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Happy to Cuddle but Squeaks When Picked Up

2030 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Dark_Sama
So I recently got three rats from the pet store, and they've all been doing pretty fine so far. However one of the boys (the biggest of the thee) really likes to get out and roam around the living room. I don't have a problem with it, since there is nothing out that he can get into (we guinea pig proofed it because of my roommate's piggy, so there's nothing a rat could get into either); the weird thing is that even though he likes to climb all over my lap, and follows my feet around when I get up to walk, he squeaks when I pick him up. He stops once I've got him against my chest, but I'm not sure why he started squeaking like that. He didn't do it yesterday at all...
Another of my boys will let me pick him up and he is nice and quiet about it, but he tends to poop on my shoulder if I move around too much (I usually hold him while sitting down). I've only had the boys for three days now, so it could just be that they're not used to me yet (I don't expect them to be) and I'm over thinking things, but I just don't want to worry that they'll always be like this.

On a side note, the third takes no interest in me or leaving the cage unless there's yougies involved.
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That's quite an assortment of personalities you've got there ^^

Squeaking is their form of disagreement. A kind of protest. Sometimes, you'll get rats that don't like to be picked up at all, and that's just them. However, you can make it better for them by not grabbing, but by scooping (which is the preferred method) and supporting their bottoms. You can do this all throughout playtime so they get used to it, and give them treats afterward so they associate being picked up a good thing. If they still squeak, there's not really much you can do but make it more comfortable for them. Sometimes you just HAVE to pick them up. If they get into trouble, or you have to put them back in the cage quickly.

There is an alternate method to picking them up, and that is training them to climb up your arm and onto your shoulder. That way, you don't have to pick them up and it's a lot more comfortable for them. Both of my rats do this and it's easier for them since they aren't fond of me picking them up all the time. I just got them used to riding on my shoulder and they started climbing up my arm eventually. They seem to enjoy being on my shoulder too ^^ They're closer to me that way.

The rats will slowly get used to you. As long as you interact with all of them equally, then they will come around eventually. It may take longer for some. Mine were licking my fingers by the week's end. It may take longer or shorter, depending on your rats.

I hope I helped some ^^ Good luck to you and your rats! :3
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I've also had great experiences with the scooping method. One of my old boys was kind of iffy about being picked up directly (and, like your's, he was otherwise fine with contact in general), so I tried gently scooping him instead, and he barely protested.

I kept doing this every day and eventually he stopped squeaking altogether.
Thank you both! I've been using the Scooping method today with Jellybean (the squeaker) after my roommate suggested that I pick him up the same way that I do with his guinea pig. He didn't protest at all when I was doing that; I'll have to do that from now on. c:
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