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Hi, I've recently welcomed 3 beautiful 5 month old female rats Pipper, Penny and Phoebe into my home to join my border collie, Millie and guinea pigs, Bertie and Saphie. I've never owned rats before but I've fallen for them already. Their behaviour is so fascinating to watch and in only a month they have gained such confidence from when I first rescued them from the tiny glass tank at PAH. I know you shouldn't really buy from pet stores but they'd been there so long and I felt so sorry for them so please don't have a go at me.
I've read up lots and found out lots of information, but what I'm nervous about is letting them out for free time.
As they don't like me trying to get them out by picking them up, at the moment I wheel their cage into the hall (best secure area with no wires etc) and open the door so they come out themselves. They come out and play in the tunnels and a dig box provided but are still quite nervous to approach me for more than a quick sniff. I know its early days and it takes lots of time and patience but ultimately I'd love to just be able to just let them out to 'hang about' on the sofa with me. Any advice please.
 

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Hi,
First of all, congratulations! Being a first time rat owner is a great feeling, although a little stressful at times.
My best advice is to give it time! When I rescued my first boys, one of them was super shy. I gave him time, offered treats and slowly coxed him out of his hiding spots with a soft voice. Now, he loves to come out and get cuddles, and crawl around everywhere. Sometimes too much, and he turned out to be quite naughty! :p
So, my best advice is to just take it slow. Rats are known for being really lovable and social, and since you got them from a pet store when they weren't exactly babies, they probably had went through some tough times before you went a rescued them.
Hope this helps!
 
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