New baby suddenly very scared

Nyn

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Aug 18, 2020
Messages
71
Location
Netherlands
Hey all,

My boyfriend and I adopted two new female 14/15 week old rats two weeks ago. Both needed to be introduced to our already present 9 months spayed females. Our new addition to the family are white rats with pink eyes that we rescued from a shelter as the labs here had bred too many. Unfortunately, this meant that these babies had not been handled much. After introductions our new babies were settling in relatively okay. One of our females (Tofu) was still a bit dominant, but no large fights were happening. They also sleep in the same areas and seem to get along just fine now. Tahini (new baby) was initially extremely scared and bit or screamed any time we came near her, but she is doing so well now. She even dares to come stand on my hand and sit on my lap.

The problem we are having is with Lana. She was adapting extremely well in the beginning (much better than Tahini). She already dared to venture out of the cage and onto the sofa, even onto our laps. Wednesday morning they were both checked by the vet to see if they were healthy (which was the case). Since that evening Lana has been super scared all of a sudden. She doesn't want to come out of the cage or her hiding spots and seems generally uncomfortable. She is still eating and drinking and taking snacks from our hands. We have tried to see if she was in pain of any sorts, but with the vet check and also no change in behaviour after administrating pain meds, we assume she is not in pain. Do any of you guys know why she would be so scared all of a sudden? The vets said it might be that the group order still needs to be determined more and that she feels more dominated now? Tofu has been rilhiing her up a bit, but no injuries have happened. The question is also, do we take her out even though she is scared to make her used with the risk of making her more scared. Or are we leaving her alone with the risk of making her not used to us? When she is out she is exploring even though she seems scared and she does take food out of the cage. I have also had her in my sweater pocket and talk to her softly and she is scared but also takes food.

Thank you for any advise.

Regards,

Nynke
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
13
Location
Baltimore
Hey all,

My boyfriend and I adopted two new female 14/15 week old rats two weeks ago. Both needed to be introduced to our already present 9 months spayed females. Our new addition to the family are white rats with pink eyes that we rescued from a shelter as the labs here had bred too many. Unfortunately, this meant that these babies had not been handled much. After introductions our new babies were settling in relatively okay. One of our females (Tofu) was still a bit dominant, but no large fights were happening. They also sleep in the same areas and seem to get along just fine now. Tahini (new baby) was initially extremely scared and bit or screamed any time we came near her, but she is doing so well now. She even dares to come stand on my hand and sit on my lap.

The problem we are having is with Lana. She was adapting extremely well in the beginning (much better than Tahini). She already dared to venture out of the cage and onto the sofa, even onto our laps. Wednesday morning they were both checked by the vet to see if they were healthy (which was the case). Since that evening Lana has been super scared all of a sudden. She doesn't want to come out of the cage or her hiding spots and seems generally uncomfortable. She is still eating and drinking and taking snacks from our hands. We have tried to see if she was in pain of any sorts, but with the vet check and also no change in behaviour after administrating pain meds, we assume she is not in pain. Do any of you guys know why she would be so scared all of a sudden? The vets said it might be that the group order still needs to be determined more and that she feels more dominated now? Tofu has been rilhiing her up a bit, but no injuries have happened. The question is also, do we take her out even though she is scared to make her used with the risk of making her more scared. Or are we leaving her alone with the risk of making her not used to us? When she is out she is exploring even though she seems scared and she does take food out of the cage. I have also had her in my sweater pocket and talk to her softly and she is scared but also takes food.

Thank you for any advise.

Regards,

Nynke
Hi Nynke,
It sounds like the trip to the vet disrupted her sense of security in her new home. She's definitely gone through a lot of change in the past few weeks/months: moving from a lab or breeding place to the shelter and finally to her forever home. I bet she is just reeling from all of the changes!

You and your boyfriend are doing an excellent job looking after her. And her eating food and taking snacks from your hands is a definitely a good sign that she trusts you. I think setting up a special routine or schedule for her could help her feel a bit more secure about her new situation. It could be something small like giving her extra attention before you say goodnight, or something big like a full schedule dictating everything that happens in her day. I think as long as she has something stable and regular to rely on, she will feel more comfortable putting down roots and investing in her new home and family.

Definitely keep watching her for signs of illness and physical discomfort, but I think after another week or so, she will be fine :) I hope this helps!
 

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
71
Location
Netherlands
Thank you so much for the long explanation. Yes we just really want them all to be happy and healthy and she is already a sweetheart. Yesterday evening we were happy to see she did a couple of steps outside of the cage again (not long, but long enough to give her treats and show her that it is nothing to be scared about). I've attached a little video of the two new babies sharing some liquid treats (Lana is the one staying in the hammock). New little rat babies getting a treat
We will stay motivated and patient and try and give her a forever home she deserves!

Regards,

Nynke
 

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
71
Location
Netherlands
Hey all,

Just a small update. She is completely settled and super happy now. I think you were totally right in her being a bit off her game when we took her to the vets. She is the sweetest thing now, although still a bit jumpy when there is an unexpected sound. She always comes when called and is in general a super sweet and smart girl. I have added a little snippet of her and her sister + our other slightly older girl.
 

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