Did you know that a female rat can make around 500 times with multiple males in a span of 6 hours? This period of receptivity can be experienced 15 times a year and can produce over 2000 descendants per year. A rat reaches sexual maturity after 2 to 3 months.
Some rats are selective concerning time, place and the surrounding places when it comes to mating while others need optimum conditions to breed. Rats will only mate if the female is sexually active. A receptive female will mate with many males in a short period. When the female rat (doe) is on heat, it becomes receptive to male advances. Unlike other mammals, rats don’t have vaginal bleeding when they go into estrus. They however display other characteristic behaviors like vibrating ears, running in short fast bursts or arching their backs.
Mating and ovulation
A copulation period can last 2-24 depending on the length of the estrus cycle. The female arches her back while standing creating a perfect shape for insertion. The process ends by the female darting off and the male bending to clean its penis. This will be repetitive over the span of her heat period.
A doe ovulates nearly 8 to 12 hours when the heat cycle has begun. She eventually becomes pregnant anytime within a day of mating. A capable female can produce up to 5 littersper year with proper conditions such as:
The gestation period of a rat is 21 days and a doe can deliver 14 babies at once. An ideal condition means the female population rises by a factor of three and a half for a period of 8 weeks. The first 5 weeks are for gaining sexual maturity then the 3 for the gestation period. This corresponds to the whole population that grows at a factor of 10 in a span of 15 weeks.
Lifespan and babies
A pregnant female will make a good nest (black rat) or dig (Norway rat) a new burrow for its litter. After birth, the lactating mothers take up a rather responsible role of catering for the babies. The maternal behavior is rhythmic and only concerned about the new litter. On average, the mortality rate of rats is 95% per year meaning less rats cross the year mark. Interspecies conflicts and predators kill the majority of rats while food scarcity being the least killer factor.
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