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Discussion Starter #1
I was at a local non-chain pet store this weekend when I saw that they had around 40-50 rats crammed into 3 aquarium tanks. Apparently someone had brought in 15 babies that day, and their breeder had overstocked them with feeders. The feeders didn't have food, and the other tank's water dish was positively foul. They were practically giving them away - $2.99 each, buy 1 get 1 free, and the guy even said he'd throw in a third for free, too. Many of the rats looked close to death, were very skinny, unmoving, cold, and sneezing up a storm.

Anyways, this pet store's deplorable conditions aren't my point...

I picked out two of the donated baby girls, because they were comfortable being picked up and appeared healthy. One appears to be barely 3 weeks, while the other looks to be a week older.

The smaller girl (Possie) is very playful, like a wind-up toy on crack, just like all of the other babies I've had. However, the slightly older girl doesn't play. She's perfectly comfortable hanging out with me, exploring, and receiving treats, but she doesn't respond to either Possie's or my attempts to play with her. She doesn't appear to be sick (eating/drinking normally, normal poop, eyes bright, cleaning regularly, curious)... which confuses me.

Have others experienced 4-wk old rats that don't play? Is this a cause for concern?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I just called the Health Department... they're checking into the store. I wish that I'd looked at the conditions of all of the other animals so that I could have given them a better report.
 

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I saw that recently in a girl who was 7 weeks old. Too quiet. She just took time to relax and now she is active, and bouncy..nowhere near as cuddly as she was...so enjoy it while you can!
As long as she doesn't seem ill, just wait for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, I can't wait for her to open up. She recently figured out how to jump down from my bed, run back to her cage, and climb into it... which means it's a lot harder to hang out with her. She's not terribly interested in treats, either... which makes it much more difficult!
 

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2manyrats said:
Yeah, I can't wait for her to open up. She recently figured out how to jump down from my bed, run back to her cage, and climb into it... which means it's a lot harder to hang out with her. She's not terribly interested in treats, either... which makes it much more difficult!
Rats can get bored of treats quite easily, if they have the same ones for a while. We always keep about 3 or 4 different flavours of yoghurt drops to hand, for when their latest favourite gets old for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I use a gigantic variety of treats - whatever's at hand, really. Mostly nuts, seeds, dried fruit, a tiny bit of chocolate, or a little bite of whatever I'm eating. The older rats are happy to accept anything I give them... I think the little girl is just fickle!

And... she's started playing a bit when she's outside the cage at night. However, she mostly tussles with the other girl, and ignores my hand. But after a minute or two, she jumps off the bed and runs back to the cage. Argh!

I wish I knew about her genetic background... maybe she comes from a line with poor temprament. All the pet store knew was that some woman had surrendered them because she didn't want all the babies. Apparently they didn't ask questions. I wonder if her parents were feeders and she's the result of an accidental pregnancy.
 

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I got a rat from a small petstore, they kept the rats in the back in a cardboad box because people were disgusted by them in the windows. shes a female. shes scared of anything she doesnt know, she wont leave her cage even if i leave the door open and wait. if i pick her up shell jump straight back into the cage or try to squeeze through the bars if she cant find the door. sucks that you have to be so careful of where you get your rats and how they were treated beforehand.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah, it does suck. In this case, the girls do seem to have been handled previously. Possie's the most well-adjusted baby I've seen, totally unconcerned with loud noises and humans moving around. And the other little girl is okay with being picked up, she's just taken a while to get used to hanging out.

I know pet stores are shitty places to get rats, but I couldn't just leave these little girls there in such horrible condition. I'm sure the girl will come around and be a nice pet, eventually. I just wish that a) pet shops would improve and b) reputable breeders could offer their rats in stores.

Has your girl gotten less scared? I hope that she'll come around - I think it depends a lot on how old they are when you get them, and if they've had a lot of hands poking at them from above when they were at the store. Several of my friends have had very good luck with petstore rats that they've gotten at about 3 wks, and have turned into awesome pets. Other rats, well, they never quite got friendly.
 

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my pet store, we sell feeders. it pains me to sell them. but we at least care for them. and hairless guys are the ones we sell as pets. love hairless guys =]

anyways i got my girls from the feeder b/c i know they are nice and taken care of there. but my girls arent playful either. i mean i'v had one for a week. she is learning commands like "come here" and "go get her"(i tell her to get her friend) the other one i had for 3 days now. shes adjusting. and they love explorin under a blanky, but dont play with toys...

think they willl take time?
but i feel you on the non playfulness! im sure they will come around soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, my girl has really come around. She seems to have adjusted to her cage and my bed, enough to feel comfortable playing with the other girl. She's getting friendlier every day.

However, I'm a bit worried about the move from the quarantine cage to the regular one... it may set her back a bit.

Socialization is such a pain... it's just so much easier to play with them from birth and raise them fearless of humans!!!
 

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I have two rats that came from a breeder, they have always been cared for great since day 1. I'd say they're about 11 weeks now, and they are two different rats. Lucy is energetic, very curious, more active, and enjoys the company of people... she'll hop right out on me, and now she hates going back in her cage... Her sister Mindy on the other hand is very timid and is still a little scared of people. If she had food and water she'd be perfectly content with running in her wheel and making nests without people in her life. She is very skittish and won't come to me (I got Lucy trained to come to her name) and fights being picked up. I have had her jump atleast 2ft. off my shoulder to get back to her cage... and once she gets on or in the cage she refuses to let go lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah, the pet stores around here have some really nice-looking rats. Lots of dumbos, blues, and interesting markings.

You should see the older boy I got - he's the cutest little rat EVER. I'll have to take photos. In fact, I should take photos of all of them, and post them in the "Meet my rat" section.
 
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