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First time rat owner advice/reassurance

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rmn34

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Mar 7, 2020
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89
Location
USA
ikr! Little shits indeed! I just today found evidence of my little one's incursion into the area under my bed that must have happened over a year ago. I went to plug in a strip of LED lights I had stored there, and found the connector on the end chewed completely off. This was odd because he usually liked to chew remote control buttons and other things with human scent on them- the earpiece off of my bluetooth while it was charging- as well as the rubber button cap off my flashlight while it was clipped in my pants pocket. I had to call the company and request an additional 10 button caps- I told them they had just "mysteriously ripped during my normal everyday use".
 

Big Schpog

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Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
438
Location
British Columbia
ikr! Little shits indeed! I just today found evidence of my little one's incursion into the area under my bed that must have happened over a year ago. I went to plug in a strip of LED lights I had stored there, and found the connector on the end chewed completely off. This was odd because he usually liked to chew remote control buttons and other things with human scent on them- the earpiece off of my bluetooth while it was charging- as well as the rubber button cap off my flashlight while it was clipped in my pants pocket. I had to call the company and request an additional 10 button caps- I told them they had just "mysteriously ripped during my normal everyday use".
I should start a thread asking what everyone's lost through little shits chewing urges:
1) 2 keyboards (USB cords destroyed)
2) 1 USB mouse
3) USB C cord charger for smartphone

I finally bought wireless. However, I did replace the USB C cord for my phone and I hide it in a secure place when not charging. When I am charging my phone near my bed, I cover the entire wire with a blanket. LOL
 

madinaholic

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
19
Location
Sheffield, UK
When you're all under the blanket you can't put your hand near the entrance to the box so they come out and sniff it and explore? They need more handling. Youngsters should have no issue with handling and petting unless they were in another place where hands meant danger. 12 weeks is still pretty young. I don't know why your youngsters are so afraid of hands. All I know is, the more time you put in with them, the better. The more fun exploring they have with you the better. The bed and blanket is usually the very first thing people do with their youngsters.
I didn’t try the blanket on my bed, my bedroom isn’t very rat proof and I’d be nervous about them running away. I brought a blanket onto the living room floor and tried it there. They sniffed my hand and my legs briefly, but then quickly headed out to explore the rest of the room. If the bed is better then I’ll look at ways to rat proof my bedroom and try it there.
 

Big Schpog

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Jul 8, 2020
Messages
438
Location
British Columbia
I didn’t try the blanket on my bed, my bedroom isn’t very rat proof and I’d be nervous about them running away. I brought a blanket onto the living room floor and tried it there. They sniffed my hand and my legs briefly, but then quickly headed out to explore the rest of the room. If the bed is better then I’ll look at ways to rat proof my bedroom and try it there.
The reason the bed is better is because it's high off the ground. Yes, you gotta rat proof your room.
 

DoodleSmythe

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
14
Location
Chester, UK
I should start a thread asking what everyone's lost through little shits chewing urges:
1) 2 keyboards (USB cords destroyed)
2) 1 USB mouse
3) USB C cord charger for smartphone

I finally bought wireless. However, I did replace the USB C cord for my phone and I hide it in a secure place when not charging. When I am charging my phone near my bed, I cover the entire wire with a blanket. LOL
Headphones, 2 phone chargers, 3 laptop wires, hoodies, slippers, socks, curtains (in a rented house!), all the paint off the skirting boards behind the sofa, cushions, blankets, books, notepads, the buttons on the remote... they chewed into the sofa too! I really need to remember to move things out of reach. Little terrorists 😂

Rat-proofing tip for your bedroom, OP: we got a garden hose, cut to size, then cut it down the middle and used it like a protective shell for wires that couldn’t be moved. You just duct tape over the ends and up the middle to cover where you cut it. 4 rats and counting who haven’t broken through.. 🐀 🐀 🐀 🐀
 

Big Schpog

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Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
438
Location
British Columbia
Headphones, 2 phone chargers, 3 laptop wires, hoodies, slippers, socks, curtains (in a rented house!), all the paint off the skirting boards behind the sofa, cushions, blankets, books, notepads, the buttons on the remote... they chewed into the sofa too! I really need to remember to move things out of reach. Little terrorists 😂

Rat-proofing tip for your bedroom, OP: we got a garden hose, cut to size, then cut it down the middle and used it like a protective shell for wires that couldn’t be moved. You just duct tape over the ends and up the middle to cover where you cut it. 4 rats and counting who haven’t broken through.. 🐀 🐀 🐀 🐀
The garden hose is a great idea!
I forgot to list all the clothing I've lost so in lieu I will put a picture: This is my fave long john shirt that was given as a gift. It was immediately eaten, a huge hole in the front stomach area
 

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Coffee Babies

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Apr 22, 2020
Messages
44
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PA, United States
I didn’t try the blanket on my bed, my bedroom isn’t very rat proof and I’d be nervous about them running away. I brought a blanket onto the living room floor and tried it there. They sniffed my hand and my legs briefly, but then quickly headed out to explore the rest of the room. If the bed is better then I’ll look at ways to rat proof my bedroom and try it there.
Try having your bonding sessions in a bathroom instead. Take away any other possible hiding places and wear a hoodie or blanket as suggested to be the only place for them to hide, which will make you a safe place in their eyes. My rats can jump off my bed which is why a bathroom might be safer. It is also much more effective to bond in a smaller area rather then your whole bedroom or living room since this will increase the chances of your rats coming to you.
 
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madinaholic

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
19
Location
Sheffield, UK
Hey all, just dropping in with an update! Your tips have all been really helpful.

Progress is slow but we’re definitely making progress, they’re starting to climb over me more and we even had this happen the other day:
D33EE527-0AC4-46CA-B06A-F6B29F97B70C.jpeg


The hoodie was a great tip, thanks Coffee Babies! Since then they’ve been asking to climb inside my sleeves if I put my hands in the cage to feed them or speak to them.

I’ve bought a bigger play pen because for the time being I’m too nervous to let them free roam, and that’s been a big help in getting them out the cage. They also don’t show any interest in me if they’re in too large a room, like you said Coffee Babies, so this way they have to interact with me. The bed isn’t really an option for the time being either as it’s not high enough and Branston is an adventurous soul and would simply jump down. We use a box to transport to and from the playpen so handling is minimal - they still don’t like handling at all, but I can touch them now without them darting away which is much better than where we were and means I can at least pick them up if need be (success rate of picking them up isn’t 100% yet, so the play pen is still necessary in case they wiggle free).

Also thanks DoodleSmythe for the rat-proofing tip, for the time being I’m more concerned with preventing them from escaping/hiding anywhere I can’t reach, but once I let them free roam I’ll be buying garden hose for my whole apartment! (not that I’ll be letting them free roam my entire apartment as there’s rooms I can’t fully ratproof since I’m renting, but just in case... they’re sneaky little buggers) I’ve also made a mental note to make sure any meaningful or expensive items are locked away before letting the ratties free roam any room...
 

Coffee Babies

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I'm so glad they're doing so well!
they still don’t like handling at all, but I can touch them now without them darting away which is much better than where we were and means I can at least pick them up if need be
If you haven't yet, you can have a session of handle then reward. Touch or stroke wherever your rats are comfortable with being touched and reward each time, slowly raise the level of handling.
 

Big Schpog

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Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
438
Location
British Columbia
Hey all, just dropping in with an update! Your tips have all been really helpful.

Progress is slow but we’re definitely making progress, they’re starting to climb over me more and we even had this happen the other day:
View attachment 14737

The hoodie was a great tip, thanks Coffee Babies! Since then they’ve been asking to climb inside my sleeves if I put my hands in the cage to feed them or speak to them.

I’ve bought a bigger play pen because for the time being I’m too nervous to let them free roam, and that’s been a big help in getting them out the cage. They also don’t show any interest in me if they’re in too large a room, like you said Coffee Babies, so this way they have to interact with me. The bed isn’t really an option for the time being either as it’s not high enough and Branston is an adventurous soul and would simply jump down. We use a box to transport to and from the playpen so handling is minimal - they still don’t like handling at all, but I can touch them now without them darting away which is much better than where we were and means I can at least pick them up if need be (success rate of picking them up isn’t 100% yet, so the play pen is still necessary in case they wiggle free).

Also thanks DoodleSmythe for the rat-proofing tip, for the time being I’m more concerned with preventing them from escaping/hiding anywhere I can’t reach, but once I let them free roam I’ll be buying garden hose for my whole apartment! (not that I’ll be letting them free roam my entire apartment as there’s rooms I can’t fully ratproof since I’m renting, but just in case... they’re sneaky little buggers) I’ve also made a mental note to make sure any meaningful or expensive items are locked away before letting the ratties free roam any room...
OMg look at that happy lil face!
 

DoodleSmythe

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
14
Location
Chester, UK
Hey all, just dropping in with an update! Your tips have all been really helpful.

Progress is slow but we’re definitely making progress, they’re starting to climb over me more and we even had this happen the other day:
View attachment 14737

The hoodie was a great tip, thanks Coffee Babies! Since then they’ve been asking to climb inside my sleeves if I put my hands in the cage to feed them or speak to them.

I’ve bought a bigger play pen because for the time being I’m too nervous to let them free roam, and that’s been a big help in getting them out the cage. They also don’t show any interest in me if they’re in too large a room, like you said Coffee Babies, so this way they have to interact with me. The bed isn’t really an option for the time being either as it’s not high enough and Branston is an adventurous soul and would simply jump down. We use a box to transport to and from the playpen so handling is minimal - they still don’t like handling at all, but I can touch them now without them darting away which is much better than where we were and means I can at least pick them up if need be (success rate of picking them up isn’t 100% yet, so the play pen is still necessary in case they wiggle free).

Also thanks DoodleSmythe for the rat-proofing tip, for the time being I’m more concerned with preventing them from escaping/hiding anywhere I can’t reach, but once I let them free roam I’ll be buying garden hose for my whole apartment! (not that I’ll be letting them free roam my entire apartment as there’s rooms I can’t fully ratproof since I’m renting, but just in case... they’re sneaky little buggers) I’ve also made a mental note to make sure any meaningful or expensive items are locked away before letting the ratties free roam any room...
LOVE this!! So cute and awesome progress. Well done!
 

madinaholic

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
19
Location
Sheffield, UK
I'm so glad they're doing so well!

If you haven't yet, you can have a session of handle then reward. Touch or stroke wherever your rats are comfortable with being touched and reward each time, slowly raise the level of handling.
This worked really well, thanks! I’d tried this briefly before but they’ve never shown much interest in food when outside the cage, too busy exploring. But tonight Pickle, my shy girl, happily let me stroke her and even briefly pick her up without running away after I gave her a few treats :-D

Branston still isn’t liking being handled but I think she might just be more interested in exploring, haha
 

madinaholic

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
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Location
Sheffield, UK
Guys!!!
32CA5C64-49E0-4769-A9E4-86AB1C06DFE8.jpeg

449A3E98-3C06-43C9-A93B-1E0D9F37BA39.jpeg

Major progress being made!

Weirdly my shy/skittish baby is now more okay with being handled than my adventurous one. The shy one is quite happy to be picked up now whereas the adventurous one still squeals every time (she’s a bit of a drama queen, she also squeals whenever she falls off the cage bars too 😅)
 

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sconeswatch

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Nov 25, 2017
Messages
41
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NULL
Thanks so much for your reply, that’s really reassuring! I don’t mind them sleeping a lot if that’s what they’re supposed to do, I was just nervous they might be ill and I wouldn’t notice a behaviour change. It’s hard to get a picture of them properly because they’re so fast/skittish so the quality isn’t great but this is the larger girl View attachment 14670View attachment 14671
and this is the smaller
View attachment 14672

They’re starting to tolerate being lifted in my cupped hands so I think I could easily take them out to put them in a play pen or to free roam the sofa, I’m just worried about being able to pick them up to put them back in the cage - if I try to pick them up and they run away, they could squeeze into any small space and I’d have a hard time getting them back out! I’ll try coaxing them into a little box to transport them in and out of the cage - although I’m very wary to get the more skittish girl out because when she’s nervous she just hides and totally freezes and I’m not sure how well that would fare outside the cage - if she managed to escape I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t come back!

Thanks for the tips about the dig boxes too. I have tried scatter feeding the past few days and they seem to enjoy rummaging for their food so I’ll definitely give that a try!
They're adorable 🤩🥰 How young are they? This thread inspires me to have lil babies like yours. But instead of rats, I am more into hamsters. Is their behavior similar to rats?
 

madinaholic

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Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
19
Location
Sheffield, UK
They're adorable 🤩🥰 How young are they? This thread inspires me to have lil babies like yours. But instead of rats, I am more into hamsters. Is their behavior similar to rats?
Thank you! They’re 4 months old now :)

I’m not sure about hamster behaviour, but from what I read they’re not as social as rats. There’s plenty of information online about small animals though so it shouldn’t be too hard to find out what you need
 

Big Schpog

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Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
438
Location
British Columbia
Guys!!!
View attachment 14745
View attachment 14746
Major progress being made!

Weirdly my shy/skittish baby is now more okay with being handled than my adventurous one. The shy one is quite happy to be picked up now whereas the adventurous one still squeals every time (she’s a bit of a drama queen, she also squeals whenever she falls off the cage bars too 😅)
Look at you and your babies! I knew it would work out. Shoulder rides for rats are a great way to bond. It just takes time and patience and lots of good interactions. SO Proud of you! Enjoy every moment with them because as we all sadly know, rat lives are just waaay to short.
 

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