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Oliver Bean, Phyllis, Waffle, Taco, Atlas, Cirrus, Orion
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omg, Lucky and Snowy!! I love them so much already. They will always freak you out and make you doubt your own sanity :LOL: Mine LOVE the boxes, and I give them an almost empty roll of toilet paper so they can make a nest. If it's trash to you, it's golden for them! Want to have some fun? Give them one chicken thigh bone, or two wing bones. Great protein for the growing kids, and they will act like feral rats fighting for their last meal 馃ぃ
 

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So had a little scare. Snowy suddenly disappeared! Saw that the bottom of the cage rests a little on the bedding and hypothetically he could have burrowed under and wiggled his way out. Looked all over!

Then saw that Lucky was in the tissue box (basically I put a brand new tissue box in there as somewhere online said they鈥檇 have fun pulling the tissues out) and I looked and Snowy was in there too! I鈥檇 actually looked in the box before but saw it was full of tissue so didn鈥檛 think he could fit in it.

I was wrong!

hopefully I didn鈥檛 telepathically give them ideas on how to escape 馃槄
Yeah, I have had similiar things happen when my rats Harris and Barrat were younger, except they actually escaped from different places, both from the carrier cage when I first got them and Harris from the actual cage. They both got nicknamed Houdini for a while. I have a video of Barrat actually getting out, but I鈥檓 not sure if you can upload videos, so here鈥檚 a photo of Harris poking his head out as a testament to a rat鈥檚 willingness to escape.
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Automotive lighting
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Sigh, I seem to have made a big mistake. In the rush of trying to get this all set up, I believe I got Lucky's gender wrong. I thought I saw bulges from the back and that she was a male but when I got Snowy, a confirmed male from the pet store, his testicles left no question! So I got a good look at Lucky today and I think she's female.

So I have a male and a female rat. I believe they are about 6 weeks old.

Doing quick searches, I don't think having a pregnant rat/litter will be a good idea. And taking them back to the pet store means returning them to the feeder rat piles. My thoughts are trying to find an adopter for Lucky and replacing her with a male.

There's no reliable way I can prevent pregnancy, right?
 

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Oliver Bean, Phyllis, Waffle, Taco, Atlas, Cirrus, Orion
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Sigh, I seem to have made a big mistake. In the rush of trying to get this all set up, I believe I got Lucky's gender wrong. I thought I saw bulges from the back and that she was a male but when I got Snowy, a confirmed male from the pet store, his testicles left no question! So I got a good look at Lucky today and I think she's female.

So I have a male and a female rat. I believe they are about 6 weeks old.

Doing quick searches, I don't think having a pregnant rat/litter will be a good idea. And taking them back to the pet store means returning them to the feeder rat piles. My thoughts are trying to find an adopter for Lucky and replacing her with a male.

There's no reliable way I can prevent pregnancy, right?
Don't feel bad, this happens all the time. Although they can breed quite young, you're probably safe with these two if you separate them now. Yes, look to trade Lucky for a male, with another rattie owner perhaps through Nextdoor or Craigslist. Better sooner rather than later. Girl rats are often preferred over males, and she is a beauty!

Ah, and now you are officially Welcomed into the Rat Keepers World! 馃槉 We all started off doing everything wrong 馃ぃ
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
So, trying to bond with the rats. Did a chicken bone, which Lucky went to town with. Introduced another chicken bone and tried to lay it on my hand to give it. Lucky came up, sniffed, did a soft bite to my finger which I didn鈥檛 recoil from and then about a second later bit hard enough to draw blood.

Is this aggression or is this Lucky thinking my finger was food given the smell? Also I cleaned my finger, is infection common?
 

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I agree with Tinytoes; she is so young it is not as likely that she would be pregnant, although it is possible.
They are only pregnant for 3 weeks (21-24 days) and they tend to show in the last week, so if she is pregnant it would be evident in a fairly short time.
If you rehome her, I would recommend mentioning to the new owner that she's been housed with a male and could be pregnant.
All the best!
 

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Naw, that's not aggression at all. A chicken bone brings out the natural instinct to survive, makes them go kinda feral imo :LOL: I toss the bones in and let em have at it. Bites hurt and bleed like crazy. You'll be fine, they don't get infected from my experience. Lucky is so pretty!!

During the early days of taming, it's best to not give them food they can grab and run away, so they go into hiding. You want to keep them interacting with you. And they also can't tell a fingertip from a treat and will 'viper' at the treat and get you by mistake. Wet food from a spoon is best. Teach your babies to lick cereal or baby food from a metal spoon. They quickly learn that biting doesn't feel good on the metal. I train all my babies that way, and they become so gentle that they lick the food from my fingers like proper ladies and gentlemen lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
My 8 year old son on hearing that we have to give one of the rats away:

"But we should give them more time. Maybe they won't even like each other and not have babies."

Me: "Oh, they're having babies."

Lucky is a cutie and Snowy seems to be a rare albino. I need to make moves soon, though. I think I may cause marital problems if these rats have babies, haha.

Going to use yogurt today and spoon, also ordered a carrying pouch for bonding.
 

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My 8 year old son on hearing that we have to give one of the rats away:

"But we should give them more time. Maybe they won't even like each other and not have babies."

Me: "Oh, they're having babies."

Lucky is a cutie and Snowy seems to be a rare albino. I need to make moves soon, though. I think I may cause marital problems if these rats have babies, haha.

Going to use yogurt today and spoon, also ordered a carrying pouch for bonding.
That is just too funny! Kids are the best 馃グ

You can also make cream of wheat and flavor it with a bit of butter and brown sugar. I've tamed the most fearful babies with it, and now they are hooked lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Some failures/tribulations/progress? in rat taming:

So I think I got a little spooked by the rat bite, unfortunately. I've been feeding them yogurt/baby food with a spoon and they are taking well to that but still mostly hide /only peak out their heads to eat. If out, Lucky actively scurries away to a hiding place/den when I approach.

Carrying pouch arrived and we coaxed Snowy into it and I put it on my son. Was going okay for a few minutes but then Snowy squeezed his way out and my boys' room is a mess and I just imagine the rats scurrying away and hiding and it being a whole scary (for them) ordeal to catch them. So I kind of panicked and had Snowy by the tail and also realized that I was afraid he'd bite me if I tried to hold him properly. Returned to the cage.

Read some more online. I think today I am going to try and let them out in a more suitable room to bond with me and my son. Plan to have toys and stuff out but also I'm imagining they may try to make a run for it.

Is the best way to leave the cage open and coax them out? I kind of don't see them coming out on their own. Alternatively I could wait until they are in the tissue box they like to frequent (probably making babies, gar!), remove the box, take them to the room, and coax them out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Also, is this thought crazy:

  • Let Lucky and Snowy potentially breed
  • Be able to handle the pups from a very early age, acclimating them to humans and creating the benefit that comes from non-pet store bred rats
  • Choose a same sex pair from the litter to keep once they are weaned
  • Find homes for everyone else (except maybe mom or dad depending on the sex I keep).

My wife would probably kill me but also I feel like I'm procrastinating on trying to find a home for Lucky now and eventually inaction will lead to action (babies).
 

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Also, is this thought crazy:

  • Let Lucky and Snowy potentially breed
  • Be able to handle the pups from a very early age, acclimating them to humans and creating the benefit that comes from non-pet store bred rats
  • Choose a same sex pair from the litter to keep once they are weaned
  • Find homes for everyone else (except maybe mom or dad depending on the sex I keep).

My wife would probably kill me but also I feel like I'm procrastinating on trying to find a home for Lucky now and eventually inaction will lead to action (babies).
My advice about this is to not let them breed. My reasons for saying this is as follows...
1) Many of us on the forum have had accidental litters (me included) and we have stepped up to the responsibility and made sure they are well cared for. However, it is very expensive and time consuming, and if you end up with a large litter (one of our girls had 15 babies) it can be difficult to find homes for them all.
2) The female is too young to be purposely bred from, even though very young females will become pregnant naturally at that age.
3) Finally,my view is that there are lots of rats out there (in rescues, humane societies, etc.) who desperately need loving homes. So to me it doesn't seem right to breed more rats on purpose, when there are plenty out there needing homes. (Ratteries who breed on purpose usually have experience and good breeding lines, and are set up for the job.)

My advice would be to do a fantastic job with the ones you already have (which it sounds like you are), separate the male and female IMMEDIATELY to prevent pregnancy (although the female could already be pregnant) and decide how you will find the boy another friend.
One suggestion is keeping the boy separate until he is old enough to be neutered, then re-introducing him to the female. In my experience a rat neuter (although expensive) is way cheaper than the extra cages, bedding, food required for breeding. The minimum age to neuter is about 4 months though, so it would be a bit of a wait. But then your son wouldn't have to say goodbye to him.
I wish you all the best - keep asking questions. Most of us are more than happy to answer them.
 

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Some failures/tribulations/progress? in rat taming:

So I think I got a little spooked by the rat bite, unfortunately. I've been feeding them yogurt/baby food with a spoon and they are taking well to that but still mostly hide /only peak out their heads to eat. If out, Lucky actively scurries away to a hiding place/den when I approach.

Carrying pouch arrived and we coaxed Snowy into it and I put it on my son. Was going okay for a few minutes but then Snowy squeezed his way out and my boys' room is a mess and I just imagine the rats scurrying away and hiding and it being a whole scary (for them) ordeal to catch them. So I kind of panicked and had Snowy by the tail and also realized that I was afraid he'd bite me if I tried to hold him properly. Returned to the cage.

Read some more online. I think today I am going to try and let them out in a more suitable room to bond with me and my son. Plan to have toys and stuff out but also I'm imagining they may try to make a run for it.

Is the best way to leave the cage open and coax them out? I kind of don't see them coming out on their own. Alternatively I could wait until they are in the tissue box they like to frequent (probably making babies, gar!), remove the box, take them to the room, and coax them out there.
Use the box! It's a great way to transport them. I always train my babies to get into a box or carrier and take them to a safe place to roam. You can use the bathtub and close the door in case of escapes. Put a towel down and put an old robe on and sit in the tub with them. It will take a few days before they venture out of the box on their own, with you tempting them with a sugary wet cereal on a spoon. Talk to them and whisper their names and soon you will be able to handle them without them being afraid.

Also, when they learn to trust a box or carrier, it makes it easier if they get loose. They will come to the carrier because it's their safe place.
 

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And what @ratbusters said, for all those reasons, don't be tempted to breed them. There is the stress and work and extra cost, and it isn't as easy to find homes for them, and then you'll have many rats in many cages. I currently have 6 girls and 1 mom, 6 months old, and no adopters in sight. As much as I love them, I am being consumed by the responsibility and it's taking its toll on me. That being said, it may be too late to opt out of this situation. Welcome to the Insanity!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Somehow these rats make me feel incompetent, haha, but when you said it will take a few days for them to come out on their own, in the beginning (with the tub example) should I be removing them (nice way to say 'forcing) out of the box or is that just going to be counter productive? First days may just be us (me and my son) sitting in the tub with rats who stay in the box? Which is fine, just clarifying.
 

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Somehow these rats make me feel incompetent, haha, but when you said it will take a few days for them to come out on their own, in the beginning (with the tub example) should I be removing them (nice way to say 'forcing) out of the box or is that just going to be counter productive? First days may just be us (me and my son) sitting in the tub with rats who stay in the box? Which is fine, just clarifying.
nope, you just sit and have a beer or an iced tea, let them come out or don't come out. Once they realize your big human hands are not going to reach in and grab them, they will come out on their own. Huge trust building there. The more we drag them out and force them, the more suspicious they are of our motives. Trust me, I've tamed over 50 babies this way. I belong to a rescue and I foster all ages and all sexes and all health issues. Ratties appreciate when they get to decide when to trust us on their own 馃グ
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Socialization went well! Lucky and Snowy were in the tissue box and we put them in empty room (our toddler鈥檚 room) with some treats. Lucky came out multiple times and explored fully. Snowy stayed inside.

We also found a rescue near us who I鈥檝e been corresponding with. Sent them a pic of Lucky and they think she鈥檚 too young to be pregnant yet. Hopefully we can take both rats there this weekend/soon and the plan is to decide in the moment which to trade in (I鈥檓 sensing my son is bonding more with Lucky) and then feel out which of their rats to come home with us.

Hopefully soon we鈥檒l just be normal rat parents with non pregnant kids 馃槀
 

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Yay!! Sounds like you have a plan. Enjoy the ride, these little beasts are amazing 馃槉
Socialization went well! Lucky and Snowy were in the tissue box and we put them in empty room (our toddler鈥檚 room) with some treats. Lucky came out multiple times and explored fully. Snowy stayed inside.

We also found a rescue near us who I鈥檝e been corresponding with. Sent them a pic of Lucky and they think she鈥檚 too young to be pregnant yet. Hopefully we can take both rats there this weekend/soon and the plan is to decide in the moment which to trade in (I鈥檓 sensing my son is bonding more with Lucky) and then feel out which of their rats to come home with us.

Hopefully soon we鈥檒l just be normal rat parents with non pregnant kids 馃槀
Great news!! Rescues are always very helpful and a real treasure if there is one close to you. Good luck with your ratties, let us know how it goes!
 
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