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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry, long post. But I'm just devastated.

Last night, all the boys jumped in the carrier, excited for playtime. I had their cream of wheat ready. I stepped over the cardboard and set the carrier down, then I sat down and opened the door. Instead of dashing out, they cautiously stepped out of the carrier, not all of them, just a couple. I had the dish of cereal right there, and they seemed very suspicious of me and the situation. Then I moved my hand...

Everyone exploded and shot out of the carrier, in different directions. Every single one. It was frantic and they seemed terrified. I sat and talked to them, called to them. Nothing. After about 10 minutes, I left so they could come out on their own. I was so shocked, and didn't understand what happened.

About 45 minutes later I went back up. Nobody came out. Everyone hiding. I sat and called them again...nothing. So I left them again with the podcast playing, like I always do. Eventually I had to get them back to their cage. I had to catch them. This was just awful. They hid in the vent tube, and I had to sort of shake them out. Big mistake, that made it worse. I picked them up, still terrified of me, and put them in the carrier. I took them back to their cage and they jumped out and hid. For hours.

I was so frustrated and worried that I had destroyed our relationship. Should I try again? Should I leave them alone? I wanted to not end on a bad note, so I gently took everyone out and to the bed, where we used to play. No one would come out. I put cereal on my fingers and reached in, and they all licked eagerly, enjoying their treat, but still wouldn't come out. So I took them back upstairs, left the carrier door open and hoped they would come out in their familiar play room. I left them up there until 3am. I couldn't stand it, I had to see what they were up to. Nothing. No one had moved from their hammocks. Food uneaten. Even the corn on the cob. So I gently moved everyone back to the carrier and back to their cage. They weren't terrified anymore, but certainly not happy with me.

This morning I called to them and brought cream of wheat. Each one poked their heads out and licked the cereal. I could pet a couple of them, but several shrunk back and put their heads up in that defensive mode. They went back to the hammocks and that was that.

This whole situation was totally bizarre, not the norm at all. I still don't know why they acted like that. Unless it was because of a few changes in their routine? I usually set the carrier down by reaching over the wall, and let them run around for about 10 minutes, then I come back with the cereal. They weren't expecting to see me sitting there, so maybe that spooked them. Also the light was down low, making it harder to see me.

And I have two being adopted on Saturday, and I brag about how amazing these boys are. What do I do now??? How do I repair the damage?? I could just cry for what I've done :cry:

Thanks for reading. You guys are my rock and I appreciate it.
 

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It's ok. Rats have that. Maybe something scared them while they were in free roam. Do you have any other pets? Or maybe a blanket fell off a shelf and on them, and it smelled like you. That's why your hand movement scared them. Restart bonding. And stop free roaming. In a few days, they will realize that they need to greet you and play with you to free roam, and go back to normal!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmmm, you are wise, Grasshopper. No free roam makes sense. All the fun will have to be earned through trust, on both of our parts.

No other pets, nothing changed in their play area. Nothing that could have fallen or scared them. I do think seeing me sitting where I normally aren't kinda freaked them out. So when my hand moved, they were already on the verge of running.
 

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Sometimes that happens. This actually happened to me a little while ago, HELP! ! C&D recovered from it after a day, so I don’t think you should worry too much. It’s really horrible how you worked so hard to build up the trust, then the boys just freaked out! :(

I would open their cage and pet them while giving treats, but I agree that you should withhold some free roam time :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sometimes that happens. This actually happened to me a little while ago, HELP! ! C&D recovered from it after a day, so I don’t think you should worry too much. It’s really horrible how you worked so hard to build up the trust, then the boys just freaked out! :(

I would open their cage and pet them while giving treats, but I agree that you should withhold some free roam time :)
Yes, I remember lol. They are the most unpredictable little creatures! Tonight I will stay in their room, do my routine of sitting, feeding them cereal and playing the podcast. I'll open the cage door and just see what happens ;) Thanks!
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
And literally, the day before, I had Gimli cuddling and bruxing and boggling...now even he looks at me like I might eat him lol.
 

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Such is the nature of rats... it’s hard when you think everyone is out to eat you. I agree with all the advice given thus far— cut back on out of cage time and focus on regaining their trust. They’ll be all over you again before you know it, keep us updated on how they’re doing!
 

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And literally, the day before, I had Gimli cuddling and bruxing and boggling...now even he looks at me like I might eat him lol.

Ok ... first thing you need to do is breathe.
The second thing you need to do is stop taking it personally. It's a rat thing. And since their communication with us is severely limited, you can hardly be blamed for not knowing whats going on in their hyper little brains.

Now that you've (hopefully) worked on # 1&2 .... let them settle down for a few days. As stated above, forget about free-roam until they're closer to normal. Still approach the cage and interact with them as you've done all along. The point is for them to see you behaving as you always have. Think of it as a "trust test". Your job now is to show them the trust that had in you was, & still is valid. Try not to be anxious or feel bad or guilty when you're with them. Just be you. 🤪🐭
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok ... first thing you need to do is breathe.
The second thing you need to do is stop taking it personally. It's a rat thing. And since their communication with us is severely limited, you can hardly be blamed for not knowing whats going on in their hyper little brains.

Now that you've (hopefully) worked on # 1&2 .... let them settle down for a few days. As stated above, forget about free-roam until they're closer to normal. Still approach the cage and interact with them as you've done all along. The point is for them to see you behaving as you always have. Think of it as a "trust test". Your job ow is to show them th trust that had in you was, & still is valid. Try not to be anxious or feel bad or guilty when you're with them. Just be you. 🤪🐭
Thank you, I was literally sick last night thinking about it. I will calm down and present the safe person they've come to know. Maybe have a glass of wine while I sit with them...🍷 won't help them relax but it sure will help me 😋
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I find it funny that I am more concerned with what my rats think of me than I am of any human :LOL:
 

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Let us know if they decide to be sweet again for free roam! Maybe leave the room for an hour. They might suddenly come back to normal
 
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The second thing you need to do is stop taking it personally. It's a rat thing.
305072


THIS! This right here. Rats are... Weird like that. My boys do the same thing sometimes! But they usually go right back to their old selves in a day or so. I try to not take it personally. Also, rats tend to "let go" of temporary instances of stress very quickly, like what happened with your hand moving, so there's a very good chance they've already forgotten about the whole thing, or will in a very short amount of time.
 

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Updates?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
They have all forgiven me 😇

 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
They came out of the cage on their own, clamored for their cereal like they've been starved for a week, and I picked up each one for a whisper and a kiss without issue. I'll give them another day without free roam.

And don't mind Samwise's eyes. He is not sick, he just gets the porphyrins tears more than the others. I call them 'panda eyes', there isn't much I can do except wipe them clean every other day.
 

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They came out of the cage on their own, clamored for their cereal like they've been starved for a week, and I picked up each one for a whisper and a kiss without issue. I'll give them another day without free roam.

And don't mind Samwise's eyes. He is not sick, he just gets the porphyrins tears more than the others. I call them 'panda eyes', there isn't much I can do except wipe them clean every other day.
I'm glad they're coming around.
Just remember, this may happen from time to time. Just re-set - be who you are and wait it out.
It's not you ..... it's rats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you everyone. It's like Rat Psychology 101.

They were so happy last night, even though their only playtime was climbing between two cages. I left the doors open from 7-10. They took a nap in their old hammock in the small cage, then moved back to their CN. A snack of eggy rice before I went to bed, and pets for everyone.

This morning they poked their sleepy heads out and had their cereal. Nothing more adorable than their little rat-hands holding my fingers, gently licking the cereal, the feel of their tongues lapping up their treat until not a grain remains :giggle:
 

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PHEW!!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Last night we tried the Rattic again. I put everyone in the carrier, they were so excited, and set the carrier down and left them for 15 minutes. When I came back to offer their treat, they were all in the hammock together. Safety in numbers ;)

Still unsure of the room where "It" happened. I may be forgiven, but the Rattic has not.

We'll try again tonight, see if they relax enough to run around and play again.
 

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haha aww I just went and read this whole thread. Glad they are fine again. Rats are really silly sometimes. Literally one could've gotten freaked out randomly and after that it's a pack mentality. Maybe they got a whiff of something that really freaked them out like another animal or a really strong chemical.
 
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