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I love my girls so much! And I let them explore my living room for at least an hour every night, sometimes wayyy longer, until they go back —on their own- to their big critter nation cage full of clean fleece and tunnels and hammocks. I’ve made them a soil dig box to try to deter their ever present burrowing instinct from destroying my carpets and house plants lol they have a lot of fun! and I feed them healthy treats and good food and they are litter trained almost perfectly! Problem is.... they honestly hate me lol one of them won’t even let me hold her, it’s like a running treadmill when I handle her just to keep her from jumping away, and the other one would rather drop all the way from my shoulder to the floor instead of hanging out up there with me .... I don’t know what I’m doing wrong? I can barely hold them and they don’t like being pet and they love me when I have food but otherwise they run away from me like I’m a serial killer with a chainsaw— and I just want a singular cuddle lol I try hand wrestling, I talk to them when I see them awake, I hand feed them... I’m baffled. I’ve had them for 7 months, since they were about 2 months old. Is there hope for me?
 

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Have you tried letting them climb on you?
Or up you to your shoulder?

Try some free roam time on your bed (I suggest one at a time to start) and just hang out with them .... let them climb on you and explore.

Sometimes it's easier to get that personal interaction one-on-one.
 

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Rex, Penny, Sugar, Latte
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It sounds like all you need is 10 minutes of bonding time each day. You do all these (amazing) things for your rats and that's great, but they cannot associate them with you (I'm sure if they could they would be super grateful). However, they can associate you with food and safety so if your rats are confident outside of the cage then bring them somewhere like a bed or bathroom and bond:
  • Take away all possible hiding spots and wear a hoodie or a blanket to make yourself a safe place
  • Let them run around and when they come to you on their own then reward them
  • Once they are super comfortable near you, touch different places on their body and reward each time
  • Hold them briefly, treat, then put down
  • If they want to run away, let them

Make sure to take things at your rats' pace, if they seem afraid then take a step back. The goal is for them to associate the treats with you, not feeling frightened. It may take patience but with time I'm confident your rats will love being handled.
 

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It sounds like you have very normal rats. They want to run and play and explore. Most rats won't ever be like a cat and just sit on your lap and purr. That's not the kind of pet most rats will ever be.

I pick my boys up as much as I can so they get used to being handled but I don't really try to hold them in my hands for lengths of time. As they get older, they might be fine sitting in my hands for a short period while I pet them but it generally doesn't last long before they want to get down or explore my shoulders. The Isamu Rat Care youtube channel has a good video called ["Socialising rats: out of cage activities"] that might help you and your rats.

Letting your rats run around in a big space like your living room is fantastic but you might want to spend some time with them in a more confined space as well. Playpens, couches, or small bathrooms are nice because smaller spaces will require your rats to be close to you and climbing on you.
 
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