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Discussion Starter #1
First post here, so I'll provide some background....

My girlfriend decided she wanted a rat, so we got two females - one of which died rather suddenly, and so we got another. They did not seem to get along well, but as I figured they were sorting things out between themselves I didn't break up the fighting much. It continued, and the new rat became stressed and died from just being picked on.... and that may have been what occurred with the original pair as well. She doesn't seem to like other rats, and appears perfectly happy to live alone. She's got a fair sized cage that I built on top of a 20 gallon aquarium - it's got 3 levels, and toys. She will run on her wheel for hours....She's about 6 months old, and is now quite tame. Loves to be handled - routinely "grooming" me all over, and I let her roam free about my rather large desk which her cage occupies a portion of.

Originally the rat was not for me, but due to changes in living arangements at the time I have had her, and she has socialized with me (been unemployed lately too). But now she will be moving in with her true owner, and I decided I wanted one as well.

I got a pretty small male - probably a couple months old if that. He's getting used to being handled, but won't take any treats - he won't even EAT them when just left in his cage. Doesn't seem interested in cherios or yogurt drops (actually shoved them out of his house when I put them in the doorway). Wouldn't touch the teklad rat bocks, or seed/nut mixeture. Won't eat dry kitten food either. He eats veggies (I used frozen vegtable mixes, and he likes some of the stuff in there - mostly the carrots and corn), and I got him to eat wet kitten food - it's chunked turkey in gravy....

He also sleeps almost all the time, and stays in his house - rarely coming out. He's a little timid, but he doesn't bite, or get crazy scared when I take him out. I'm sure that will improve, but it doesn't seem normal that he won't touch any typical "treat" foods. My female is a veritable garbage disposal - she will eat bits of anything I'm eating, and really loves any kind of treat I've tried. She eats the lab blocks too.

So what do you all think about my strange pair? I have a loner female and a health-nut baby male? Is that just how things are?

Rick
 

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as for the loner female that happens sometimes. i have a male that doesnt like other rats at all.

as for the health nut male, i dont know what to tell you. most rats will eat just about anything....you may want to contact a vet if someone else on here cant help you with this.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
hjkaga said:
as for the loner female that happens sometimes. i have a male that doesnt like other rats at all.
Well that's good to know - makes you feel guilty when you read all over the place about how they should be kept in pairs. What can you do tho? I tried....

hjkaga said:
as for the health nut male, i dont know what to tell you. most rats will eat just about anything....you may want to contact a vet if someone else on here cant help you with this.
He's still within his 14 days from the pet shop. Don't want to take him back there, but at the same time I'm not about to pay a vet for a rat that's within it's return window - and the pet store has a vet clinic inside it. It's their responsibility to sell properly cared for rats, and I will hold them accountable for it. I chose to pay more at a store such as this precisely because they don't sell "feeder" rats. I had to sign a contract to but him! The policy states they will treat the animal and then I would have the opportunity to purchase him again..... at the same time I don't want to sounds like a fool should I take him back there. It's not like he won't eat at all. He just seems lethargic and eats only soft wet foods as far as I can tell. He may have sampled the kitten chow, but it's hard to tell. He seems more active in the evenings, but it's hard to tell if he's just timid or what.

Rick
 

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have you checked his teeth and inside his mouth...make sure nothing looks sore or infected and he doesnt have something stuck in his teeth that would make it hard for him to eat. if the store is like you said i would take him back and then purchase him again if the chance came up. since they state the animal is to be in good health then they should be held accountable if their is something wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Mouth looks fine - he actually yawned once when I was holding him earlier today.

Is it normal for male's to sleep most of the day away? I swear he sleeps like 23 hours a day. He's up long enough to eat - poops outside it house, and then goes back to bed. I've known pot-heads with more ambition!

Rick
 

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Can you post a pic of him in your hand or by something common? By the eating soft foods and not a lot, and sleeping alot, He sounds like a very young rat.
Also if you got him from petsmart, you can take him back within the 14days, and their vet will treat him, (no cost to you) assuming there is something wrong with him.
 

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My jinx was sorta like that when I first got him. But then I got Duncan and now hes such a PIG! heh. But good luck with your new boy, hope everything turns out well.
 

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I would observe him. You say he is lethargic and sleeps a lot. Look at his face and fur. Do they seem dirty or unkempt. A rat that is not feeling well will not clean themselves as well. Being fastidious creatures, they are always cleaning themselves. If his fur looks dirty, like he isn't taking care of himself, then he may, indeed, be sick, and you would want to take him back. If he seems clean and otherwise healthy, he may just be a passive rat and a picky eater. He may even be too nervous to take treats yet, especially if he was never fed them before. He may not realize they're good.

Did you give him a full day to take the rat blocks and stuff? Sometimes, you have to let hunger overcome their timidness or pickiness, just like a kid that won't eat their vegetables. If you let them get hungry enough, they'll learn to eat it. The most important thing, though, is that he has a balanced diet, which the rat blocks take care of for you, so it's best to sort of 'insist' that he eat those.

My rats didn't take treats at first, although they've always eaten rat blocks, but, then, I didn't really give them much choice. That's what they had. One still won't take treats from me. He doesn't care for them. He'd rather be out exploring when I have the cage open and it's treat and attention time.

At the same time, I have one that won't venture out of the cage for hardly anything...except a treat, and that only if it's very close to the edge, but he adores treats and will come begging for one at the door of the cage all the time.

Rats can have vastly different personalities. Your rat may just be a lazy, picky eater. At the same time, he may not be feeling well. Just observe him and go with your gut instinct. Good luck and I hope all goes well.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
He didn't look so good this evening, and seems to have a bit of a rasp in his breathing. I took him back to Pet Smart and they are looking him over. I will have the option to buy him back after he's seen the vet and been treated. I only had him for 4 days and I found out that he was a new addition to their rat selection - hadn't been there long before I bought him. He was smaller than the others, and the only all-white rat in the cage. Perhaps from a different litter, and being caged with new, larger rats was too much stress. From talking with them their vet has experience with rats, and they have dealt with sick ones successfully in the past.

I figured he should have a cage mate anyway, and so brought home one of the other males he was caged with. This guy is a bit older, and a lot more active. I cleaned everything and changed the bedding before putting him in. He seems more "rat like" than the other was, and more active. Could just be the illness.

The cage is a 20 gallon aquarium with a screen top (just till I build a multi-layer top for it). It's plenty big for a small rat. I recognize the air-flow issues so I'm changing the bedding (aspen) every other day. I live underground, so the temp is very constant. There's toys and things in there... but the first rat didn't seem interested. New rat has already re-arranged everything, and has eaten a yogurt drop which I left on top of the lab-blocks. 8)

Rick
 

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It certainly sounds like you're enjoying the new one more. Hopefully the first will be okay, but it may be that he was, indeed ill. Good luck, and if things don't work out with the first one, be sure to get a cage mate for the one you have now. They really do better in pairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The new one is definately doing much better. He's socializing already, and doesn't run when I pick him up. Doesnt poo on me or anything. He does squeek just a little sometimes when I pick him up but it seems more like he's just angry that I took him away from what he was sniffing. He's eating the rat blocks no problem (I did wait with the first rat, but he didn't touch them and I was worried that he wasn't eating anything). And he's secure enough to sleep outside of his house, and isn't bothered by me moving around near the cage. Hopefully I can get him socialized and then introduce a cage mate (the one being treated if all goes well).

I hope the other one is ok, and that I took him back in time. I've been doing my research on respiratory problems, and I'm going to aquire some of the reccomended broad spectrum antibiotics that are safe to use for long periods as it seems best to just have them on hand. They are relatively cheap from aquarium or bird supply houses, and their use is well documented, and safe. It seems that if I keep rats for long, I'm going to run into this stuff from time to time, and I can't afford to keep a vet on retainer, and as much as I love the animal there's a cost/benefit situation for me personally. I can't miss my rent payment over the rat. But if I can keep the required meds on hand and help the animal myself I certainly will.

Rick
 
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