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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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3 rat questions. help!!

i have 2 rats. rizzo and hank. they're about a year and a half old.
first question:
whenever i get them out they dribble pee on everything. i've gotten used to it. i just keep them on a sheet whenever i get them out then wash the sheet.
second question:
how can their claws/nails be managed? they're sharp and hurt like the dickens!
third question:
this might be a 2 part-er. i used to let them run around on my shoulders but i'm having to not handle them as much anymore because i'm starting to break out in hives. it's only in places where their paws come in contact. i have a feeling it's either the litter or maybe they have fecies on their claws then they scratch me when they crawl around on me then i get hives i dunno. should i bathe them?? i tried to bathe rizzo once. he figured out what was up before i could get him into the bowl of water and he went berzerk so i quit before i stressed him out too much.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 04:25 PM
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Theres no need to give them a bath, just clean off there paws
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 05:13 PM
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1. They are scent marking. Some rats do this more than others. Neutering often helps, but for the most part I don't think it's a big deal. It just comes with having rats.

2. You can clip their nails using regular nail clippers. You might need someone to help you to hold them. Just clip off the very tip of the nail, the sharp part that curves down. Or you can try putting a rock or brick under their water bottle to file down the nails. This has never worked for my rats, but some people have had success with it.

3. Wash your skin with soap and water where it has had contact with the rats. It's easier for allergens to get into your skin when they have scratched you. Clipping their nails and washing up after handling them should help. How long do the hives last? Do they itch?


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 06:35 PM
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Usually you are allergic to either the dander in the hair or the proteins in their urine. Since you are breaking in hives after they walk over you, my guess is that you are allergic to their pee. Washing the scratches with a bit of alcohol after I'm being scratched works for me. I don't know why it does, but it does work for me...
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2009, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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the hives only last a half hour to an hour. i made a habbit of washing with soap and water after handeling them. i even go so far as to apply cortisone if i even think i feel an itch. doesn't help. i can pick them up and carry them around without a problem. it's only if they scratch the surface of my skin that i break out. it's hasn't been a problem untill about 6 months ago so i would like to think it isn't the pee. i'm gonna do some more research maybe it's the litter. we were buying some stuff at tractor supply. cedar or pine pellets. whichever one isn't toxic to small animals. i think its marketed for rabbits. anyway they quit selling it awhile back and that may be when i started having troubles.
as far as the marking goes, not a big deal. like i said we put a sheet down when we get them out. i just wanted to see how everyone else handles it.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 03:42 AM
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by tpolley View Post
cedar or pine pellets. whichever one isn't toxic to small animals.
BOTH are not good for rats!!! They can cause them respiratory problems and should be avoided at ALL costs!!! A paper based bedding or something like carefresh is good for ratties or Aspen shavings..........

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 11:48 AM
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well...1. yes they're just scent marking. I got used to it too lol.
2. ahh the claws, i never found clipping them to be an easy task. SO, i took some 2L pop bottles, cut both ends off, then lined the inside with very high grit (mild, smoothish) sandpaper. you can just tape or staple it in. My guys never cared to chew them, they found either the sandpaper or the plastic bottle unpleasant. you can also have some not-smooth rocks (stones could be too small and get moved around) near the food and water. this helped my degus claws as well.
3. I hear ya. I had the SAME exact reactions, and it only seemed to happen as they got older. Keeping the cage as clean as possible helped me a TON. When I'd get itchy and hived up, a hot washcloth with a tad of soap was nice and soothing. I'd also have to change my clothes after, because there was dribbles that I'd later come in contact with, and the itchy hives would start all over again. Ask some folks about bathing the ratties. Not often, and you can make it fun for them. I bathed mine a few times, it helped, and even more so if I'd bathe them the same day I'd clean the cage. Nope, no cortisone cream or lotion ever helped me either. Just a warm wash would help me. Best wishes!

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 03:23 PM
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You can bathe rats but I wouldn't do it too often. Just put maybe an inch of water (no more than that!) in the tub. They won't be able to jump out, and they'll calm down once they get used to the water. I just used baby shampoo because it doesn't make their eyes sting if you accidentally get some in their eyes.

A lot of people are allergic to rat scratches. I would always get a rash but it wouldn't break out into hives.

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