New rats help

Topics on behaviour, taming, companionship, introductions, and training
Post Reply
Animalcrazy1980
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:17 pm

New rats help

Post by Animalcrazy1980 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:35 pm

I have just taken on 2 male rats, they are a few months old and lovely boys however when I got them they had been living in a hamster cage, we have a cage that is 3 levels and we have it packed out with ropes and hammocks and climbing things, we read it better to take the ramps off so we did, however these rats don’t seem to know what to do.

Last night they stayed in the bottom part all night, this evening we have put them up the top but whilst they have taken an interest in the gap and the rope to get down neither are braving it.

Now my question is should I just leave them to work it all out or tomorrow am I best of taking all the toys out and putting the ramps back and only having a couple things? Even the low stuff they don’t seem dare climb.

I would attach pics of the cage and how I have it but I’m not sure how to do it. If anyone can tell me how I’ll put pics up.

Another question I have is food, I have food from rat rations, the number 11 mix, I also have the powder they recommend to use twice a week however would it be safe to also use nuggets like science selective to ensure they’ve got all the vitamins too?

I know I should give them a wide variety of other foods too but I don’t want to miss anything important in their diet. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

User avatar
[cub]
Posts: 781
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:04 pm

Re: New rats help

Post by [cub] » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:19 pm

It can take rats a little while to settle into a new environment, particularly if they're not particularly well-bred and from a poor background. If they'd previously been living in a hamster cage, they might not even understand what height is, or know how to climb. Rope and climbing toys are great exercise, but they generally move around when you step on them; a rat who's not used to exploring or having an enriching setup is probably going to find that quite scary.

You could try putting the ramps back in for now while they get used to the idea of height, and/or set their cage up so that they have everything they need on the ground floor (in addition to having more stuff further up). Make sure the cage is reasonably well filled too; rats are prey animals so having vast open spaces, particularly above them, can leave them feeling exposed and vulnerable. At the same time, don't put anything too enclosed in the cage at first so they can't literally hide away from it all while they're still getting used to you. Other than that, I'd just leave them to figure things out on their own.

For pics, you need to put them up on some kind of hosting site and then link to them here.

Foodwise, Science Selective nuggets are fine to use alongside a mix, and if your rats are particularly keen on them (mine certainly tend to be), you could hide them around the cage to encourage the rats to explore more.

Rats often take a little while to warm up to unfamiliar foods, so if their previous diet was very restricted, you might need to offer them new foods a few times before they'll start accepting them. I've also found that my rats have preferred their vegetables cooked; I give mine fresh veg most days, but I usually microwave it for half a minute or so (and then let it cool down) as they're less likely to turn their noses up that way.

Sounds like you're off to a great start though, and those boys have landed on their feet!
Poo-shoveller to: Calyn, Din, and Zephyr Mick Jagger (Edgeworth).
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Donovan (Phoenix) the big dope, Xeltan, Lita (NLA32), Lia (NLA28), Zephyr Delanynder (NLA28), Falere (NLA36), Mirala (NLA36), Zephyr Opold, and Rila.

Animalcrazy1980
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:17 pm

Re: New rats help

Post by Animalcrazy1980 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:48 pm

Thank you for your response, for tonight I have now put the bottom ramp in so they have 2 levels with what they need, I will see how they go for a few days before adding the next one as thats the one that will take the most space from them. I dont want them on 1 level as I dont feel they have enough space. The cage is said to be suitable for 4 rats but im not convinced it is even 100% right for these 2.

I am just sorting out putting some pictures somewhere to share here, I feel I am probably going to need a different cage eventually, the one I have I selected as it as square wire holes rather then big spaces, I have cats and whilst theyre not allowed in my sons room I wanted something as safe as possible incase they did get in, the doors on this open inwards and that makes it rather awkward.

I will grab them some nuggets tomorrow to mix, I am currently sprinkling their mix at the bottom so they can forage so I will put some cardboard on the next levels so I can sprinkle their too and see if it encourages them, I have considered rubbing something yummy on the ropes but then realised that would prob be a nightmare to clean!

User avatar
[cub]
Posts: 781
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:04 pm

Re: New rats help

Post by [cub] » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:56 am

Animalcrazy1980 wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:48 pm
I am just sorting out putting some pictures somewhere to share here, I feel I am probably going to need a different cage eventually, the one I have I selected as it as square wire holes rather then big spaces, I have cats and whilst theyre not allowed in my sons room I wanted something as safe as possible incase they did get in, the doors on this open inwards and that makes it rather awkward.
Ah, a Critter cage. I've heard of people rehanging the doors so they open outward, though it might depend on which manufacturer yours is from, as I think there's more than one manufacturer basically making the same design.

If you don't have any particular budget or space restrictions, a cage with a fully opening front like the Little Zoo Venturer is generally a good investment, if you're planning on keeping rats long-term. I have a similar model and I've found the access good both for cleaning and also for socialising with my rats.
Poo-shoveller to: Calyn, Din, and Zephyr Mick Jagger (Edgeworth).
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Donovan (Phoenix) the big dope, Xeltan, Lita (NLA32), Lia (NLA28), Zephyr Delanynder (NLA28), Falere (NLA36), Mirala (NLA36), Zephyr Opold, and Rila.

Post Reply

Return to “Behaviour”