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I bought home my two younger boys at the same time, and they were taken in by the older one after only a day or so, he was very lonely and their joining together went off without a hitch. They don't fight, there is not much power grooming and Domino (The adult buck) pretty much leaves the boys alone.

One of the babies has taken to him life beautifully, he comes out of the cage, lets me pick him up without any fuss and runs about outside the cage a little. The problem is his brother. Zippy, who was originally the very active one while they were at the store (I watched them for a while before I bought them, at least a week) has become exceptionally shy. He hides from view nearly all the time and the most I can get out of him is a little sniff of my fingers before he runs away. When I try to handle him to get him used to me, he becomes so distressed that I have to put him down inside the cage again. I have tried handling him every day with the same results. Now he just mostly sits behind his hut all the time and only comes out to eat or drink.

How can I get my little boy to calm down? I don't want to scare him, and his distress is worrying particularly as I am assured they have been handled every day since they were tiny pinklings, and his brother has no such problem. Some advice?
 

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considering the conversation we are having on your other thread do you see now why it is so important to do the 2 week minimum quarantine. Not only does it allow you to check the health of the new rats... it allows you the time to be sure of their gender as well
 

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Firstly, it is important to note that holding a scared rat doesn't help them to feel better about you. You should try to get him interested in you, and show him that each time he shows interest he is rewarded with a treat. Just try to connect your presence with good food. Eventually he will come out when he sees you, then try to get him close, and eventually pick him up.

The problem with the above scenario is that it may take a while. In the mean time, spend lots of time around the cage, and spend lots of time with your hands in the cage. He will get used to you, and if you give him rewards for being good, he'll start wanted to be good also. Remember, the cardinal rule -- 'reward good behavior, ignore bad behavior'.

Also, your rat may simply be taking the passive role with the other rat, who seems like the dominate one. In which case, try letting the dominate one run around your room as you play with the other one. He might come out of his shell easier.

let us know how things go, and if any of these things are tried (and whether they work for you).
 
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