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Hello, my name's Susanna,and i just got these new male rats a few days ago and I am completely new to this experience. One called Pickles and she's more timid and another Munchkin which is more adventurous and brave. They were starting to trust me at first, but I completely ruined it, well not only on my own. My little sister and her friend came over one day, and her friend wanted to hold it. At first I said no, but just kept pushing so i said yes. When the two girls came into the room, they opened the cage door at once and the ratties jumped. I came over and they were all in there hidy box, but my sister lifted it. So i picked it up, which i researched a bit and saw it was the completely wrong method, and Pickles kept squirming and trying to escape. He eventually came free and ran behind the box of food and bedding i keep and i took him back out the completely wrong again. Munchkin in all this was behind the box that i put in. Now the rats would run back into their box when ever i come into the room. What should i do?
(I put a thread here beacause I can't on the rat behaviour one)
 

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I had something similar happen when I got my two males. I was worried their bedding was making them sneeze so I put them in a shoebox while I cleaned the cage and changed it. It made a lot of noise and scared them silly. They jumped straight out the box when I went to put them back and hid under my chest of drawers, I felt awful and convinced myself I'd ruined the bonding I'd been trying to establish. When I tried to get them out they were a bit twitchy and tried to jump away but after some time they calmed down and it was completely fine. I found putting them in my jumper and just letting them sleep there undisturbed worked really well to get them to recognise my smell. Giving treats is good as they obviously will associate you with yummy things but I try not to do this all the time because I want them to know me as a friend not just the giver of food. The breeder who sold me my rats told me a good time to let them get to know you is in the morning before a shower so you smell like yourself and not like soap! They'll learn to recognise it's you, just give it time and be patient!
 

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Look under rat behavior and check out the thread on immersion, get your rats into a small space with you and start to build the right kind of relationship with them... rats are designed to get over stress and it would be important for their new big human friend to be there to help them do it.

Setbacks happen... and we can't turn back time. But then we have to go back to the basics and just start over or at least pick up the pieces. Once your rats are bonded to you, they will most likely enjoy playing with kids over the age of 4 or 5.
 
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