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new skittish

3176 Views 6 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Storyseeker
I just brought home a new companion for my rat Ruby. Ruby is amost full grown and i got her a baby friend so there wouldnt be any dominance issues. She is a black hairless who is EXTREMELY skittish...i held her at the petstore and she jumped right out of my hands and ran around the room. same thing almost happened when i took her home... she stood in one side of her temporary quarantine cage and froze. i was just wondering how to be able to get her to be more friendly and trust me.. i never had this problem with Ruby or my previous rat, they were calm and friendly from the minute i got them home. and will this cause a problem when introducing them later on?

i wasnt sure if you would need it so i attached a picture of Harriet the new rat


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also...should i wait a day or two before trying to interact with her? i dont want her to get too scared
What a cutie. Black hairless, just like my two little monsters!

Well, just to hopefully reassure you that there's nothing irreversibly wrong with your new addition, it's not all that uncommon for rats sold in pet stores to be skittish.

They are usually mass bred in pet mill situations where the mothers are stressed, they little to no human interaction, and are typically bred for their looks rather than sociable temperament. Then they are rounded up and shipped enmass in packing boxes to a pet store which is extremely stressful and terrifying to them. There they are exposed to a variety of people, many of whom consider them as nothing more than snake food on the hoof so to speak.

That's the bad news. The good news is she now has you and rats are usually adaptable if you give them the time and love to bloom, especially young rats. With patience on your part, you should be able to turn her around. All it will take from you is a willingness to devote time to her and allow her to get used to you.

I could re-post what I've learned, but I'm going instead to share with you some really awesome links for working with fearful or even aggressive rats that will give you step by step direction on different methods of trust training, and even video guided instruction. Outstanding site with video instruction that will teach you rat psychology and forced socialization techniques. (Forced socialization has its use, but I believe allowing the rat to get used to you first is the much better place to start. Any forced socialization comes later after they are more comfortable overall in my opinion.) Article on fearfulness in rats and trust training Understanding of biting rats and tips on how to work with them. Bonding with your semi socialized or completely unsocialized rat.
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Thanks.. ill definitely take a look at those websites:) Another hing that is slightly worrying me about her is that she has something that looks like a little penis... i know it is easy t properly sex rats because of the differences but Rubys private area is completely flat to her body and my new ones isnt... she doesnt have any testicles but she is still young. Am i just worrying too much or is something wrong with her or is Harriet actually Harry?
It might be that she's hairless and things are more pronounced since there's no hair in the way, but, better to be safe than sorry. Here's a guide to sexing rats:

...And more specifically, here's a graphic visual 'how to' check the sex of your rat just in case your potential 'boy' rat refuses to show you his goulies:
thanks. ill look at those websites and if not maybe go to my petstore where i got my other two. the owner is very knowledgable and migh be able to tell for me. are your hairless female?
Two hairless boys. At 6weeks it was easy to sex mine though. Naked boys are large and in charge so to speak:

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