What Does A Baby Rat Look Like? Essential Guide

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Rats breed at an incredible rate! If you know where to look, it is easy to find a family of rats inside a nest. When you find a nest of small pink things, or what looks like baby rodents, how do you know what they are? If you think they might be rats, then you will want to know the answer to the question ‘what does a baby rat look like?’ In this post, we are going to cover that, giving you some picture examples, along with a description of what they look like. This will help you identify whether or not you have a nest of rats to deal with!


What you will learn in this post:

  1. What does a baby rat look like?
  2. Picture examples of baby rats.
  3. Frequently asked questions.

What Does A Baby Rat Look Like Description

What Does A Baby Rat Look Like?

Let’s take a look at a few examples of baby rats…


Baby Rat Example 1

Notice the rat head is large when compared with the rest of the body. The skin is also pink, with not much fur. The rat’s eyes are shut, and the tail is short.

newborn 6 baby rats

Baby Rat Example 2

In this example, we see that the fur has grown on the body of the rat, but the eyes are not open yet. This baby rat is like to be around 8 days old.

brown rat baby

Baby Rat Example 3

In example 3 we can see a baby rat with eyes open. It is beginning to look more ‘rat-like’ now, with the claws expanding out ready to climb everything!

small black baby rat

Baby Rat Example 4

Here is a litter of rats, all with their eye closed. These baby rats are around 8 days old.

rat babies in hand

What Does A Baby Rat Look Like? Let’s Break It Down…


Heads

The first thing you will notice about a baby rat is their heads are much larger than when compared with the rest of their body.

What does a baby rat look like when compared with a mouse:

This is a key difference between baby mice v baby rats. The baby rat will have an abnormally large head compared with the rest of the body. A baby mouse will have a normal size head when compared with its body.

When the baby rat is born, it doesn’t have any whiskers, but these grow within the first few days.


Tail

A baby rat’s tail is present at birth. It is pink and short.


Body

When they are born, baby rats are bald. This changes at around the 7-day stage, when the body has gone through a change in pigmentation from pink. Fuzz begins to develop.

From day 7 through day 14, the rat babies will go through a very quick change and will look much more like rats!


Eyes

The rat’s eyes remain shut until around day 14/15.

The eyelids are very thin, so they are able to pick up changes in light. This has been tested before by me. If baby rats and in a dark environment, they will turn to any light source (they always look up at my flashlight!), so they know I am there!


Huddling

Baby rats will huddle together, and they do this for 2 good reasons:

  1. To keep body temperature high enough without moving too much
  2. Easier access for all to the food supply (mom rat)

It is very common to see baby rats huddling together unless they have started to play fight! Then they will huddle when sleeping, or feeding.


Sounds

I know this post is answering the ‘what does a baby rat look like?’ question, but it is also important to know what they sound like.

Firstly, baby rat’s do make a sound, but usually this noise to far too high pitched for us regular folks to hear! It is way beyond the ability of our ears.

Having said that you may notice a few squeaks from the baby rats. They use this squeaking to communicate with their mom.

It is worth noting that a baby rat is born with closed ear canals. These usually open at around the day 12 stage. They still react to loud noise though, from experience!

Mother rat might hiss at you if you get too close and she feels like you are threatening her brood.


Can Baby Rats See?

Baby rats cannot see until around the 2-week stage, as this is when their eyes will open for the first time.

Before the eyes open, the baby rats are able to see changes in the light behind their thin eyelids. I know this because whenever I shine a flashlight on a nest of rats, they all look towards the flashlight!


When Do Baby Rats Open their Eyes?

Baby rats will open their eyes at around 14 days. Before then, they are covered by a very thin layer of skin.

When their eyes open, they will begin to explore their surroundings a lot more than they did before. This is the time when the baby rats begin to be much more playful and will spend a lot of the waking hours play fighting with their siblings.


Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions What Does A Baby Rat Look Like

How can you tell the difference between a baby mouse and a baby rat?

The main difference between a baby rat and a baby mouse is that a rat baby has a very large head when compared with the rest of its body. A baby mouse has a head that is of relative size to the rest of its body.

Can baby rats have cows milk?

Cows milk does not give baby rats what they need. You should be using a specially formulated milk. I suggest using milk specifically designed to feed baby kittens. This is used regularly and successfully when raising orphaned baby rats.

What do baby rats eat?

Baby rats survive on their mother’s milk for at least 4 weeks however, when they reach around 14 days, they will begin to eat other foods, similar to what adult rats eat.


Conclusion

What does a baby rat look like? In this post, we have given you some picture examples, along with a description of the key visual indicators. That will help you identify whether or not these are rats.

It is worth remembering that rats carry a number of diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Just because you found a nest of cute rats, it doesn’t mean you should not be concerned.

If you have found a nest of rats, then you will want to get rid of them very quickly.

Before long, they will be old enough to reproduce and you will have a house full of rats in no time at all! Rats have tons of babies, and they replicate at an alarming rate.

So, good luck!

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