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Hi. My name is Danielle. Yesterday I got 2 female rats from the petstore. I have a few questions.

1) Roughly how old are the "medium" rats at petco? I thought they were different sizes but the sales rep said they are the same, just at different ages and the sizes (small, med, large) are for ppl using them as feeders. So Mine are medium and I was curious how old they are.

2) My rats won't come out and play around me. I am sitting in the room and they just sleep. When I leave they get all out and about and I dont know if it's just b/c the light is off and they think it is time to wake up or if they are nervous aound me. They dont act nervous about me watching them. They come out now and then and just look at me and eat but they get really active when I'm gone. My b/f caught them out and about earlier today. at like noon. Maybe mine just arent nocturnal, lol!

3) Do rats like balls? The "gerbil balls"?

4) How hard is it to find those "tank toppers"? I need a 20 gallon tank topper (12x24). I can't find one anywhere besies Martin Cages but there are a few 10 gal ones at target, petco, petsmat, etc. I either need to go to a store and purchase one or I need specific instructions on making ones. Something simple. Nothing fancy, doesnt need to be aesthetically appealing, just something I can do myself.

5) Need name ideas.

6) Anything you think I may need or want to know would be greatly appreciated.
 

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This rat thing was a spontanious descision. I know that's t responsible but I was looking at pics of some gerbils I uaed to have and I really wanted another rodent and I have always wanted a rat so I did some research, I read this site a lot and the next day I went to the store and got the girls and everything I need to keep them happy. Anyway I said all that to say this. Since it was kind of spontanious I have never really handled rats. I've had gerbils and guinea pigs and I have handled hamsters (evil little boogers!) but I have never so much as held a rat or mouse. I knew rats were inelligent but their humanlike qualities are amazing me! They are like a tiny cross between a cat and a dog. I love when they wake up, they yawn and stretch! lol, its the cutest! I never knew rodents yawned. Gerbils never yawn. I just love these creatures. I can't believe how much personality they have. I mean gerbils are cute but pretty much a gerbil is a gerbil is a gerbil. Ya know?
 

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1) different store use different measures of "small" "medium" and "large". can you get a pic of your babies up so maybe it's easier for someone to guess-timate an age on them?

2) try getting them out of the cage and placing them somewhere that they don't really have anything interesting to do but play with you, like the bathroom or a closet, maybe a couch if they aren't the jumping-off kind. just get them used to you and the fact that you = treats and they will come around. more on that if simple things don't work for you.

3) i've heard that most rats hate those balls. rats are mostly blind so they use their whiskers heavily to move. that's why you often see them running along walls, etc. put them in a plastic ball and they're defenseless! most just poop a lot and act real scared. if you already have one though, try hanging it up in their cage with the door off, they like to sleep in them.

4) i think your best bet would be martin's toppers, but it shouldn't be hard to make with a roll of hardware cloths and some zipties or baling wire. if you're really interested in making your own, start a new thread maybe and we'll get you better ideas/instructions, etc.

5) post pics and personality descriptions for easier name-picking. but ultimately it's whatever name pops into your head and fits.
 

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i've had hamsters and yes, most of them were evil. :( i think i only had one that was wonderful and sweet.

anywho, i forgot to ask what kind of bedding they are on and what kind of food you are feeding them. these are very important things for such delicate creatures as rats (pshah - rats, delicate! i know, but they kind of are).
 

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i would reccomend an actual cage with bars cause in the aquarium there is a lot less ventalation. if anything, you could always make one.
and im not sure about the rats at petco, anywhere from 2-4 months old im sure.
dont put your rats in the ball that small, they can sleep in it in the cage but thier too big for it. get a wheel that has a completely covered surface, no bars to break legs, and one big enough so thier backs dont bend very much.

take your rats out, let them roam around, get to know you and everything. talk to them and they will get used to you. mine always wake up when i go to get them out

and i know what you mean about gerbils. compared to my hammys these rats are so great!
 

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new2ratz said:
Hi. My name is Danielle. Yesterday I got 2 female rats from the petstore. I have a few questions.

1) Roughly how old are the "medium" rats at petco? I thought they were different sizes but the sales rep said they are the same, just at different ages and the sizes (small, med, large) are for ppl using them as feeders. So Mine are medium and I was curious how old they are.
This depends. I've seen rats all the way from 4 weeks old to 2 months old sold as 'medium' rats. Pictures would help. :)
2) My rats won't come out and play around me. I am sitting in the room and they just sleep. When I leave they get all out and about and I dont know if it's just b/c the light is off and they think it is time to wake up or if they are nervous aound me. They dont act nervous about me watching them. They come out now and then and just look at me and eat but they get really active when I'm gone. My b/f caught them out and about earlier today. at like noon. Maybe mine just arent nocturnal, lol!
Rats aren't wholly nocturnal. They wake up whenever they please, though they are more active at night. It may be that they are somewhat nervous about you and are hiding from you, or that they feel safe wherever they sleep. Talk to them calmly, they'll eventually get used to you. Bringing many treats helps.
3) Do rats like balls? The "gerbil balls"?
Most don't. They feel trapped and enclosed and their senses they rely on most (smell, hearing) are all fuddled by the ball. Some will run in them, but they need the very largest size. In general, balls aren't recommended, most find they're a waste of money.
4) How hard is it to find those "tank toppers"? I need a 20 gallon tank topper (12x24). I can't find one anywhere besies Martin Cages but there are a few 10 gal ones at target, petco, petsmat, etc. I either need to go to a store and purchase one or I need specific instructions on making ones. Something simple. Nothing fancy, doesnt need to be aesthetically appealing, just something I can do myself.
You can find them on ebay and such. Most people here don't recommend tanks even with toppers, the tanks aren't deep enough and must be cleaned much more often than a wire change due to the poor ventilation.
5) Need name ideas.
Hana... means flower (Japanese)...
6) Anything you think I may need or want to know would be greatly appreciated.
Well... what are you feeding them?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I researched and thought and I did decide to go with the tank and hopefully add a topper rather than the wire cages. I read some things saying they are better and somethings saying they arent so I went with what I wanted and I dont want litter spilled on the floor. I am willing to clean the tank more often and I check for signs of condensation on the glass. So far so good. They are on aspen bedding. I bought some rat blocks to feed them. I dont remember the brand but I will get some better stuff when I run out. I mix a little dog food, bran cereal and spiral pasta in with the blocks. I also chop grapes carrotts, and baby tomatoes, and cheese and put it in a jar lid and leave it in there a couple hrs a day for them to eat from. Then I remove uneaten food and throw it or refridgerate it depending on the condition. I realy like the aquarium so far and I think it will be great w/ a topper. If they looked crowded when they are full grown I will prob do somethi different.
 

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The tank likely ought to be cleaned daily, topper or no. :)

But the food situation sounds good... look into Mazuri or HT for when you run out (unless you have Kaytee... then look into now. :lol:
 

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At petco the small sizes are 6-8 weeks old. The Mediums are around 2-3 months old. By the way, would I reccomend not buying rats from them in the future...:eek: Not a lot of good animal care there as witnessed by me anyway.

New rats tend to be more shy towards you. In other words, maybe sleeping a lot or getting used to their surroundings by looking out from their nestbox, dark corner, etc. Eventually when you've been in their presence more and when they know you to be the one that takes care of them will they start to become more friendly and loving. Patience is all it is really. After all, they've only known you one day. ;)
 

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MagicalLobster said:
At petco the small sizes are 6-8 weeks old. The Mediums are around 2-3 months old.
The Petco nearest me sells 3-4 week olds and 4-5 week olds, respectively. :)

Depends on the breeder they're using I suppose.
 

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Forensic said:
The tank likely ought to be cleaned daily, topper or no. :)

But the food situation sounds good... look into Mazuri or HT for when you run out (unless you have Kaytee... then look into now. :lol:
What do you mean by cleaned? Everyday I get a scooper and remove feces and wet litter and I think once a week I will change it and wash out the tank. I will just have to see how dirty it gets.
 

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I went grocery shopping today and I got some other things for the rats to eat. Now they are eating (for their staple diet) the blocks mixed w/ a higher quality dog food ( i was using my dogs food. I need to get my dog better food when she runs out) puffed wheat cereal, rolled oats, and the spiral pasta. I cant figure out what to feed them for treats. I tried a sweet cereal (apple dapples) and the har marshmellows out of lucky charms. They wouldnt take them out of my hand. I set it in my palm and put my hand in the cage and left it there they walked into my hand and sniffed the treats but left them so I put it in there bowl and they ate them but they werent much more excited then they get about reg food. I guess they just dont love that cereal. What it something they may like more?
 

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Veggies usually go over well. :)
 

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Make sure the dog food is low protein (15 to 18%). My rats love Yoggies" as treats and dry bananas I got from healthfood store.
I origanally went the topper route, but by the time they were 14 weeks old they were too cramped looking. Next I bought a good sized used bird cage, tied door shut got rid of wire on bottom ect, make hammocks and shelves. That was great for 2 rats (24 inch by 24 inch) but by the time I got a third I decided to go with a ferret tower.
 
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