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Need help with new rats

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Pepper_rat

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May 9, 2020
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23
Location
New York
A week ago I got two new rescue baby girls named Macaroni and Cheese. Cheese is a dumbo hooded baby and is very young, probably 4 weeks at the most. She was rarely handled and is very confused about how to act around humans. She is curious but freaks out when petted. The first time I put my hand near her she bit it but didn’t draw blood. I am wondering if anyone has experience with this and maybe advice as to how I can help her become more confident and happy. I’ve been giving her baby food from my hands and she seems to like it but runs away after a couple licks. I am hopeful that she’ll become a great rat, I just want to make sure I’m doing what’s best for her. The other rat, Macaroni, is an albino. She is also young, but slightly older than Cheese. She came to us skinny but she has started to gain weight. She is just shut down and spends most of her time sitting in the same hammock. She isn’t curious like cheese and rarely leaves the hammock. She doesn’t take treats from us and only eats when we aren’t there. I’m giving her as much time as possible to just relax and feel safe because it seems like she’s had some trauma. I want to help her so bad so any advice is welcome. I love them both and I just want to make sure they’ll happy 😍
 

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Big Schpog

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Well, let them sleep and only to interact with them when they're awake. When they're awake take them out on your bed and have something they can snuggle under so they don't get overwhelmed. Let them explore you under a blanket. I used a soft carrier to get my new babies out of the cage and then put the carrier on the bed and put a blanket over it and I was under the blanket. They could smell me and come out of the carrier and still be under the blanket with their warm Momma. It's gets them used to your scent and they'll explore while they're under something.

They'd play together and sniff me and sit on me. I'd stroke them. One girl was much more confident than the other so I made sure I took them out together so the confident rat could teach the skittish one.



Let me know how that goes.
 

Pepper_rat

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May 9, 2020
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Location
New York
Thanks for the advice! Cheese is doing great! She is curious about us and loves to come out and climb on me. I have even started to lightly pet her and she is getting used to being around her hands. She loves to explore and we are giving her more and more free roam area. Macaroni on the other hand is not doing well. She has shown a little interest in coming out but mainly just stays in her hammock. She has started taking some treats from us but still won't eat them until we leave. Does anyone have any rehab resources for rats? I think she might have trauma and I don't know how to best handle that. I want to do what's right for her and I won't rush her. I'm trying to just give her as much time as possible to feel safe and realize that we won't hurt her.
 

Big Schpog

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I'm so glad to hear that Cheese is going great. She will teach her skittish sister. Keep up the bed time under the blanket. Macaroni is taking treats! That's excellent news. Most rats will take their snack and eat it out of sight. Even my well socialized girls do it. I don't care if they sneak off with their snack. It makes them feel comfortable to eat it away from everyone. It's not that important. What's important is safety and comfort and each rat has their own pace.

You might try some lickable treats with Macaroni. That way she can't sneak off. She'll have to lick your hand and stay put. My girls love custard and whipped cream. I make my own whipped cream and custard and go light on the sugar. I also make them a simple cream of wheat porridge, lightly sweetened.
 

Pepper_rat

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Location
New York
Cheese is doing great! She is so brave! She has really come out of her shell and we've started introducing her to our other rats. She loves to climb up our arms and run around the little play area I set up for her. We can even pick her up lightly and she doesn't seem to mind. Macaroni is doing better and will come out of her cage to join Cheese in the play area but she runs away at the slightest move or sound. I'm confident that if we give her the time she needs she will realize that we won't hurt her and only want to give her love. Thanks for the advice!
 

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Big Schpog

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Look at you! So happy and with a ratty on your shoulder! It's only a matter of time for Mac to learn from Cheese. I like your smile too! I'm so thrilled for you.
 

Pepper_rat

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Location
New York
Update: Cheese and macaroni are now integrated into our mischief and cheese is loving it. She has made lots of friends and can even free roam with the big kids. Her back marking is starting to look like a heart and i think it’s adorable 😍 Macaroni is still skittish but takes treats from us. She doesn’t like to come out much but she might just be more of a loner type rat so whatever makes her happy she can do.
 

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