Author Topic: Rats & Kids....  (Read 321 times)

Offline mustang480

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Rats & Kids....
« on: September 23, 2009, 06:00:38 PM »
We have 4 rattie boys (7 weeks old) and we've been doing pretty well with free range time.  They come out of the cage on their own and run around and climb on us, etc.  My kids, especially my daughter, like to pick up and hold the rats but, when she does, they eeeep and squeak and struggle to get away.  She wants to keep picking them up over and over, and I'm not sure whether to allow her to or if they need to be left alone to just climb on us when the want to.  Does all the eeeeping mean they don't like when she holds them?  I know she's not hurting them, so that's not the problem.  Any advice?

Offline Claymore

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Re: Rats & Kids....
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2009, 06:14:38 PM »
I would let them come to her on their own, but let her give them some treats, such as a little baby food, fresh fruit (except orange juice, fresh peeled orange pulp is ok), fresh veggies, things like that.  The fastest way to a rat's heart is through their stomach.  They will learn that she brings good things, and she can coax them on to her as they get used to her.  She may even be able to pick them up at that point, just make sure they are snug up against her chest or stomach, and cradled in her arm or hand.  They are really little yet, and may just be nervous about her being so young.  She should hold them for at least 30 mins when they do calm down with her a little bit, it will help them get over any fear.  Another thing you can do with her is to have her wear a hoodie backwards, so that the hood is in the front.  Put the boys, one at a time, in the hood and let her walk around and stuff with him in the hood.  Repeat this for each boy, then you can start putting them in the hood in pairs, all the way up to all 4 of them.  If one seems overly anxious, you can put one of the calmer ones in the hood with him, and provide lots of love, and some treats in moderation.
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Offline mustang480

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Re: Rats & Kids....
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2009, 06:28:09 PM »
Claymore, thank you, that sounds like really good advice.  I'm def going to try the hoodie thing.  The funny thing is they don't seem scared of her at all, I mean they come up to her and they climb on her...but they just don't want her to hold them in her hands.  That's when the eeping starts.  She holds them securely against her tummy/chest, but they just eep and struggle to get away, so I tell her not to force them to stay.  If she doesn't try to hold them, they are fine coming up to her and climbing on her legs, in her lap etc...

Offline caleppert

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Re: Rats & Kids....
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2009, 10:21:57 AM »
I totally agree with the treats and hoodie approach.  It sounds like your rats are eeping trying to get away.  Instead of actually holding them, I'd recommend that maybe she quick pick one up and put it on her lap.  If he tries to wander off, just grab him and put him back, rather than holding them still.  Especially at that young age they are more interesting in exploring then sitting still and being pet.  You'd also don't want them to associate your daughter with a less than enjoyable experience.

You could also suggest to have your daughter put them on her shoulders.  She'll be able to snuggle with them without pinning them down per se.  Just watch out for the ears! :)

Offline mustang480

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Re: Rats & Kids....
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2009, 10:54:16 AM »
I totally agree with the treats and hoodie approach.  It sounds like your rats are eeping trying to get away.  Instead of actually holding them, I'd recommend that maybe she quick pick one up and put it on her lap.  If he tries to wander off, just grab him and put him back, rather than holding them still.  Especially at that young age they are more interesting in exploring then sitting still and being pet.  You'd also don't want them to associate your daughter with a less than enjoyable experience.

You could also suggest to have your daughter put them on her shoulders.  She'll be able to snuggle with them without pinning them down per se.  Just watch out for the ears! :)

She does try putting them in her lap but they are soooo quick....she can't even catch them before they run off again.  They are pretty hard to catch.  I am able to do it when they are on me, but my daughter is only 6, so is not as quick and deft.  I'm a bit scared of putting them on her shoulder, which she has also tried, but they seem to want to jump off.  They start trying to climb down her back.  I'm scared they could jump and get hurt.

I would like to try the hoodie, but how does it work exactly?  I'm thinking she would need to stay in the bathroom with them in the hoodie because they could easily crawl out of the hood and escape somewhere into the house...  ???

Offline caleppert

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Re: Rats & Kids....
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2009, 11:26:59 AM »
That's the best bet, or have her sit on a bed or couch.  Rats are not usually inclined to jump off a bed as it is too high from the floor.  I don't know if you have other pets like dogs or cats, but if you do, just make sure they're not able to get to the rats on the off chance one decides to be superman. :P

I usually put them in the hoodie pocket, between my undershirt and the hoodie, or the hood portion and let them run around.

Offline Billie40

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Re: Rats & Kids....
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2009, 12:19:29 PM »
I also would like to stress that their youth may be working against you. They don't wanna be held and have no time for snuggles-yet. I have two on opposite ends of the snuggle spectrum. The one who has no use for snuggles wouldn't let me hold her in my hands intil she was about 12 wks. Even now hands are for transportation, not hanging out. She prefers not to be picked up eithr but will tolerate it for transport purposes. It may feel insulting when he loves on you then eeps at your daughter but you'll need to stress to her that it's not personal and that with time and practice he'll come around.
When she does get ahold of one, treat distraction might work. One quick treat then release after it's been eaten. Then try again with another boy. They'll eventually learn that good things come from the little humans just like the big ones.

Offline mustang480

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Re: Rats & Kids....
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2009, 12:26:28 PM »
I also would like to stress that their youth may be working against you. They don't wanna be held and have no time for snuggles-yet. I have two on opposite ends of the snuggle spectrum. The one who has no use for snuggles wouldn't let me hold her in my hands intil she was about 12 wks. Even now hands are for transportation, not hanging out. She prefers not to be picked up eithr but will tolerate it for transport purposes. It may feel insulting when he loves on you then eeps at your daughter but you'll need to stress to her that it's not personal and that with time and practice he'll come around.
When she does get ahold of one, treat distraction might work. One quick treat then release after it's been eaten. Then try again with another boy. They'll eventually learn that good things come from the little humans just like the big ones.

Yes I figured their age was a factor.  They are so active and curious!  I've explained to her that with time and age they will tolerate being held for longer periods of time.  We'll just keep working at it.  We've only had them almost 3 weeks now and they have come a long way.  When we first got them they wouldn't come out of the cage for anything and now they are practically beating down the doors!  LOL  Patience I guess....patience....   :)

Offline Billie40

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Re: Rats & Kids....
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2009, 12:34:08 PM »
Hehe, if they're like most boys she'll eventually be saying "Why doesn't he do anything? He's just laying here!" It's amazing how quickle they grow and mature. A little sad too, but being a mom I'm sure you know all about that already.

Offline mustang480

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Re: Rats & Kids....
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2009, 12:53:54 PM »
Hehe, if they're like most boys she'll eventually be saying "Why doesn't he do anything? He's just laying here!" It's amazing how quickle they grow and mature. A little sad too, but being a mom I'm sure you know all about that already.

Yea, I am trying to cherish this time while the ratties are babies, because I know it doesn't last that long.  Of course the kids don't understand this concept and, like you said, before long they will be wishing the boys were a little more active.  LOL  But, yes, having kids really does change your perspective on things such as these.  :)