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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought my two lovely rats from the local family run pet store. My friend has bought a hamster from there before and the palce seemed quite nice and well run. I was just wondering about how I can get my rats to trust me a bit more? I think that they were not handled that much at the shop, so they seem quite timid. I have opened the cage door and spoken softly to them and tried to get them to eat a small piece of banana from my hand and I have also tried a small piece of chocolate, but they just sit there look petrified and will not take the food. As soon as I leave it in their cage they will go for it, it is just when the food is in my hand.

Will they come round eventually if I carry on doing it? they seem a bit more adventerous today - they will come up to the door in the cage when I am there, but when I open it, they go all scared again and either run away or just sit there scared stiff :(
 

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Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

I just got my little ratty as well, and he is still very shy after 3 weeks, but much better.

I basically just left his cage open, coaxed him with treats into my hand until he came out of his little hiding place, spoke softly to him. You have to let them get used to you :)

They will get used to you, some rats are more timid than others but just be persistant and you'll get there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

okay, cheers :). I really need to get some pictures of them both, they are so cute :D One is a Champagne rat I *think* (red eyes, beige fur). The other is a mottled black and white little thing, both female. I was only going to have one, but then they were the last two in the store, and I knew that they were sociable little things, and I just couldnt bring myself to separate them hehe.
 

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Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

That's so cute!

I bought my first (Addo) alone and we spent loads of time playing with him, but as he got older he started getting a bit lonely so we bought little Edgar!
 

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Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

yeah, just keep handling them and talking to them for an hour or so a day and they'll get used to you.
also, you could try putting them into your shirt so they get used to your scent..but do it for at least 20 mins as that's how long it takes for a rat to lose its fear of something!
it worked quite well with my girls, and they go into my sleeve whenever i present it to them. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

thanks for the replies! They seem to be getting more and more friendly with me, and it has only been 3 days, so should be fine within a week or two.

Im not sure if I am being paranoid after reading up on so much about rat health, but I am a bit worried about my champagne rat - on his tail and one of his back feet he has these little dark splotches that I havent noticed before - is this anything to be worried about or is it just a difference in pigmentation - like a few freckles or something? Im not sure, I might just be a bit paranoid! :D
 

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Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

probally his coloring and just a dirty tail. None of my 4 girls have a solic colored tail.
 

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Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

Try rubbing his tail down with baby wipes (unscented). I do this to my boys on occasion. :)
 

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Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

Whenever we bathe our sweeties, we have a toddler's soft toothbrush that we give their tails a good cleaning with.

of course, they glare at us for about an hour afterwards...lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

sorry to be a pain and thanks for all the answers, but they are being great now - but now I am worried about their diet!

Basically, when I bought them, the only food that the pet store had for rats was the generic "seed mix for rats". I have been feeding them that and they have been eating most of it, about a bowl a day. However, I have been giving them small bits of fruit like bananas and grapes, and I have given them both a small piece of chocolate each to try and lure them out of the cage. However, when I got back today I noticed they were both licking my fingers when I put my finger through the cage. I kind of assumed that meant they were missing a bit of salt in their diet (since the seed mix is pretty awful from what I have read on here). After that I gave them a small piece of cooked ham each and they both scoffed right through it really fast. I was just wondering if this is showing how bad the generic rat food is for them? or are they just missing that little bit of protein in their diet?

It is a pain, because in the UK, especially in Reading, there are no large pet stores around that will sell the kind of rat pellets that give a full diet. I have ordered a new cage and some decent bedding for my rats off the internet, but I still couldnt find any UK internet pet stores that sell the "lab blocks" as I have seen them being called here and on other sites.

Anyone have any ideas on how I can keep my rats nice and healthy in the kind of area that I am in where it is a pain to try and find any decent food/cages/bedding for my rats? to be honest it seems as though most people round here are quite ignorant to what a rats needs are :(

I was thinking of using the generic rat food, and then enriching their diet with the small bits of fresh fruit and then maybe get the protein from some canned oysters?

Anyway, I am up for any help any of you rat lovers can give me! :p

edit: plus I have just noticed that the "alpha rat" of the two keeps on stealing the food off of her sister - anything I can do about that? They both seem to be similar in size... I guess it is natural?
 

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Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

i don't use the lab blocks either, its not quite as difficult for me to get at them now then it was and certainly not as it is for but it is a bit cost prohibitative. in any case this is what i do and have done for 4 years. they seem to thrive nicely on it but i have never had any lost babes autopised either so i can't give scientific proof of it.

i give them as a staple (i just keep the bowl full) dog kibble. it was the best that i could find in my area. you need to check protein levels and ingredients. the protein should be as close to 14-18% as possible. there should be no alfafa or corn as these can both cause problems and for the most part are nothing more then junk fillers.

i give them table scraps from nearly every meal so long as the food i was eating was healthy (the stuff that i wasn't is only offered as a treat sometimes). i'm allergic to oranges as well so they are find on that front.

i also give them fresh fruits and veggies as often as my budget will allow (as no other human in the house will actually eat veggies the animals give me a nice excuse to buy some for myself and them).

i also will give them a small water bottle of cranberry juice from time to time as this is related to an improved immune system and as a deterrent to urinary tract infections and has been claimed to help reduce risk of tumors in females (not entirely sure how accurate that is but i figured it can't hurt to try anyway). dried cranberries (they last longer) would also work well but i have had difficulty finding them in my area.

they also get cooked chicken bones to help wear on their teeth and help fill their protein requirements. as well as the table scraps of course.

but as far as them licking your fingers? that does not necessarily mean that they are deficent in their diet. they are grooming you which is one of the highest forms of ratty love you can get next to being marked (tiny dribbles of pee left on you) as theirs. it sounds like they are really come round to you and that at the very least they like you.

the reason they likely scarfed down the ham was that it was yummy and new. rats do need protein but just because they chow down on a new food you give them does not necessarily mean they are deficent in that food group either.

and you are certianly not being a pain. everyone here loves talking about rats and love to help people with their rats. don't feel foolish or burdensome over asking a question. its what the forum is for. questions, stories and pictures (the latter two we are eargerly awaiting from you :wink: :D )
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

okay great! Thanks for that, that is a lot off of my mind :). I think I will most likely change their diet from this rat food they are on, and will change them to one of the diets I have seen on the forums (in fact - yours is sounding pretty **** nice - **** probably better than my own diet! hehe).

I must get some pictures taken soon so I can show you all how cute my rats are! Im going to have to borrow my flatmates camera I guess :D.
 

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Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

You might want to google the "Shunamite Diet". Its the UK version of the Suebee's diet, specially created to have balanced nutrition for your rats. :)
 

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Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

the shunamite diet is a fairly good diet but just like suebee's it is a mix and so though the mix is balanced the rat may only eat a few peices from it and leave the rest. with mix diets you HAVE to wait until the bowl is empty (and food not hidden) before re-filling the bowl to help insure that the rat has gotten all the nutrition.

also, the suebee's diet has been reported by some to be fattening. i do not use so i am not sure if this is true. and i do not know how closely related the the UK's shunamite is to the US's suebee's deit so i can not say if the the shunamite may have the same issue.

but before picking any diet do your research on it. do not take just ONE source to base you information from. there is a lot of misinformation out there so you need to get facts verified from other sources. as a general rule there are enough of us on here that can help steer you to reputable sites. ratguide.com i know has been offered fairly routinly here. i've only ever used it for illnesses so i don't know what information they have on diet there.

the diet i use works best for me, my budget and the situation i find myself in due to my surroundings and other responsibilites. your situation may different that my deit will not work for you. so keep other options in mind and do some research as well. i'm sure you'll be able to find a better suitable alternative to comerical mixes though.

good luck and we're looking forward to those pictures.
 

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Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

I completely agree with twitch on all counts.

I use Suebee's and because it can tend to be fattening, I do 1/2 Suebee's, 1/2 Nutro Lite Adult dog food and cooked pasta and veggies with olive oil a couple times a week.

That was what works best for me. Just research a lot and test out different things.
 

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Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

They will get used to you dont worry. Just keep holding them and petting them. They will soon come around to you
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Re: just got myself my first two rats! Just a quick question

to be honest, it is still really awkward to try and hold them.Becuase they are pet shop rats I am feeling like they will keep to themselves. I keep on thinking of taking one out of the cage and holding them, but I feel that will make them feel more scared than they should be, plus I have been told to let them come to me first. I am really hoping that within the next 2 weeks they will get used to me more, since I have a worn t-shirt in their cage plus I keep giving the little treats (dont worry guys, theyre healthy treats! hehe)


snyway, fingers crossed, within the next week they will learn to enjoy human comany :D
 
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