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I got two female rats from the animal shelter two weeks ago. They had dozens of rats because there was some lady who had a couple hundred rats in her house and asked animal services to take them off her hands. Anyway, some of these rats were really wild, but I asked for some friendly rats and they gave me these two females. They are very tame and gentle and never bite. They will sit on my shoulder for hours.

The problem is that they act so scared when I try to take them out of their cage. They run away from me and try to hide. Why is that? I thought rats enjoyed being handled and being played with. What can I do to make them more comfortable? What can I do to entertain them without scaring them?
 

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How are you picking them up? Sometimes rats associate a hand coming down on them as a predator about to catch them. Or they may not be used to being picked up. It can take a while, but they'll get used to it. :)
 

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I agree with Forensic on this one. Just give them some time to get used to you doing that, reassure them and try and keep them calm and relaxed and always be sure to play with them too.
 

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Rats (and animals in general) that come from rescue situations dealing with hoarders, are sometimes 'feral.' Just give them some time and they'll warm up to you, and will realize you're not trying to harm them by picking them up. They just need to get acclimated :)
 

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I also do what Bandit does, I let my rats climb up onto my hand and pick them up from below instead of from the top. Especially with new young ones, I spend a long time for the first few days just sticking my hand in the cage and letting them smell, lick, nibble and play with my hands. Then I start with the treats, just laying them in my hand and offering to the rats. I've had some new 8-9 week old boys for almost 2 weeks now and at first they were kind of scared, at this point now they are running to the door and climbing up my arms so fast I can barely keep them IN the cage anymore. :D
 

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my girls are like that as well!
i try to pick them up from inside the cage, and they scurry away from me.
but i have a method of where i sort of cup my hands underneath them and slowly take them out.
they're getting more used to me handling them.
i'm taking it day by day. =]
 

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Some rats will take a while to get used to being handled (it think it has to do with their occurrence of being handled before you get them.)

I've had Nyah for about a month now, and I can scoop her up with no problem, but she was used to being handled before, and is an extremely social little creature.

Ruby on the other hand, will do just what yours do, which is run away from me when i try to pick her up, then bite me when i get within range of her little jaws (she's sunk her teeth into me about 5 times in the last two and a half weeks since I got her.) She runs away from me when I let her run free in my room, but will approach me when I get her out of the cage and put her in an enclosed area (I use a Grrreat Wall, and Ruby is not a jumper.)

Side note: Fantastik Cleaning Spray cleans up blood droplets very efficiently.

I think it just takes time for them to get used to you. And some will get used to you quicker than others.
 
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