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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've seen talk about flipping a rat to groom the belly. Sounds fun, and if the rat enjoys it, then why wouldn't I?

But how does that happen? They seem to have such low centers of gravity. I can't envision just sliding a finger underneath and flipping her on the axis running from nose to tail. My girls are all under 3 months, so maybe I'm just afraid that I'll try to flip a rat and end up launching her.

Or do I actually grab the rat and turn her on her back? That seems aggressive to me, but maybe I'm just misinterpreting my rats. Perhaps I'm interpreting the rats correctly, and we're just not at the stage where they want to be flipped and groomed by a human. I would imagine that this would be apparent if my rats are willing to be groomed by me.
 

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My daughter plays with our rats like rag dolls, she flips them tosses them into the air, squishes them and the rats always look like they absolutely hate it... but they follow her around and climb all over her and keep coming back for more.

When my daughter was only 5 she would squish our part wild rat into doll clothes and little toy barbie cars... This was a vicious rat that really hurt someone badly... But it wasn't entirely unusual for her to scurry by in Barbie evening-wear with my daughter in hot pursuit. It was strange, because I got bitten badly and was always careful around her but she was completely safe around a 5 year old who could just snatch her up and would toss her around and snuggle her like a little maniac. If only to prove the point that she could...

I know they may protest, but I think down deep most rats really enjoy a little rough play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, I suppose if they really dislike it, there'd be a squeak, right? I've had that happen a couple times when I picked up a rat wrong. I may try a little roughhousing. I've had some fun with the spider hand making frantic movements in the cage. They dart away, which looks like they're alarmed but then they approach from around a different corner, so I think they are actually playing with the spider hand.
 

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To avoid encouraging animal abuse, I won't go into my list of things I've seen rats survive, but for the most part rats really are built Tonka tough. We tend to forget that, and sometimes it may be a good thing not to constantly test the limits of their design, but rats are meant to jump, to play, to fight and to survive encounters with much larger animals. There isn't really anything gentle about the world they evolved in. Sure most rats enjoy cuddling and being touched softly, but every young rat we've ever had enjoys scrambling around and just being crazy too.

Sure you hate seeing your kids fall and skin their knees or run into things, but kids will be kids and rats will be rats. Somewhere between reckless and mollycoddling there's a happy place where you and your rats will have the most fun.
 

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Rats can be very tough and playful. I have a girl, Lynn, who used to climb up my double ferret nation just to free-fall down into a box full of newspaper below. She would do this over and over again. She has absolutely no fear of heights and constantly puts her trust in my hands when I pick her up. She loves jumping off high places, even if those high places are from my arms to the floor (I have a really thick carpet.).

I also have a rat, Pastoolio, who will squeak in protest at just about anything. If he gets stuck or can't get somewhere he wants to go he will squeak. Sometimes he'll simply squeak to get my attention when he's trying to squirm through others to get to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I did some immersion where I would just pick up a rat, hold her perpendicular to the floor, and scritch her belly. Not sure if the rats enjoyed it or simply endured it, but they didn't squeak, and they would come back over and over again, so no harm.
 
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