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I've had my rats for a month now, they're about 3-4 months old. They have a relatively large cage for just two of them, 2 different floors with toys and a wheel. For the first two weeks, they hid in a little box with an old tshirt of mine for them to sleep in. They barely ever came out of it, maybe coming out for about 20 minutes a day to hide in the corner of the top floor or to drink. I realised they also NEVER used the toys so I removed them from the cage. In the third week, they started to use the wheel more often, but they'd never explore on the first floor (which has their paper bedding in it), only on the second, where they'd mostly hide under the wheel or in the corner. In the fourth week, I started bringing their box with them in it out of the cage and onto my bed, when they were already awake, so they could run around and maybe climb on me. On the second and third day they started to climb on me and run over to say hello, but then on the fourth they resorted back to just hiding in their box when I got them out. I attempted to pick them up a few times, making sure to support their feet, but they'd always just run along my arm to escape, not once have they stayed. I speak softly to them, and have done since I got them so they'd get to know my voice. They occasionally peak their heads out of the box when I say hello, but that's all. If I turn around in my chair (their cage is behind me) they'll stop what they're doing and hide away so I can't see them. They NEVER come out to see me and sometimes don't even accept treats from me, they just run away into their corner or the box. The only times they come out is for about 10/20 minutes in a morning and when I'm in bed. I get they're nocturnal, but they're definitely awake at different parts of the day, they just hide. It's beginning to really annoy me, because I clean their cage, give them food, give them treats, bought them the wheel, and I get nothing back. They just run away from me. The only form of affection I get is them sniffing my hand or looking for food on it.
 

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You can try to desentize them to different sounds so they get used to the sounds of you coming into the room, opening the cage, moving things around, etc. Whenever you feed them, whether treats or regular feeding time it's always best to feed them by hand so they learn to come out to you, to trust you, and you can desentize them during that time. You can try to make their cage more dull for awhile until they enjoy coming out with you, but then put it back. Also, make sure to not the body language of your rats when their out of their hiding spot, if their frozen, or their ears are back don't pick them up, running around their cage is a good sign though. If their not coming out by themselves either slowly lure them or sit until they come out willingly.
 

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It's beginning to really annoy me, because I clean their cage, give them food, give them treats, bought them the wheel, and I get nothing back. They just run away from me. The only form of affection I get is them sniffing my hand or looking for food on it.
Oof, dont let it annoy you. Rats are prey animals by nature and need trust training. They will not just necessarily come for attention unless you have trust trained them. What is your method? have you tried baby food and encouraging licking it off your hand so they cant take food and run away with it? Look at some youtube videos for trust. Where did you source them? Breeder or pet store? Pet store rats will be more skittish as they come from bad conditions where they are not treated well most the time.
 

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Oof, dont let it annoy you. Rats are prey animals by nature and need trust training. They will not just necessarily come for attention unless you have trust trained them. What is your method? have you tried baby food and encouraging licking it off your hand so they cant take food and run away with it? Look at some youtube videos for trust. Where did you source them? Breeder or pet store? Pet store rats will be more skittish as they come from bad conditions where they are not treated well most the time.
I got mine from a breeder, and yeah I've tried baby food and they did lick it off my hand. They'll climb up onto my hand to get food further up it sometimes, it's just that if it's not me feeding them, they're terrified again. They act so strangely and I don't really understand, I take them out of the cage and onto my bed where I let them run around and over me, but they mostly just hide behind me where I can't see them. Then, when I put them back, they don't hide in their box in the cage, they go in this little corner on the second floor of the cage to hide, and I don't really understand why.
 

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It sounds like they aren't frightened with you, just noise. When you take them out and they run in a box you should lure them to you so that being with you = food + safety. You can also feed them something they really like and have to lick off your hand, and while you feed them and move things around so they get used to movement. Also, you can give them something noisy in their cage, like newspaper or crinkle paper. You can also clean/sweep the room that their in while their out so eventually they get used to the noise and movement.
 

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When I got my first babies they were exactly the same. I had them in my room in the first place but I found that it was kind of hard to get them to socialize and they were still scared of me. I got them from a pet store so I knew they were going to be difficult to train. Here is how I did it.

First I moved them into the washroom. I would have kept them in my room but the washroom is a really good place to interact with them. I stuffed every crack or crevice they could run into with either a pillow case or a hand towel. Then when I wanted to I would just open the cage. They would be very weary but soon enough they would Coe out to play. I would sit in my bathtub so I was right there with them and if they wanted they could climb in with me because I mad a card board ramp. If yours are still squeamish then I would say just bringing them into the bath tub with you. Then they need to interact with you.

Another good one is just chilling in bed with a blanket. My girls loved just running under the sheets when I took them to my bed. Since they are prey animals they find comfort in being under shelter so I actually go a few blanket specifically designated for them to run in because they will pee and maybe poop on it.

When I wasn't home or wasn't interacting with them I would turn the radio on for them or have some background noise for them to get used too. I found that the radio really helped in getting them out of their shell. I also liked to read them books to get them used to my voice. and although it made reading a lot slower, I could tell they appreciated it. Also mine love when I play the guitar or ukulele. I we are hanging out on my bed they will just come out from under the covers and lie down looking up as me playing.

I also saved some of their really high value treats for only out of the cage time. It gets them to learn that outside of the cage is safe, fun, and rewarding. The meat baby food is a really good idea to get them to lick from your hand.

You mentioned they you gave them an old shirt to cuddle into. Well try to give them a shirt that smell like you and I don't mean just throw them a good shirt but, one that you are planning to give to them, or aren't afraid to ruin, then wear it the day prior, and then give it to them. It will help them get used to your smell. Also if it is in the box they find safety and comfort in then they will also start to correlate the smell of you with safety as well.

If anything just sit beside the cage and do different things. I liked to make them toys out of different things and would do it with them. Don be afraid to talk to them so they can get used to your voice and they will need time. Try not to get frustrated because they are probably still scared. Some rats will take almost no time to warm up to a new house and owner, but others will take a very long time, but I know it will be very rewarding to finally have them trust you.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
When I got my first babies they were exactly the same. I had them in my room in the first place but I found that it was kind of hard to get them to socialize and they were still scared of me. I got them from a pet store so I knew they were going to be difficult to train. Here is how I did it.

First I moved them into the washroom. I would have kept them in my room but the washroom is a really good place to interact with them. I stuffed every crack or crevice they could run into with either a pillow case or a hand towel. Then when I wanted to I would just open the cage. They would be very weary but soon enough they would Coe out to play. I would sit in my bathtub so I was right there with them and if they wanted they could climb in with me because I mad a card board ramp. If yours are still squeamish then I would say just bringing them into the bath tub with you. Then they need to interact with you.

Another good one is just chilling in bed with a blanket. My girls loved just running under the sheets when I took them to my bed. Since they are prey animals they find comfort in being under shelter so I actually go a few blanket specifically designated for them to run in because they will pee and maybe poop on it.

When I wasn't home or wasn't interacting with them I would turn the radio on for them or have some background noise for them to get used too. I found that the radio really helped in getting them out of their shell. I also liked to read them books to get them used to my voice. and although it made reading a lot slower, I could tell they appreciated it. Also mine love when I play the guitar or ukulele. I we are hanging out on my bed they will just come out from under the covers and lie down looking up as me playing.

I also saved some of their really high value treats for only out of the cage time. It gets them to learn that outside of the cage is safe, fun, and rewarding. The meat baby food is a really good idea to get them to lick from your hand.

You mentioned they you gave them an old shirt to cuddle into. Well try to give them a shirt that smell like you and I don't mean just throw them a good shirt but, one that you are planning to give to them, or aren't afraid to ruin, then wear it the day prior, and then give it to them. It will help them get used to your smell. Also if it is in the box they find safety and comfort in then they will also start to correlate the smell of you with safety as well.

If anything just sit beside the cage and do different things. I liked to make them toys out of different things and would do it with them. Don be afraid to talk to them so they can get used to your voice and they will need time. Try not to get frustrated because they are probably still scared. Some rats will take almost no time to warm up to a new house and owner, but others will take a very long time, but I know it will be very rewarding to finally have them trust you.
This is very helpful, thanks. Yeah I've tried with a blanket on the bed and they do hide in it and peek their heads out. I keep their cage door open for about half the day so they know they can come out whenever. I'll try the things you suggested, it's just annoying that some days they'll climb on my shoulders or up my arm but then others they refuse to stop hiding.
 

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When they're hiding they probably got frightened by something, but once your lure them out and they come out in the open to you, they realize that nothing bad is happening and will become more confident the more you work with them.
 

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When they're hiding they probably got frightened by something, but once your lure them out and they come out in the open to you, they realize that nothing bad is happening and will become more confident the more you work with them.
I can't lure them out. They come out for absolutely nothing. I've tried being quiet, I've offered them treats, I've tried talking to them, I've brought them out in their box so they can retreat back to it if they get scared (they just stay in it and don't come out for anything). Once they're out of the cage, they don't sniff me (they usually do if I go near them), they don't accept food, they just find a place to hide and don't come out. I have tried everything and there is nothing I can do for them to come out.
 

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Could you move the cage into your bedroom or the busiest room in the house so they get used to all the sound?
They'll get desensitised eventually, my boys will run off in terror from knocking something over with their tails, its pretty funny, but theyre quite confident and explorative
 
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