Quantcast

Barbering is getting out of control

Help Support Rat Shack Forum:

Jess5

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
27
Location
Reno Nevada
Hello again,
I made a post about one of my rats bald spots a few days ago, I don’t mean to be repetitive but I’m pretty concerned. Tonight when I went to feed the rats I saw that my other rat (Twister) now has a giant pink bald spot on her back. I’m assuming that Jenga started barbering Twister as they were resting and I’m pretty positive it’s not mites or anything.
I just don’t know what to do. When I got these rats they were so stunning but I feel like they’re just falling apart in front of me. I am doubling their single critter nation this December but they already have a cage packed full of toys. I’m not able to take them out of the cage because they’re still terrified of me despite my consistent taming efforts and I can’t even get them out of their cage and into their play pen so that might be causing some boredom. They aren’t acting lethargic or anything and the bald spots look pink like their normal skin. I’ll attach some pictures of Twisters new spot and some pictures of Jenga are in my last thread. The brown spots on their fur are because of their soil digging box that they get all over themselves, so those spots most likely aren’t mites. (The pictures show her left top thigh/back).
Sorry again for another post, this forum is a lot of help. Thanks.
C3F37C4E-8B66-4F50-B057-FE6125663223.jpeg
0F4B6B69-BD8A-44E5-89DB-E917C3A0E560.jpeg
86EBCADF-1890-4651-BD66-C398487159D0.jpeg
D043A41C-4075-43A9-858F-797EABC01E33.jpeg
 

Big Schpog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
379
Location
British Columbia
They have to come out and explore. If they have an intermediate hut they rest in in the cage, then take them out IN it and play with them on the bed, under the covers. Place the whole hut under the covers with you under as well. They have to start associating your scent with safety and comfort. Have some lickable treats on hand. They can't just stay in the cage.
 

Jess5

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
27
Location
Reno Nevada
They have to come out and explore. If they have an intermediate hut they rest in in the cage, then take them out IN it and play with them on the bed, under the covers. Place the whole hut under the covers with you under as well. They have to start associating your scent with safety and comfort. Have some lickable treats on hand. They can't just stay in the cage.
Thank you so much for the response! Unfortunately the hide they choose to sleep in is zip tied to the cage and when I do try to get them out when they’re in a Sputnik they bolt :(
I have dedicated my whole afternoon to trying to make something work for their play area. At first I tried building one around their cage but one of them ended up escaping into the shelving for my other pets and I had to attempt to catch her for about an hour.
the good news is, I’m pretty sure I made something that will work! I played around with their playpen pieces to block off the shelving they always get lost in and I think it will work. That way they can free roam the rest of my room safely for at least an hour a day.
I think it’s all so tough right now because they’re still getting used to me but I hope it will get easier soon.
Thank again!
 

Big Schpog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
379
Location
British Columbia
I'm glad you found something to transfer them. The reason the blanket and being under with them is so important is twofold: 1) security and 2) scent. They will feel more secure UNDER the blanket and with you under it with them, they get security and scent. This is how rats navigate the world, scent. Rats need to understand they can trust you and scent and closeness is a big part of that.
 

Jess5

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
27
Location
Reno Nevada
I'm glad you found something to transfer them. The reason the blanket and being under with them is so important is twofold: 1) security and 2) scent. They will feel more secure UNDER the blanket and with you under it with them, they get security and scent. This is how rats navigate the world, scent. Rats need to understand they can trust you and scent and closeness is a big part of that.
Thank you! Id absolutely love to do that and I wish I could but my rats will not let me take them out of the cage whatsoever, let alone across the room to my bed. I’ve tried getting picking up their hides that they’re sleeping in, getting them into cardboard boxes, luring them out of the cage, and just flat out picking them up but they won’t have it (my attempt at picking one up today ended in my arm covered in deep painful scratches). Every attempt ends with them bolting and hiding for the next 20 minutes. They won’t even leave their cage to free roam despite me trying to lure them out with treats and I’m extremely discouraged.
It seems like no one else’s rats are like mine and at this point and I don’t know what to do. I feel like a terrible owner because they’re not getting out of cage time but I’m genuinely at a loss. The only thing that seems to have made some progress is getting them to climb onto my arm for food but even that took 2 months to achieve and it’s not good enough. I have consistently spent at least 40 minutes a night on taming guys for almost 3 months now with what seems like no pay off. I
If anyone could give me some tips on what to do in my specific situation I’d be so grateful. I’m really trying my best and I wish it was better :(
 

Big Schpog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
379
Location
British Columbia
Once they're in a box with one entrance, just block the hole with something and take the box to the bed and under a blanket. Take out all the things they hide in that they can get out of and place just ONE hide box in there with ONE small entrance that you can block. If this is the only way, it's the only way. They have to come out and socialize with you. Lickable treats, under the blanket with you. The reason lickable treats is so they can't snatch and hide with it.

Everything has to calm down and they have to come out and socialize and not be bored in the cage.
 

Jess5

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
27
Location
Reno Nevada
Once they're in a box with one entrance, just block the hole with something and take the box to the bed and under a blanket. Take out all the things they hide in that they can get out of and place just ONE hide box in there with ONE small entrance that you can block. If this is the only way, it's the only way. They have to come out and socialize with you. Lickable treats, under the blanket with you. The reason lickable treats is so they can't snatch and hide with it.

Everything has to calm down and they have to come out and socialize and not be bored in the cage.
Thank you so much! I’ll definitely try this tomorrow night. I think I’ll cut down the hides that are tied to the cage so I can remove them as needed and have more control over the rats. Is it fine to do this one rat at a time or will it work better as a group?
I need to buy more baby food but they got some tonight during the normal taming attempts that I do. One of them is getting comfortable with being pet and the other two have been lifted up a couple times on my hand.
I think I’ll be a lot more comfortable taking them out since the shelves are covered up too, if they run off the bed it will be a lot less stressful to catch them!
 

Big Schpog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
379
Location
British Columbia
That's why the blanket over top their box is so important on the bed. It provides a bit of comfort and safety. They will come around in time. The more time you spend with them socializing them, the better they'll be. Time in equals more trusting, socialized rats. Yes, only give them that one box to hide in that you can control the entrance/exit. You can make it very comfortable for them, lots of balls of toilet paper, some fleece. You can make that one box very comfy and that will be the transfer box to the bed. This is only temporary, until they get more trusting. While they're under the blanket you can pet them and scoop them under their bellies to get used to handling. Always have lickable treats too. In fact, you can put some on your hand to coax them out of the box, once they're under the blanket.

Take lots of patience and time with them. Talk gently to them. Let them know you're here to play and love them.
 

Jess5

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
27
Location
Reno Nevada
That's why the blanket over top their box is so important on the bed. It provides a bit of comfort and safety. They will come around in time. The more time you spend with them socializing them, the better they'll be. Time in equals more trusting, socialized rats. Yes, only give them that one box to hide in that you can control the entrance/exit. You can make it very comfortable for them, lots of balls of toilet paper, some fleece. You can make that one box very comfy and that will be the transfer box to the bed. This is only temporary, until they get more trusting. While they're under the blanket you can pet them and scoop them under their bellies to get used to handling. Always have lickable treats too. In fact, you can put some on your hand to coax them out of the box, once they're under the blanket.

Take lots of patience and time with them. Talk gently to them. Let them know you're here to play and love them.
Okay great! I just moved around their cage and took out almost all of the open ended hides (I’ll take out the one they’re in right now tonight). I put fleece from an old sweatshirt of mine that smells like me in both of the new ones and I’ll add some toilet paper now.
Hopefully I can get them into my bed tonight and I’ll update the thread later on if I remember! I can’t thank you enough! :)
 

DoodleSmythe

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
13
Location
Chester, UK
Thank you! Id absolutely love to do that and I wish I could but my rats will not let me take them out of the cage whatsoever, let alone across the room to my bed. I’ve tried getting picking up their hides that they’re sleeping in, getting them into cardboard boxes, luring them out of the cage, and just flat out picking them up but they won’t have it (my attempt at picking one up today ended in my arm covered in deep painful scratches). Every attempt ends with them bolting and hiding for the next 20 minutes. They won’t even leave their cage to free roam despite me trying to lure them out with treats and I’m extremely discouraged.
It seems like no one else’s rats are like mine and at this point and I don’t know what to do. I feel like a terrible owner because they’re not getting out of cage time but I’m genuinely at a loss. The only thing that seems to have made some progress is getting them to climb onto my arm for food but even that took 2 months to achieve and it’s not good enough. I have consistently spent at least 40 minutes a night on taming guys for almost 3 months now with what seems like no pay off. I
If anyone could give me some tips on what to do in my specific situation I’d be so grateful. I’m really trying my best and I wish it was better :(
I don’t know your situation completely, but I hope this helps:

One of our boys, Ronnie, was the most nervous rat I’d ever encountered (I’ve had a nervous girl before but not like this). It’s no exaggeration that even turning my head while he was on the other side of the room would make him run away and hide. He must have had a bad experience before we got him, or maybe he was born that way but whatever the cause, he was terrified of us.

At first, I tried the advice I read on handling to get him used to us. It worked with his brother but he clearly hated it (and has the sharpest claws of any rat I’ve ever met) so I decided that’s just who he is and I would try to do things his way. This basically meant sitting perfectly still next to their cage to get him more comfortable with my presence and then sitting on the floor when they came out. I didn’t try to touch him (or look directly at him 😂) Gradually, he started to come over and sniff me and even take snacks from my hand. Then he would climb onto my lap very briefly or even sit next to me on the sofa.

We had a brief setback when his hormones made him suddenly aggressive to us and his brother, but neutering sorted that out.

Soon, with lots of patience and snack encouragement, he would let us stroke him gently on the head and sometimes his back. As long as I didn’t make sudden movements, he liked it. After about 6-8 months, I could pick him up and hold him for a little while, gently stroking his back until he would start to wiggle and then I’d let him go and play. I didn’t want to push my luck, but you might be able to persevere and get even further. Although it’s hard, the feeling when they let you near them or touch them without protest is so worth the time and effort.

Now he’s older (and especially since he has been sick the last few months) he has softened even more and actually asks for cuddles. He likes being stroked and sits on my knee quite happily. It’s so lovely and I really feel like I’ve earned it.

One thing that helped to reduce “essential” handling - I gave them a treat everytime they went back in, which quickly trained him to go in by himself when I shook the treat tub. He definitely preferred that to being picked up at the end of free roam.

It sounds like you really care about your rats and you’re already trying hard to make things better. You just need to be patient and not push them beyond their limits.

Listen to the people on here, they really know their stuff and have helped me a lot. I really hope this info helps you too.
 

Jess5

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
27
Location
Reno Nevada
I don’t know your situation completely, but I hope this helps:

One of our boys, Ronnie, was the most nervous rat I’d ever encountered (I’ve had a nervous girl before but not like this). It’s no exaggeration that even turning my head while he was on the other side of the room would make him run away and hide. He must have had a bad experience before we got him, or maybe he was born that way but whatever the cause, he was terrified of us.

At first, I tried the advice I read on handling to get him used to us. It worked with his brother but he clearly hated it (and has the sharpest claws of any rat I’ve ever met) so I decided that’s just who he is and I would try to do things his way. This basically meant sitting perfectly still next to their cage to get him more comfortable with my presence and then sitting on the floor when they came out. I didn’t try to touch him (or look directly at him 😂) Gradually, he started to come over and sniff me and even take snacks from my hand. Then he would climb onto my lap very briefly or even sit next to me on the sofa.

We had a brief setback when his hormones made him suddenly aggressive to us and his brother, but neutering sorted that out.

Soon, with lots of patience and snack encouragement, he would let us stroke him gently on the head and sometimes his back. As long as I didn’t make sudden movements, he liked it. After about 6-8 months, I could pick him up and hold him for a little while, gently stroking his back until he would start to wiggle and then I’d let him go and play. I didn’t want to push my luck, but you might be able to persevere and get even further. Although it’s hard, the feeling when they let you near them or touch them without protest is so worth the time and effort.

Now he’s older (and especially since he has been sick the last few months) he has softened even more and actually asks for cuddles. He likes being stroked and sits on my knee quite happily. It’s so lovely and I really feel like I’ve earned it.

One thing that helped to reduce “essential” handling - I gave them a treat everytime they went back in, which quickly trained him to go in by himself when I shook the treat tub. He definitely preferred that to being picked up at the end of free roam.

It sounds like you really care about your rats and you’re already trying hard to make things better. You just need to be patient and not push them beyond their limits.

Listen to the people on here, they really know their stuff and have helped me a lot. I really hope this info helps you too.
Thanks for the advice! It definitely gives me hope that you were able to get your skittish guy to trust you. I think Scrabble and Twister will be easier to tame overall but Jenga gets more nervous (she’s a PEW so she has really bad eyesight).
I was definitely starting to get stressed before I posted on here but I’m feeling a lot more calm now, I’ll just have to work at their own paces. I was able to bring Twister and Scrabble onto my bed and under the blankets last night and I’m hoping to get all 3 tonight!
Again, thank you so much!
 

Latest posts

Top