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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, Everyone!

My name's Heather and I've recently gotten into the love of rats. Well I had it before but this is the first time I could act on it. My mom finally relented into letting me get one rat... and she made it very clear: ONE rat. That one rat is having a few problems.

My rat, Johnathan, is very terrified of all things relating to people. He won't take treats and if he sees me put them in there he won't get near them. He won't touch any toy I give him and he won't allow me to approach his cage without hiding.

He also keeps chewing frantically on the bars of his cage. I checked to make sure his cage is large enough so I don't know what's the matter with him. He also doesn't eat his food like he should. He picks out his favorite things and that's it.

I got him four days ago but he doesn't seem to want to warm up to me at all. He's by himself but mom said she will NOT under any circumstances allow me to get a second rat. (She hates them). I got him from a pet store in the mall and he was in a small cage with many other rats. Funny thing is, he's not scared of my dog.

Any suggestions for my dearest John? I don't want him to have to be confined to a life of skiddish cage life.

Thanks,
Heather
 

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You should really convince your mom that rats thrive on other, live on others, you should most definatly try to convince her that another rat is NECESSARY. (Well maybe not necessary but it would definatly help!) You could also try taking him out of his cage put a towel over your bed (in case of accidents) and Just lay down and read a book while he explores, dont be afraid to let them in your shirt sleeve or something, because they rely and scent and close to your body gives them a good scent of you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm just worried he'll get away. Also, I can't seem to get to him when he goes into his 'house'. Which he does as soon as I approach him. Is there anyway you know of to bribe him out? Treats don't work.

Thanks for answering so quick though X3
 

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My rats were like that as soon as I got them, I had to pick up the house so it was just the bottom of the cage, as she got comfortable I picked her up and put her on my shoulder, of course, she pooped and peed which I picked up ><. Anyways, is your bed close to the ground? My rats wont come done from my bed, nor jump from place to place, they just sit and crawl around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My bed is just a mattress on the floor. So yah, its really close to the ground. I'll try moving his house but he'd end up more traumatized I think. XD "Oh no! My house moves too D:!"

I'll try next time he comes out. Someone suggested that I take away his food and only give him something to eat by hand. So that he'll have no choice but to interact but I don't think I really like that one. What do you think?
 

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its too late now but keep this in mind for the future... let the rat pick you, not you pick the rat

Too often people select the eye-candy type rats that make you go awwwww & they ignore the plain looking little guy that is freaking out trying to get you to pick them up. Those are the rats that should be paid closer attention to, not the one that dives under his other cagemates & does everything to get as far away from the reaching hand as possible. Those rats require a great deal of experienced handling & tons of patience. Sometimes they can be socialized but to be honest, if you look for the signs of the ones that are eager to be your friend you won't have any troubles with having to bribe them to come out of hiding.

You are just going to have to be very patient with him & since it has already been 4 days... don't wait any longer. Tell your Mom that you have to keep him with a SAME SEX cage mate because being on his own is very stressful. When you do go back try to use the tips I offered about letting the rat pick you... even if it one that looks like every other rat in the tank. Look for the one that is interested in you. This is very important because hopefully the friendly rat can help you help the shy guy to become more trustful of you.
 

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Mine hated that one, try to find an area like on a couch or table or something that you can put him on just cover it with a towel, or better yet, put the cage on the table and keep the door open so he can crawl out on his own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A1APassion said:
its too late now but keep this in mind for the future... let the rat pick you, not you pick the rat

Too often people select the eye-candy type rats that make you go awwwww & they ignore the plain looking little guy that is freaking out trying to get you to pick them up. Those are the rats that should be paid closer attention to, not the one that dives under his other cagemates & does everything to get as far away from the reaching hand as possible. Those rats require a great deal of experienced handling & tons of patience. Sometimes they can be socialized but to be honest, if you look for the signs of the ones that are eager to be your friend you won't have any troubles with having to bribe them to come out of hiding.

You are just going to have to be very patient with him & since it has already been 4 days... don't wait any longer. Tell your Mom that you have to keep him with a SAME SEX cage mate because being on his own is very stressful. When you do go back try to use the tips I offered about letting the rat pick you... even if it one that looks like every other rat in the tank. Look for the one that is interested in you. This is very important because hopefully the friendly rat can help you help the shy guy to become more trustful of you.
I realize that now. Mom gave me five minutes to go into the mall and pick a rat so I was rushed. Plus ALL of the rats dove for cover. None of them wanted picked up and I'm not surprised. The guy grabbed John by the tail and pulled him out with little regard for him. His head hit the side of the tank. I yelled at the guy but he dismissed me. I'll try to convince my mom but she's pretty solid on it. She gave me a death glare for merely suggesting such a thing.
 

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If you cannot convince her just yet you'll have to give the rat lots and lots and lots of attention. This means overcoming his fear by holding him for at least twenty minutes and getting him used to being with you so you can somewhat stand in for a real rattie playmate. It's not perfect, but at least he wouldn't be alone all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'll keep trying. Pretty much right now he's giving me the rat version of 'screw you'. Its house isn't detachable and he won't come out of it for love or money. I'll just have to leave it and try again in a day or so.
 

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A1APassion said:
its too late now but keep this in mind for the future... let the rat pick you, not you pick the rat

Too often people select the eye-candy type rats that make you go awwwww & they ignore the plain looking little guy that is freaking out trying to get you to pick them up. Those are the rats that should be paid closer attention to, not the one that dives under his other cagemates & does everything to get as far away from the reaching hand as possible. Those rats require a great deal of experienced handling & tons of patience. Sometimes they can be socialized but to be honest, if you look for the signs of the ones that are eager to be your friend you won't have any troubles with having to bribe them to come out of hiding.
This is VERY good advice. Trust me on this, that rat that is begging you to take him/her home, you will love every flaw you though they had. You will think they are the cutest in the world.

Also, it has only been a little while. You have to work to get a rat's love, but once you have it, you will know, but yeah a 2nd rat would help too. I have noticed that lone rats open right up once they have a friend.

Handle the rat as much as you can, but make sure you are careful about it. Be gentle, be caring, don't force treats, they will want them eventually when they come around. My latest rat only took a couple days and soon he was loving the treats, but at first they never seem to want them. They have to trust you. Don't move suddenly... if your rat is scared/calm/docile enough to sit on your lap or cuddle up in your arms, pet it slowly, assuridly, and talk to the rat softly... it sounds silly, but it helps. Sometimes a scared rat looks like a docile rat, but you can use this to your advantage by taking the chance to let em rest in your lap and turn that scared feeling into a comfortable place.

Try to get the rat out of his cage (I just saw the rat is a he), if he is scared he may not move if you put him in your lap... use that time to calm his fears with gentle treatment. He is going to poop on you... that is the sucky part about new rats... they will do this for a month maybe more, and then they will probably never popp outside the cage unless truly scared. When he poops on you, just calmly clean it up or move it aside and continue petting the guy and showing him you are not going to hurt him.

Is he big or small? If he is small he may not be as docile to just sit there. I have noticed that new large rats are the ones that do the "sit still" thing... but it is still worth a try... if not, block off a space somewhere for him to be with you... if he goes into a corner, be slow, be careful, use the back of your hand, and then pet him softly if he lets you... just take it slow... but if it is just too much for you, many pet stores let you return the rat before 14 days... seriously, you may want to look for a better rat for you now that you know some stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
He's what they called a 'medium' rat. He's a bit bigger then a hamster. He also at this point is very jumpy in his cage. He keeps jumping around. I don't know if he's playing or scared of something I don't see.

Would the rat be uncomfortable in a room with air vents? I have two vents in my room and the room its self is very small. Should I move him more into a corner?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
He hasn't been. He won't come out. I held him once and he seemed to just stiffen. He didn't react to petting or anything just froze. So I put him back in. He hasn't let me pick him up since then.
 

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Well use that to take him out... put him in your lap and let him sit there stiff, he will get used to you and your smell, your breathing, basically what the rat will know you by... and he will know you aren't going to hurt him if you do this enough. If he sits still, take that time to warm up to him.

I just got a new rat... Two days ago Stone was like your rat... and today he is bruxing... still scared of his mates, but getting better. It takes time. Your rat may love being out... you have to give him out time. He may hate being "in" because nothing good came while being "in" at the bet store.
 

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The freeze is fear behavior. I seriously doubt he's been handled. Many rats cannot hold fear past twenty minutes (some are more stubborn!) So if you keep him with you in some manner it can help.

Also, give him things that smell like you so he gets used to your smell.

It does work, but it needs patience.
 

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I think Yashu and Forensic have given you excellent advice, so I will try to add to it.

I am going through this same thing with my new rescue, Olive. With every rat I've had to socialize, I tend to do the same things every time:

- Anytime you are reading, watching TV, etc, put him on your lap, your shoulder, in your shirt ...

- If you have a treat or two that you want to be a special thing between you and the rat (i.e. yogies, chocolate chips, etc) put some in the food dish (or somewhere in the cage) so that he can develop a taste for them. Fearful rats tend to be suspicious of new foods.

- If you can, put the cage somewhere where you tend to spend a lot of time. On your computer desk, for example. The more he sees you, the more familiar you'll be.

Good luck! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you all so much! At this point he's still wary of me picking him up but he's allowing me to pet him. If he wants me to pet him he'll jump up on his house and just sit there. He won't let me pick him up just yet but he's getting better. (Its hard to pick him up safely because his house its right against the top of the cage and its just big enough for him to fit) I don't want to hurt him. X3 He finally seems to have taken a love for bananas. Something we can both eat!

X3 I'll keep you guys updated. Thanks again soo soo much.
 
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