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Foster rats

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've been wanting rats for a really long time and finally got a chance to foster for a rescue. I got my first group last night and they have been fun so far. It is two neutered PEW males and two hooded females. The males are very skittish but the females are sweet. Here is a picture of one of the females:



"If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers." ~Carl Sagan

"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem." ~Douglas Adams
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"If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers." ~Carl Sagan

"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem." ~Douglas Adams
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post #2 of 17

:thumbsup

 

Rats are so smart and fun!  I had one million years ago.  You should just adopt them.  :)

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
They've been fun so far but the males are quite skittish. I'm working on taking them out of the cage and making them friendlier but it will take a while.

I'm holding off on adopting more pets just because I'm not quite sure where j will be working after graduation or how much I will traveling. So I'll just be happy with fostering for now!
"If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers." ~Carl Sagan

"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem." ~Douglas Adams
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"If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers." ~Carl Sagan

"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem." ~Douglas Adams
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post #4 of 17
They are so cute! I had rats a few years back... Great little pets!
Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes... That way, if they get mad, you're a mile away. AND you have their shoes. 
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Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes... That way, if they get mad, you're a mile away. AND you have their shoes. 
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post #5 of 17

Hey, Rat fancier here and AFMRA member. Use to breed mice (texels and angoras here) and a big time rat owner. I can say for the past 10 years now I have been keeping rats over mice and I love them so much more (still love mice but not as much as the rats). They are super smart and easy to litter train, they learn a large variety of tricks, and they actually as so fun and funny and playful. Girls can tend to be a bit more skittish until they warm up to you but BOY wait until they get use to you, they play hard. My girls like the wrestle with my hands and have me chase them and play with cat toys and feathers on strings. Boys are more lazy and love cuddles so depending on what you prefer. I have one neutered male rat who is just my lap boy and enjoys being carried, held, and petted. I also currently have three girls who are my crazy wild trouble makers. Be certain to rat proof any room they can free range in and by rat proof baby proof, puppy proof, kitten proof a room. They get into everything when they get bored xD. I am sure you will enjoy them so much, they are such fun smart little pets and so social with their humans.Just a little warning if you have other smaller pocket pets or reptiles, some rats can high prey drives and will try to get at smaller rodents/reptiles if given the opportunity. Some of my old rats were actually amazing mousers and killed more mice who got into the house than our cats. 

You don't frighten me, I have roosters. 

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You don't frighten me, I have roosters. 

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post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
The females have been a lot of fun! I have been offering them a little bit of peanut butter on my fingers and they go crazy when I come in the room now. They are definitely smart.

Any tips for getting the boys used to me? They won't even eat peanut butter from my fingers. When I do take them out, they just shake and try to hide. I would love to socialize them to make them more adoptable but so far I haven't figured out a great way.

What does everyone use for substrate in their cages? I've used both paper/pine pellets and fleece which I changed daily. I'm not sure what I liked more. Both are low dust but I'm curious what others use.
"If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers." ~Carl Sagan

"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem." ~Douglas Adams
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"If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers." ~Carl Sagan

"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem." ~Douglas Adams
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post #7 of 17

I use all fleece liners and then rabbit pellet litter for my litter boxes. All my rats are litter trained so it makes it easier. I change the litter box about 3 times a week and my fleece once a week when I do a deep clean of the cage. 

 

One thing that helps with skittish rats is trying to actually give them food on a long spoon or a stick. They are afraid of you but they still like the food.Slowly you can bring the spoon or stick closer and closer until you are feeding from the hand. Also it helps to have something of yours that smells like you in their cage. Rats have a stronger sense of smell than dogs and associate people and things with smells. The more they grow use to your smell the less they fear you as you become a familiar thing in their smellscape. Also move slowly and talk with a soft voice. Rats have poor eyesight and from a distance you look like a giant moving monster. Moving slow is less likely to startle them and soft voices are more calming. Sometimes just sitting by the cage for half a hour and talking to them and slipping treats into the cage is enough to earn their trust. Also remember, some rats who come from bad situations may have gone more feral or traumatized and are distrustful of people. These rats can take longer to come around but when they do they really appreciate their humans. This happened with my male Ryker and to this day (4 years later) he is now my shoulder surfer and shadow. 

You don't frighten me, I have roosters. 

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You don't frighten me, I have roosters. 

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post #8 of 17

Just piping in, I also use fleece liners for my rats (my last batch was 3 boys) with paper pellets in the litter boxes.  I cleaned out everything every 3 days.  I did try all paper litter before but it ended up being more work than the fleece, which can be shaken off, laundered, and reused.

 

Mine were all hand raised by rat fanciers so I didn't have any real problem socializing them to me.  I did carry them around in my clothing for a while to acclimate them to my scent (and after that they just enjoyed riding around in it - even when they "ran away" into my bedroom I'd find them sitting on my night clothing), so maybe you could try putting some scraps of fabric with your scent so they'll get used to it, even when you're not around.  Best of luck with the boys!

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys!

How did you get your rats to litter train? It seems like a few of mine will poop in the litter pan but they pee out the side of the cage constantly. It's not a huge deal but it would be nice not to have to wipe up the cage so often!

The previous foster mentioned putting smooth black rocks in the litter pan. I've been trying that but I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes.
"If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers." ~Carl Sagan

"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem." ~Douglas Adams
Reply
"If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers." ~Carl Sagan

"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem." ~Douglas Adams
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post #10 of 17

Rats naturally only like to go to the bathroom in certain spots so find those spots and set up your litter box. If you have dirty bedding put it in the litter box and always pick up any poo that does not make it inside and drop it in the box so they start to realize the box is the business spot.

You don't frighten me, I have roosters. 

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You don't frighten me, I have roosters. 

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