The Trouble With Tribbles

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Well, it’s Day 10 of the rat intros. It’s becoming apparent that it’s not going to be as simple as I’d envisaged. Getting two strange rats to get along and play nice is one thing but trying to encourage four big bruiser bucks to be best buddies with two complete strangers is another! I’ve had no problems with Shy-Shy and Pip. Pip is the tolerant kind, he doesn’t like any silliness from the two new boys, and let’s them know by giving them a quick power groom, then it’s all over. Shy-Shy has accepted them as his little brothers (he’s even protective of them). Rocky and Stripe however, are acting slightly freaked out, and continually “fluff up” (their fur stands up on end) until they look like tribbles. They then sidle up to the offending new rat, and kick one of their back legs at him. If I don’t intervene, Rocky begins an all out attack, and looks as if he’s going to take a chunk out of Jinx’s neck. I have had to squirt Rocky with a plant mister, to stop him in his tracks, and scoop him up in a towel. It’s a bit scary! I’ve been putting the aggressive rat into a carrier box for ‘time out’ and then trying again later. Stripe acts in the same way and has had a few time outs too, but he’s seems to just want to create a distance between himself and the new rats. I think Rocky and Stripe are actually more defensive than aggressive. There haven’t been any injuries, and hopefully it will stay that way. I’m going to need an awful lot of patience to succeed in this monumental task!

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Shy-Shy nose to nose with Jinx

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Rocky checking out ‘the Enemy’ Jinx

Stripe is missing from this collection of photos because he was in the Naughty Box!

Today my lovely rats have been mostly eating porridge

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2 Responses to “The Trouble With Tribbles”

  1. hey ,
    over christmas i got three female rats [[amber lilia and daphne]] lilia is one of the sweetest pets ive ever had but the other two no matter how hard i try they just dont want to be picked up and handled the main reason for this is because they are still very nervous of me and act like ive just brought them home from the petshop. to be honest as much as i love them im getting a bit fed up now….do you have any tips ! if you do please email me !

  2. Hi Eve

    Don’t worry, with patience, your 2 shy girls will come around.
    My advice is to offer them treats and try and handle them as much as possible. A way to trust-train them is to keep them on your person for at least 20 minutes a day – I mean don’t let them on the floor or anywhere but where you are. Even if you just keep your hand near them at first – not to pick up and offer treats till they associate you with good things. I used a box with Jinx & Dublin – they could play in the box and I put my hand in the box near them all the time – they were soon running up my arm to explore! Try not to move to fast towards them if you can. I had to put some of my boys (one at a time) in a pouch where they felt secure and let my hand rest near them.

    If they don’t like you picking them up out of their cage or don’t come out by themselves – don’t chase them – this will only make them more scared of your hands – either offer food to encourage or get a pouch or bag and get them used to it – then you can use it to get them out (they will run into the safety of the pouch). Dublin and Jinx used to step from their bed to the pouch and I would carry them in it to the box. It was a secure place to explore from while they were getting used to me. I didn’t let them on the floor (main play area) until they were used to me.

    The best treat for trust-training is yoghurt on a spoon – rats love it and they have to stay to lick the spoon – they can’t just run off with it!!

    I hope that helps you.

    Enjoy your ratties!!

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