New Rat Owner Questions (A LOT)

Discussion in 'General Rat Chat & Photos' started by Angelrattie, Mar 14, 2019.

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  1. Mar 14, 2019 #1

    Angelrattie

    Angelrattie

    Angelrattie

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    Should I be keeping the TV or radio on to get the rats used to some noise or will they get used to louder sounds on their own?

    How do I get my rats to stay on my bed? I feel like since they hate me so much they’ll try to get off the bed to avoid me.

    Does it mean rats trust you if they eat food in your direction, and does it mean the opposite if they don’t?

    Does a rat licking you show affection or tolerance of you or is it just compulsive if I smell nice?

    How will I know when my rats are tame/socialized?

    Should I be sitting near my rats while I work or leave them alone?

    Is it normal for rat behavior to be bipolar? One day they are eager to see me the next day they are terrified of me.

    How do I start to handle my rats who don't like being touched if I can't free range with them everyday?

    I watched Shadow the Rat's videos on taming her new babies and I want to try her methods, but I don't have that kind of cage access. My cage is a critter nation on wheels so I can't lure the girls onto my lap or practice with them the way she can.

    How bad is it if I can't provide them with outside of the cage time everyday? I'm a busy student and some nights are too much. Also my rats aren't really comfortable with me yet but show interest in getting out of the cage. Would jumping straight to bed free range be too much???

    Sorry for all the questions! I don't have any other rat owners near me to ask. I feel like I'm the only person who owns rats in 100 miles :( I would really appreciate it if someone could answer of few of these, it doesn't have to be all of them.
     
  2. Mar 15, 2019 #2

    SQ

    SQ

    SQ

    Senior Member - Vegan for the animals

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    Should I be keeping the TV or radio on to get the rats used to some noise or will they get used to louder sounds on their own?
    - People are encouraged to keep their rats in a busy, well used room in the home so that they get a lot of interaction and are part of the family. I don't think leaving things on while you are absent will be helpful ….. also rats have very sensitive hearing and no one likes to listen to noise a lot of the time.

    How do I get my rats to stay on my bed? I feel like since they hate me so much they’ll try to get off the bed to avoid me.
    - they sound like normal curious ratties who want to get down and explore ….. you can try to put things on your bed such as toys and tubes and boxes that they can play in and explore - that may help

    Does it mean rats trust you if they eat food in your direction, and does it mean the opposite if they don’t?
    - no, it does not mean anuthing

    Does a rat licking you show affection or tolerance of you or is it just compulsive if I smell nice?
    - they are likely grooming you which means they like you, however not licking you does not mean that they do not like you

    How will I know when my rats are tame/socialized?
    - rats have different personalities and are unique individuals so some are more independent and some are more cuddly ……. rats become more cuddly as they get older ……. babies want to and need to run and climb and explore and play …… occasionally they will interrupt their activity to see you and may enjoy climbing on you
    - like cats they will come to you when they want to, will allow you to pick them up, will take food from you etc
    please see joinrats.com

    Should I be sitting near my rats while I work or leave them alone?
    - sit near them and talk to them, while they are busy doing what they want to do.

    Is it normal for rat behavior to be bipolar? One day they are eager to see me the next day they are terrified of me.
    They are not bipolar LOL but certainly is a good illustration.
    Yes like everyone else rats feel differently at different times.
    Do you have any other animals ….. perhaps predators such as cats, dogs, ferrets etc? That smell would be terrifying. Rats are prey animals so many things can frighten them. It will take time for them to get used to you and like people rats go through things as they age from babies to teenagers to adults etc

    How do I start to handle my rats who don't like being touched if I can't free range with them everyday?
    - You need to handle them at least twice a day to make sure they are healthy, to get to know what is normal for them and so you notice any slight change in their behaviour that may indicate illness. You can lie on your bed and let them run around on you, Wear a loose shirt over a t-shirt and put them on you under the loose shirt while you lie down or sit - this will help them to get used to you and your smell.
    - hand them a treat and say a word that they will learn to come running to - I say "treat" …… feed a healthy treat such as an organic kumut puff or an organic (unsalted) pumpkin seed. (Commercial treats and processed foods are full of things like sugar that will cause diseases - sugar will feed cancer in rats)

    I watched Shadow the Rat's videos on taming her new babies and I want to try her methods, but I don't have that kind of cage access. My cage is a critter nation on wheels so I can't lure the girls onto my lap or practice with them the way she can.

    How bad is it if I can't provide them with outside of the cage time everyday? I'm a busy student and some nights are too much. Also my rats aren't really comfortable with me yet but show interest in getting out of the cage. Would jumping straight to bed free range be too much???
    no but it is better if they can go back and forth to their cage

    I have several double critter nation cages and use dog steps to allow my rats to from the cage to the floor in their play area, The toy below is also great for this purpose.
    Find something stable - perhaps a couple of cardboard boxes taped together that will allow the rats to easily and safely move back and forth from the CN cage wheeled next to your bed

    If you have not done so, please see the Reference Thread https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/reference-thread-read-only.35894/

    Please check out the info on this forum, on joinrats.com and ask lots of questions

    Oooops forgot the picture

    $_35.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
    Nataly likes this.
  3. Mar 15, 2019 #3

    SQ

    SQ

    SQ

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    Edited above to include the picture
     
  4. Mar 16, 2019 #4

    Nadia Mazza

    Nadia Mazza

    Nadia Mazza

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    Tv and noise yes . Your habits. You have to trust them . Start by openi g the cage an hour at a ti.e so tjey get to know their territory . At a point once yku see they.come out to play then go back in to sleep . Yoy will be ready to start tristong them . Best advise . Rats are amongst the 5 most intwligent mammals in the world . So just treat em like humans with respect and kt will gk great
     
  5. Mar 16, 2019 #5

    ViciousCurse

    ViciousCurse

    ViciousCurse

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    Welcome to rat owning! I have a DCN with eight male rats and generally, I don't lure them onto my lap. I let them come at their own time and give them treats when they do so. The same is for my shoulders. I will usually sit on my knees or find a chair and just exist next to my rats, occasionally give them some treats, lure them out, etc. Since I have a few elderly males, they know the routine and draw the new rats out themselves by being curious and friendly with me. It's always best to let rats explore you in their own time.

    When I had my first three rats, I'd let them crawl around on my bed. I stopped this because I just didn't like the occasional pee marks or piece of poop. This was before I'd put down litterboxes for out-of-cage time. I'd recommend either building a little rat play pen in front of the rat cage, or rat-proofing a separate room and letting them play in there. Both of these need to be supervised, because rats have an amazing tendency of getting into the small nook and cranny and showing us our proofing is not completely rat proof. I've seen people dedicate an entire spare bedroom into a rat playpen, filled to the brim with toys and hides. Mine sometimes come to the bathroom to scamper around. I let them follow me around on the floor while I do my things.
    One of my rats loves sitting on my shoulder while I work on my laptop. He knows how to get down on his own and to ask to be put back in his cage.

    As mentioned before, rats watch each other. My new rats will always watch how I interact with other rats to gauge whether or not I'm safe to be around. They're prey animals, so they assume everything is dangerous and scary until prove otherwise. When the rats trust you, they may then rely on you to keep them safe. My dog barked once and spooked my rat into hiding next to me (who had been across the room).

    I have a couple of rats who will lick my fingers upon opening the cage and then kiss my face. Grooming is often a social thing that you see a lot of intelligent animals do towards one another. It builds and strengthens bonds between members. I had one rat who would come to me and get real low to the ground and show his shoulders and neck like "please groom me." I have longs nails and use them to groom my rats' shoulders and heads. Can't tell you how many photos of sleeping rats from this sort of grooming. Then afterwards, they'll furiously groom my hand and nails.

    One sign of a very happy and content rat is boggling. As your relationship grows with your rats, you may have rats brux and boggle as soon as you see them. My heart rat would always do this the moment he saw me. If he didn't, it was right after I started touching him.


    You sound like you're doing everything right and asking great questions! Keep it up and you'll get there soon. Don't be afraid to ask more questions!
     
  6. Mar 17, 2019 #6

    Angelrattie

    Angelrattie

    Angelrattie

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    Thank you for your response! I'm hoping to rat proof a space just for them since the pen hasn't been working too great with one of my escape artists. I've never seen any of my rats boggle before, two have bruxed in the past but they may have been fear bruxing. I can't really tell. The very friendly one has never bruxed mostly because I can't keep her in one place. She's always on the move and has no time for cuddles. All she wants to do is run around and explore, which leads me to another question... Do girls ever calm down? I don't know the exact age of my girls but I know they are under 6 months. (probably 2-3 months) Will they ever calm down or mellow out or is this just what I signed up for?
     
  7. Mar 17, 2019 #7

    Nadia Mazza

    Nadia Mazza

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    Girls tend to be more nervous and on the move . The girls I had normally calm daown at about 1 year old .
     
  8. Mar 18, 2019 #8

    Mel_V

    Mel_V

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    Just spend plenty of time with your rats and they’ll adjust to you. Use a safe unsweetened applesauce or baby food as a treat so they have to lick it off your hands so they don’t have to run away maybe. One of my boys was s u p e r skiddish and wouldn’t go near anyone if his life depended on it but I just opened the cage and spent lots of time around him talking to him and luring him out with treats and eventually he became my most well socialized rat:) I also found that they’ll face you while eating if they’re not worried and face away if they think you’ll take their food. Just spend plenty of time with them once they’ve adjusted for a few days by standing outside their cage or if you’re doing something like reading or whatever and they might get more used to you being around and not feel threatened. Hope this helped!
     
  9. Mar 19, 2019 #9

    ViciousCurse

    ViciousCurse

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    If I ever get a bigger house, I'd like to dedicate a whole room to my rats. Your rats will brux and boggle for you soon, but I notice it's a behavior typically seen in adult or older rats, who know the routine and know the ropes of living with a human. Once rats pass their first birthday, they start to slow down. My males end up pretty relaxed by six months, but from there, they just get slower and more likely to sleep. I love babies, but I have to say, those old rats capture my heart a little faster.

    Female rats will always be a little more active and rambunctious than males. You can always get a neutered male rat to live with your females if you'd like a little buddy to just lay with you.

    As Mel_V said, rats are very easily socialized. My first ever trio I took home, I picked out the prettiest boy, a little agouti hooded rex dumbo who I named Amun. Unfortunately, he had been terrified of me and hid under the bedding when I was picking him out. Maybe a month or two later, he became my other friendliest boy. Kids could hold and pet him and he wouldn't care. Of course, my heart rat still beat him out in that regard, but that was just because my Gideon and I had such a special bond. Their other brother, Maddox, was friendly, but preferred to keep to himself and other rats.
    Rats respond very well to socialization and love. I had a biter who would almost go out of his way to make me bleed, but now he sleeps on my chest and lets me groom him. Unfortunately, he's kept the nickname "Grumpy," so it's always awkward to explain to people the origin of his favorite nickname. He's a walking potato.

    I have one boy who I'd call asocial towards other rats. He will boggle the instant I say hello to him and he always comes to me to be held. Even during playtime, he likes to hang around me. I'm fairly sure he's my lowest ranked rat, so he probably gets picked on frequently and knows I'll baby him and "protect" him. He's also just an adorable boy in general.
     
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