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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy What to do...

I've had my rats for almost three months. As I've mentioned before, they are both a year old and brothers, but have been poorly socialized, and are therefore scared and nibble/bite constantly.

I've been thinking a lot of what to do. I have spent _so_ much time with them, handfeeding, talking, trying to pet/lift/touch them... but nothing seems to work. They are so scared and not used to being handled. I have them for sale on a website, been trying to find a home for them. It is not working at all :/

So... I am thinking about having them put down. I hate the thought myself. But, I've tried EVERYTHING, even finding someone else to have them.. but with no result. Where I live, rats are not common as pets at all, so giving them away is like fishing in the ocean for gold. There is just no way.

It's sad that their lack of socialization and "stupid owners" has made them into such scared and impossible rats. They are just adorable, and I really try hard, but you get to a point where you have to decide what's best. I don't want their lives to be spent inside that cage, day after day...

I want your opinions guys, 'cause I am really struggling here.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 05:56 PM
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was wondering how long have u been working with them ?

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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I worked with them several times every day, for almost 3 months. I made the sad decision to have them put down. I hate when taking lives is the only option left, but in this case it was the right thing to do. They were damaged and I couldn't do a thing about it :/
I delivered them at the vet's office today. hope you all understand why I made this decision..

I still love rats, and decided that I want another pair. It feels so empty without ratties in the house! Hopefully it will be a success this time..
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 06:19 AM
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In the future (for other people that may look at this thread) the best way to "tame" skittish rats is through forced socialization. That means to pick them up and forcibly hold them for 20-30 minutes at the time. You may need to use leather gloves.

I'm sorry you decided to put these boys down.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 09:27 AM
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Yep I don't get that at all. The only way I would have a rat pts is if it was unhappy all the time, i mean truly miserable. If the rat didn't like people but loved other rats, I would deal with it. If the rat didn't like other rats, and people, but was happy on his own then I would deal with that.

You decided they weren't what YOU wanted so that was that.

Did you ask for help in those 3 months? I take in troubled rats all the time, there are sooo many ways to work with rats when you learn what they need with body language. A rat frightened of being picked up is an easy one. You lift the rat in 2 hands or even with your forearms if hands are scary, kiss their back, and put them right back down. The scary thing is over so fast they don't have time to get really scared. They work out their fears and often end up the cuddliest rats. I have taken in rats that had never been handled in their entire life of 18 months. it took some time until he was more comfortable but he ended up being the sweetest thing ever.
I have taken in biters, lungers, escapers, rats so terrified you could barely look at them, etc, etc...only one never worked his issues out.

Are you planning on getting more?

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Last edited by lilspaz68; 09-30-2010 at 09:29 AM.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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I haven't had rats before, so I spent alot of time reading on sites on how to thame/solcialize them. Where I live, rats are not common as pets - so not even the people at the pet shop could give me some advice.
I tried to pick them up, but they screamed and tried to bite me all the time. As mentioned, I had them for 3 months, and since Im sick and spending my days at home, I was around and talked, handfeed them and _tried_ to pet them countless times a day. I tried to sell them, give them away.. No results.

I want to become a vet, so of course I tried everything I could. But the lack of experience with rats, combined with their past, no response from other people... I hate myself for choosing the option, but when 3 full months pass and there is no progress, you come to a point where you have to ask what's best for the animals. We don't have any rat shelters or rescuers, but if there were...

"You decided they weren't what YOU wanted so that was that" - this is not the case. I tried everything, with every tips and trick I found on every site, spent so much time! but as mentioned, when there was nothing I could do, and there's no other possibilities in form of rescue centers etc. I was left with only one option. I see that you rescue rats, and if I had the opportunity, I would NOT put them down.

Of course I want to have a couple more, but I will use my time to research, research, research. I have learned alot from this very sad experience... Please don't be harsh to me, I had no other opportunity.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 12:17 PM
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It's always difficult when they don't improve. I've got a cage with several rats that are very aggressive and can't be handled reliably, even after months of trying. I simply let them have their big cage with lots of hammocks and enjoy watching them live out their lives in peace. 2 of them are 2.5 this year! They've been at my house for 2 years now.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Some have the possibility to keep them, like you Jennicat, but I have two gerbils and three cats also, and the rats stayed in the livingroom since i had no other place to have them. They reacted everytime me or my boyfriend passed the cage to get to the kitchen.. I truly feel sorry for my boys, it sucks.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cob1991 View Post
Some have the possibility to keep them, like you Jennicat, but I have two gerbils and three cats also, and the rats stayed in the livingroom since i had no other place to have them. They reacted everytime me or my boyfriend passed the cage to get to the kitchen.. I truly feel sorry for my boys, it sucks.
I understand what you're saying, but please don't assume that I've only got these rats and no other pets. I have a dog, a cat, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, sugar gliders, and chinchillas in foster right now. It's not always easy to provide animals with what they need, though.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-01-2010, 06:46 AM
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I wouldn't advise boys next time, since they can have issues with hormones that make them hormonally aggressive. In this case a neuter usually works but you might not have a vet willing to do one.

Make sure you have a GOOD vet who is willing to work with you and take direction. There are a ton of sites out there with med advice, dosage advice etc.

This is my Bible
www.ratguide.com

this is a great read for getting to understand rats overall

www.ratbehavior.org

and I would advise 2 girls, although they are prone to tumors unless spayed.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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I would like a pair of girls next time, yes. Been looking around in pet shops and on web site (there are no breeders around, closest one is 8 hrs away:S). hoping for a much better experience next time.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 02:29 PM
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I just want to let you know that getting girls won't always give you sweeter rats. General rule is males are cuddly and females are players.

I have also had a bonded pair of females that used to bite and quiver away from me. Its been a year...they have stopped biting but still quiver.

Be very careful in selecting your pets. Good luck.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 03:54 PM
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If you are looking for new pets, I would take the drive and get them from a reputable breeder. If you had issues with rats being unfriendly that you got from pet stores, why would you do that again?
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 05:07 PM
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i think the most important isn't whether they are male or female but more the AGE at which you get them. if you get them pretty young, even if they weren't socialized, you will be able to teach them fairly fast.
don't get them TOO young that they still need their mother either, but if you are getting from a pet shop, they will never be properly socialized.
I got my rat at a pet shop where they do zero socialization, I took her at 6 weeks, the youngest they would let me, and she was super scared at first but very very quickly bonded with me. Only mistake I did: adopt her alone.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-04-2010, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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So, I'm back, and I've got two new sweethearts.

I've read your responses, and would like to answer
I know that girls are not automatically nicer and calmer. They have more energy, are more exposed to tumors etc. I have done my homework, read alot and joined other forums.

I live in Norway, and there are _few_ breeders here, the closest one to me living 8 hrs away (and most of them are not expecting untill next year). I know what risks there are by getting them from pet shops...

But I took the risk. I came home on Thursday with two girls, about 6-8 weeks old. Now, you will probably get pissed off by what Im going to tell, and I got very angry myself.

These girls came "from Sweden", I was told. Once I got home, I noticed they were ill. Sneezing, coughing, hard time breathing etc. Most likely a respiratory infection. I kept them warm, gave them tea and other tips I got from forums.
We called the pet shop to tell about this, and on beforehand I had done research on where in Sweden they came from. Apparently, it was from a large animal breeder, selling animals to pet shops all over. They are known for breeding and not caring about diseases/genetics, take the children away from their mother at 4weeks and just.. ****.
We called the pet shop, and after talking with the owners, we won. They will never order animals from Imazo (the breeding company), and they would pay our vet bill and get the other rats checked.

Now, I just came back from the vet, with antibiotics prescribed for 14 days. Hopefully they will fully recover and live a happy life with me
They are very curious, and I've started the socialization which is going great (a little slow bcs of them being sick).

And btw, we took these rats to the same vet where I brought my boys. The boys tried to attack the vets and were extremely aggressive, and they said that it was the right thing to do, because they had never handled such rats before.
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