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I'm very happy to be a new rat mom, I've had my four girls for 5-6 weeks and while it's been hard sometimes they are the sweetest little darlings I've ever seen. My babies are Diamond, Daisy, Parker and Ella. I'm 23 and have never taken full care of an animal before and in some ways it's been a very difficult start but I think it's going well. None of them are really afraid of me anymore, they'll all come up and sniff me whenever I come near, will even all put two hands on me if I'm holding a treat :p I really really would like to work on getting them ok with being picked up however, because I love to free range them and they love my room but the hard part is getting them back home after one or two hours have passed and its time for me to go to bed xD

Anyway, I joined the forums because I have so many questions and want to hear about what other people's experience with rats is. I think they're the cutest creatures I've ever seen :D
 

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Im so glad you have some rat babies. this site is sooo hrlpful! You should read the sticky about immersion. :)
 

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As a rat parent, my second priority is to teach our rats indoor competence... Mostly that means not to destroy stuff and to come when called. Priority one is bonding of course.

Rats have amazing minds which are far more capable than almost any other small animals that you might have as a pet. In fact they are more on the order of dogs than other rodents. But yes, it takes a bit of work and commitment on your part.

Although it's likely that very few rats can learn to walk at heel on a public beach, this was our remarkable true shoulder rat Fuzzy Rat... and this photo was taken after she went swimming with the kids.

at heel on beach.jpg .

I'm not suggesting your goals should include hazardous outdoor activities, but just posting the snap shot to show you what's possible with the right rat and a few hundred hours of handling and training. To be honest, she ran away the first time outdoors when she was only 4 weeks old, but she came back within an hour after going exploring on her own... She always came home and could find the house from over half a mile away. She insisted on coming home with us when we found her in a feeder bin at only 3 weeks old... She was always a bit special, but she was a rat and most rats can do a lot more than people give them credit for.

Always remember, your rats can become amazing too, but it's all up to you.

And by the way, Fuzzy Rat was our rat partner in developing immersion.

Best luck.
 

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Thanks for sharing their progress. Its nice to know that every owner starts somewhere but with patience it gets better. I relate to this as a new owner. 😊
 

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Welcome! I was where you are a year ago, and now I cannot imagine life without rats! I know for certain there will always be rats in my life. AndI did not really even want them in the first place... but thank you, dear wife! :)
 

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Thank you all so much! we're doing play time right now and I'm using the down time (like right now when I have to step outside to refill my own water cup and smoke) to learn new strategies. I just read the start of your piece on immersion rat dad and I appreciated it, I think it reminded me to try harder to keep near them and communicating with them when they're outside the cage just to keep getting them used to me. They love my room so much and keep running around the books and crannies but I was having some success with daisy a second ago just saying hi and letting her sniff my hand and showing her we can interact without me trying to pick her up and tell her free range time is over. She even was moving towards my hand and closing her eyes when I was petting her little head :3.

I am still nervous about wrangling them all back in the cage when it's time for me to make dinner, but we'll see how it goes D: !
 

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Since I have gotten my little girls, I have two big reasons to get out of bed in the morning. There is nothing like seeing two little furries at the top of the cage waiting for kisses and treats. My two girls are really active, but they constantly check to see if I'm there, especially when we free range. I think about them at work and when I am out running around. When I go to the store I ask, can I use/feed this to my babies? I talk about them constantly. There are a few people in my circle who think I have gone nuts. They are literally my heroines. I have something to focus on besides the turmoil my family is still going through after the loss of my brother and my niece. It's just LUV...
 

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They really do take over your whole mind and life, but I think that's a good thing--they are animals who are very energetic and require lots of space, things, and care. If they didn't take over your whole life, they'd be neglected. They are so sweet and intelligent and have such individual personalities. I'm in the proccess of building a new cage for my girls and it has me really excited.
 

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There's nothing in nature that would prepare any animal to engage and befriend an animal 100 times it's size. It would be like you walking up to an African elephant or rhino and offering your friendship... That's not to say it wouldn't be appreciated or might not work, it would just be a crazy thing to do. But if the elephant picks you up and rides you around and brings you tasty food and builds you a shelter, you just might take a chance that it wants to be your friend.

Some folks tend to be on the passive side and expect their rats to come and befriend them... Which would be like the rhino waiting for you to come up and give it a hug. So although you needn't be overwhelming you do have to make the first move and set the tone of the relationship.

Most new rat owners are kind of reluctant to get in there and be engaging for fear of frightening their rats, but in nature the great big animal keeping it's distance is usually a predator waiting to pounce which is a lot more scary to a rat than a big clumsy human being overly affectionate.
 
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