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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,



I'm so excited to be a part of the community! Reading through this forum has been a LIFE SAVER this past week to get my new babies back to safety after an escape, but now I definitely need some additional guidance on what to do from here. Here's the full story with ALL details (so we don't miss any potential mistakes I could be making):



My girlfriend and I very recently adopted a couple of about 3 month old babies, Peanut Butter (PB) and Jelly, last Saturday from PetSmart (My girlfriend surprised me with them after months of me talking about it without knowing it's frowned upon to adopt from a pet store). We got the girls a nice big cage with 3 levels, plenty of toys, and plenty of climbing space. Once we got them into their new home, we gave them some time to explore and settle into their enclosure. I read that the general rule here is to allow 2-3 days for settling in before beginning any type of bonding, trust- or hand-training, but we noticed that the girls never came out of their hutch to explore the cage except to eat and drink (at least when we were anywhere near the vicinity). I read that one solution to get timid, hiding rats to explore and become acclimated it to remove their hiding place for a bit, se we removed the hutch and replaced it with a felt curtain in a corner so that they still had a place to hide, but could at least get used to seeing us around so they felt safer to explore their cage. This seemed to work after giving them an additional day to acclimate.



Here's where I got too excited and the HUGE mistake that I don't know how to recover from. Since they seemed to be comfortable with their new environment and seeing us, it seemed like it was appropriate to begin with bonding and trust training. I tried to begin by offering treats to them in their cage, but they wouldn't accept them at all. So back to research I go, and I find a forum that says it can be helpful to allow them to free roam in a safe and enclosed space, such as a bathroom, and offer them treats their so that they learn their owner is a safe place to go when in an unfamiliar environment.



I removed everything from the floor, blocked the door with a towel, and double checked everywhere for any holes or cracks they could get into, and found nothing, so I took them out. They began exploring. PB was brave and inquisitive, while Jelly was terrified just looking for a hiding place. Well, I missed a tiny, hidden hole, and the girls found it and climbed right in. After hours trying to coax them out with treats and them only poking their noses out to sniff but never coming out, I left their cage in the bathroom overnight in hopes they'd come back home on their own. This worked with PB, who we quickly enclosed in the cage to avoid a second escape, but Jelly WOULD NOT BUDGE.



We tried everything to get Jelly out, but she wouldn't budge, so we resorted to catch and release traps, which she outsmarted about 7 times before we finally caught her 5 days later (yesterday). We quickly got her out and reintroduced her to the cage with PB, who was very happy to see her sister. Jelly on the other hand, freaked out and just seems overall traumatized. She later calmed down, but as can be expected is staying in hiding anywhere she can and staying very close to PB, and gets frightened everytime she sees me pass by unless she's cuddled up with PB.



I'm so relieved to have her home safe, but here's where I need help. I have NO IDEA when or how to even begin trying to trust train Jelly after this, not only because the poor girl just went through so much, but also because she's an extremely smart escape artist and I worry that she'll outsmart me and find a way to escape again. Even if I begin the process of bonding inside of the cage, I'm so terrified that she'll dart out and find another hiding spot. I've since filled the hole in the bathroom and ensured that there weren't any others, so maybe I could begin in their, but who knows if there's another spot I missed. There's no other place in my apartment that I deem to be rat-proof enough to contain her, and I bought a play pen, but I have a feeling she'll jump right out.



PB seems ready to bond at least just within the cage, as she will now take treats from my girlfriend and I out of our hands. But obviously Jelly and her moms are both terrified after this ordeal and need to build up some trust.



WHERE AND HOW DO I START????
 

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Just carry on as you are,gently talking to her and offering her treats,it may take time but she will come round eventually.All rats have very different personalities.When you have your freerange area set up again,let them out,and she will encouraged by seeing PB interact with you.Get yourself a ferret pouch too.I have a very skittish young doe called Bhindi who I cannot handle or even touch without her freaking,but she will climb on me if I dont make a move on her.When its home time I have taught her that if she climbs into the pouch I will gently tip her back in the cage and she will get a crumb of white chocolate as a reward.Rats are so smart and easy to train,even the scared ones.Good Luck with them both and Welcome to you All馃拹馃惌馃挄
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just carry on as you are,gently talking to her and offering her treats,it may take time but she will come round eventually.All rats have very different personalities.When you have your freerange area set up again,let them out,and she will encouraged by seeing PB interact with you.Get yourself a ferret pouch too.I have a very skittish young doe called Bhindi who I cannot handle or even touch without her freaking,but she will climb on me if I dont make a move on her.When its home time I have taught her that if she climbs into the pouch I will gently tip her back in the cage and she will get a crumb of white chocolate as a reward.Rats are so smart and easy to train,even the scared ones.Good Luck with them both and Welcome to you All馃拹馃惌馃挄
Do you think it would be best to wait until she's comfortable enough taking treats from us within the cage before taking her out again? We're terriified that she'll find somewhere else to climb into even after we fill the hole in the bathroom. I know ratties definitely need play time outside of the cage, and don't want to deprive them of that for too long, but I don't know what indicates that there's enough trust established and that she's ready to try again.
 

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I tend to leave it up to them.Never remove her from her home where she feels safe.just open a door and give her the choice of whether she want to come out or not.It may be weeks before she decides to venture out,but she will get there in her own time.....and remember to just breathe,relax and trust the process as if you are very anxious,she will pick up on it.
 
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