Introducing Rats

Topics on behaviour, taming, companionship, introductions, and training
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Introducing Rats

Post by emilyw25 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:22 pm

I'm a very new rat mom, so any advice/criticisms would be welcome.

Hi! So I've ended up adopting a young (at a guess I'd say he's definitely less than a year old from looking at photos of other rats, but I've no clue on a specific age, I'm afraid) boy rat (Harry) from a family friend. She had bought him from a pet store for her young children who very quickly lost interest. She was planning on returning him to the store but I said I'd have him; I've always wanted to keep rats.

From what I can tell she did very little research. The cage she had for him I'm 99% sure is a hamster cage, and while it's not minuscule, it's most certainly not big enough for him from what I've read. She was also keeping him alone, which I know is a definite no-no.

I invested in a new (much more suitable, and much bigger) cage for him, and a bunch of hideaways, hammocks, and toys to keep him occupied. He's been living on his own for just under 2 months - in total - and about 3 weeks with me. I've been handling him as much as I can, giving him treats and things, letting him hide inside my sweater sleeves and he seems to be getting used to me, though he still sometimes gets spooked by sudden, loud noises, and he doesn't like being picked up all that much.

Then yesterday I went and adopted him a friend. I went to a pet store and got another little boy (who I think is younger, because he's slightly smaller, and is also a dumbo rat I think), who's (unfortunately) being kept in Harry's old cage. I'm hoping it's just temporary because I'd obviously like them to be living in the same cage. I'd really love some advice on introducing them, getting them comfortable with each other. Like I said, I'm incredibly new to all of this but want to give my new little boys the best life possible.

The new boy (who has no name as of yet) is still quite shy as he's just been brought home, but he's taken a few treats from my hand which is a good start.

All in all I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right, and would love to know how to move my new boy into the big cage with Harry.

I hope this is okay. Sorry for the long post. Thank you in advance; I'm looking forward to being part of the rat community!

Emily x

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cyber ratty
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Re: Introducing Rats

Post by cyber ratty » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:06 pm

Welcome to FR, and to rat keeping :D

The best way to introduce rats is the carrier method - detailed in a link on this post along with some other articles which are worth a read.

Firstly, make sure they both have clearly visible testicles, as rats are often mis sexed and you don't want to be introducing opposite sexes together.

How long has the second rat been on his own for? If he's just a kitten (under 3 months), then he should have another kitten for company before being introduced to Harry (rats do best in groups of 3 or more anyway) - how heavy are they each?

If they are both adults, then you'll need to take the intro slowly, probably 2 or 3 days in the carrier, and another 3 days or more in a very small hamster cage. You can probably use Harry's original cage as a third stage but clean it out thoroughly first.

If their cages are in the same room atm, then move one to another room for a few days before starting the introduction.

Best of luck :luck:

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