A rat’s first day

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 forย me ๐Ÿ™‚

I saw Donnie climbing about a little, just a few times…here he is thinking about it, look at his belly! โค

He’ll soon develop the peanut figure adult rats should have though ๐Ÿ˜‰

And here they both are thinking about or actuallyย climbing!

Donnieย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

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13 thoughts on “A rat’s first day

    • Thanks! They had a good second day today, Ronnie has been out exploring a lot; he didn’t flee when I went and talked to him, and he’s been all the way to the top!! I’m still scattering food at the bottom for Jeffrey as I haven’t seen him up anywhere yet ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Awww they are so cute, I love rats and would love to keep them again but it just wouldn’t be practical at this point with two high prey drive cats and then the dogs. These two are really adorable and I hope you get to a point where they’re comfortable with you at least ๐Ÿ˜€

    • I’ve wanted breeder rats for so long…I contacted several breeders but they were both a bit useless at replying (one of them stopped replying and I got an email a year later saying ‘omg sorry, do you still want rats?!’) and as we don’t drive they’re a pain to get to…I’m happy to take in rescue rats and build their confidence as much as I can, but they’ll never be the same as breeder babies ๐Ÿ™‚

      These two boys really are so cute though! Ronnie (who we were told was more nervy) has been out exploring a lot today, and has been to the very top of the cage. He didn’t flee when I moved to the cage and posted treats through, and he wasn’t too freaked out by my talking to him. Jeffrey hasn’t been up at all, but I don’t think they’re doing bad for day two!

      Even if they just end up being ‘watch only’ rats, they’re cute enough to totally get away with that ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Rats make such awesome pets don’t they…I get very confused by everybody who recoils at the thought of them, because they’re such awesome little characters!

      • I’ve never been in a position to have rescue rats, there are a couple breeders who I keep an eye on just because they produce gorgeous babies. The rats I had when I was younger were pet shop rats but I remember them as very friendly and outgoing.

        They’re doing extremely well for their circumstance, they’ll grow in confidence and I know you’ll give them the best life possible even if they don’t become overly cuddly. They are brilliant pets, very friendly and the best characters, they’re the pet I would always recommend for children because they are, generally, friendly and like to interact and play. They’re still a small animal so not quite the same sort of commitment as a dog, but still a brilliant hands on pet that you can really teach tricks to and have a bond with

      • Rat babies are the cutest ๐Ÿ™‚

        My first rats were pet shop rats (literally the worst pet shop on the planet, too!) yet they were soooo friendly. I was eight years old and they were the best pet ever ๐Ÿ™‚

        The boys were both up quite a bit yesterday; we saw them both go to the loft which was awesome, and they were racing and leaping about everywhere. I started talking to Donnie for a few minutes at a time and he didn’t flee, so I’m chuffed with the progress!

        I definitely think rats are an amazing pet, and tend to be much better for children than hamsters or gerbils. They’re also bigger which makes them easier to hold and pick up.

        I know I had a lot of small rodents for pets as a kid, and my rats are virtually the only ones I remember that young ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Awww they’re doing so well!! He sounds like he’s going to be very brave once he really settles and realises he’s completely safe ๐Ÿ˜€
        I just think rats are so much more of an interaction pet than hamsters and gerbils, definitely size has something to do with it. We had almost everything at one point or another and I can’t remember everyone’s names or even what they all looked like but one female rat does stand out for me in how lovely she was, I must’ve only been very young too because there were rats after her and a long time without any after that before we moved

      • Yeah, rats seek out and really do bond with you, whereas I haven’t had that happen to the same degree at all with gerbils or hammies…don’t get me wrong I love them as pets, but you can’t beat having a rat kiss you or sit on your lap as you watch TV ๐Ÿ™‚

        The last rats I had as a child were the biters, so I didn’t want rats for years after that…and when we did get rats again, we went through a breeder haha!

        Funnily enough all my rats but two have been male…most times I didn’t specifically ask for it to be that way, it just happened, although I think I do prefer males…bigger and tend to be lazier haha ๐Ÿ˜›

      • Yeah I know exactly what you mean, I’ve had some brilliant hammies (I never really bonded with the few gerbils we had) but rats are a league of their own. I can’t think I’ve had biters but that could just be oversight on my part. I think I prefer females, just because rat balls are huge and in your face ahahah

      • Hahahaha ohhh we used to laugh so much when I was a kid and our big male rats would come sleep on my shoulders and their rat balls would scud along my neck / face hahahahaha XD

  2. Oh, lovely you two! I’m sure we can exchange many good plans hihi (like how to escape and stuff ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) But first settle in, in your new lovely home. Greets Timon & Pumbaa

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