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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So Cosmo has come far from the first day we brought him home from the pet store but he still has a ways to go. He's come out of his shell some and has recently gotten more comfortable with me picking him up - no more struggling and fear pooping in my hands!

However his eyesight seems really, really terrible. Like, one-eyed Milo can see better than Cosmo. Cosmo also seems like maybe he can't smell as well? When I want to get his attention or pick him up I have to go out of my way to get him to realize I'm coming, lots of noise and slow moving as I approach him or he is completely blind-sided and gets spooked. When I'm trying to give him a treat and drop it right in front of his nose he head weaves and sniffs frantically all around before finally realizing where it is.

He's very timid still and it seems like light hurts his eyes? During free range he digs under the futon blankets or behind my back, anywhere to get out of the light. I've been making little shady tents for him and he's much calmer in them. In the cage he sleeps in the darker corners or the more enclosed houses/hammocks or tunnels under the fleece to sleep. When the light goes off (it's not even that bright of a light, and one of the light bulbs is even missing because of a very freak broom and stink bug incident) he emerges and I hear him eating and playing with Milo.

So I suppose what I'm asking here is if this all is normal? And how I can help him adjust more? I want to bond more with him but he's still so shy and when I try to hold him to my chest he stresses out and poops and pees all over me.
 

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I have three pink eyed boys and two regular black eyed boys. There is a noticeable difference in the eyesight of my PEW. He sways all the time and definitely has trouble seeing things even when they are fairly close to him. I am not sure about the light sensitivity issue you are experiencing, I do not think my boy is any more reactive than the others but he does seem to get spooked easily and I think that has a lot to do with his bad eye sight and feeling more scared of his surroundings as a result.

I would say that to make your rat more comfortable you should just let him explore his surroundings as often as possible in order to get more used to what is normal and what is actually scary. Give him plenty of dark places but also try to immerse him in your environment so that he understands it is safe. It might take longer but eventually you will reach a happy point with your PEW.
 

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Dahlia is like that, she can't see very well at all and I have to get food pretty close to her before she smells it :(

I just try to make the same soft noises every time I deal with her since hearing seems to be the only thing she does well. I shake the treat bowl to make her come to me so I can hand it directly to her, I click my tongue when I walk up to the cage so she knows it's me, I tap the igloo on the outside near where she is laying in it so she knows I'm going to reach in. But it's been about 3 weeks now and she's just now starting to really get comfortable with me, and that's being super consistent with each noise I make before interacting with her and spending lots of extra time one on one.

Poor babies! If I was that small and nearly blind I would be scared too. I'm sure people will have better advice to give I just wanted to share my experience :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the help guys! I've started making certain noises to indicate treats/being picked up/etc and Milo caught on almost instantly and I think really helped Cosmo to understand as well. Cosmo's his little shadow, anything Milo does Cosmo is right on his tail. But Cosmo's also starting to get the hang of it! I walked in today making the treat noise and he was the first one to wake up and greet me at the treat door! :) I've also found that picking him and Milo up at the same time and carrying them together keeps Cosmo calm while being taken out of the cage. Under blankets with him also seems to help him stay calm and interactive. It's taken some adjusting on both of our parts but we're learning!

And haha Ratpax and gotchea, my parents certainly weren't happy when I went in there room and announced that I had shattered a light bulb but honestly, had to get that stink bug out!
 

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I found that Gadget (my vision impaired rat) likes being inside of shirts. She feels more comfortable, and it's a great way to bond. We also taught her what her name was and I'll make sure she knows I'm talking to her before I go to touch her or pick her up. So far, it's worked really well.

It took time, but I'm amazed at how far Gadget has come. I do have to be careful about rearranging their cage. They day I took a ramp out, she jumped from a hammock to where the ramp used to be, and it wasn't there. Scared me and her pretty bad. Anything I change I try to do in a small way, and then show her what I changed. She has the cage memorized and will jump around with tons of faith, so I need to make sure she knows where everything is.
 

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It's pretty common to have some scent impairment with the albino's as well as sight. Normal lighting does hurt their eyes. It's the reason they have bad eyesight. Basically all lighting is damaging their eyes from the time they are born. Unless you can get them to wear prescription glasses for the disorder, there isn't a whole lot you can do, except don't make them deal with super bright light. Their eyesight will continue to get worse with time. On the good side, they use their whiskers like we use our eyes. so even though eyesight is helpful, as long as they have whiskers they do very well.

Though our albino girl, Buttercup is survival impaired and runs to anything odd and then sways in front of it. Running from is probably healthier really. lol

Sounds like you are doing things to make Cosmo comfy.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Cosmo has a thing for pant legs. He's indifferent (and occasionally nervous) about being in my shirt but at first oppurtinity he's up my pant leg and curled up against my calf. I am working on his name as well as the different noises and he's been responding to it well; except for those times he totally ignores me, anyway. And oh wow, I didn't think about the rearranging problem. I'll definitely have to watch and try to make him aware if I make any big changes to important parts of the cage.

That was an interesting little read, thank you mimsy :) Cosmo has crazy long whiskers so that's a plus for him I suppose. Funny how my mother and I were joking about getting Milo a friend as well as "another set of eyes" but he can see better than Cosmo and ends up leading him most of time! Cosmo's response to the odd object has been to run off but lately he's been edging closer with a swaying head, I count that as some progress!

Heres a quick picture of my visually impaired little guy :)
 

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