Does my rat trust me or not?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by anyanako, Oct 23, 2019.

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  1. Oct 23, 2019 #1

    anyanako

    anyanako

    anyanako

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    So I got my boy a few days ago - when I first got him he was very excited and curious to run around on me and my couch, he hasn’t bitten me or squealed in fear at anything at all. But he’s not adjusted to his cage yet I don’t think, cause he sits in one corner most of the time, he also does not climb onto my hand himself. And yesterday he was completely fine, sleeping in the collar of my shirt, he NEVER moves from my shoulders, he bruxes when he’s sitting there and I pet him. I did take him to a friends though so she could meet him, and he seemed very happy and tame about it. But today he just seems a bit more timid, I tried tempting him out with treats, and hes not showing any signs of distress besides being VERY still if I do hold him, not taking my treats outside of the cage, he still allows me to rub his ears and back, no signs of aggression - just confused on the behavior change? Was it the trip I took him on? Should I give him more than a day to recover from the trip? I was just trying to get him out today for his daily socializing and out-of-cage exercise, but I don’t wanna make him scared of me.
     
  2. Oct 23, 2019 #2

    TheFatRatGirl

    TheFatRatGirl

    TheFatRatGirl

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    So, a few things:

    1) Rats need to be kept in pairs or groups, either of the same sex or neutered opposites. As they're such social creatures, it's likely that your boy is feeling very nervous and isolated. They're so social that being alone will feel very unnatural to him and is probably a big factor behind his nervous demeanor.

    2) Most small animals find travel stressful. The thing with rats especially, is that they're neophobic. That means they're frightened by new surroundings. It would have been stressful to move into a new home with you and so to expose him to another environment so soon has probably made him feel unsettled.

    3) Bruxing is not always an expression of contentedness, it can be a sign of stress as well. As he hasn't quite bonded with you yet, he may feel trapped up on your shoulder as well as exposed. Rats rarely communicate via aggression, the reulctance to eat outside of his cage and staying very still are all signs of stress/fear.

    He'll need a cagemate asap. Other than that, there are a few things that can make out of cage time less stressful and result in better bonding:

    - During freerange time on the floor make sure there are lots of hiding spaces so he doesn't feel too exposed.

    -When handling him outside of the cage, use either a bonding pouch, dressing gown or hoodie with a large pocket to do so. This way your rat feels secure and you can still maintain physical contact with them.

    -Malt paste is a rat-favourite treat. I've never seen a rat turn it down in or out of their cage, even the most nervous of rats can't resist it!

    -Freerange in one specific part of the house so that your rats becomes familiar with it over time. Most of the rats i've had in the past have acted nervous the first few times I took them out of their cage to play. That quickly changes when they realise there's nothing to be afraid of though. The two girls I have now happily chase eachother around the bedroom, play together under my duvet, scale my furniture and check in with me to groom me and get treats.

    -Patience and consistency is key.

    Good luck :)
     
    ViciousCurse likes this.
  3. Oct 23, 2019 #3

    anyanako

    anyanako

    anyanako

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    Thank you! I was considering getting one of his mates from the place I got him from. I felt as thought I only needed one boy because I have a lot of free time and am willing to spend all of it with him. And the girl helping me has rodents and she didn’t stress to me that I SHOULD get two, but I guess she probably should have lol. But you have just convinced me that he does need a roomie. I’ll get him one tomorrow And also thank you so much for all the extra info!!!! I’ll take note of everything and possibly be back with an update
     
  4. Oct 23, 2019 #4

    jorats

    jorats

    jorats

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    I would definitely get him a buddy.
     

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