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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright everyone! It's happening. (If the person responds) Yesterday, knowing that I love rats and have two of my own, a coworker approached me and showed me the two females on craigslist. They live in a tiny bird cage with no socialization but each other. Basically after staying up until 4 in the morning considering it, I'm getting them, tomorrow if possible.

Now, the owner says they don't bite, they are just very skittish. I need to know exactly what needs to be done when I go pick them up and bring them home.

1. Should I take their cage with me and just bring them home in that, or should I transfer them to my carrier?

2. Should I bring them to the bathroom and start socializing immediately? Leave them in the carrier and socialize with them in there? Put them in their new cage, or their old one depending on how you answered the first one? Do I leave them alone to adjust at first or do I try to initiate interaction immediately?

3. I know quarantine is at least 2 weeks. I have that covered. My sister is keeping them in her room. But should I take them to my vet asap, or wait? Since the age isn't known, I'm going to take them in regardless to see if they may be fit enough and healthy for spays.

Please, just give me any and all information you think is helpful. I know I'm in over my head with this, but I have a backup plan if it doesn't work. (I volunteer at a shelter and due to my last two rat adoptions I've become close to the wildlife expert and she will take them if I can't handle it.) I just need to get them out of where they are now. Please help.
 

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First of all try and meet the rats at their current home to see if you can handle them... Some neglected or mistreated rats need special help and attention that you may not be able to provide. And I don't always trust what people tell me when they are trying to pawn off their used cars or rats.

Your carrier or their cage doesn't matter too much, but you might as well bring their cage if it's included for free... one less thing to get used to...

And yes get them into an immersion area and introduce yourself ASAP... at least see how it goes. Hopefully you can get to know one another a little bit and try and comfort your new rats in their new home... At least you should get a baseline as to their mental and health situation so you know what to do next.

As to the vet visit, I'd meet the rats first and decide depending on what you see.

Always do keep in mind once you meet the rats you can still back out if they are too screwed up for you to handle... I hope this isn't the situation, but don't get in over your head. You only jump into a rushing river to save someone if you can swim well enough to get back to dry land hauling someone. Likewise you should only adopt rats that you are sure you can handle.

Best luck.
 

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I just re-read my post and I realized I didn't answer all of your questions, but in all reality you have to play this by ear to some extent... Try and schedule a few hours to get to know your rats... try to be charming and playful and enticing and bring treats and maybe a blanket to snuggle under... but if it all goes south fast, you might wind up with oven mitts and welding gloves and need the blanket for self defense. (lets hope not!) But I think you get my point, hope for the best, but be prepared for anything. Once you are hands on, diagnose their condition and make a plan.

Again best luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you. I was obviously planning on meeting them first anyway because the person isn't even sure if they are both females. In which case I would be checking THAT before anything else. Either way they act I will be taking them home with me. Like I said, I have the back up plan if I can't handle them. This woman has rehabilitated rats numerous times, and she will help them if I can't. I just need to get them out of the situation. If they are bad now, staying in the conditions they are will only make it worse.

They are in a small birdcage with nothing but plastic bird toys and mirrors with a wire bottom. So when I get them home how long should they stay in there? That was another concern.
 

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If you have a better cage and they are handle-able and otherwise OK, you can remove them for the bird cage any time.... especially if it's not a good cage for them to be in...

No matter what you are going to do, you are going to upset their world. For the most part try and comfort them and reassure them that it's all for the better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I know, I just want to make it as easy as possible for them. I may just cover the floor of their bird cage with some fleece to give their little feet a break from the wire and just let them stay in that cage for a day or two. Give them some wood chewables instead of plastic toys. Oh, another question, since they aren't very sociable should I leave out the hidey houses for a while? Just give them hammocks and beds instead? That way they are out in the open and don't have a place to corner themselves into if I'm taking them out.

It is official by the way. I'm picking them up in the morning. Excited, but nervous. Not really getting my hopes up because I won't know anything until I meet them tomorrow. Better to expect the worse and get something better, than vice versa.
 

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Oddly good hiding places often make for more confident rats.... but that's a long term answer. It might be easier to get your rats out of the cage if their hiding place isn't too robust... but still they should have some shelter.

I wish you the very best of luck...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sooo...it turned out so much better than expected haha. I will be posting updates and question in the proper places soon. Thank you very much again for your help. =)
 

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Glad to hear it. Also glad you had an escape plan. My wife and I were debating on rescuing an antisocial rat from PetCo. She had an equally bitey cagemate, but she disappeared (we reported to the staff that she was large in some places and wondered if that was a tumor). So she was all by herself and didn't like being touched at all, much less being picked up.

We ultimately decided against rescuing her. We're still new owners and quite inexperienced. If we had an escape plan like you did, we might have given her a shot. Our only recourse would have been to return her to PetCo possibly worse than ever.
 

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There are certain people qualified to take on screwed up rats, both by temperament and experience, for the most part new rat owners should steer clear of major problem rats. There are so many sweet and gentle rats being fed to snakes every day or being neglected and mistreated or that otherwise need good homes that there are plenty of opportunities to help or save a rat without getting yourself into big trouble...

That said, I'm very glad this worked out well.
 
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