Advice on my first pair of rats with very different personalities.

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TomMangnall
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Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:45 pm

Advice on my first pair of rats with very different personalities.

Post by TomMangnall » Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:14 pm

I got my first ever rats last week. They're brilliant little animals! One, Otto is an absolute star, completely unfazed by anything, really friendly, comes to the cage door wanting to come out whenever I walk in the room, only had him two days & he was happily bruxing away sat on my arm. The other, Kurt, seems very timid and rather skittish. Runs and hides at any sudden noise or movement. He'll let me stroke him in the cage but only up in the top hammock where I can't really get at him. Managed to hold him a couple of times for very short spells but he is a bit panicy and just tries to get down. I've had them both come out of the cage door a bit but I'm a bit worried about Kurt suddenly becoming startled and running off while I'm also trying to keep an eye on Otto off on his own adventure somewhere totally unfazed by it all.

They seem to get on fine with eachother, I'm just a bit worried about not properly bonding with Kurt as he doesn't like to be picked up out of the cage and he's in there with Otto who's so demanding of attention/climbing out of the cage door and off on his own adventure if I try to bond with him in there. (& I live on my own so can't hand Otto over to someone)

Does anyone have any advice? I don't want to traumatise Kurt and have him afraid of me, or is that unlikely to happen? Or is Kurt fairly normal for young rats & it's just a matter of time while it's Otto who's the weirdo with no social boundaries?!

Feolthanos
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Re: Advice on my first pair of rats with very different personalities.

Post by Feolthanos » Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:46 am

I've had both personalities of rats, the very skittish and the absolutely not giving two hoots about anything and being into everything.

I brought my skittish rats around with a whole load of patience. Letting them come to me, sitting just talking to them, making sure that when I go past the cage not every instance is opening it, hand feeding them and feeding yogurt (on a spoon in my case, but use your finger if they're not nippy). Lots of pick ups and straight back downs.

One is still a touch wary, but that's just his personality. Otherwise he's a sweetheart and his brother is such an affectionate lad, it just took them some time to realise I'm not a threat and not be as noise phobic.

A week isn't that long however, so I wouldn't worry too much. My most confident baby rats still won't really tolerate being held for very long it should be noted, the "world" is just too much fun to sit still!

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cyber ratty
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Re: Advice on my first pair of rats with very different personalities.

Post by cyber ratty » Wed Feb 03, 2021 7:44 am

Welcome to the forum Tom, and to rat ownership. :D
TomMangnall wrote:
Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:14 pm
... The other, Kurt, seems very timid and rather skittish. Runs and hides at any sudden noise or movement. He'll let me stroke him in the cage but only up in the top hammock where I can't really get at him. Managed to hold him a couple of times for very short spells but he is a bit panicy and just tries to get down...
Rearrange the cage so that you can easily reach Kurt wherever he is, ideally scoop him up if you can, and then quickly slip him into your clothing. If you wear a loose outer layer (e.g. hoody or dressing gown), then he will feel safer inside that than out in the open. You can then go to a different room (so the cage isn't nearby) and stand or sit on a plain chair while talking (or singing) to him and pop your hand in with him to give gentle strokes/massages or just to be snuggled next to him. Do this for at least 20 minutes at least once a day, and after a few days he should start to relax and realise that you are a safe place to be.

Because you've only got 2 rats, it will mean Otto is on his own for those periods, but it sounds like he'll cope okay. Incidentally, rats do best in groups of 3 or more, so you may want to think about adding another couple in a few months time.

Depending on where you got them from, you might also like to just double check that they are actually both boys - a lot of sources are atrocious at sexing them, and there's the potential for the character difference to be down to Kurt being pregnant.

TomMangnall
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Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:45 pm

Re: Advice on my first pair of rats with very different personalities.

Post by TomMangnall » Sat Feb 06, 2021 5:08 pm

Thanks guys. Yoghurt is now a favourite treat. Tried putting Kurt in my dressing gown pocket but he's far too curious to stay there! Quite happy when he's out now having a nosey, still a bit timid when my hands are in the cage, not wanting to be picked up but hopefully he'll get used to it

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