14 baby rats

The Discovery Centre’s animal count has been boosted by the birth of 14 baby rats – just in time for Halloween!

The pups were born on September 11 to mum, Summer and Dad, Zaffie – who are also new arrivals to the DZG collection.

Presenter Heather John, said: “It’s Summer’s first litter and she’s done really well to raise all 14 successfully. She’s been a very attentive mum!”

Now three weeks old, the pups have opened their eyes and ears and staff have discovered we have five females and nine males and they’ll soon be separated as they reach sexual maturity.

Heather added: “The pups have really clear patterning and it’s like half have mum’s colouring and the others look like dad, but they look very sweet all curled up together.”

And visitors will be able to see the youngsters in a few weeks’ time, as they’ll be used in education, outreach and birthday party sessions, alongside their parents and fellow adult rat newbies – Misty, Skye and Cobalt.

The average gestation time is 21 to 23 days and the usual litter size is six to 12 pups, but look how quickly they grow!