Taming New Rats

Topics on behaviour, taming, companionship, introductions, and training
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Griffiths80
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Taming New Rats

Post by Griffiths80 » Fri May 04, 2018 12:40 pm

Hello everyone

I currently have 2 female rats that I am fostering, with the possibility of having them permanently. They have been with me a couple of days and seem to be settling in well. At the moment they are in my kitchen diner, which I am hoping will get them used to us but isn't ra tproof yet (gaps under cupboards etc)

They are about 5months old, one is a siamese looking rat (red eyes) and the other is black and white.

They are in what i believe is a savic freddy 2 cage - it has the platform and a little ramp and I've put some boxes, climbing ropes, tunnels etc as the cage was bare.

Hazel the black and white one is extremely curious and will be straight out the cage as soon as the door opens - she sits in the entrance and will come out onto your lap. She enjoys being stroked but does not like being picked and is very nibbly. She is always on the look out for food.

The other girl is very shy, she will come to the cage door eventually and sniff you but seems nervous if you touch her. The woman I got her from couldn't pick her up to put her in the travel box

So my question is - whats the best way of taming them and getting them more confident?? I have had rats before but I have had bucks from babies, so they've been tame pretty much straight away!

I'd love to get them to trust me and enjoy being out of the cage (especially the siamese one) but i don't want to do anything to scare them.

Tips and advice much appreciated

x

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Caza66
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Re: Taming New Rats

Post by Caza66 » Sun May 06, 2018 5:30 am

Hi and welcome to the forum and the world of Ratties. Having them in a well trafficked area is good so they can get used to you and new senses.

I know you have just put them in but take out the boxes, tubes and hidey holes. Just leave in ropes and flat hammocks, if you haven’t got hammocks yet, a non-woven tea towel is good (no loops to catch toes) and hang them in with plastic shower hooks.

Also get them out for 20 minutes a day, sit in an old hoody or dressing gown (something you don’t mind getting wee’d or poo’d on) pop them in there and sit on the sofa. You will find them don’t explore much the few few times but they will.

Offer them yoghurt on a spoon, something they will have to stay and enjoy rather than run off with.

Good luck and have fun.
Officially ratless. Groot, Star-lord, Yondu adopted by another rat lover.
:rattyrainbow: To all those who have filled my heart, have fun at the bridge.

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cyber ratty
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Re: Taming New Rats

Post by cyber ratty » Mon May 07, 2018 11:06 am

It's possible the siamese may have particularly poor eyesight, so be sure to warn her before you pick her up.

Don't be scared of scaring rats - they will respond best to someone being confident with them, and that will help build their own confidence. :luck:

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mainey
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Re: Taming New Rats

Post by mainey » Sun May 27, 2018 10:36 am

Hi, I do not mean to hijack your thread Griffith80 but I am experiencing similar problems. I thought any advice offered could help us both and I didn't want to duplicate a thread. I hope you don't mind! Or someone please let me know if I should be making a new thread.

I have two females, a few months old. They were gifted to my brother and he has been having trouble taming them so he has asked me to see if I can help as I've had rats before. With previous rats (only three) I don't remember how I tamed them, it just happened. I never had an issue with biting or really nervous rats

These two just seem so nervous. They are curious enough, but every tiny movement makes them jump and one is bitey. She has drawn blood from my brother and his OH and has lunged at me with a warning bite. I am aware of the technique of putting them in a hoody or clothing and sitting with them, but if the rat bites how do I get her in there in the first place? Is it just a matter of not taking no for an answer and sneakily scooping her up into some fabric? Should I take both at the same time? Do I put my hand in, but I am concerned she'd attack. The other rat is also very nervous and freezes then tries to slowly slink away if I touch her.

Thanks for any advice!

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cyber ratty
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Re: Taming New Rats

Post by cyber ratty » Sun May 27, 2018 10:43 am

If you are confident enough to pick her up, then do so, but otherwise you could tempt her into a tube/box/bag in the cage so she can be lifted out in it. It may help to lift the top of the cage off the base if possible.

If she has a long established cage territorial nature, it may not be possible to override it, but she will probably behave differently away from her space.

I would work on one at a time until one becomes relaxed enough to help calm the other one.

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mainey
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Re: Taming New Rats

Post by mainey » Mon May 28, 2018 10:32 am

Just wanted to thank you for the advice! I took them out separately in a pillow case. The bitey one was much different and seemed a lot more resigned and accepting of my touch than the other. She did place her teeth on me once but I just gave her a bit of space to groom before touching her again and she was fine. The other was a bit more of a handful as she kept trying to dash off! She did eventually settle down and close her eyes while I stroked her. I will keep it up and hope they grow in confidence and lose their fear of hands touching them.

I hope it is going well for you Griffiths80!

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cyber ratty
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Re: Taming New Rats

Post by cyber ratty » Tue May 29, 2018 8:07 am

That's great news Mainey. Remember to keep them out for over 20 minutes, and go to a different room from where their cage is, and hopefully they will make swift progress. :luck:

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mainey
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Re: Taming New Rats

Post by mainey » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:29 pm

Hi everyone! So I have been taking the rats out daily for at least half an hour. When they are on my lap and unable to go anywhere else they seem fine. They're not a fan of being picked up and sometimes the black one who was biting (Skit) squeaks but other than that no issue. So I decided to block off a small corner in the bathroom (a few feet by a few feet) and sit in there with them. With the new found freedom, Skit seems to have reverted. They seem to go crazy with running around and exploring (and trying to jump out) and if you try to pick Skit up, she squeaks and desperately tries to run away and bites. Have I perhaps given them too much freedom too soon?
They also don't seem to be eating much. They have a mix
which I realised was hamster food so I got some rat nuggets, not ideal I know but it was the only thing suited to rats on the shop. I thing they're just eating the nuts and seeds from the hamster mix and leaving the rest. I stopped giving them fresh food for a few days to see if that would force them to eat the rest but it doesn't look like they've touched it, they must be starving. I've just put a box of paper and bits of cereals in there and they're going nuts over it. I do give them little pieces of yoggies when they come onto my lap when out to try and reward them for coming to me. And I use cornflakes as treats when I pass the cage. Maybe I'm overindulging them.

Apologies for the long post! In short, should I restrict their movement when out for longer to get them used to being handled. And should I be stricter about their food and give them no option but to eat their mix and nuggets for a while so they get what they need? Will it go stale and completely unappetising if left in there for a few days?

ETA: Now I think back I think it was only two days I didn't give any fresh food, and they sometimes turn their noses up at cornflakes so maybe they're not that hungry! I'm also thinking maybe I put way too much food in. I will weigh it tomorrow and see what happens.

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cyber ratty
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Re: Taming New Rats

Post by cyber ratty » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:29 am

The hamster food isn't great, but it's still better than nuggets which have been seen to cause tumours, probably due to poor quality protein. I would suggest ordering food from Rat Rations instead, #11 (any version) works well.

Put some supplements in the basket (either daily rat 3, or calcivet and Dr Squiggles), and top up your postage allowance with accessories (their wooden perches are great) and substrate.

Scatter 15g per rat per day over their loose substrate so they can enjoy foraging for it, and give a handful of veg between them most days as well. Try and use healthy treats rather than yoggie drops, and then it won't impact on their daily portions.


Some rats (more commonly with pet trade rats in my experience) do enjoy being a bit manic when out, and it can be nice to let them have that time for themselves to burn off energy. If you can sit in there with them they may even start choosing to investigate you (especially if you tuck some healthy treats into your clothing).

Keep using the 1-1 sessions to help them bond with you though. Are they just on your lap, or inside a hoody/dressing gown?

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