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Posted by patricia sherman on April 22, 2003 at 05:43:58:
In Reply to: eewww ,male rat cannibal. posted by reptilegirl15 on April 21, 2003 at 19:15:51:
Your mistake was putting them together while she was nursing a litter.
When a doe births, she comes into heat within about 72 hours, and can then be rebred. If this post-partum heat is missed, she'll not come in heat again until after the babies are weaned (at about three to four weeks of age). If the male is with her when the babies are born, he'll be very good with them. If not, then he regards them as strangers (even if he sired them), and as a hindrance to him breeding with the mama. By destroying them, he forces her to stop lactating, and to come into heat within two or three days.
Her squealing and fighting, was her way of telling him she wasn't in heat, and didn't appreciate his efforts to breed her. He had to get rid of the babies to make her become receptive. If this was my male, I'd be very cautious about leaving him with any nursing mother. Now that he's killed one litter, he'll be much more likely to do it again. Remove the mama to her own cage once you're certain she's pregnant. Ideally, you'd give the male several ladies to keep him occupied, thus averting such tragedy borne of frustration. Once she's pregnant, she'll emanate pheromones that indicate her condition, and discourage him from pestering her.