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Hi from a new rat mom

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Big Schpog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
373
Location
British Columbia
How old are your new girls? They look lovely in their little hut. LOL. Some rats are shy and skittish. I'm guessing it's the white faced one that is skittish eh? No need to worry. I will help you. The first thing is to respect her shyness. I have a shy rat too and I never force her boundaries. She has gotten much more comfortable with me and I'll share some of my strategies.

Strategy ONE: Blanket Covering:

Shy rats like to be under something. So when you do free run on the bed, take their little hut with all of them in it, and place it on your bed and throw a nice blanket over it and lie under the blanket with them. They will slowly come out of their hut and start wiggling and exploring. This makes it easier for the shy one to feel safe. She will smell you and you can pet her and if she gets overwhelmed she can go back to her hut. I did this for my shy girl Simone and it helped her immensely.

Strategy TWO: Lickable Treats:

Everyone uses treats to reinforce behaviour. To get her to come to your hand, find a great lickable treat. I use homemade custard with low sugar content. I haven't known a rat that will refuse it. The reason you use lickable treats is so the rat can't snatch it and run away. You want her to get really comfortable with your hands. Smear the treat on the back of your hand first, to prevent an accidental nip. Put it near them and let them lick it. Once they know it's a lickable treat you can put it on the tips of your fingers. With your other hand, stroke them while they lick. You can also begin picking them up with your free hand too. Use the scoop method, Go right under their belly and lift them to your body. Let them keep licking the treat on your other hand.

Remember, rats are social animals and so they learn from each other. The shy girl will observe her more outgoing sisters and copy them.

Let me know how this goes. You must spend lots of time with your girls in order to really socialize them. By lots of time I mean many hours a day. Make sure their cage is located in a place where they can see and hear you all day. Rats want to be part of a family and you are their momma now so they need you. Also, one last thing: don't wake them when they sleep. Respect their natural sleep cycles. When they are awake, interact with them.
 

dbrausen

New Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2020
Messages
3
Location
Guelph
I believe they are about 3 months old. Actually Miz Cracker is the white faced one. Jujubee and Shea look very similar so I'm not sure which one she is in that photo. Thanks for the advice! The lickable treat trick seems to be helping with Shea so thanks for that tip! I'm a grad student so I've been working from home with my desk in their line of sight since I got them and I come over and talk to them/pet them whenever I see one is awake.
 

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