New owners need help....

Topics on behaviour, taming, companionship, introductions, and training
Ellenbonge
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New owners need help....

Post by Ellenbonge » Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:40 pm

Hi all

My husband recently bought us some little ladies (4) and I've been absolutely in love since I first saw them.

We have a small problem... we are dying to handle them but every time we put our hands near they like to try having a nibble at us and seeing the size of those teeth NO THANK YOU lol.

They are around 14/15 weeks old and they are eating and drinking fine and some are actually getting quite brave climbing up the cage door when it's open. Can anyone give us advice or anyone in the Newcastle area fancy letting my girl bite them get in touch

Thanks in advance

Laura x

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ElizabethW
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by ElizabethW » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:56 am

Hi and welcome to the forum :)

Could you tell us a bit more about where your rats came from and what happens when you put your hand near your girls? Rats, especially baby rats, explore the world through their mouths and will often have a nibble of your finger just to see whether you are edible or not - it shouldn't hurt (rat teeth might look a bit intimidating, but they can be surprisingly gentle with them.) If they do get a bit too enthusiastic you can eep (squeak at them like they do to each other) and they should get the message that they're being a bit too rough. Our boys will often grab a finger and have a sniff and nibble if I put my hand out to stroke them, especially if I have what they consider an interesting smell on them, such as soap.

If they are actually biting aggressively that is a different thing - I don't have the experience that some other members have with that so will leave the advice to someone more knowledgeable.
Hope that helps a bit :luck:
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Ellenbonge
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by Ellenbonge » Sat Nov 05, 2016 1:39 am

Hi thanks for ur reply

We originally were wanted to purchase them from a lady who we know (we've bought all our reptiles from her) but her breeder like her down so my husband ended up getting them from pets at home. They had just came in store the day we bought them so I knew they weren't hanging around with kids banging on the cage. They were 6/7 weeks old when we brought them home and have had them roughly 8 weeks now.

We have two grey ones and two white ones. Now the greys ones are quite interested when we are near the cage but the white ones can be weary from time to time.

They know what there box of food/treats sound like as they come straight to door when they hear it. Up until a few hrs ago they had a small wooden house that they would hide in but reading some posts it says to remove them so we have as they sleep on the hammock they have anyway.

So when we are trying to stroke them there turning there heads as though to bite us and when we have stoke our hands in the cage to let them get used to our hands and smells they have tried to have a nibble.

Anyone got any ideas?

Thanks

Laura x

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RedFraggle
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by RedFraggle » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:19 am

I feed little ones banana custard baby food from a spoon. Once they are happy with being fussed whilst that's happening I shove my fingers in the jar and let them eat from my fingers. If they are actually biting take it slowly. We had to progress the trust training really slowly and regularly with Brian. We did it two to three times a day only progressing when he stopped reacting. We used banana custard on a spoon and to begin with just let him eat. I then just touched him for a second, literally just placing a finger on him lightly tapping him. Once he was comfy with that it was a longer touch, then a brief stroke on the top of the back, then the head and upper back, then right down his back (all the time he's eating the banana custard) then his flanks, then picking him just up off the ground, throughout this he was housed in a low cage (ferplast Mary) so when he was doing it I could do the contact through the top opening whilst he ate from the spoon through the front opening. Smaller cages work better when establishing trust. We then took him outside the cage, we hadn't attempted to get him out a all during the process (letting him get himself out into a carrier and then out of there onto the sofa) and the final step was offering the banana custard on my finger. He was fine. He was a really affectionate boy.
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RedFraggle
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by RedFraggle » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:21 am

PS you need to trust them for them to trust you, that's really important
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squeakrat
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by squeakrat » Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:02 pm

I'm in Newcastle if you want someone to come round as a test bite subject :lol:

It's difficult when you're new to rats as they are always a lot better when handled confidently, but it's difficult to have the confidence when you don't have the experience with ratty body language and behaviour. Rats often nibble and test things with their teeth, it's very rare that they will actually bite hard.
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Helzie
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by Helzie » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:41 pm

:lol: was going to suggest getting one of us locals round to demonstrate baby rat cuddling I mean handling! I'm also in Newcastle if you need a hand. There's an NERS rat show in Newcastle next month if you want to come a long and meet people and their rats to get some tips and experience with handling confident rats. http://www.neratsociety.co.uk/html/nextshow.shtml
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Squirrel
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by Squirrel » Fri Nov 11, 2016 2:54 pm

I agree with everything that has been said, just wanted to say that the white ones may be more wary because their vision isn't as good as the grey ones (though vision is not so important in rats as humans and they will go more by smell, the whiskers etc)
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[cub]
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by [cub] » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:05 pm

Yes, pink-eyed rats often have poorer vision than other rats, so they can be more wary as a result. If that's the case you may also see them swaying their heads side-to-side sometimes, as they use parallax to help them locate objects visually.

Definitely take up one of the excellent offers of local cuddling help; my suspicion is that your girls are just trying to investigate you, but if you're not familiar with rat body language then a test nibble can look quite alarming! In my experience they quickly realise you're not food or a chew toy and stop, although if they later feel comfortable enough to groom you then they sometimes use their teeth when grooming, like a ratty exfoliating treatment. :lol:
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Ellenbonge
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by Ellenbonge » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:44 pm

Hi all

Thank you all for you advice
I'm gutted I won't be able to attend the show as I'm working but I'm beginning to think I might take up one of your kind offers to let's my girls bite you as I just want to be able to snuggle and there not playing ball lol

Anymore tips for me??

Ellenbonge
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by Ellenbonge » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:22 am

squeakrat wrote:I'm in Newcastle if you want someone to come round as a test.
Yes please that would be great

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squeakrat
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by squeakrat » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:25 pm

Rats have been visited, and I have been bitten :shock: They are lovely girls, but slightly lacking in manners! They will come round really quickly with regular handling. Just thought I would update the thread to say that anyone new to rats having similar issues should see if there's anyone local who can pop round to help as a confidence boost for both ratties and owners!
Jenny x
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cyber ratty
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by cyber ratty » Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:11 pm

Well done for being so brave, sorry to hear you did actually get bitten though!

It really can be a huge help for inexperienced owners simply to observe how an experienced person handles the rats (I've been able to help several times in the past), I hope they are now all on the road to mutual trust. :luck:

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Helzie
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by Helzie » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:16 am

They were sweet girls really, just need a bit of socialising and they will come round and become real cuddlemonsters, I think! I eventually got a very small boggle out of the stroppiest one, who had been screaming the place down and nipping earlier. Little madam....! :hearts: I think she will soon realise cuddles are nicer than drama.
Fastnet, Tyne, Humber.

Sailing By: Cromarty ol' curmudgeon Fitzroy O Captain, my Captain Malin bonkers boy Lundy Dear old chap Hebridy handsome beast Thames anxious hamster Faeroe little spark Portland big heart Rockall Rock Star Forties Count on you Viking little marauder Bailey cuddlemonster

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Squirrel
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Re: New owners need help....

Post by Squirrel » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:13 pm

Good result!
Willow, Skittle, Izzy & Rainbow

44 past ratties, 16 boys, 28 girls

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