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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Three days ago, I bought two fancy rats from the PetSmart here in my town where I go to school. I got the only two in the same box, so they've been together. Since I've brought them back, they've been sneezing (I think I read there's an initial sneezing period when they first move in). Also, they seem a little on the smaller side so I think they're not that old. They're often inside the home I bought for them and don't come out much. What's a good way to treat them as they get used to the new environment? Don't take them out at all for a...week? Two? Take them out daily even though I can't get them out of the home and they seem scared? I'm planning to start putting the shirts I wore for that day over the top of my cage, but from what I've read about PetSmart on this forum, I'm kinda nervous....
 

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Watch them for other signs of illness (poofed fur, excessive porphyrin (red snot, essentially), listen to their breathing if you can), but yes, there's the 'new-home-sneezies'.

I'd let them settle a couple days and then start handling them. If you've let them be for the time you've had them I'd start now. Wresting them from their home, however, can be a hedgy prospect. If they haven't been handled they may react with fear and nip, and it may convince them they have no safe place in their cage. Try sitting near them and talking to them, giving them cloth that smells like you (carry around an old washcloth for a day or so and then let them have it.) Patience is key with scared little rats. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They sniff around and move towards the cage door when it's open, but as soon as I reach for them they run. They don't take any fruits for vegetables from me right now and I tried putting one in an exercise ball but he stood still and pooped like 5 times in the course of 5 minutes, out of fear I assumed.
 

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Yeah, that's fear poop. Exercise balls scare the willies out of almost all rats. I wouldn't recommend using it, it's also bad for their backs and can break legs... :( Some people turn it into a bed in the cage, though!

My rats wouldn't take anything from me until they realized I was safe.
 

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We read that same thing, that the excersize ball can be dangerous AFTER we got one. So now, we use it as "The Pod". We use it to transport the girlies to whereever we go as I find riding in the car with them on my shoulder is extremely dangerous to me and to them. We like to use it and then say "Open the pod bay doors, Hal!" :lol:
 

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Mines were terrified in the first few weeks I had them. But with some persistance, by sitting by the cage, opening the door and letting them sniff my hand, and hand feeding them treats so that they associate me with 'good things' (someone else said that on this board and it does work!), they are definately getting a lot more confident. I've now had them for 3 weeks and they have come on a long way, will hang out the cage door once I open it and try to come out. So I'd say just be patient, start off slowly by letting them smell your hand and take treats from you and eventually they'll learn that you won't harm them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I tried taking the more adventurous of the two out of the cage while he was roaming...He backed into a corner as I picked him up and I put him on my lap while I sat next to the cage. He crawled onto my arm, elbow, then literally lept into the cage. A sign to leave them alone in the cage longer?
 

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Not exactly. My boys will still sometimes do that. They smell home and safety.

Try handling them elsewhere... like a bathroom, somewhere where if they get away from you it would not be too dangerous for them (or you, trying to catch them! :lol: )
 

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Whenever we have gotten a new one I start out talking to them soothingly and letting them crawl all over me a lot of times they hide under my hair. I also have used a cloth that I wore in my shirt for a while so they learn my scent. I have found that a tasty treat like choc chips or a tasty pea makes a friend fast. My girl Spicey was really nervous for what seemed like forever she would always hide and shiver when I opened the door(while everybody else came running to get out and play) so one day I sat there at the cage with a carton of mixed berry yogurt and a spoon. I held the spoon and eventually she came out to have a lick. I finally coaxed her out: almost to my lap, before she figured out that she wasn't hiding anymore! It took her awhile, but before I knew it she was jumping up and on my shoulder along with the others when the door is opened! Be patient -- your new ones will probably come around with consistent love and handling!
 

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Don't worry they'll come around it just takes some time. Coming from a petstore I highly doubt they were handled much so they still weiw you as a preditor. Give them some time. I had to spend 2-3 hours a day for 9 days sitting infront of the cage whispering to them and giving them peanut butter and yogurt.
 
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