Young male rats and New Years Eve (aka, "those aren't tumors")
Proportionally speaking, if male humans had a male rat's genitalia, men would be the ones stereotypically wearing the skirts. I remember the first time I was in the pet store looking at little rats. I couldn't figure out for the life of me how to tell them apart. After the second visit, I realized we were looking at a cage of all girls. There is no doubt in my mind that they can be distinguished. WHOA!
OK, so at and before 4 weeks of age they are actually a bit tucked in. Pet store rats, however should be (I say, should be) old enough to be away from their mom's and consequently should show their, umm, tumors. When they're around the 3-6 week range though, they have this little tuck-em-in talent. If you run into that, I've found that holding the little buggers for a bit will cause them to drop (like the apple in Manhattan on New Year's Eve) once they aren't so nervous anymore. If it doesn't drop, it's most likely a girl.
Onto a different (but related) topic, lets say you have some friends over and the conversation gets a bit dry, you've always got those, umm, tumors to talk about. It's a great conversation piece. That's where I got the "tumor" idea from too. I had to argue with my best friend and her mother once, for a good hour, about how the likelihood that every 6 week old male rat had 2 tumors located in the exact same place. "Boy," she said, "those are huge!"
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Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not
one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed
and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes: