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Discussion Starter #1
I had to rearrange my bedroom, and now everything stinks because the girls are all freaked out by the change of scenery. (Like, really ladies, really? You got moved five feet to the left.)

The world's collapsed in on itself, a wormhole to the tenth dimension has opened, and apparently that dimension is flooded with smelly, disgusting fear poop and angry doe rats.

In the back of my mind, a little voice whispers, "Remus and Adolphus would never have done that."

-Sigh-
 

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I don't think just a change in setting would freak them out that much... Is there anything else that has changed... any new smells, etc?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No, really. I rearranged the furniture and swapped out my FN for a CN. It?s just that the girls are the rescues, and the rescue sends me all of the skittish, biting rats. For the first two cage cleanings, there was fear scat everywhere. They'd go anytime I got within 10 feet of the cage, and then everywhere once I was holding them.

That was a couple of weeks ago, and since then, they calmed down a bit. But I move their cage to an adjacent wall and it's the first week all over again.

Unless... Maybe I didn't clean the CN out enough? I bleached it though - left it to air out for a few days.
 

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If they were so skittish that they fear pooped when you were within 10' of the cage, where ever they came from must have been pretty bad. To me, it seems that just moving the cage would be enough to scare them. Who ever had them might have done something mean associated with moving the cage. Kind of like the dog that was beaten with a broom. Brooms freak them out just picking it up.

My husbands ex-wife used to beat our dog. He used to cower if I so much as moved a certain way. I still don't know for sure what I was doing that was so scary. When that happened, I would comfort him and reassure him that I wasn't going to hurt him, petting him and loving him. It took him a little time to realize I wasn't going to hurt him. He did get past it.
 

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Yes and I have two rescue rats from an abandonment situation who were clearly mishandled. If my hand came towards them higher than their eyes they freaked out and fled for their lives. They've gotten better since I worked with them and they saw how much my girls trusted me but I still can't grab them too quickly without scaring them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, I figured. Daisy, I think, was either abused or just never, ever handled. She came in with Peach as her roomie, and has, for the most part, been extremely defensive/cage aggressive.

Demeter and Snowflake are both adult pet store rats, so there's a high chance they never got handled in the first place. Pretty sure Demeter was bred before being put to sale. (Do rats get stretch marks?)
 

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I agree... could just be temperament or mis-handling (or lack thereof). I got some pups from a breeder and all of them had been handled and bred for temperament and given the same treatment since birth by the breeder. I got them at about 5 weeks old and one of the bunch always showed agression (nipped when I put my hands in the cage) and another of the females was absolutely terrified by any fast motions, would not tolerate being handled, etc... Extremely skittish even though she had never been harmed by myself or the breeder. The other 2.2 were fine and friendly. I have also noticed that all of the rats I have that have red / pink eyes are more skittish, but I am not sure if that is true across all lines or just the one I have.
 

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I have also noticed that all of the rats I have that have red / pink eyes are more skittish, but I am not sure if that is true across all lines or just the one I have.
I have a ruby eyed rat. It took longer for her to get used to being handled and pet. I had to come up with ways to let her know I'm going to pet her or pick her up. She's fine now as long as she knows I'm there. She's not as comfortable if I'm not around though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
With the exception of Daisy, all of the girls surrendered to me are/were ruby or pink. Adolphus was also red, and it took him two years and death's doorstep to warm up to me.

Shamus is a ruby-black, and while he's a far cry from skittish, he's also a little harder to convince that the coast is clear during free time.
 

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Yeah...I've had 3 beiges and a fawn. The first beige and fawn were from the breeder that I got my founding stock from. The other two beiges were bred by me and I raised them exactly the same as all of my other pups.. same environment, exposure to new things and lots of time in a huge playpen and interacting with me. The two beiges were the only skittish ones in the bunch and I have to think it is related to their vision (they are not related to the ones I got from the breeder directly, only very distantly from the same lines).

The only conclusion I can come to is vision. I am going to be testing this in the future in my lines and see if I ever produce any beige / fawn pups that act "normally"... more friendly and outgoing. If I can't do so, I will abandon working with that color as I do not believe in producing animals with an inherent disability that effects their quality of life...even if they are gorgeous (which I think beiges are).
 

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I do believe that red eyed rats have weaker vision than black eyed ones (even though it's not that great to begin with). And my two rescue boys that I mentioned above are red eyed. I found one thing that helps is to talk to them, say their names and wake them up before moving close so they can hear me and know I'm coming even if they can't see me well. I think it also helped with learning their names and trust training since I announced my presence and wasn't startling them all the time lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Haha. Yeah, probably. Shamus knows his name, but I think I messed up somewhere in the training process because Bruté will come to any of the rats' names. (Or maybe he just knows it means treats.)

I just think it's funny, that, for an animal whose vision is awful, that sight really makes a difference.
 
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