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How to start letting new rats out?

(23 Posts)
IHeartKingThistle Sat 12-Nov-16 14:38:28

Hello! So as you may have seen me mention about a million times we ate getting our first rats just after Christmas! So excited!

I've done lots of reading but what I really want to know about is starting to let them out.

They'll be living in the playroom which is like a lounge. So the first day, should we get them out and just keep hold of them? Or can you let them explore the room from day 1? I know about getting rid of wires and sealing gaps, I just don't know how much to do with them and how soon! The room has wooden floor and a rug.

Also, DD will be great but DS will initially be nervous of handling them I'm sure, though he will love them. I've read that getting him a fleece with a front pouch might be a good idea to start with. Anyone done this?

Thanks smile

IHeartKingThistle Sat 12-Nov-16 14:39:17

I mean their cage will be in the playroom, obviously!

IHeartKingThistle Sat 12-Nov-16 14:49:19

Oh and I forgot to say that the room has under floor heating - will they be OK on that?

IHeartKingThistle Sat 12-Nov-16 15:50:17

Where are all the rat people today?

Pestilence13610 Sat 12-Nov-16 15:58:53

Don't just let them out, they will go and hide where they feel safe.
They have to learn that their cage is their safe place and that their people are safe.
Get them out and play with them, when you are the safest thing around they will come back to you. Will probably take weeks.

mumonashoestring Sat 12-Nov-16 16:04:58

Start off with careful handling, one rat at a time - once they're used to being picked up & held then you can start sitting down and letting them explore your arms, shoulders, pockets etc, then once they know you're their 'safe place' you can start letting them go a bit further afield smile

IHeartKingThistle Sat 12-Nov-16 16:19:15

Oh that's great advice, Thankyou!

mumonashoestring Sat 12-Nov-16 16:24:35

Oh, and re your question about the fleece with a front pouch, I used to have a fleece dressing gown with a big front pocket and our ratties loved it grin

ThatsWotSheSaid Sat 12-Nov-16 16:28:49

It depends on the rats. Well socialised rats from a breeder can be pretty confidant from the start. A pet shop rat or feeder breeder type rat should be given a few days to settle in to thier cage IMO. I'd also let them shoulder surf before letting them on the floor. Trying to get a timid rat from under a sofa is hard work. Also I demand photos for in exchange for this advice grin

GobblersKnob Sat 12-Nov-16 16:38:13

How weird, I was looking at our rat bags hanging on the back of the door just this morning and thinking I really should find someone to give them to as our rattie dynasty is no more.

They are perfect for nervous rats and new handlers and are just a very soft fleece bag that you hang around your neck, pop your rat in and they are free to hide (but get used to your smell) or some out and explore at will.

If you would like them pm me your address and I will send you them smile

IHeartKingThistle Sat 12-Nov-16 18:11:53

Oh there will be photos! They're coming from a lovely breeder so hoping they'll be used to being held.

Gobbler that would be so kind, are you sure? They sound brilliant.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 12-Nov-16 21:23:33

Gobbler when I read rat bags hanging on the back of the door I was shock, why would you have the ratties hanging on a door?
I call our guineas RatBags but then I read Rat Bags ie Bags For Rats.
Then the penny dropped.


YY to rat piccies grin

IHeartKingThistle Sat 12-Nov-16 23:10:18


RattieOfCatan Wed 16-Nov-16 08:48:59

Sorry to be a bit late but definitely echoing the others advice, give them time to get to know you! With our first few pairs we had a fabric puppy play pen with a lid and it was a great stepping stone whilst they were still so small and fast and big enough and confident enough with us to just pick up (and us confident with them too as our second pair, two rescues, were not brilliantly socialised). We used the pen for constructive playtime until one of our current older girls are through it for fun!

On our first night with our first pair we sectioned off a space of the room that we thought was clear of gaps, used a high partitioning wall, and got them out purely to hold. Within seconds one of them managed to find a tiny gap between the built in fridge and the wardrobe. Cue Fridge-gate.

IHeartKingThistle Wed 16-Nov-16 19:11:31

Thanks! Fridge-gate sounds awful - we could easily end up with Sofa-gate or BehindtheTVunit-gate so we will definitely keep hold of them the first few times they come out!

I know about not feeding them through the bars so they don't learn to bite anything that gets poked through. I guess we talk to them so they learn our voices?

RattieOfCatan Thu 17-Nov-16 04:04:59

Yes, chat to them often! You'll find yourself going over to the cage for a chat often tbh, they're curious creatures and love during art the doors to watch the world! You may get nipped of you like fingers through anyway, their eyesight is not good and they will just grab things!

IHeartKingThistle Fri 18-Nov-16 11:27:58

Duly noted. Apparently one of ours has red eyes - will have to get used to that! Does it mean that one wont see well at all?

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 18-Nov-16 23:17:50

Awwwww red eyes are so cute grin , not everyones choice but they don't deserve their 'creepy' or 'evil' tag.

I've had red eyed guineas (one of my girls at the moment is a ruby eyed) she ran into the bars of the big run, at least twice, the first time she went out (silly rodent)

Stare deep into their eyes, they're like ruby glass........

Pinkgeek Fri 18-Nov-16 23:23:38

Aww I miss my rats! One of the best species of pet in my opinion.
We started by just handling them and I was nervous of them biting so I wore winter gloves for the first few weeks.
They were fine after that but we didn't give them the run of a whole room for about 6 weeks.
Even then they would hide behind the sofa at bedtime!! Little monkeys! We would go at either end and they weren't clever enough to stay in the middle!

You've made me want rats again now! Enjoy them smile

TroysMammy Fri 18-Nov-16 23:26:38

Interact with them and use their names constantly. Have a bag that rustles and treats so that they associate the noise with nice things. If they disappear they will soon come running when they hear it. You can get a book Training Your Pet Rat.

RattieOfCatan Sat 19-Nov-16 04:19:50

Red eyes don't necessarily mean poor eyesight, but it's much more likely. Rats have poor eyesight anyway though tbh! I love eyed rats

HarryPottersMagicWand Fri 09-Dec-16 22:34:53

I wear my dressing gown and my rats tend to climb inside and run around. I can carry them around like this although they generally come down my sleeve and I have to walk around with my arm up in the air as tney like to poke their heads out.

Save up for the vets! I'm having to take one of mine again for a chest infection, 4th time although this is the same as the third time and it didn't clear up. Not happy as I didnt think i had enough meds given to me last time and now I have to fork out another £20 plus medicine for them to look at her again.

Make sure you find a decent vet who can deal with rats. I took one of mine to a vet at the practise I chose and she was rubbish and didn't seem to have a clue, a couple of others there are brilliant with rats so I make sure I ask for one of them when I phone.

HarryPottersMagicWand Fri 09-Dec-16 22:39:57

When we first started letting them out, we had a large box we put them in with some cardboard toys. We would lean in and let them smell our hands. This stopped when we discovered what a good jumper one of them was! She just lept right out and the sides were high. Watch out for that.

We get them out in our downstairs bathroom as they cant escape or chew wires. The jumper likes to climb up the towel rail then leap over into the sink. Problem is she then can't get down. But you get her down and she goes and does it again! Then she'll just sit there if the tap leaks water, she seems to like water, our other one doesnt much.

Watch out for the chewing! I bought a carrier with rubber mesh sides, very very small holes. We took Molly to the vet and in 5 minutes in the car her nose was through the side where she had chewed it. I had a mad panic that she was going to escape whilst I was driving. The vets then let me borrow a cat carrier to put her carrier in to bring her home. She is such a pest that one grin.

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