Rat Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've had my rats for almost a week now. I was really excited to get them and I'm still so happy to have them, but there seems to be very little change in their behaviour towards me. They run from me or flinch away if I even try to gently pet them. I've been trying to bring them out of the cage to get them socialized but I can't put them down (I hold them in a blanket) as I'm afraid they'll run away from me and get hurt or stuck. They just seem terrified of everything. One is a 4 month old female and the other is her 6 week old baby. Is this part of the problem? I was thinking of getting one more, better socialized rat--I already know of one--to help them become more social? Have I made mistakes by getting a momma and baby? I want them to be able to be happy and get exercise. Please help!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
Where did you get them? Rats are normally pretty skittish during the first week or so, just try to stay near the cage and offer treats and maybe leave your hand in the cage so they can come up to it and sniff it. Don't rush it too much, but make sure they get a decent amount of interaction time each day.

However, sometimes rats from backyard breeders or abusive owners may be more scared of humans and if they continue to be scared of you for about a month or something you might want to try some immersion. (You can check out Rat Daddy's thread on it).

Eventually if you keep on interacting with them they should warm up to you. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
However, sometimes rats from backyard breeders or abusive owners may be more scared of humans and if they continue to be scared of you for about a month or something you might want to try some immersion. (You can check out Rat Daddy's thread on it).
Is there a reason for waiting until doing immersion? It seems like something that can be done right away. Not the aggressive immersion, of course. But I mean just sit in the bathtub or on the bathroom floor and let the rats run around so that they don't view you as a potential predator.

It's amazing how rats will warm up to you when placed in a small space where they only have you and each other to interact with. They may shy away from you at first, but rats can be pretty curious. Eventually they figure out that you're not going to eat them. Well, then what are you good for? Hmm, climbing. Yes, that's always fun. Oh, hey, there's a treat up here. I think I'll take it, but I'll run back down to the floor and eat it. How can I get food faster? Oh, I can eat it while up there and hopefully get another treat. You know, I don't know why I was afraid of this thing before. I think I'll lick it.

And having them in an enclosed space lets them run around a bit. I understand why you're holding onto them because you don't want them running away, but I'm sure that being held all the time doesn't help their confidence. If they can be allowed to wander on their own and come to you at their pace, then they'll feel really confident.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I did some immersion yesterday! I wasn't aware of it before, but it's really interesting. Your point about them not wanting to be held always is also something that I hadn't thought of!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
I did some immersion yesterday! I wasn't aware of it before, but it's really interesting. Your point about them not wanting to be held always is also something that I hadn't thought of!
I've had my rats for 8-9 months, and being held can still sometimes be a contentious issue.

My youngest is really hyper and adventurous. I can hold her for a bit, but she tries to wriggle out of my hands after about 5 seconds. She'd much rather run on my shoulders, the couch, beyond the couch (no, Loki, that's lava!), and so forth.

My middle rat tries to avoid being picked up. Once I pick her up, she licks my fingers for a bit but then really would rather be put down. She's perfectly happy climbing on me.

My oldest rat is really mellow. She's still active like the other rats, but she has no compunction being picked up and held. I often cup her in both hands with my thumbs in front of her face. That's when she takes the opportunity to lick me. I can hold onto her the longest, but she's female and therefore is beholden to no human; it's exploring time. As you can guess, she's happy climbing on me.

Females really like to roam (in general). Young rats too, I'm sure. And rats all have their own personalities, so some may be more antsy than others.

But yeah, in my limited experience with a grand total of three rats, I am a fan of immersion. It just feels natural, and it helps boosts their confidence. I'd probably do this with other animals too. Nobody likes being held in place in a strange situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
Do they poop on you within the first few minutes of taking them out of the cage? mine does lol
Mine used to. It may be a combination of being too young to properly hold it and getting excited/nervous.

Our shyest rat took the longest. She was okay with pooping in the litter box, but when she was taken out of her cage, she would nervous-poo shortly after. Now they can all come out of their cage and not poo outside at all.

But yeah, I'm guessing that much like human babies, rats don't really know to hold it in. And even if they do, if they're in an unfamiliar situation, they might release their bowels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Sounds like a the same issues I am having except I have had my girls for a month.

I haven't made much progress until last night. So I was filling there food bowl like normal and the girls rushed to grab stuff so I didn't let them get to the bowl but offered them some food and THEY TOOK THE FOOD. BOTH of my girls took countless pieces of food from me when they have never ever done that before. Then I just let my hand chill in the cage and both of them came up and started crawling on my hand and checking it out. I was beyond amazed!! Then I tried it out of cage and they still wouldn't take the treats. So I'm thinking its a comfort thing so maybe start in the cage and hold them 20 minutes a day. If your nervous of loosing them you could make a homemade harness and leash and put them on it so you don't have to worry really. That what I did with Cindy. Also look up trust games and try those.


Goodluck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Yeah. The baby girl, Gray, poos all over--stinky and soft and overall unpleasant. I'm still being positive and seeing some improvement, but each morning it seems like a daunting task. I know it will be hard work and I can be patient, but it's frustrating to see how some people seem to have it much easier or know what to do off the bat while I'm still just learning. I did try a harness but it terrified Gray and even though it seemed very tight to me, she panicked and slipped out of it. Ihaven't tried it on Dory yet because it scares me! I have sat with them and let them wander around on my desk now. They still hide in corners, but I'm gonna cuddle with them both everyday, which seems to make them quite happy and relaxed rather than frantic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
I bet a harness would be pretty alarming for a rat. I wonder if Blake's situation was exceptional.

I would be wary about using the harness because that might present a false sense of security. Rats are nimble creatures, so they could probably get out of most harnesses. The ones that are escape-proof have got to feel pretty restrictive, and I don't know if a rat can be comfortable with that. Harnesses seem to me to be better for acclimated rats.

Are you able to sit in an enclosed space with no escape? Many suggest a bathtub. Rats can jump pretty high, but if you're there to watch over them, that should not be a problem. I don't have a tub, but my bathroom provided a good space to sit with them. I just shut the door and put up a panel blocking the toilet (not fearing escape; I'm just a germaphobe). The space is about 3' x 6'. The floor is tile, so I just wipe up any pee and poo.

I know my rats love playing in a wadded up blanket. Maybe you could put a blanket on you so that you can be in close contact with them when they explore the blanket. Spend a couple hours trapped in captivity with them. Have treats handy. I was able to keep a bowl of Cheerios on the bathroom counter. I just reach up from the floor and grab a few Cheerios to bribe them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I could try the bathtub. The only thing that worries me is scents/residue from soaps, etc. making them sick. Also, I have roommates so I can't be in the bathroom for hours unfortunately. Using my desk and sitting with them has helped, but it's not perfect. We are making small progress each day though. I think it's gonna take a long time. Still, I'm considering getting one more rat... I think they could use a leader; however, I may hold off on this for a while yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
365 Posts
BTW--massive props for the names. Very clever! I am feeling jealous that I didn't come up with that name scheme. heh heh. Dory and Gray.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top