Scaredy Rat

Topics on behaviour, taming, companionship, introductions, and training
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Scaredy Rat

Post by OjhaTennis » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:00 pm

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post so apologies if I'm writing in the wrong place or something. 3 days ago I brought home 3 lovely boys. They're my first ever rats and I'm already so in love with them. They all have completely different personalities.

AJ - he's completely the alpha of the group. Was the first out of the carrier and he has explored every inch of the cage. He started taking food from me yesterday, crawls on my hand and I think he's ready for a trip out of the cage.

Zeus - very independent but as of yet isn't too fussed about me. He took food from my hand yesterday but very much likes to get out of the way and watch me from his hammock. He's the biggest of the bunch and follows AJ. They sleep on the ground in the same tunnel and play with each other all the time.

Pika - Pika is my 'scaredy rat' and the reason for this post. He was last out of the carrier and is scared of everything. I realeased them all on the ground level but he made his way straight to Platform 1 (out of 4). He's surrounded himself by paper bedding and just sits there. For the first day I don't think he ate or drank anything. I moved the bowl to his platform and moved the bottle there as well. He ate and drank loads which made me think he hadn't had any the previous day. He'll take food from my fingers but occasionally mistakes my fingers for food and has drawn blood. AJ goes and sits on him occasionally and snuggles into him but there's so much more to the cage and he's not exploring. I've placed food in his view just slightly up a ramp but the second he goes too far out of his zone he shoots back to his bed. He does wander around the platform but it's not a big space.

So how do I go about getting him to explore more of the cage? I don't want to move the food bowl back to the other platform because AJ and Zeus hoard the food and I really think he'd just let himself starve.

I'd appreciate any help you give, thanks.

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cyber ratty
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Re: Scaredy Rat

Post by cyber ratty » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:18 am

Oh poor Pika, he is really missing out! (Assuming he is a he? It's worth checking his sex here!)

I'm sure you've worked hard to make the cage interesting for them, but I would suggest you remove almost everything for a while - once all the platforms and other things are out, then Pika will not be able to separate himself off.

Leave just a toilet corner on the ground floor, and their loose substrate with a little nesting material. You should find that the three of them snuggle in a single heap to sleep, but if they don't, keep the cage bare until they do.

Then once they are consistently sleeping together, add a single hammock. They should then move into that together, and Pika will hopefully start taking his brothers'(?) lead.

Gradually add more furnishings, but I would start with things that can't be used to sleep separately, like ropes, perches, and sloping tubes.

I wouldn't bother returning any shelves or ramps to the cage at all, as they don't contribute to a challenging active environment, and usually just get peed on and smelly. Look in our set up section for some ideas of layouts. :luck:

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