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How to Acclimate Rats to a New Home

If pet rats are to become your new pets, there are a few things to consider if the rats are also to be tamed. Our tips and tricks tell you how the acclimatization of rats works best and how your rats can become tame pets without stress!

If you let pet rats move in with you, you should find out exactly how the animals are kept in a species-appropriate manner before you buy them. Once it is finally clear where you are getting the rats from, it is important to know how the rats can get to know their new home and their new owner as stress-free and pleasant as possible. In order for your rats to eventually trust you, you need to follow a few basic rules.

When you pick up your rats

You can already influence your relationship with the rats when you pick them up: If you ensure that the transport is as stress-free as possible, your new rats will experience the move as less stressful. You can take the rats home with you in a well-ventilated and draft-proof transport box made of plastic. The box should be stocked with old clothes and shelters.

For longer journeys, give the animals some juice feed, a piece of cucumber or melon is ideal for this. The transport should take as little time as possible. When you get home, place the transport box in or in front of the enclosure that has already been set up.

The first days in the new rat home

The rats must be able to explore their new enclosure independently – they must not be additionally stressed by grabbing or being picked up! Moving to an unfamiliar environment is stressful for rats – give them plenty of time to adjust to their new home. For the first few days, you should leave the rats alone and only provide them with food and water.

Especially during the acclimatization period, it is important that things are quiet and not hectic near the rat enclosure. Abrupt and rapid movements intimidate the animals. Avoid noise such as vacuuming, music, or shouting – these will frighten the already stressed rats.

First meeting with the rats

After about two to three days, you start making contact with your rats. First, you should just sit down next to the rat enclosure and talk to your rodents in a calming manner. In the second step, you can finally put your hand or your arm in the enclosure: the curious rats will certainly (after initial shyness) start sniffing you.

In the first phase of getting to know each other, you can hand-feed your animals some treats. You can then try to gently stroke the animals on the side. But beware: If your rats bite your finger, it just means your hand still smells of the treats. To prevent rats from confusing your fingers with food, it is best to wash your hands before and after feeding.

Avoid grabbing the animals from above: rats perceive you as predators and flee instinctively! Even lifting the rats is still taboo at the beginning. If the rodents already trust you a little, they will eventually voluntarily climb onto your palm and will be happy to sit there.

Lifting rats – How to do it right

Once your rat has gained enough trust to stay seated on your hand, you can slowly pick it up. But be careful: rats are very agile and can quickly jump off your hand. Begin by completely enclosing the rat in your hands. As you become more proficient at handling the rats, grasp their chest with one hand and support their rear end with the other hand. Attention: Rats should never be grabbed by the neck fur or the tail!

The rats also like to sit in sweaters or sleeves – you can also carry some rats on your shoulder. But be careful: if you scare the rats, run and you could fall down! Always stay close to the enclosure at first. Only when the rat sits securely on your shoulder can it be carried through the apartment.

Before letting the rats run free, it is best to wait until they are so trusting that they will voluntarily come onto your hand and can be carried without any problems. The capture must not end in a wild chase: the hunt stresses the rats and destroys any trust that has already been formed!

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