We aim to image the rat limb in longitudinal follow up studies using contrast agents at 7T. Consistent positioning and a high and uniform SNR is required over the ROI. Commercial surface coil arrays offer a high SNR close to the surface but are difficult to position and have poor penetration. Therefore we decided to design a dedicated coil array taking into account the animal's anatomy. We optimized the design in simulations, compared it to a commercial surface coil array in a phantom, and show first in-vivo images.