Mercury x Methyl Borogrove
24th April 2017
Last Monday, Laura from Methyl Rattery came to collect Borogrove and took some fantastic photos of Mercury's kittens while she was here. Here are a selection of them:
19th April 2017
After much consideration, we've finally decided which of Mercury's babies we're going to keep, and what they're to be named. They've also moved from the nursing cage into cage 1, where they're definitely making the most of the extra space!
14th April 2017
The kittens are looking more like their mum every day! They still need to grow into their ears and paws a bit more though.
12th April 2017
Mercury's kittens are getting more active and adventurous by the day. They're also starting to eat solid food but still enjoy feeding from their mum several times a day!
Eyes and Ears!
9th April 2017
The kittens are now just over two weeks old and over the last few days their ears and eyes have opened which has been just beautiful to see. They're starting to get a lot more adventurous as well; previously, if any of the kittens left the nest Mercury would bring them back straight away but she's now letting them move around the cage and they definitely seem to be enjoying their new-found freedom. They're also starting to try and eat anything they can get their paws on, including fingers!
Nine Days Old
2nd April 2017
The kittens have been keeping us quite busy, hence the lack of updates this last week. They are all continuing to do really well though, and over the last couple of days their fur has started to show properly. It may sound like an exaggeration, but I have genuinely never felt anything as soft as the fur of a baby rat. Their individual personalities are starting to show through as well as you can see in this video!
Five Days Old
29th March 2017
While Mercury was enjoying some free range time, we managed to get a short video of a baby rat pile!
Three Days Old
27th March 2017
All ten babies are continuing to thrive, and starting to get quite wriggly. Their colour is definitely visible although they don't have any fur yet, and you can just about see some little whiskers as well!
26th March 2017
Mercury has taken to motherhood really well, making sure all of her babies are always warm, safe and well-fed. Very proud of her!
25th March 2017
It appears that reports of seven babies were premature... as Mercury gave birth to a further three kittens in the early hours of this morning! All have lovely milk bands (indicating full tummies) and tentative sexing suggests we have seven females and three males.
24th March 2017
Between 09:30 and 11:00 this morning, Mercury gave birth to seven perfect little kittens. Mother and babies all doing well!
Ready to Pop!
23rd March 2017
As you can see from the graph below, since Mercury was introduced to Borogrove nearly a month ago she's gained 122g. Having done some research, it seems that this is higher than the average weight gain during pregnancy so we're keeping a very close eye on her.
She isn't giving us any cause for concern though, she's still happily doing her own thing and enjoying the attention! A couple of times we've thought she's built a nest but hasn't actually spent any time in it, preferring to sleep in one of the corners of the cage instead. One of our regular webcam viewers described her as a "little weirdo" which I think sums up her pregnancy perfectly!
Any Day Now
21st March 2017
It's now 24 days since Mercury and Borogrove were first introduced, so even allowing a couple of days for mating to take place it looks like their kittens might be putting in an appearance fairly imminently. Given that Mercury has gained almost 100g during that time, there's a chance the number of new arrivals could be in double figures as well!
16th March 2017
It looks like Mercury may be sporting a bit of a baby bump, which suggests the mating has been successful and that she's due to give birth within the next week or so. Combined with her having gained 35g in the last week alone, I'm really hopeful we'll be hearing the patter of tiny paws before too long!
13th March 2017
Had a particularly funny moment during cage 2's free range time yesterday evening. May somehow managed to get on top of Mercury and Borogrove's cage and was pushing her rear end against the bars in Borogrove's direction. In the few seconds it took me to get over there to remove her he looked up and had a quick sniff at her, but before he could get any closer he received a smack in the face from a rather cross-looking Mercury! Looks like we have a little bit of ratty jealousy going on, although to be fair Borogrove is a very handsome chap!
Bun in the Oven?
10th March 2017
Mercury and Borogrove have been together for almost two weeks now, so it's approaching the time when we might start being able to see if the mating has been a success. We've been getting some rather mixed messages though, and I certainly wouldn't like to put money on whether she's pregnant or not yet!
4th March 2017
Sorry for a quiet few days, we'd planned a couple of updates this week but have had our hands full with an outbreak of winter vomiting bug (human, not rat!) and just not had time. Still no indication of whether or not anything more than cuddling has been going on, but both Mercury and Borogrove seem to be continuing to get on well so fingers crossed! We've also set up a webcam on the cage in preparation for the arrival of kittens so perhaps that might give a few clues as well.
Love Is In The Air? (Or if not love then at least, y'know...)
26th February 2017
As someone with no experience of the mating process it's been really interesting seeing how Mercury and Borogrove have been behaving since being introduced. Borogrove went very fluffy as soon as Mercury joined him in the cage and they went through a routine, almost like a dance, of approaching one another face to face before one sniffing round at the other's bum and then vice versa. After that they had what looked like a bit of a squabble, both on hind legs jumping about, and then Mercury retreated to the shelf for a minute before coming down and them repeating the routine. After a while we put some food in, a mix of his and her usual food, and weirdly she took a bit of his food and he took a bit of hers and they started munching side by side quite happily.
It's unclear whether or not they've yet mated, we weren't expecting Mercury to come into heat for another day or two but we've noticed her quivering when in the cage with Borogrove and also a few incidents of her attempting to mount him which he endured surprisingly calmly! Later this evening, after a treat of some rat-sized pancakes, Borogrove made himself comfortable on the floor of the cage while Mercury groomed him thoroughly. They're a bit like an old married couple which is really very sweet to see!