Hello all, I have some *really* bad photos of our new ratties to show you.
It’s a pic heavy post, but the pics are terrible because I couldn’t get close or move much – I didn’t want to scare the boys!!
To say quite how terrified of the world they are, I think they are doing well.
After I tipped them out the box, once they felt a little more secure in the new environment, the first thing they did was get a long, long drink. I didn’t get any photos just yet because they were very scared and alert, and I wanted them to get a much needed drink.
After this they retreated to the igloo and spent the next few hours mostly hidden away…but all of a sudden Donnie popped out!
This is the first photo I ever got of him 🙂
Honestly they are so small that in some pics you could mistake them for mice – and when you see them in person they aren’t actually much bigger than a Syrian!
Now initially we thought Jeffrey was the braver, but it’s been Ronnie who has been out exploring most, and Ronnie who quickly got used to the noise of the camera taking pics.
It took them a while to get used the noise of the TV, but they’re fine with that now. If they’re up we can’t move at all otherwise they will scarper though.
Here’s Jeffrey’s first adventure
Aren’t they scrawny?!
The fact they’re so young confuses me – will they be easier to tame being young, or harder because most young rodents tend to be scaredier anyway when they haven’t been handled much? Also what has happened to them to make them be such eager biters at such a young age?
I wonder if this will be my greatest challenge to date…even if I can’t get them to the point where I can handle them, if they’re happy and enjoying life that’s good enough for me 🙂
I saw Donnie climbing about a little, just a few times…here he is thinking about it, look at his belly! ❤
He’ll soon develop the peanut figure adult rats should have though 😉
And here they both are thinking about or actually climbing!
Donnie climbed all the way up to middle (lowest) wooden level, sat there for a few seconds and then scuttled down and hid in the igloo with his brother!
My partner said Jeffrey was up on the level before, when I was napping, too! He had a quick sniff then hid for a while…they’ll get there 🙂
You can see why I’m already obsessing with them though, right? Look at the cuteness!
My plan for training / taming them is pretty simple.
I’m going to leave it a few days, and scatter food and treats around the cage…not only does this encourage them to explore, but I’ll know how far they’re going while we sleep by what food is missing!!
After a day or two (depending on how they’re doing around household noises) I’ll begin gently talking / reading to them as I sit by the cage, and end the session with me putting food in.
After a day or two of this I’ll put the food in and then sit with them, and see if they’ll come out and eat whilst I’m sitting with them. I won’t be letting them interact with me at all yet, because remember these two are known biters!!
Next step, whenever I think they’re ready, is to start opening and closing the cage door and generally meddling with the cage whilst talking to them, with the aim of being able to do this with very little fear on their part.
Then it’s time to start offering treats – taking treats by hand is one of the first steps to showing them that I equal good things and am safe, and this is a step we stick around at for a long time.
As they get used to me they should be more willing to stay out the igloo as I meddle with the cage, and eventually (depending on them this could take weeks) they should start running to the door as I open it, approaching my hands etc.
Around that stage I’ll probably start getting them out, but I won’t be picking them up until they’re 100% comfortable with it – instead I’ll carry them out in a tube or box. I’ll plonk them in a small area with lots of edibles, a blanket and a hidey place, and just sit with them.
This is my plan. It can be adjusted however they need, but hopefully if I take it slow enough I won’t get bitten 😉