Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Discuss rat companionship, introductions and behavioural problems such as biting or shyness or tell us about your rat's unusual habits.
Locked
User avatar
Lindsei
Member
Member
Posts: 168
Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 2:14 pm
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by Lindsei » Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:45 am

I feel like such a failure & I'll probably get a lot of people thinking I'm a rubbish rattie owner but I need to ask the question so if I get shouted at, I guess it's my own fault.

We decided to get Rats a few weeks ago, so we bought the cages & everything else that was needed. We bought them from a petshop (I didnt know how bad they were at the time :oops: but they did breed them theirself) We decided that we would get 2 each (me, my partner & my son) then everyone had some responsibility. My son is only 6 so I was obviously going to take over much of his responsibilty. We got 4 boys for my partner & son & 2 girls for myself.

The problem I'm having is that the boys are so nervous & sometimes nip. My partner was the one that recommended rats for their intelligence & good nature but now he is too nervous to try to tame the rats, creating a cycle (rats being nervous, making partner nervous, making rats more nervous, etc). My girls are amazing & from day 1 love to be held, stroked and played with & my partner & son are great with them. I'm now stuck in a situation where I'm the only one that seems to be trying anything, they are in a Abode so it's also hard to get near them if the don't want me to. A couple of them are now confident enough to come to the cage door & they will take food from my hands but scarper as soon as I try to touch them (or nip). I'm stuck now at what else to do as I'm growing less confident because of how nervous they are & I'm terrified of being bitten which isn't helping. 2 of them have pink eyes which I think their eye sight doesn't help matters.

I'm sorry for the long post & I really hope that somebody can offer me some advice


Lindsei :love:
:dumbobaby: Rain - Powder Blue Doe, :dumbobaby: Willow - Husky Doe, :baby: Ratty - Silver Fawn Hooded Buck,
:baby: Tango - Silver Fawn Hooded Buck, :baby: Banksy - Agouti Berkshire Buck, :baby: Mr Jingles - Black Bershire Buck

Happy Hammocks

User avatar
RattyRenton
Member
Member
Posts: 2067
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Liverpool

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by RattyRenton » Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:24 am

You're right in saying you will make their nervousness worse if you're jumpy around them. I would start from scratch with them. Don't try stroking them, just offer them food from your fingers, put your hand next to them, slowly, and let them sniff you. If they nip try not to draw your hand away. A good socialising method is to put them inside your jumper or dressing gown and sit on the couch with them for as long as poss. Rats only have the capacity to be scared for 20 minutes. Do this as often as possible and they will learn you're not going to hurt them. When picking them up scoop them from underneath, don't grab from above. Sitting next to the cage and talking to them will get them used to you being around.
Heather x
and the Ratties; Marley, Dylan, Ewan, Charley, Dale, Mitch, Milo, Timmy, Archie, Arthur, Bruce and Basil

:rainbow: Thorston, Si, Dave, Roger and George :dumborainbow:

User avatar
Athena
Member
Member
Posts: 1917
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:19 pm

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by Athena » Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:29 am

I remember just after I got my hens, and they were all fighting and one was bleeding and thinking 'what have I done' and its a horrible feeling!

Firstly, rats do sense nerves, so chill out before trying again. Try and get 20mins with each rat per day min. There are lots of articles on the homepage, but the best idea, imo is wear a long sleeved top with hoodie over it. Out one of the rats up your hoodie sleeve and stand in the middle of your biggest room. They won't be able to see anything to jump to and can only be scared for about 20mins. They will get used to your smell and voice etc. When you return them to their cage they will associate your hand and you with their return to the safe place and start to learn to trust you. You could try giving them an a rated treat too after a bonding session like yoggie or a bit of chicken or tiny bit of cake etc. Food bribery really does work!

Xeta beaten to it! Excellent advice!
Zero, Penn, Teller, Jareth, Ludo, Sir Didymus, Bowie, Hoggle, Yngwie, Nuno, Dotty, Daisy, Dash, Florence, Josephine and Constance
Hattie's House rat rescue

User avatar
little_rat_lover
Member
Member
Posts: 740
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:04 pm
Location: Cornwall

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by little_rat_lover » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:59 pm

I don't think anyone will think you're a rubbish owner, so relax! Most of us have had to learn this stuff - if not with rats, with other small pets!

Have you possibly got a smaller cage? It may be easier if they're in something smaller for a while - pos swap them and your girls as your girls are friendly. It can just make life easier with nervous/untamed rats until they get used to you. Otherwise, layout your cage for easy access - either all places you can get them, or take out things with them in (tubes/houses) and let them come from them onto your lap. It may be worth using a towel or similar so you remove that fear of being bitten - it just puts a layer between you and the rat if you're not confident of being able to ignore the nipping. I try and leave it in their cage a bit to give it a familiar smell, I think some people keep it on them all the time to give it their smell.

I'm always in favour of shoulder sitting - pop rats on my shoulder (1 or 2 at taming stage, not all 4!) and walk around with them there, it doesn't require hand contact if they're nervous, but will get them used to you. It also turns you into their safe ledge. No matter what method it takes time, but I'd think the nipping should be gone after about a week of this (not guaranteed! just based on my experience)


The other option, is seeing if any forum members are near you, who could go and help you with them :) An experienced hand can make it easier if it's an option.

Sure you'll have lovely friendly boys soon though :)
Mummy to Chrissy, Bramble, Amber, Vodka, Riley, Monkey, Stumpy, Princess, Mr Arthur Wiggins, Pixie and Farren.

RIP: Rambo, Rue, Dill, Coconut, Faith Mischief and Bonnie.

User avatar
squeakrat
Member
Member
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:02 pm
Location: Newcastle

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by squeakrat » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:38 pm

You haven't mentioned it, so I don't know if you are thinking about it at all - but if you and your partner are both nervous about handling the boys and you don't have the time to invest in socialising them, you could always consider rehoming them. I'm not sure what your reasons were for getting both boys and girls in the first place, as you will need the extra time to handle both groups, extra cage cleaning etc.

The other alternative as people have suggested above is to spend the time getting them used to being handled, and you will have to try and overcome your nerves if possible, as the rats will pick up on it. If they are young, they should be easier to socialise though.
Jenny x
Vandal :rainbow: Bandit :rainbow: Squeak :rainbow:

User avatar
Lindsei
Member
Member
Posts: 168
Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 2:14 pm
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by Lindsei » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:05 pm

Thank you all so much for your replies, I really appreciate them as I felt I was hitting a dead end.

I'm going to try swapping the boys into the girls smaller cage for a couple of weeks & see if I can make some progress. I have read forums constantly for the last few weeks but I can't seem to control my nerves :oops: Especially after reading the rat bite thread :rollred: I've only made myself worse. I will try all of the advice given & hopefully come back in a couple of weeks with some good news :D

I am not giving up on this because in my mind that is what would make me a rubbish owner.

Thanks again everyone
Lindsei :love:
:dumbobaby: Rain - Powder Blue Doe, :dumbobaby: Willow - Husky Doe, :baby: Ratty - Silver Fawn Hooded Buck,
:baby: Tango - Silver Fawn Hooded Buck, :baby: Banksy - Agouti Berkshire Buck, :baby: Mr Jingles - Black Bershire Buck

Happy Hammocks

User avatar
worthysmum
Member
Member
Posts: 1196
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:17 pm
Location: Norfolk

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by worthysmum » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:46 pm

I think putting these boys in a smaller cage will help loads. I took on a group of five siamese boys, all brothers about three months old and never handled. They were terrified and would bite. I had put them in the top of an explorer, and could not get near them. I eventualy put them into a freddy and the change in them was amazing. They were more friendly and inquisitive with in a couple of days. it did take me a few months to get their trust, and two are still scaredy boys but they no longer bite, all will let me pick them up and cuddle with them. Im so glad your not thinking of rehoming them, Im sure they will be fine given time, and you will feel so proud of them when they are big cuddley lap rats, ( in a while :wink: )
Love is....a dumbo rat

User avatar
squeakrat
Member
Member
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:02 pm
Location: Newcastle

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by squeakrat » Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:52 pm

I'm glad you're not going to give up on them ... I mainly posted about rehoming them being an option, because this would not make you a rubbish owner - if it was the best option for them, rehoming them would be the right thing to do.

Do they only nip when you try to pick them up? Putting them in a smaller cage (also try not to have places where they can hide away and avoid you) should help, and if you continue to hand feed them treats, they will quickly learn that you're not that scary! I've read about some people using a toothbrush to gently stroke them with to get them used to being touched (and save fingers :lol: ).
Jenny x
Vandal :rainbow: Bandit :rainbow: Squeak :rainbow:

User avatar
Lindsei
Member
Member
Posts: 168
Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 2:14 pm
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by Lindsei » Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:38 pm

First Update

So today I cleaned out both cages, then put the girls into the boys large cage & the boys into the girls smaller cage & what a difference already. As soon as I open the the door the boys now all come for a nosy & when we put our hands in they come up & have a good sniff & gentle nibble. They seem a lot calmer already :D

Thank you again to everyone for the advice, tomorrow I am going to move onto stroking & see how I get on. Hopefully i will soon have cuddly boys :D

Lindsei :love:
:dumbobaby: Rain - Powder Blue Doe, :dumbobaby: Willow - Husky Doe, :baby: Ratty - Silver Fawn Hooded Buck,
:baby: Tango - Silver Fawn Hooded Buck, :baby: Banksy - Agouti Berkshire Buck, :baby: Mr Jingles - Black Bershire Buck

Happy Hammocks

User avatar
jan
Member
Member
Posts: 513
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:28 pm
Location: lancs

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by jan » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:05 pm

were bout s are you im in the same vilage you are we could meet up lol
mum to 41 rats to diogsm one bul mastf denzel onre foster gilr suzie thise who are at the bridge side for ever in my heart blessed be

User avatar
jan
Member
Member
Posts: 513
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:28 pm
Location: lancs

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by jan » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:43 pm

scrach that we are meetiong up since we onoly live ten doors away from each other snd nevr new it :o :lol: :rollred: :lol:
mum to 41 rats to diogsm one bul mastf denzel onre foster gilr suzie thise who are at the bridge side for ever in my heart blessed be

User avatar
Lindsei
Member
Member
Posts: 168
Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 2:14 pm
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by Lindsei » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:45 pm

:D it'll be nice to have someone that knows about Ratties close by :D
:dumbobaby: Rain - Powder Blue Doe, :dumbobaby: Willow - Husky Doe, :baby: Ratty - Silver Fawn Hooded Buck,
:baby: Tango - Silver Fawn Hooded Buck, :baby: Banksy - Agouti Berkshire Buck, :baby: Mr Jingles - Black Bershire Buck

Happy Hammocks

User avatar
little_rat_lover
Member
Member
Posts: 740
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:04 pm
Location: Cornwall

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by little_rat_lover » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:39 pm

Well knowing from Jan about what some of her rats are like, handling a few nervous boys would be childsplay for her :lol:

Lovely that you've met someone local! 10 doors away is nearer than local :lol:
Mummy to Chrissy, Bramble, Amber, Vodka, Riley, Monkey, Stumpy, Princess, Mr Arthur Wiggins, Pixie and Farren.

RIP: Rambo, Rue, Dill, Coconut, Faith Mischief and Bonnie.

User avatar
Athena
Member
Member
Posts: 1917
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:19 pm

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by Athena » Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:29 am

Wow small world!
Zero, Penn, Teller, Jareth, Ludo, Sir Didymus, Bowie, Hoggle, Yngwie, Nuno, Dotty, Daisy, Dash, Florence, Josephine and Constance
Hattie's House rat rescue

User avatar
jan
Member
Member
Posts: 513
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:28 pm
Location: lancs

Re: Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew!?

Post by jan » Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:17 pm

erm my erm newbies have settles in wek oh wewkl\ anyone thats no me on here if a rat ites me i have to take him her home with me simples noivce to meetr you n your family there lovey hope levi likes is stuff hes a smashin kid :lol: n u son get tired odf me buggin g you lol glad you like the cage :lol:
mum to 41 rats to diogsm one bul mastf denzel onre foster gilr suzie thise who are at the bridge side for ever in my heart blessed be

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests