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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So today I acquired 2 rats! I've never cared for any before but I think they're lovely animals and I'm super excited.<br>
However.<br>
One of these rats is 2 months old, and the other is 6 months. They are both girls, and one came from a friend (she wanted to get rid of her because she didn't want to care for her anymore), and the other was in need of a home.<br>
I've introduced them to each other, and they seem fine except the youngest one (no name yet so she is currently Munchkin) keeps hassling the older one! (Ruby). She jumps on her and clings to her back and runs underneath her, and Ruby will tolerate it for a bit and then flick her off or run away. This isn't all the time, but should I leave them together overnight? Ruby is taking all this annoyance very well, and there's been no fighting or aggression, and every article I find online is for adult rats being aggressive to young rats, and nothing else.<br><br>
Any advice would be massively appreciated!!
 

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Wow everyone else is getting rats, I really want one, too. Please post pictures! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br>
Anyways, is there any way you can get a video of Munchkin harassing Ruby, that way we could all get a better idea about whether or not they're playing or just fighting? I've never had rats before but I've known people that do and have watched them, and I've also had other small rodents, so I think I'd be able to do my best to help. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> It sounds to me like the younger one is just playing, especially since it sounds like Ruby isn't engaging in fight and is just kind of getting a little annoyed and running off. Also, you said there's no aggression, so if that's true it should be fine to leave them overnight. Maybe watch them for a half hour or hour or so more and if it progresses into any fighting, separate them for the night, but if it's the same, with no actual harming, they should be fine together. It's probably just playing, though since they're new it could just be a dominance thing, too, though since there's no signs at all of aggression it's more likely just playing since they're also pretty young.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I most certainly will post pictures! They're absolutely adorable.<br>
I left them together over night because they're in my room and I'm light sleeper, so pretty much anytime they move I wake up! But apart from a little harrassing this morning, they've been fine. Not great friends or anything, but tolerating each other! I even came into my room to find them curled up on top of each other, sleeping <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br>
I think you were right, it is just playfulness. And today I've noticed Ruby is being a bit...I don't know, assertive? She keeps walking over Izzy (I've named Munchkin Izzy), I think possibly to show her she's the boss?<br><br>
I was wondering, do rats stop running off with their food after a while?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Veganosaurus Rex</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2979856"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I was wondering, do rats stop running off with their food after a while?</div>
</div>
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What do you mean, they're taking their food and eating it in a corner? If so, my dogs do that, too. I'm not sure how much the social structure of rats is similar to that of dogs, but with my dogs, if we give them treats then the one that got the treat will run off away from the other one so he/she doesn't get his/her treat stolen. Now, it's settled down, especially if I'm standing by the one that's worried about their treat being stolen so they feel protected and safe.<br><br>
Perhaps your rats are doing the same thing, they don't yet trust one another to share and respect the other's food yet? It could be related to dominance, too, my dogs still have their petty dominance play-fights since my new one was a recent adoption, so maybe with the rats it'll settle down when they establish dominance and grow more comfortable with each other. It could also be that they aren't yet comfortable with you, maybe they're shy or something so they're hiding to eat it as well. I'm sure once they're comfortable with their general situation, they'll feel safe eating without running off and hiding with their food <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Veganosaurus Rex</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2979856"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I was wondering, do rats stop running off with their food after a while?</div>
</div>
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Not ours. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"> One of our ratties stashes food. We were wondering how Mordie was eating his food so quickly and then found a mountain of it under his house. They take large treats and find a quiet corner to eat them in. They'll also eat smaller treats out of hand and allow us to pet them while eating though. We've taught ours to hop on our shoulders on command by tapping our hand on our shoulder while holding a treat and saying,'Up.' I've also taught them to go inside a kennel carrier on command (saying 'kennel' - this helps for vet visits and when transporting to a rat-proof room for play time) and currently, we're working on having them push/fetch a tennis ball. They're very smart.
 

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I just got some ratties too <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smitten.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":smitten:"> I think it's normal for them to wrestle and play around like that. Mine certainly do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
They're so lovely, aren't they? I adore them already!<br><br>
I have another question, if anyone can help? Well, two actually. (Sorry, I've never even known anyone with rats so I can't ask for advice from them)<br><br>
Firstly, my mum keeps telling me to keep waking them up in the day so they aren't so active at night and don't keep me awake....but that seems really mean! I thought they were supposed to be nocturnal? Should I just let them sleep when they want to?<br><br>
Secondly (and more importantly), Ruby is terrified of being picked up. She's really friendly within the cage, and is happy to leave the cage on her own terms, and once she's out, she's fine. But when I go to pick her up, she runs away. She also runs off if I try to stroke her. I've tried just resting my hands in the cage and she'll climb all over them, but the second I move them even slightly she runs off of them. I have to corner her to pick her up, and when I do catch her she flails violently until I rest her on my chest or put her down. Earlier when I picked her up, she even pee'd a little (I assume from fear?). So my question, how do I stop her being so scared? I don't like picking her up when she's clearly in fear, but I know once she's out of the cage, she really seems to like it. I did a google search and some people say to pick her up and then give her a treat straight away for positive reinforcement, whereas others say to just keep resting my hands in there until she's used to them enough to let me lift her out.<br>
I feel so awful that I frighten her so much, and I don't know what to do!
 

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Just be consistent with the positive reinforcement, she's just not used to being handled yet and isn't comfortable with you. The peeing thing is perfectly normal, I've experienced it often with skittish, young, frightened, and/or submissive animals (mostly guinea pigs, cats, and small dogs/puppies, but also some other small pets, too), especially when they're so much smaller than you, and it just takes a bit but just spend some time with them, be consistent with the positive reinforcement, and she'll warm up to you and being handled in no time.<br><br>
Some animals, I've noticed even feel more comfortable when they're bundled up, though some just get frightened more or show no difference, it depends on the animal. With some of the skittish animals I've had/petsat, I'll wrap them up in a soft, fuzzy, warm blanket, and at first, when I put the blanket on, they squirm a little more, I guess from the shock of being covered, and then when I gently bundle them they'll either calm down or just keep squirming. If they don't squirm, it's a good way to get them to calm down and feel safe and comfortable, and then if they pee a little from getting a little frightened from being held it'll be on the blanket. I've noticed the younger ones seem to be the ones that calm down, while older animals not used to it don't.<br><br>
Though, it really depends on the animal themselves because I bundled my older cat up when we were moving her in the car and she was panicking in her kennel, and she calmed down immediately despite never being bundled before. If you're afraid of hurting them while bundling or you have a feeling they won't like it then it could just help to change into extra, old clothes when you go to handle them and/or put a cheap old rag on your lap that you can just wash if they pee on it.<br><br>
Here's a picture of how I bundled this dog so you can see what I'm talking about. This one, I left his little arms out because he didn't seem like he'd feel comfortable with them in the blanket. The only animals that seem more comfortable with bundled arms are small kittens, but the rodents I've had and cared for don't seem to like it, either, and I'm afraid to do it with their frail arms in case they squirm, so just a basic blanket wrap like this should help if your rats are looking for comfort in a blanket type thing.<br><br>
Regarding the waking up thing, I wouldn't do it, I'm sure they'll settle themselves out once they get used to their schedule. With all the pets I've had or taken care of, big and very small, they seem to settle into a standard sleeping schedule that you can predict well within maybe a week or so tops. Plus, waking them up in the middle of the day could hurt with your other issue, since they'll associate you negatively because you wake them up. I know I'd hate to be woken up in the middle of the night, especially by someone I don't know and am not comfortable around yet.
 

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Treats definitely help, as does patience. Girl rats are generally a little more skittish compared to boys, so they may need a while to get used to you.<br><br>
Cuddling lots helps get them used to you and your smell. Try putting an old piece of clothing that you've worn recently (one you don't mind getting chewed up) in the cage... They will sleep on it and get used to associating your smell with relaxing and safety.<br><br>
Also, try putting on a big old sweatshirt (with a shirt underneath) or a hoodie, and quickly picking them up and dropping them inside. Lie down somewhere, and keep as still as possible (ratty feet can be ticklish!), and try and keep her inside the sweatshirt. With luck, she'll crawl around a bit, but settle down and relax eventually. Drop a few non-messy treats inside to keep her extra happy.<br><br>
Try also just sitting by the cage and talking in a low voice.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Rats are my favorite! I have nine at the moment. They make awesome pets.<br><br>
You'll need to do a lot of trust training with your girls. What you are describing is pretty typical behavior for a younger rat that hasn't been handled much.<br><br>
The two should be fine together since there has been no aggression/fighting between the two. They should bond well. Are you 100% positive they are both female? Just asking because I have talked with many people who got two and were told they were both the same gender and found out after a litter was born that they were not. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><br><br>
Anyway, welcome to the wonderful world of rats!
 
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