pre-tasting food

Discuss rat companionship, introductions and behavioural problems such as biting or shyness or tell us about your rat's unusual habits.
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Mamahase
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pre-tasting food

Post by Mamahase » Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:28 am

Alright I want to know if I'm the only person who has to do this. I recently got five rescue girls that are about 3-5 months old. They hadn't really been handled until I got them. And they are still skittish with me. So here's the weird part..... they won't take a treat unless I've licked it :oops:

Luckily its not with lab blocks but everything else needs to be pre-tasted by me. Anyone have any ideas?

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Jemma
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Re: pre-tasting food

Post by Jemma » Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:40 am

It is an odd one, and not one of heard before in terms of pets and owners. What I have come across is one of the ways wild rats identify which foods are safe to eat. They will specifically pick foods that smell like other healthy rats, normally this is via urine around and on the food (not a nasty idea to them, to them it’s like a food review). I can only assume that your girls are judging that the treat is safe based off you leaving your ‘mark’ on it. Over time when they become familiar with the new food they should take it without you having to mark it for them. In fact if you just kept offering it for long enough they would probably try a tiny amount, see if they get sick, and then start eating it routinely.

You tend to see this behaviour far more in rats that have been raised on a very bland or regular diet, such as those raised on lab blocks or nuggets. There simply not used to the idea food comes in many different shapes and flavours. It’s also probably why they take the lab blocks well, they are familier to them and so judged to be none poisonous.
Jemma
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North of England Rat Society - next show Preston 25th June

Mamahase
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Re: pre-tasting food

Post by Mamahase » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:03 pm

Well that makes more sense. I never had to do it before with any of my other rats. I suppose I should be flattered they trust me enough to be their guinea pig :roll:

lamb
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Re: pre-tasting food

Post by lamb » Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:47 pm

I think thats lovely :hearts: They really trust you. They must think your a huge bald rat :lol:

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