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I'm trying to remind myself that it's only been the 5th day of my boys being home with me, also the fact that not every rat is the same. But I can't help but be concerned for my boys. I just wanna see if what im experiencing with my boys is common or not. Please let me know if you have or are dealing with any of these things and maybe give me some tips and pointers!

1) I don't feel like my rats are drinking enough water. I see Jekyll drink more often than Hyde, but sometimes I feel like he's struggling??? I've gotten them a new water bottle that seems to work just fine, but I dont know, I don't feel like they're drinking enough. I've also put out a water dish, and again Jekyll will drink from it time to time, but I rarely see Hydtle drink. I don't see a big difference in the water bottle either. I've been able to help them drink when I see they're struggling, but I'm not sitting there 24/7 to do that. Is there a better water bottle for younger rats?

2) My rats sleep a lot. I've read up that males usually tend to be lazier, but these boys do play with each other. I don't see them chew much of their blocks, nor do they care for the wheel, seesaw, or dangle toys. They just like to stay on their second level and sleep. I took away their dark little hut (they'd sleep really fast when in it) and am using a see through igloo at the moment. I'll put the wooden hut back for bed time. Any tips to keep them awake or more active?

3) My boys don't like to play outside their cage. I realize I have to build more trust with them, but even if I just let them do their own thing they still just hate it. I brought them to a room where I just did my own thing and let them run around and be. They were making very loud clicking sounds and pooping everywhere and even on each other! Then they were literally jumping on the walls trying to escape the room. On occasion the climbed on my lap and let me pet them for a few seconds, but I could not once successfully carry them in my lap or pick them up.

4) I can't pick them up. I've been trying to do the under hand thing - where you pick them up from under the belly into your palms rather than from above like a hawk. They immediately run away and get scared. No bites have happened from me yet but they immediately become suspicious of me for even trying. Jekyll has no problem going outside the cage for a treat in my hand (he does run back in the cage but he doesn't hide from me - unlike Hyde) but he doesn't seem to like crawling on me much.

5) Treat recommendations. The boys love their rat food (Oxbow) and I've currently been giving them carrots and grapes (in moderation of course). What treats have you been trying?

6) Hyde sneezed today for a few seconds (two separate spurts) and I am scared about it. They have a vet appointment this coming Monday. Jekyll sometimes does this funny twitching jump but again it's only for a couple of seconds and then he's back to normal.
 

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If you think your rats are dehydrated, check by pinching the skin on top of the shoulder. If It stays pinched together, It Is a sign of dehydration.
Rats sleep about 60% of their short lives. So that is likely all it is. They are more comfortable the cozier their sleeping area is. My girls ignore all the toys I buy them, but they like to crawl inside and chew on cardboard tubes.
All rats are different and some are adventurous, others not so much. One of my girls hates being out of the cage, but the others are fine with it. The clicking noises is them bruxing which is normal. As the rats become more comfortable with you, the rampant pooping should cease. One of my girls took 3 months before she would become totally comfortable with me.
I have never yet found a rat that likes to be picked up. Rather than pick the rats, sit on the floor with them in a small enclosed area and interact with them like that.
I give my rats freeze dried banana treats by Oxbow. Called 'Simple Rewards'.
Sneezing is normal in rats as it is in all animals. Unless it becomes chronic then there should be nothing to worry about.
 

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Keep in mind that you haven't had them for a long time. Eventually, they will warm up to you. Don't try and force them to do anything, because a mutual trust needs to form. I use treats to build trust (Gerber puffs work well). When you have treat, try to allow them come to you rather than picking them up. With mine, every time I walk into my room they are wanting to come outside.

With holding, that will depend on their personality. I have a girl that isn't fond of being held long, but she's a sweetheart. Scratch their ears!

Boys are lazier; there's nothing wrong with the sleeping. Also, you'll find that hammocks are a rat's favorite toy.

It's all a learning experience. Nothing happens overnight, but eventually you'll have a lovely bond with your rats. It just takes time. :)
 

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Our girls are still very timid and we can't really pick them up yet either. It's been 3 weeks for us. But, they are happy to see us and look to us for treats. I figure it's a process....
 

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I know I'm going to need a lot of patience for my three boys. They were bought from Pets at Home and then the owner brought them back a couple of weeks later because they didn't realise how much attention they needed... So understandably, my boys have commitment/trust issues!

All three are very different as well. Butch is the ring leader and much more outgoing with taking food from me where as Vincent and Jules are a lot more skittish. Jules will take the food but has to run away to eat it and I think Vincent is going to be a little bit of an escape artist.
I was slightly disheartened at first as in the pet shop, the woman placed Butch on my shoulder and he was quite happy there. Where as since I got them home, none of them will allow me to pick them up yet. It just takes time!
 

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Bacardi is still quite shy but is making progress everyday.. Pepper however eagerly clambers up the bars and loves exploring or chilling out on my shoulders. I've had them both just under 3 weeks... Each rat is different, so with Pepper we have to keep an eye on him, but we are trying to socialise with Bacardi as much as possible giving treats to help.. Last night he fell asleep next to my leg while I was watching TV...Patience really is a virtue when it comes to getting ratties settled in at home :)
 

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I discovered yogurt drops when I was still a new rat owner and I learned to teach them tricks and even tamed them with the drops. I usually get the super tiny ones then cut them in half to train them.
 

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I had this same problem with our new rat. He couldn't get enough water from the bottle so my husband squeezed some out and then he lapped it up off the plastic ledge that led from the ladder, so we got a heavy crock and filled it with cold bottled water (put in an ice cube to cool it), and he drank like he hadn't seen water in forever.

If your rats are eating a diet with a lot of water content they might not drink as much, like if you feed them little bits of watermelon, or baby food (carrots, apples, plums and so on), they wouldn't need as much.

Still, rats can drink as much as two ounces a day, and ours drinks a lot, even when we give him his goodies in baby food form (it helps with the bonding--I feed him from a spoon, after calling his name so he'll come to the front of the cage); he knows his name already--just five days after getting him. I work from home and talk to him A LOT.

If you use tap water, let it run for a while because of lead, chlorine and other toxins, and see if making it extra cold helps.

Hope any of that helps.
 

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Oh, sorry, I didn't read the whole thing, so I just talked about dehydration mostly.

Fastest bonding that I've had with my rat is not just giving treats but 'how' I give them: I spoon feed him.

There is a great rat author named Debbie Ducommun. Libraries should have her books; you don't have to buy them--great advice in there.

Get a baby spoon, the kind coated for comfort, then get a sampling of baby food (Beechnut, Gerbers, whatever): Carrots; squash; beef; bananas; apple and so on, concentrating on veggies and fruits (the meat is great for enticing the ones who don't want to go back in their cages to do that).

Mannie was not associating me with the food I gave him like slivers of apple? He just 'stole' the piece, ran and hid from me to eat it.

Once I started spoon feeding him and making sure he had to reach just a little past my other hand to get the spoon--give yours a nibble or two first without making them reach, then make them reach a little further--no rush, be calm, sweet talk them by name... And in no time you will have them placing their back legs or front arm on you for balance while they eat from the spoon.

Do not let them take the spoon away from you :)

Now, they will associate you with the food; they will have your scent on them; they'll hear your voice and associate it with the eating 'while' they are eating; and they can't just run away to hide, keeping scared habits going.

Also, feed them one at a time, not letting the others out--just pick one out to spoon feed, spend a few minutes talking and feeding, bonding with; put him back and coax out the next one, repeat until you have done this with each one:

No competition this way, less likely to have a poop fest.

I've only got the one so far and he has never had loose stool or panic poop.

He was very skittish at first, then less so, now still less...

The progress is fast (though not what I had with cats), and I'm sure it's because I have only the one.

I am, however, starting this weekend, going out with my husband to find him another male buddy--preferably a younger one so Mannie knows he is boss and the baby will too--less chance of bad fights.

Sneezing actually can mean they are displaying Myco; most rats have it.

The only ones I have read who do not have it (if it is still true) are laboratory rats (staff sometimes will let you adopt one or more they are going to put down); otherwise, the Myco is dormant; this is what all experts I have been reading say: It is just the way it is, now:

So, have them checked by a vet, of course, but you keep an eye on them looking for lethargy, runny eyes, sneezing, general signs of illness:

Keep them cool (60 to 85 MAX Fahrenheit), plenty of water available (fresh; change it at least once a day; as you have more than one rat--and add the ice).

I don't try to pick up Mannie.

I did that ONE time and it was a mistake--it made him distrust me, and I had to work to earn some of that trust back.

Now I understand that going slowly, giving him spoon fed food and making him reach for it, lying down so he can explore my body and get my scent on him, and even letting him take a long piece of favorite food from my mouth (which he enjoys doing) is a better way to bond, build a solid foundation.

It would have been ideal of course to get just weaned, very socialized rats (two males) but that is not how I got mine: I fell in love with a feeder in a pet store who was gonna be snake food.

He was separate from the others lying all over each other; he had one hand up on the aquarium glass and he was watching me right in the eye. So I put a finger in next to him, carefully, slowly and left it there. He sniffed it, then he licked it. That was it--I said 'I'll take this one!'

And Mannie didn't get eaten by a snake. He got adopted by a rat lady, instead. (✿◠‿◠)
 

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My rat was the same way when I first got her, but eventually, she changed all of that. Now she drinks all the time, loves people and the outside world, and never sneezes. It just takes time for them to get used to things me thinks, especially if you got them from a pet store.
 
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