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Discussion Starter #1
So I bought a baby rat from petsmart about three weeks ago (I know petsmart doesn't generally have socialized animals but there are no rat breeders in my area), I put her in quarantine for two weeks by herself, and then moved her in with my two other females about a week ago. From the first day I got her home, she was terrified. I mean, everytime i picked her up for the first two weeks she peed and pooped on me because she was so scared. All she would do is sit in her hideawayhouse and look terrified. I was seriously worried that she wasn't eating or drinking for a while, but finally I saw tentatively creep out to get a drink one night and at least felt better abput that.

When I finally moved her in with my two, 6 month old females, she at least stopped peeing on me everytime I picked her up, but she still just hid in the nesting house on the top level of this cage. The two girls took to her right away, playing surrogate mother, grooming her, and bringing food back to the nest and such, but she wouldn't even venture down to the bottom of the cage for water, so after three days of that I finally bought another water bottle and put it next to the house.

I have to say that she has gotten somewhat better since she's been in the new cage; once in a while i'll see her creep out of the house and run back in, or creep out of the house and flinch the whole way to the water bottle. When I take her out and put her in my robe, she chooses one spot and sits there regardless of whether or not i'm petting her, and she seems just as scared of the WHOLE WORLD as she does of me... I mean, she doesn't even respond to treats...

Anyway, she's probably around 9-10 weeks old by now, which is about the age I got my two older girls, and I'm just wondering why she is still so freakin scared of everything except the other rats. I've been considering taking all "hiding" places out of the cage so that she gets over the fact that a world does exist outside the house they sleep in, but I don't want to traumatize her anymore... I just don't know what to do, I know once she gets over her fear she's going to be a sweety; she's never ever shown any tendency toward aggression or anything, but when is she going to calm down and relax? I've owned rats for years and never ever seen a rat so scared before. I'm seriously worried that her muscles are going to start to atrophy if she doesn't start moving more...

Has anyone had any experiences like this one? Does anyone have an advice?
 

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It could be she's still getting use to her new home. I mean when you move you don't get use to it as home in the first few weeks. You know what i mean?? So it could be that, something you can try is feeding her treats while she's out with you so she gets the idea that "oooo!!! treats" and she wont be scared as much, I know that if you keep handeling her it will help her settel. Also treats in cage should get her moving around more.
 

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I'm going through the same thing with Charlotte right now. Like, detail for detail. Lola and Zero dote on her, and they get along great, but Charlotte won't even let me pick her up!
 

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I say just give her time and keep reinforcing to het that you are not going to hurt her talk to her as much as possible. The one thing i always do with my boys when i first get them is to put them on the table in their cage and put towels and tunnels and igloo's down and just sit there with the cage door open reading a book or something when they come to the door i talk to them i do it every day for at least an hour i have had nothing but success with it you may want to put her on the table with out the cage though and let her feel safe in just an igloo also you can put her on the bed anywhere that she can be far enough away from you where she feels comfortable but still very accessible to you once she feels more safe have treats handy for when she is near you
 

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Discussion Starter #5
She won't take treats in the cage either. I will try putting her on a table in an igloo and sitting there with her, but i already do that when she's in the cage, and she won't leave the house, and I mean like EVER. She only leaves the house to get water and food once or twice a day.

The thing that really confuses me isn't her fear of me/humans, it's her absolute refusal to even explore the cage. I mean I've had rats that are afraid of me for a long time, but they still explore the cage and make it their home. She is scared of EVERYTHING, not just me. The entire world scares her... I hope she is going to be alright.
 

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How big is the igloo? Is it possible she'll outgrow it and have to start venturing out eventually? I wouldn't remove it, but I wouldn't replace it if it's a small one, either.

One thing you can try is rearrange the cage when you next clean them out. Make it feel like new to try and encourage her to look around a bit. In the meantime, I would handle her and try to play with her as much as I could, to try and bring her on a bit - even if she doesn't seem to want to, at first. Once she realises you're not going to hurt her, she might loosen up a bit. Also, keep trying her with different treats and foods, to see if you can find one thing that she finds absolutely irresistible.

Our youngest started to get braver the more we handled her and as she got bigger in size.

If she is eating and drinking, and the others aren't bullying her, I wouldn't worry too much. Keep persisting with handling her and trying to play with her, and I'm sure she'll find her feet - it's in their nature.
 

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Everything is OK, this is natural with a frightened Petco Pup. Yanked away from her mom, the only love she ever knew, she will settle down in time.
I just went through the very same scenerio, and "Leonardo" is coming around , he still instinctivly runs from me at first but I've overpowered him with good intentions.
Be overly nice to your other Rats in front of her, give them a good scritching, backrubs etc. so she can see it , and it won't be long before she can't hold her curiousity about this and wants some. Remember the other older Rats are her teachers, you work through them to get the young one.
You want to create situations where you're all having so much fun" and wouldn't you like to come out here and join us!"
 

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Spider said:
Be overly nice to your other Rats in front of her, give them a good scritching, backrubs etc. so she can see it , and it won't be long before she can't hold her curiousity about this and wants some. Remember the other older Rats are her teachers, you work through them to get the young one.
You want to create situations where you're all having so much fun" and wouldn't you like to come out here and join us!"
This is excellent advice. Our older, less socialized, rat came on leaps and bounds when she saw us having fun with our youngest rat.
 
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