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Discussion Starter #1
I just adopted my boy on Sunday. He was given to me by someone on CL because he has hormonal aggression and had to be separated from his male cagemates.

The owner said he needs to be neutered, which I fully plan to do, but in the meantime I'd like to get Pip Silas used to me.

He stays in his hammock most of the time, except when I'm sleeping. I've never seen him out of it. He takes treats from me very gently, but does not allow me to pet him, let alone hold him. I believe all of this is normal.

I know what guinea pig depression looks like, but I'm not sure what rat depression does. I'm sure he's sad to be away from his family, so I'd like to help him in whatever way I can.

I haven't scheduled his vet appointment yet because I would like to get him to the point where I can successfully pick him up without stress.

I welcome all advice!
 

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Willow, Comet, and Spark
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How old is he? How long has he been with you?
 

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Cloud and Dew (Pearl Merle and American Mink, both with Irish markings)!
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He is depressed for sure, especially because he has no buddy! You need to get another male rat, ASAP! Rats will get depressed when they have no fellow rat to play with. Introductions will most likely not be easy, but here is a website with information about it! https://www.joinrats.com/Intros
You should get him neutered as well like you said. In terms of getting him used to you, here is a quote that helps!

I’d recommend liquid treats then. Meat baby food to be specific.

In my experience, just about every rat is OBSESSED with meat baby food, and they will do just about anything for it. Assuming that you can already handle the rats, I recommend combing the two (and even if they dislike handling, combining it with meat baby food is a great way to make it a more positive experience).

Basically, pick up the rat, then feed meat baby food of your fingers. (As a note, be sure to feed the meat baby food off a metal spoon first, to teach the rats to lick it up instead of biting it.) You can also work on lure them into your hand to eat it, or pairing touch with it.


The way I’ve always tamed and bonded with my rats has been outside the cage in a safe space, so you could also try that. I have a small and large cardboard playpen I build to free-range my rats, as my room is unsafe for them to roam around in. While taming, I set up my smallest playpen (just larger than me sitting cross legged), take my rats out, then sit in the empty playpen with either a blanket or hoody on. I also bring sling meat baby food to help cement this area as a good experience.

This way, the rats get to explore the area and learn to treat me as a safe spot. I’ll also practice scooping up the rats, giving them a lick of meat baby food, then immediately letting them go. This way they learn that being picked up leads to good things, and not to scary things like being restrained for long periods of time.


After my rats learn to tolerate and then enjoy handling, I switch to the large playpen. I add lots of toys and hides, and essentially just let the rats explore. After a while, they’ll end up near me again, at which point I’ll offer some treats. And after that, the rest is just repetition to accustomthem to my routine.


I’m also a big advocate of training small pets, and I train my rats daily. Spin, fetch, agility, weave walking, you name it! They love to train, and it’s a good way to bond with the less human oriented rats (and basically any rat in general). Each rat learns to communicate with me better, and overall they learn to trust that being around me and the play area is safe and fun!
 

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Hulu, Dibs, Sprout, & Mochi
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I agree with TwilxghtRat. When i was bonding with my girls after getting them I found that sitting in front of the cage with small or liquid treats (I crushed their treats into a powder). This is necessary because it makes your rat stay near you longer to get the treat.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is such great info!!! I was wondering about the meat baby food. I give it when I'm socializing hissy-spitty kittens and even adult cats. Great to know it will work for rats. I'll get that asap.

Yeah, I was really concerned about depression. I'd like to wait until he gets neutered before I get him a friend. The shelter I foster with typically gets baby rats in in the spring, so I planned to wait until then.

I also read that male rats are hard to introduce to other rats as an adult, but they say the same for male guinea pigs and I've never had a problem. I introduce on 100% neutral territory, with brand new everything, so I figured the process would be similar. His former parent told me to use vanilla extract on their backs, as well, for the community smell.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also, he's almost a year old (in Feb) and he's been with me since Sunday afternoon, so two days. I know he's going to be shy, but I'm not sure how long he's been away from his cagemates. His former owner posted him for re-home on December 17th, so I'm assuming it's been a bit.
 

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Hulu, Dibs, Sprout, & Mochi
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I would just find him a friend or two ASAP then get him neutered.
 

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You need another rat for a cagemate. Unless his issue for being separated was severe agression with other rats ? But even rats with new friends can become depressed after being separated from long term cage mates so....I think Im Out of my element here honestly. But try a new friend for him. Introduce them appropriately and hope for the best. Try to find one that is well adjusted and around the same age of possible. If not find a young one you can mold into a well socialized lil boyo
 

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Hulu, Dibs, Sprout, & Mochi
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To be safe while introducing them just go really slowly and monitor the whole thing and remember to make sure your boy is completely healed and acting normal before you introduce him to other rats.
 

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My intention is to get him friends once he's healed from his neuter. Currently, according to his knowledgeable previous owner, he attacked his cagemates, bloodshed, due to hormonal aggression. So once I get him neutered and give him time to heal, I plan on intoducing other rats for him. I feel like introducing other rats to him at this time would be irresponsible as a parent.
 

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This is what I'm trying to figure out. I give him lots of treats to bond with him and make him less scared, but I also want to figure out what he really likes so I can shower him with love after his neuter.

So far he really likes chicken and turkey baby food, definitely loves Yogies. Isn't a fan of cheerios. I've tried repeatedly, but he won't take them from me. He took uncooked pasta twice.

I have cats that I make chicken for, so I think the next time I do that,I'll give some to him too. Maybe that's how I can win my way into his heart lol. He's so scared!! I feel bad, but he's getting better.

I have to clean his cage soon and since he lets me know that "No do not touch me", I'm trying to figure out how to clean his cage without upsetting him. And I need to get him to the vet. I've called them already, and told them the situation, and they said if I can't make it on the day I schedule, that's okay. So that makes me feel better.

Maybe if I put high value treats in his carrier (it's a small soft sided cat carrier), he would go in on his own? It's too big to put into his cage. But he's too big for my foster small animal carrier.
 

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Hulu, Dibs, Sprout, & Mochi
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My rats love chicken. A good way to see what they like is to get a large ceramic plate and put different treats all over it and see what he takes first. Try liquid and solid treats too.
 

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Rex, Penny, Sugar, Latte
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Maybe if I put high value treats in his carrier (it's a small soft sided cat carrier), he would go in on his own? It's too big to put into his cage. But he's too big for my foster small animal carrier.
I just put this on another thread but it applies here as well: Help an Unsocialized Rat - Any Rat! - Love a Transport Box - JoinRats

This is what I'm trying to figure out. I give him lots of treats to bond with him and make him less scared, but I also want to figure out what he really likes so I can shower him with love after his neuter.
You can try peas!
 
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