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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi,

iv had my two female sister rats for 5 months, they were 2months when i bought them from the pet shop.

when i got them home i left them for 3 days to get used to their new house and then held them both, they were nervous at first and pooed and weed on me for the first few weeks, but then they stopped and were great, they would run up to the cage when i walked past and would run over my shoulders and head and lick me.

then i went on holiday for 1 week and my mum looked after them, holding them and stuff and they were fine.

then when i came back, they wont come near me, when i put my hand in they bite me and when i try to pick them up they either wee on me or bite me. they also grab onto the bars so i dont pull them and just leave them. and when i pick them up they scream at me and struggle

people have suggested that i feed them and theyll gain trust in me, and also to leave the cage open and sit by it. but when i feed them they run away with the food and eat it in a corner or in their bed and when i leave the cage open they sniff around me but wont come out, they normally hide from me.

i dont understand why they have changed so much and all the trust that had built has just vanished.

please help me!!!

p.s when they are eventually out, when i go to put them back, the fight and try to run away from the cage, so they dont like coming out, but when their out they hate going back in! im so confused!
 

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I'm sorry to hear that!
When I go away Roxy tends to sulk and won't come upto the cage, but after a day or so she's fine.

How long have they been like that with you now? Maybe they didn't like the change of having a different person holdng and looking after them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Emster said:
I'm sorry to hear that!
When I go away Roxy tends to sulk and won't come upto the cage, but after a day or so she's fine.

How long have they been like that with you now? Maybe they didn't like the change of having a different person holdng and looking after them.
theyve been like it since middle of october, i read of a site to try feeding them things they cant run off with, such as yoghurt on a spoon, and i know they love porridge, so iv been doing that tonight, but they snatch it off the spoon and run back into their bed.

its just so horrible to be bitten everytime i enter their cage, my mum suggested giving them away but i couldnt do that
 

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if my math is correct, you've got teenagers on your hands. they can be remarkably like a human teenager too, indicisive (don't want out but then don't want in afterwards) and can be testy and moody. the only way to get over this is to not let them get away with it. if you want them out and they hold on to the bars pull them out gently anyway. handle them often and if you need to wear gloves. squeak LOUDLY and high pitched when they bite you to tell them it hurts, they may just be plating rough or trying to test their limits. i've found pushing my finger further into their mouth when bitten gets them to stop biting too. they put two and two together and find they are biting far more then they can chew. porridge can be a bit clumpy, that's why yogurt is recommended over it. its more liquid-y so they can't take it away. perhaps a juice or nuitrion drink like V8 would be good to use as well. they are just going to need some time, extra attention and some rules to follow that make you the boss and they'll be fine.
 

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Hi, I've got three boy rats who are about 9 months old, I got them when they were about 2 and a half months. One of them, Whizzer, took a long time to start to trust me. Like your rats he absolutely hated being picked up and wouldn't come out of his cage, then when out of his cage he wouldn't get back in. Now trusts me and is very friendly - he loves climbing up and down my arms and legs, he still hates being picked up but he will let me pick him up now - even without squeaking! It took about 4 months to gain his trust, which I think is quite a long time, but certainly worth it. At one stage I thought he'd never be friendly towards me but if you PERSEVERE I hope your rats will change too! (I don't know why your rats had such a drastic change in behavior, but all I can suggest is starting right from scratch.) This is what I done to gain his/ their trust: Spent an hour at least each day with the rats - at first just by the cage with the doors open, putting hands in the cage (but not trying to pick them up yet), talking to the rats, feeding them yoghurt - off a spoon like you mentioned, then when they were used to that I let them lick the yoghurt off my fingers. I gave them little chocolate rodent treats - to make them like me! (You can always wear gloves if you are worried they will bite you). Before giving them food I run my fingers down the bars of the cage, so they associate that noise with being fed/ fed treats and as they realised I fed them they started to realise I'm not that bad after all. The 2 more outgoing rats started to venture outside of their cage, where easy to handle and became really friendly but Whizzer wouldn't come out and would squeak when I tried to pick him up and run away when I tried to stroke him. This happened for a long time and in the end I just cornered him (as nicely as I could) and picked him up gently, held him for only a couple of seconds, then put him down in my lap - near the cage door, so he could go back in the cage - which he would do. Eventually he realised I wasn't going to hurt him and stopped squeaking and trying to fend me off when I picked him up, he also started to venture out of the cage on his own, only a little way at a time, he was really hesitant of going anywhere new - this in its self lasted for about 2 months. He really didn't like my hands so I'd wear a really baggy jumper and hide my hands in there. The other rats also love to hide in my baggy jumpers and use the sleeves as a tunnel, but Whizzer didn't really take to it - but may be worth trying with your rats when they become more friendly. I also found that Whizzer would follow the other two rats - ie if he saw them walk across my arm he would follow them, so if one of your rats becomes more friendly it may help to transform the others. I had some problems at the beginning when the rats wouldn't come back in their cage and that used to drive me mad. But now they are socialised - even if I leave their cage door open they always go back in their cage! Also I tend to feed them after I've let them out, so I just run my fingers down the bars and they dart over to the cage for their food, then I quickly shut the doors. I hope this may help you! Whizzer is an albino, just wondering if your rats are? Albino's tend to have worse eyesight and I think this may be why Whizzer took a lot longer to socialise.

I've just remembered - Once when the rats were still really young I went to buy the rats a second hand cage, and the lady who was advertising it had show cats, one of them was a cat called a Maine Coone - a massive cat, which I stroked. When I went home to see the rats they wouldn't come near me! I couldn't work it out, then I realised that they could probably smell the cat!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks for all the advice, and yes damage999 george is an albino, but her sister pinky is black and white, and although shes the more skittish one, george is more aggressive

iv been trying them on yoghurt so they cant run off with it, but george will try to bite the spoon out my hand and when she realises im not letting go, she gobbles up a big amount of yoghurt (well a big amount compared to her) and runs in the corner with it all over her front paws and just keeps coming back to take more, where as pinky will lick it from the spoon, she stretches up the spoon and is trying to bite me, and although i move away slightly and slowly, she just still tries again.

and when i leave the cage open, iv left it open for 2 hours, and sat by it, and all they do is go in their bed and stare at me.

i know its not nice to say, but its really ruining my relationship with them as they are aggressive towards me and its heart breaking! im really starting to consider to rehome them as i cant see it getting better as its been 2 months and its not getting any better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
oh the other thing is, i dont have any cats, but i have a dog, and she was curious at first, but didnt ever try to hurt my girls, but since my mums boyfriend seems to find it funny to wind her up whispering rats rats she now headbutts and tries to bite them, even though i had a go and told him he has to stop, she still does it now and again, which i ovbiously stop her and take her out the room, but i think this is slightly to do with it, although i would of thought she would of learnt when george bit her nose through the cage bars.
 

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dogs can be stupid. but if they are stressed from the dog trying to get at them or remember when the dog tried and associate that smell then they are going to be higher strung. if you smell anything like your dog (your hands of course but your clothes as well) then they may see you as the dog trying to get in at them again. rats eyesight sucks but their sense of smell is better then even a dog's. you would think they would be able to distingush the human smell under the dog but then again they probably smelled human on the dog as well. maybe wash a set of clothes then make sure they never get near the dog. if it is the dog smell that bothering them then you'll need to find them a place where the dog can't get too to let them settle down and try to keep the smell off of yourself as much as possible
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
twitch said:
dogs can be stupid. but if they are stressed from the dog trying to get at them or remember when the dog tried and associate that smell then they are going to be higher strung. if you smell anything like your dog (your hands of course but your clothes as well) then they may see you as the dog trying to get in at them again. rats eyesight sucks but their sense of smell is better then even a dog's. you would think they would be able to distingush the human smell under the dog but then again they probably smelled human on the dog as well. maybe wash a set of clothes then make sure they never get near the dog. if it is the dog smell that bothering them then you'll need to find them a place where the dog can't get too to let them settle down and try to keep the smell off of yourself as much as possible
i thought of keeping them out the way of the dog, but that would mean upstairs and the only time anyone is upstairs is going to bed, and i dont know if that could possibly affect their behaviour more? not being around people apart from once a day when i try to get them out?
 

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i used to keep my rats in my room because of all the dogs and cats in my parent's place. they were fine about it. i just went up there and played with them. it was easier to make the room rat friendly too as it was smaller then the living room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
i went back to the pet shop i bought them from to see if any other of the rats were like this, as i read that due to breeding from an aggressive rat, the litter can become aggressive, and he said no the others were fine, and some rats do just go nasty. he also said that he doubts he could rehome them as no1 wants nasty rats and theyd just end up frozen for snake food :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
well today, after all week of attempting to get them out on their own accord, and all they do is look at me as if to say "nope not coming out" i put my hand in to pick george up, she decided that she did not want to come out, and would bite my finger, through my nail, which hurt sooo much!!

went to the doctors and he cleaned it, dressed it, gave me something to clean it with at home and told me to go back if it gets infected for antibiotics.

my mum went mad, saying she will not have aggressive rats in her house..etc...etc..and rang the rspca who said they will take them for £5 after xmas.

so im sad :( even though she bit me...:(
 

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Oh, that's sad... biting rats can be rehabilitated, it just takes work. :cry:
 
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