hi we collected our beautiful two baby rats from the breeder today, having chosen them by playing with them, they were all very sweet and tame and we chose two to bring home. but one of them has bitten quite hard several times today when she has been being handled gently, and my children are very sad about this. the breeder says none of them have ever bitten before. could the rat just be stressed about her new environment, or is this going to be a problem? they have a huge cage with lots of toys and nice food so i am not sure where to go from here. thanks!
I'd say give them time to adjust too. Yes they were lovely when you saw them at the breeders, they were in familiar territory. Now they are somewhere new with new sounds, new smells, new people. They've left the home that they knew. They've had a journey. So they react unpredictably.
YY to making sure your hands don't smell of food, rodents have a keen nose and are always on the look out for food so it's a good bribe technique (though I have to say I don't give the guineas treats when we cuddle them. But if I've made their supper they will gnaw my skin)
Let them have a little quiet time, they'll adjust. Chat to them. You've got their whole lives to get the cuddles in Good Luck with your new fur babies.
DD and I got 2 rescue female guineas in July, I just checked back on their thread. We left them 24 hours to settle even though my DD was desperate to get her paws on the new girls (we already had a male who was kept apart till he was neutered)
They were very flighty for a while (and piggies are nowhere near as agile as rats)
How old are your DC? Maybe try "rat-wrapping" in a light fleece blanket (or a square of fleece) to secure them?
They're likely just in need of some settling in time. They may well be nippy for a few days yet though, like with human toddlers, baby rats will experiment with the world with their teeth. If they nip you, eep loudly, they'll soon learn what they can get away with. Try not to eep if they're only nibbling, only when they're doing it too hard. One of our girls is five months and will nip your hand as a way of saying "Come play with me!" but they usually grow out of nipping in a few weeks.
A good way to get rats used to you is to sit with them and chat to them through the cage. They'll come around slowly but surely Offer them treats, first in the cage, then the door of the cage, then if they stand on your hand, etc.