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I just got my first two rats over the weekend. Karl (the larger one) and Rizzo. We started out with wood chip bedding and we noticed that Rizzo was sneezing all the time. I changed it out for a paper based bedding yesterday and it has gotten better but is still pretty bad. Is it normal for him to be sneezing like this? I know I have like 10 more days to get him back to petco if I want him to see a vet, but there is no discharge from the nose and eyes as they suggest there would be if he was ill.

Also, this might belong in the behavior section, but I am thinking illness might be a factor. He is very introverted. Rizzo NEVER comes out of his Igloo except to eat and drink. I'm not sure what he does in the dead of night, but he never comes out when I am up. I think if nothing else this is a problem for Karl...hes not getting the social interaction of his fellow rat. They have only been with me for 4 days...maybe he is just getting situated in his new home? Thoughts?

EDIT- as I speak he is making a lier of me and out playing with Karl...but as soon as I express interest in them he runs and hides...
 

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First of all what kind of wood chip bedding were you using? Pine and cedar are huge no no's. Second of all I wouldn't panic just yet, as a lot of rats can be a bit sneezy and stressed when brought into a new home. If it doesn't clear up in a few days or you start to see red discharge around the eyes and nose, OR it gets worse.. I'd take him in.
 

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I think the bedding was pine. It was messing with my allergies as well. I'm just going to keep watch at this point and see what happens. Anyone else have a comment?
 

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I think he is just adjusting to his new environment. In my experience, some rats can easily take a couple of weeks before they get brave. Keep trying with him, though. Obviously, don't stress him out too much, but every day try and pet him or pick him up, or at least talk to him to try to get his natural curiosity going. Treats/rewards are a good enticer, too.

At the end of the day, you want to do as much as you can with him, without stressing him out. Socialization is so important while they are young. An unsocialized rat can be very difficult to deal with when they get older - I'm learning this the hard way!
 
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