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Discussion Starter #1
hello!
i just got a couple of rat cuties last night and i'm pretty much a beginner to all of this. i don't even have names for my girls yet (still getting to know them..)
i was wondering if you had any tips for new rat owners. so far they don't seem too frightened by my presence but they detest being held or picked up!
one of them also likes to try to jump out whenever i take the lid off their home. she sure keeps me on my toes!
i do have an aquarium for them at the moment, but i hope to purchase a roomier cage for them soon, probably a birdcage.
so if you have any ideas on how to get them to like me and not be so wary, that would be super. thanks!
 

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well, before EVERYONE here starts rudely yelling at you, i'll just mention, be prepared to be bombarded by "OMG DON'T KEEP THEM IN A TANK" blah blah blah. LOL. they have a point, tanks don't give rats the air circulation they need to avoid their own ammonia buildup. best way to do this is to keep the lid off whenever you're around, and change the bedding at least once every day. try to toilet train them to reduce ammonia buildup, so it's trapped in cat litter or whatnot (i use dust-free newspaper cat litter). and of course, try to get them into a wire cage as soon as possible (at least 2 sq. ft. per rat). in a couple months they'll definitely be too big for a tank anyway. rats are way smarter than hamsters or gerbils, etc, and require more interesting stuff for their brains to keep active, so get them kleenex boxes, paper towel tubes, cat toys, ladders, hammocks, etc. to play with.

to socialize them, place them on a place they can roam around but you can keep track of them, like your bed (which also smells like you, so yay!). poke them and pet them and such, get them used to you. you can also wear a hoodie and put them in the pocket and pet them thru the pocket so they can feel hidden but get used to your smell and touch. when you do initially stick your hand in the cage, bring a treat so that they associate you with yay! just a couple pointers, i'm sure other ratters here have other stuff to say, so on that, have fun with your new babies!
 

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Try letting them get settled in a bit as well, The new environment has probably gotten them a bit on edge. :)
 

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Ono, you make it sound like we jump up and attack people :p.

Yes, most of us will tell you tanks are very bad for rats. Ammonia builds up and hurts their lungs, and you don't get the same level of interaction with them as you would with a wire cage. I'm glad to hear you have plans to get a better cage ;). You and your babies will love it!

As for getting them more friendly, try putting them somewhere like a hoodie pocket. You can pet them through the material and they'll get comfortable around your smell and with the contact.

You should have them out of the cage for atleast an hour a day, and a fun way to do this is to play with them on your bed. I normally throw an old comforter on the bed just incase of accidents. Rats need lots of stimulation, and you'll never be through finding things to amuse them!
 

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Ono, you make it sound like we jump up and attack people :D.
haha, not everybody. but honestly, some people are a little pushy here, as i'm sure they are anywhere...

lady - what do you mean by liquidized? i just don't think i can quite picture it...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So about this 'forced socialization' stuff... Lately I've been taking them out one at a time and letting them climb on me, etc for 15-20 minutes at a time and when they try to scamper away I just let them run through my hands so they can't go anywhere. The more ornery of the two gets rather annoyed when I do this and makes funny little noises to let me know she's irritated. Is this okay? I'd hate for them to be mad at me all the time. x.x
The other is still very timid, but we're working on it. :]
 

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haha, she'll be fine. she's irritated because she doesn't get to do what she wants to do, but hey, in the meantime, she's learning to get used to your touch and your smell anyway. she'll get over it.

it might prove to be useful if you take them both out at once (maybe the bathroom where they can't get out of your sight, etc). the presence of the other rat will help your timid one feel more confident and secure, and maybe she'll end up the friendly and adventurous one! :D
 

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Consistency is the key. They will protest a bit, but in the long run you'll be pleased you did. Rats need to be socialised young, and an unsocialised rat can be very difficult to deal with when they get to adulthood.

You'll also find that they warm up to you when they are used to their new environment and understand that you are the one that brings them yummies :)
 
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