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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Everybody,

This is my first post on ratforum, rightfully so because I have only been keeping rats for about two months. I purchased four female rats, each one week after the last. Here is a brief rundown of who they are in the order I got them:

Sadie: 5 months old, the only rat I have that could be considered social and truly full of love, even though she loves to get into trouble. Never bites, and always pees and poops in a nice neat little corner in the cage.

Jude: 7 months old, quite vicious even after being here for almost two months. Will not let me pet her or pick her up, and has drawn blood on multiple occasions. Quite nervous and jumpy to even the littlest movement or noise. Poops EVERYWHERE.

Lucy: 2 months old, very full of energy and loves to hang out with Sadie and Jude (very peacefully too) but shy and jumpy around humans. Doesn't bite much especially because her jaw isn't strong enough yet to do any damage. Poops where Jude poops.

Prudence: 4 months old, the shyest of the bunch. Doesn't socialize with the other rats, hides in her little igloo and will only come out to bring food inside or get a drink of water (at least while I'm around).

Sadie and Jude live together in a large cage, and Lucy with Prudence in a smaller cage. Because of the short time between each ratties arrival there wasn't too much introduction required, and they all seem to get along great. I recently created a "rat room" for them - An entire area full of little boxes and tubes that they have to themselves where I have placed both of the cages. I open the doors and let them run around in that area when I am home, and often go in and ATTEMPT to play with them.

Sadie is always a doll, and will play tag with me, crawl up on top of her cage and make a noise to signal that she wants a shoulder ride, and generally be the best little rattie ever. Jude and Lucy chase each other around and seem to be having fun until I make any kind of movement towards them - they run into the big cage and hide in the little wooden box together. Meanwhile, Prudence will at best stick her head out of the igloo and watch us all play but any movement towards her will send her running back inside.

The basic question here is - I managed to get Sadie to trust me and love me, how do I make the other three follow suit? I feel like it's just a matter of time with Lucy, but Prudence and Jude (for different reasons) give the impression that they want to have nothing to do with me!

Any thoughts or questions about the situation?
 

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How often do you hold them, or keep them near you?

Holding them for at least twenty minutes a day (or keeping them on you, on your shoulder, in a pouch, etc) helps them get over their fear. Just doing this daily could help all of them, including Jude. Wear gloves with her if you have to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sadie is the only one that lets me hold her without biting/peeing/pooping everywhere. Any of the others will freak out for a while then go into that "silent treatment" mode (i.e. playing dead) until I put them back in their cage. I feel horrible forcing them out of their cages to hold them, because they will run and climb on anything to get away from my hands as I try to pick them up... BUT, I will try the twenty minutes thing with Jude, Lucy, and Prudence... maybe a nice carrot will help them change their tune. Or a yogie. They go nuts for yogies.
 

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Some rats simply don't enjoy being picked up, even if they love coming out to play... I used to have to chase them around the cage too, even though they were waiting at the door for the last half an hour, and are completely happy once they're out. They love being held, love coming out, they just don't love actually being picked up.

When I was getting my girls used to coming out, I always wore a big hoodie, so they could hide in the pocket/hood if they wished. Keeps them feeling secure, and gives them a "base" to retreat back to while they explore you.

Good luck, it's so worth it!
 
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