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Hi! I'm FoxFeather, 26 years old from Quebec, Canada. I came to this forum pretty much for a single purpose. You see, whenever I can and have space available I try to rescue rats, either by taking taking them from people giving them away(and avoiding them the fate of becoming snake food), or taking rats that have been put in shelters. Nothing official, just a rat lover trying to do her part. Here's an exemple: I have two rats, likely former breeders, that I took from a pet store that was closing down. I named them Ota and Kou, they are VERY old(considering how thin their fur is, I estimate them to be at least around 3 years old) male rats, and were in very poor shape when I got them. Yet they're making incredible progress. From screaming like mad and freezing whenever we even touched them, Kou is now at the point where he licks us when we hold him, and Ota is slowly starting to come to us since he sees (from Kou) that we are not dangerous. I know they will likely not live long, but I'm happy I will be able to give them a well deserved and loving retirement.

However, things are much different with another one of my rescue. We got her from a shelter, and whatever she lived before getting there, must not have been funny. From Sneezy, we renamed her Speedy, for reasons that will become apparent soon. That rattie has only two modes: Hide, or run away like ****. She spends her entire days in the box we gave our girls to make their nest in. Whenever she gets out, to eat or drink, she never walks, she runs as if her life depended on it, only stopping to take a few pieces of food(immediately running back to the box to eat it), drink, or chew on the cage's bars. If she hears even the smallest sounds, or feel the smallest vibrations, she jumps and run. She will sometime come to sniff us between two runs, yet we cannot let her out to play(which would benefit her greatly, as indicated by the bar chewing), because she ALSO tries to runs away then. For exemple, I one day put her on my shoulder, since rats are (normally) very sensitive to height, and I believed she would find comfort hiding in my long hair, like my other rats do.

Wrong. She jumped from my shoulder to the ground(here is a good moment to note that I am quite tall), and ran all around the apartment. It was only through luck that we managed to catch her before she disappeared. And now, I am at a loss. I was hoping my other female, Louvia, who is older and very mellow, would help calm her down, but this doesn't seem to be the case at all. She is an adorable rattie and I wish to see her happy, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to help her with what would be best described as a neurotic behavior.

So, I'm hoping to find someone here more knowledgeable in special cases like these, who will be able to help me. I love Speedy, she is adorable, but it saddens me to be unable to give her a better life and the peace of mind she so obviously deserves. Thank you everyone, and I hope to hear from you soon =3
 

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Hello! Welcome to the ratforum. :) What do you feed them? It seems like your trouble girl has a lot of pent up energy and fear. My advice would be to rat proof a small room (like a bathroom) and give her free range time every day. You can also give her access to a wheel (I recommend the largest SilentSpinner or WodentWheel) and see if she will use it. This tires my more energetic boys out quite a bit but not every rat takes to a wheel. Another toy that can be mentally and physically stimulating is a cat feather toy - the type on a string. Teaching her calming behaviours via clicker training will also help if you know how.
 

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Hi, I'm sorry I can't help or advise in any way but I wanted to say hang in there. I hope Speedy calms down a bit and that you find a solution or help quickly. Someone who may have more knowledge will hopefully give you some info soon:)
 

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Hello! Welcome to the ratforum. :) What do you feed them? It seems like your trouble girl has a lot of pent up energy and fear. My advice would be to rat proof a small room (like a bathroom) and give her free range time every day. You can also give her access to a wheel (I recommend the largest SilentSpinner or WodentWheel) and see if she will use it. This tires my more energetic boys out quite a bit but not every rat takes to a wheel. Another toy that can be mentally and physically stimulating is a cat feather toy - the type on a string. Teaching her calming behaviours via clicker training will also help if you know how.
Hey!

I give all of my rats Oxbow's adult rat food. It's the best food available around here, and thought in the past I'd heard a few complains from rat owners about rats not loving it, it never was a problem with mine. There is a rat wheel in their cage, though they never use it(except to sleep in, in Louvia's case). I don't know how to use a clicker, but tonight I will test her out in the bathtub, and introduce her slowly to a feather toys(hopefully she won't be too scared of it). I'm still a bit too uncomfortable with the idea of letting her loose in a room, so this will at least be a start.

Thank you for your tips =3
 

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Check out the guide of immersion. I would block a hallway off with the doors shut (minimum 3ft wall) and let her out there with you sitting in it. Just give her a couple of hours to realize you'll not hurt her or anything in the environment. Try to do this often an she should warm up to you.

It's important you use a small space with no hiding spots.
 

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Wow. That's nuts. I agree with what nanashi said. Try keeping her in a tiny room (like a bathroom) with nothing but you, her and one or two other rats who trust you, and some treats. Say her name and show her the treat. Before she can snatch it, pull it away and tell her your command, "come here, Speedy" over and over until she finally does it. It's helpful to have one other rat in the room because rats are excellent social learners. If you have a rat who already trusts you, then she is more likely to follow. Rats get jealous, too. :)

Also, a great treat for a timid rat is a dab of yogurt on your finger. They can't just steal it and run away, and it can't be stashed. She'll be forced to stop and lick it off your finger for a while. (Obviously wash your hands well before you do this). This is also beneficial because it familiarizes her with your scent, and the presence of your enormous hand, lol. Slowly she will learn that you are not a threat, but a benefactor. Just do this and spend lots of time with her. You can try some sneaky touches under her belly, scritches on her head and neck, ect. Just play with her and have a little fun with her. Try scooping her up and holding her in your hand for a moment, then just letting her go. Do this enough and you should be able to break down some barriers.
 
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