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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently got my first ever rats and I'm not sure how to tell if they're happy with what's going on or if they're nervous. I'm pretty sure they're not keen on being picked up by hand as they squirm and their tails whip around a lot, but once they're out, they seem quite happy to crawl all over me, sniff my hair, get strokes, crawl up my sleeve, etc. They like to spend a lot of time in my hood, grooming themselves and napping, which I think is a good sign? They don't seem very interested in exploring away from me though. One of them has also been chattering her teeth occaisonally, which I've read is a sign of both stress and happiness, so that doesn't really help!

I want to make sure I don't put them under too much stress- what signs should I look out for?
 

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Grooming is a good sign, as it shows that the rats are thinking about something. The fact that they are crawling all over you and napping in your hood is a really good sign - they obviously trust you enough to go to sleep near you. It doesn't sound like they enjoy being picked up, though - maybe you could try allowing them to climb on your hand rather than grabbing them.

They're still pretty young; with some time they should warm up to you. It sounds like they are making good progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Grooming is a good sign, as it shows that the rats are thinking about something. The fact that they are crawling all over you and napping in your hood is a really good sign - they obviously trust you enough to go to sleep near you. It doesn't sound like they enjoy being picked up, though - maybe you could try allowing them to climb on your hand rather than grabbing them.

They're still pretty young; with some time they should warm up to you. It sounds like they are making good progress.
Thanks :) We had a really nice bonding time last night with them both curled up in hands getting strokes and bruxing.

They will happily climb onto my hands, but jump off if I try to move them- (understandably, I'd get freaked out if I stood on something and it started moving too!). The only trouble is there's no way for them to get out of the cage on their own as it's quite high, so if they want to come out to roam around I need to lift them out somehow.
 

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Caveat: I'm new at this too, so I'm experimenting as much as you are.

I try to give a treat after I pick them up. That way, they hopefully won't struggle so much. And with enough moments where they're being picked up, they'll hopefully relax and realize that it's just a minor inconvenience before they are brought to the bosom.

I'm still working that out, but I pull out a couple of Yogis first. Then I pick up the rat and sit down with her. When she's settled in, I give her a Yogi.

If I have the patience, I'll try to coax a rat onto my hand with a Yogi. I understand that's a great way to get them to enjoy walking on your arm on their own.

Seems to work with one rat. She doesn't always run out onto my hand, but when I pick her up, she lets herself go slack now until I can arrange her. The others still splay their toes out to grab onto something. They're younger (and honestly handled less because the oldest is so damned cute). I hope that with age and more handling they'll also associate being picked up with fun, bonding time.
 
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