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So I bought two female rats from a pet shop a while ago, and these are my first ratties so I'm not quite sure how I should go about all of it ^^;

The girl at the store told me they were 12 weeks old. I've been able to pick both of them up but they squirm a lot and I'm not really confident in picking them up either.

If I put small treats on my hand they'll climb on and eat them, but they're really easily frightened. If I move a tiny bit too fast they'll both run into their igloos.

Neither of them have bitten me, besides nibbles. Both of them have pink/red eyes, one of them is completely white while the other is a dove.


Is this all normal behaviour? I've only had them for about 4 days though. Any tips and such? :3



But I put a litter tray in the corner of the cage, and the rats are brilliant, they've pooped in there so much 8D! I wasn't expecting them to either.
 

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Congrats on your new girls! They sound just the sweetest =). Yes this sounds like normal behavior.
Chances are they are still nervous around you because they don't know you. They will come around eventually.
And they are "nibbling" your fingers to see if it's food :lol:.
Some good bonding tips are putting baby food on your fingers to get them to lick it off, that way they can't just grab the treats and run. It gets them more comfortable with you. Sleep in an old t-shirt for a few days and put it in their cage so they can constantly be around your smell and know that it's not a threat!
Take them out a couple hours a day and let them play around you so they feel more comfortable.
 

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Remember, animals are very intune to instincts. If your instinct is to be nervous, they may pick up on it and in turn become nervous themself (after all, in the wild the showing of fear is a survival instinct. One rat notices a threat; reacts and others follow suit, they all bolt and all live. Your nervousness, being it holding them or playing with them within the cage can be interpreted in this way)

Rats rarely bite, unless they feel cornered. Your girls are already testing you by nibbling you; don't be mistaken to think this is aggressive behaviour. It's the complete opposite; they are beginning to accept you.

As reccommended above; try bringing them outside the cage for a couple of hours a day (like on a bed or in the bathroom if it's safe). They will initially see you as a 'home base' (as you are not strange to them) and begin exploring. As they explore their confidence will grow; and in turn their confidence in you will grow too.

This is completely normal rat behaviour - the trick is to break the cycle of fear between them and you. They need to be socialised as much as possible during the early stages of your bonding; picking them up while inside the cage, accustomising them with your hands around them etc are all important things they will have to learn and should soon begin to enjoy

Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ah, thanks a bunch to both of you :3

Another thing is, while I'm around I'll leave the cage door open, and even though it's open they'll rarely step outside. Is this just because they're like, scared 'n stuff?
 
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