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As I mentioned in another post, I brought home the 3 remaining siblings to my current 2 rats yesterday quickly making a rat family of 5. I'm not sure if that was the best idea. They were all born 12/30/14 so they are roughly 2 months old. I separated them last night for fear of fighting and all day today. I went home and the new ones were all snuggled together in the ramp cover that they nicely chewed a hole in and made their new hammock. Every time we try to handle them, they bite us. Hard. One time drawing blood on my finger. I know they are scared and Daisy wants nothing to do with them. Is it terrible to bring them back before we are bonded with them? They are all 3 bonded together and my 2 are extremely bonded.I want to work with them but I thought with them being babies still they would be ok. I didn't realize they would already be aggressive. I know they are scared and its a new environment, but I'm afraid with my schedule it's going to take a ton more time then I realized and my girls are not happy right now. I'm probably jumping the gun but I want to do what's best for my girls that I have now.
 

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Just because they were born together doesn't mean they know each other. You should still follow standard introduction procedure.

As for the biting... Get a thick pair of gloves and read the "immersion" thread. With a little time and effort you'll be able to break them and get them comfortable with you.
 

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I would personally bring them back. It seems crazy to me that they are biting hard enough to draw blood. I'm sure the rats will eventually bond together, but YOU being scared of them is a problem. It would probably be different if you had lots of time to bond with them, but you said you have other things you need to do. Take them back, they can find a home that has more time for them. This also gives you a chance to find a few rats that have been handled a bit more and have better a temperament.
 

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First off, I have heard from some that it can be a common problem before immersion when a rat doesn't know you for them to bite because of fear. I can say that my baby drew blood on me 3 times pretty bad at first and I almost took him back but I was told the biting stops once they get used to you and I stuck it out a bit longer and he actually became my shoulder rat and is the love of my life and would never ever dream of biting me or being aggressive with me. he just didn't know me. He has the most wonderful and quite rare personality in a rat cuz shoulder rats who want to be loved on and cuddled all the time don't actually come along that often. But you can't give off vibes that you are scared of them. That just makes it worse. I would hate for you to miss out on an opportunity of wonderful rats like both mine are when you haven't been able to see their actual personalities yet. What I did with my rats was the trust method. I ddin't really force immersion on them right away. I sat in a small room with them and fed them a bunch of little treats such as corn flakes and didn't force them out of them cage or force pick them up. I held the cereal up to the door and gave them the treats and spent hours with them for the first week or so just doing that and gradually trying to move the treats further back to coax them out of the cage and eventually they felt comfortable enough to come outside the door and get them and bring them back inside. I wouldn't pick them up much except maybe I tried a few times over that first few days to a week. I judged by their comfort level before i started forcing handling on them and eventually they just started coming out on their own and exploring the little room and coming on my lap all by themselves. I didn't do the immersion thing where I just forced my hands all over them instantly. I ended up handling them alot but it was gradual and I still spent at least 2-3 hours a days with them for the first 3 weeks but it just wasn't as intense. And they turned out the same as they do with immersion. Maybe if they are biting you might wanna try that method? Whatever you're comfortable with. At that time I didn't know this website and didn't know what any method was and just did what I felt was best for my rats. with my method it took about 3 weeks for my outgoing boy to all of a sudden be completely in love with me and just be warmed up to me completely. For my other boy, he just doesn't like being pet much cuz he's independent, never has never will. So I had to work with him a little extra to get him ok with me catching him after playtime and such without making a fuss.

If you prefer the immersion method though I would just get some gloves and still try it before you give them up. I think about it sometimes and get sad about what if I had given my boys up and how horrible that would be and all the things I would've missed out on. I would give it another week or so if you can manage to stick it out that long and try not to show them fear. Then if you really feel it is a hopeless case give them back. Hope this is helpful. Good luck!
 

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Normal immersion works best when the human brings their own personality into the session, some folks are patient and like to take things slow, others are aggressive and hands on, but both work about as well as long as trust is built on communication... You engage your rat, let your rat reply and respond appropriately... What the engagement, the reply and the response actually look like depends on the conversation you are having and what needs to be said to establish a permanent bond between you and your rats.

Thick welding gloves or oven mitts and towels or blankets are perfectly good tools to avoid getting bitten or to make you feel more comfortable. And hopefully your rats will respond to your kindness... it's easier to be engaging and kind when you aren't bleeding...

When you read the immersion thread, you will find that there is a rather extreme form of immersion that's required for really screwed up rats... it's the most controversial form of the procedure and it can get really ugly, it's there because it works and saves rats nothing else will... but it is also very rarely necessary and only to fix aggressively biting rats. I detail the procedure for people that really want to fix their problem rats, but it's a labor of love and it can be traumatic, mostly on the human participant. It's not something you should undertake lightly if you think that's the way your immersion will go... some folks can be better off starting over with friendlier rats.
 

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I bought both my rats from petsmart (bad idea i know) and the younger one bit a little. she drew blood a couple times, but she seemed okay with being picked up, my other, Mazie, was terrified, and fled everytime i tried to touch her. She would leap around the cage like crazy, and if we tried to pick her up she squeezed out in any way possible and leapt out. Eventually, what worked to make them the sweetest kissing rats they are today, I took them out by getting them in the travel carrier, and got them into the bathtub with no place to hide, but some toys and a towel at the bottom. I sat on the edge and let them play, after only 2 days Clementine stopped biting me, and she was starting to climb on me on her own. Mazie took a bit longer as she was older, but she got used to me and now she's the sweetest rat ever. I think you just need to do some type of bonding in a small area. If the biting is terrible even in a small free range area, wear some gloves, let them come up to you, and don't move towards them.
Wish you luck!
 
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