, admittedly. In a pink, bald, no-eyes sort of way. ;)

And yay to see you posting!!!!!

Oh, and this is Isabelle, by the way! I changed my username, as isabellesmuse had been bugging me for a while. But I'm all worried about confusing everyone. ;)
Little Red: xf - drr breath apart - _juxtaposedmylittleredgirl on August 13th, 2006 04:35 pm (UTC)
We will indeed be keeping them for a month and a half until they are growed. Then we get to find them new homes! I am attempting not to be a control freak about how their new homes might not love them and care for them enough, but I think that once they are running around I'll be HAPPY to be rid of a few!!

Isabelle!! I'm so glad that you let me know who this was -- I never would have guessed. Explain the name, please? :)
pellucidpellucid on August 13th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
Hmm, not a lot to explain about the name, really. There wasn't a variation on "Isabelle" that I liked that wasn't already taken, so I decided to go off of my name entirely and just pick a random adjective I like. "Pellucid" literally means "transparent", but it often has connotations of the transparency of water, light passing through shallow water, that sort of thing. It's just a word I like. *shrugs* ;)
MegTDJ: Teryl Blank - purple_shoesmeg_tdj on August 13th, 2006 05:04 pm (UTC)
Awwww!! So cute!! And your comments cracked me up, LOL!
Sarah (aka Smish)smishpixie on August 13th, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
OMG, they look so pink and weird!

But very interesting to read about! And good luck keeping track of the "OMG-Millionz-of-rats"! :-)
espirk: Reyes: Martyr in the Moonlightespirk on August 14th, 2006 05:18 am (UTC)
In all honesty, I didn't think a Rats Diary would interest me, but OMG, I (heart) it! Your rats are so cute, and yes that includes the Pink Squirmy Rat Babies! Looking forward to future updates.
Allie O'N: Kembraalliesings on August 14th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
In the spirit of Battlestar Galactica, I think they should be named after the zodiac, but with the BSG names ie. Caprica not Capricorn.
Fallon Ash: lucyfallon_ash on August 14th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC)
If you name one Xena, *pleeease* let me be its long-distance god-mother??