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So I was free-roaming the rats again tonight. They got about an hour, maybe more, which is long enough for them to explore but also enough so that they fall right asleep after returning to the cage.
Harvey, my skittish black/white hooded boy, was being much more outgoing than usual. He was actively approaching me on the couch, climbing up and inspecting my earphones and cables. However, about 45 minutes ago he suddenly disappeared. I kept counting and re-counting my mischief and he was absolutely nowhere. I checked all over the living room including under the couch and tv stand. Nothing. Now I was in full-blown panic-attack mode. I couldn't help but think the worse had happened. Had he somehow slipped out the door and in the hallway with my terrier puppy? Had he gotten wedged in somewhere and couldn't get out? Had he fallen from somewhere and broken his leg or spine? I was terrified. At this point I even sent my puppy in to try and sniff him out... no luck. I sat on the couch again bawling my eyes out because I'd just lost heart... plus, if my landlord had found out that one of them had gotten out, that's it. I'd be evicted in a second.

Then I saw the little built-in draw on the wooden coffee table. Without thinking I opened it... and there was Harvey. He was terrified, and only wanted one thing - to get out and go back to his cage. I think he'd climbed onto one of the supports on the table's underside that holds the draw in place, and then squeezed into the small gap just above the drawer itself. That's how he escaped, anyways. After 10 minutes more I finally managed to capture the devil... he was still scared and nearly shaking so I got him back to his brothers as quickly as I possibly could.

I'm almost certain his confidence has been shattered - again. When I first got him it took him weeks before he was confident enough to just poke his nose out of the cage. And then just as he was getting comfortable with running up my arms to sit on my shoulders we moved house and now, cage interactions aside, we're back to square 1.

Frankly I feel like a terrible person for letting this happen, and for failing at getting my babies to be the loving, sociable and confident lap-rats that everyone else seems to have. Maybe I'm just expecting too much from them, but it's times like this I begin to miss the companionship of my old lap-rats Hugo and Humphrey.

I know, I shouldn't think like that and maybe I just still feel bad for losing Harvey so suddenly. I don't love my boys any less, but still.
 

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You are doing fine, and they know you love them:)Something similar happened to me. Long story short, I couldn't find Casse-Graine anywhere. I went for the flashlight and there she was in the drawer. The drawer must have been opened and my husband closed it not knowing a rat was in it. If it wasn't for the flashlight it could have taken a while for me to find her. She was super happy to see me:)
 

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Esmerelda squeezed behind and under a bookcase. It took me about 20 minutes to figure out where she was. Luckily the case was full of stuffed animals and easy to up end. She was frightened. It took a couple of days, but Endora got her back to almost brave in no time!
 
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