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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've made some improvement bonding with my new two, Nibbler and Stitch. I've had them over two months now, and Stitch is more willing to lay inside my shirt or on my shoulder. Neither shows any sign of fear of humans or agression of any kind, and I know they're both full of young girl energy. But it still seems like I may as well not exist to them. Both would rather run off and investigate, and all Nibbler wants to do is check out what's behind pillows. Neither will accept a treat. They'll have a home with me as long as they live and I would never treat either of them differently from Nippy's litter, but it feels like we'll never be real friends. I've tried the bonding pouch, but they like running around too much.
 

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I'm new to all this rat stuff so I'm not certainly not an expert. But I've gotta say hang in there. With other small pets I've had it felt like it took FOREVER to get them to that point. I had the same situation with the guinea pigs I used to own. Had them from babies and although they weren't afraid of me or anything like that it just seemed like it took forever to bond with them on any meaningful level. Eventually it happened though...I was persistent and enjoyed the interaction I did have with them and eventually they calmed down with age and were finally able to appreciate the attention I lavished on them.

As for the rats. I just adopted two rescue rats from the humane society. I'm a first time rat mom which brings it's own anxieties since I never feel liek I know what I'm doing. Plus, the rats are trying to get used to another new home which I would imagine messes with their "typical" behavior. At first it was the same for me. All the girls want to do is run around and explore. When I hand them vegetables they usually take them, secret them away and eat it later but don't eat it from my hand. I read somewhere that means they don't completely trust me yet on what's okay to eat. Neither of them are afraid of me, it's just that there are way more interesting things than their new human at the moment. I was worried it would always be like this...which isn't that bad, but not exactly what I was hoping for. However, just today I had my first moment of contentment with Roxy. She decided that she'd like to cuddle and promptly burrowed into my sweatshirt and snuggled while I typed a few posts here on the forum. That is the longest she's ever sat still since I've had her.

Be patient, hang in there. They love you in their own way I think. *smiles*
 

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My babies love to run around. I've had to learn to get involved with their play. If they want to hide behind the pillows, lie in wait on one exit side (So long as they know you're there) and poke them playfully when they poke their head out. Dela loves this game and she'll run back and forth, popping out at random and then bruxing and running off. Active girls like active games. Neera and Dela both love to climb up and down my shoulders.

The best way that I know of to truly bond with them is to take them to a small room with very few distractions. I use my bathroom for this. This gives us a lot of one-on-one time without any toys, so you become their personal jungle gym. I personally have tons of fun playing with them in this way and I find it extremely useful when introducing them to new people this way. Neera hates treats and won't usually take anything from me, so don't feel like it's a bad thing that they don't want a treat from your hand. I hope you find the way that works for you and your babies! :3
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks:) I'm starting to see some improvement with Stitch. Nibbler is still pure energy, but getting better. Thanks for the advice. Sabatea, that sounds like a great idea for Nibbler. Her favorite thing in the world is to hide behind pillows. And sounds like with teh active play at least they'll start to think of me as actually being there.
 

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I just want to add the comment that rats will take food from you and stash it, this isn't due to lack of trust, it's just basic instinct. It's the way my girls eat. They will snatch food from their dish and run to a corner of the cage to eat it. Sometimes they will park next to each other in the same corner and eat, but they will very rarely eat out of the dish.

Fuzzy Rat would eat at the table with us and she would eat right from our plates, but mostly she would grab food run to the back of the table and eat there. After she snatched a whole pork chop and dragged it across my wife's new table cloth I glass topped the table. The wife has a clean table cloth and the rats can drag food around it without making a mess. Oddly the only rat we ever had that ate directly from the plate was out part wild rat. She just parked herself next to the dish and ate, and she was most likely the least trusting of any rat we've ever owned. Not that she didn't trust us, but it wasn't actually in her nature.

As to girl rats, some can cuddle, some don't. Max actually slept with me in bed from two weeks old to about 6 weeks old, then she jumped off the bed one night and moved into a metal storage cabinet... she's practically never snuggled since. She will mug us for food, and ask to be picked up and taken places and will ransack my desk while I'm sitting right there and use me as an elevator, she will stand still for skritches but she looks like a teenager when mom or dad tries to hug him in public when we try to give her a hug. And as to hanging out on us, that's just not her thing. She will come out to play on the floor with my daughter and myself, but doesn't hang around for the lovin afterwards. Both of our girl rats will groom us and actually ask to be handled, they steal treats, they are friendly and loving, but not snugglers... It's just the way some girls are....

Our late rat Amelia was very reclusive, I don't think we ever spent more than a few minutes snuggling at any time in her life, but when she went into congestive heart failure, she spent the last six days of her life attached to us, she panicked if we put her down and drove herself into seizures. And yes, that meant 6 days without sleep. I always assumed that she never bonded properly with us as she was adopted as a neglected 7 month old rat. But in the last days it became absolutely clear that all she wanted was to be held and cared for by the humans she loved... so why didn't she snuggle with us all her life? I haven't a clue. Maybe she was afraid she might overstay her welcome and get rejected? Or maybe she thought we were too busy for her... who knows what rats are thinking sometimes...

Fuzzy Rat was our only snuggley girl, but she would only snuggle after we took her out to the park or the soccer field and she would run around and burn off all of that extra energy... She could run full speed for about 45 minutes then she would collapse in my lap and nap a while... otherwise she was way to busy exploring, shredding papers or building nests to just hang out with us. Util she burned off all of that excess energy she just couldn't stop her feet from moving.

Best luck
 
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