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Thread: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

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    Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    So I've never had rats as pets; I've never even really thought about it.... but now I have two 5-8 month old female white rats sitting in a little 10 gallon aquarium on my counter.

    My boyfriend's brother is a biology major; he saved the rats from being put to sleep after they were tested on in the lab (they were given benadryl shots everyday as part of an antihistamine test). Well, he can't keep them anymore... dorm inspections and such.

    I really don't have the first clue about rats. I know an aquarium isn't a proper living environment, so I am considering a C&C cage. Would they be able to get through the grid openings? What else could I use (inexpensively)?

    Also, they stink terribly--can I give them a bath?

    Any and all advice on ANYTHING pertaining to rats would be greatly appreciated. I don't know a thing about them!

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    Cavy Star wickedrodent's Avatar
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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Unless you are planning on using wire mesh to go around the C&C, there is no way female rats can live in it. They will squeeze their way out.

    Martins has great cages.. Martin's Cages Inc. - The source for all your pet cage needs. (for females.)

    Get them out of that aquarium asap. I also suggest using fleece for them!

    Oxbow has a great stable diet (regal rat): Oxbow Pet Products | Welcome

    Then this is a great add on to their diet: ratsrule.com - suebee's rat diet

    Forbidden Foods List: Forbidden Foods

    You can give them a bath with the same type of shampoo used for guinea pigs. BUT. They aren't going to like it!

    Pictures?

  3. "Thank you, wickedrodent, for this useful post," says:


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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Here are some good primer resources:

    RMCA: Rat FAQ
    RMCA: Rat and Mouse FAQs

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    Cavy Slave newpiggiemommy's Avatar
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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    I never saw how people can love a rat! Don't get me wrong, I don't mean they should be killed. I just don't see the attraction as a pet!

    I used to work in a petstore (a million years ago) and there was this one rat that someone was buying as a pet. I went in to pick it up and it turned around and bit me with its razor sharp teeth. I never looked at a rat the same again!

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    Cavy Slave Rattie Mom's Avatar
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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    newpiggiemommy - it is VERY rare for a rat to bite. Unless of course they are bred for snake food, never socialized as our small pets should be, have been abused, or feel threatened.

    To be honest, yet not meaning to be rude....making comments like yours in a rat forum, would be like someone going into the piggie forum and making similar statements. I think wiggly_narco is looking for advice about keeping ratties, not a reason to get rid of them.

    Here is another good site for rat info. The boards are shut down now, but still several good articles and old chat board topics that could be helpful. Also, there are a few of us rat lovers here too that are happy to help.

    I agree with everyting Wickedrodent has suggested. Especially about the 10 gallon aquarium and trying fleece. Pine and Cedar shavings are bad for rats (and other small animals of course), if you do use litter, Aspen shavings and Carefresh ultra are good choices. My guess about them being stinky, would be that their tank hasn't been kept very clean, and it also offers no ventalation (thus the reason for a nice cage).

    Think of these little rats as mini dogs. They will have the same temperment, personality, and need to interact with you. Never underestimate their intellegence, they are the smartest of all small animals!

    Those poor babies for having to endure all that benedryl.

    Rats need a good quality lab block like Harlan Tekklad, or similar like the Oxbow Regal rat (though mine hated it), even Nutro's natural LITE dog food is a good staple with low protein. Rats also do well on the cereal and grain mix like the Suebees'. But that should be in conjuction with the blocks or dog food. Rats also need fresh veggies and fruit as well. They are homnivores, so they can also eat cooked pasta, cooked sweet potatoes (no skin), frozen thawed peas, corn, canned cooked kidney beans.

    Rats love hidey boxes, soft blankies and hammocks to snooze in. They are VERY easily litter trained. They also need at least an hour a day out of cage to interact with you. We have our's out on the bed with us while we watch tv.

  7. "Thank you, Rattie Mom, for this useful post," says:


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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Thanks, guys!

    Unfortunately, I really can't afford a Martin's cage right now. I got them out of the aquarium right after my last post; I put them in Wiggley's old pet store cage I found in the closet. Even out of that tank, they reek--I'm going to have to try to bathe them. Anways, I have extra grids from my GPs' cage, so I was hoping to use them. What is this wire mesh stuff, where can I get it, and how much can I expect it to cost? Also, I'd like to know how to go about potty training them, because I definitely plan on putting fleece in the cage just as soon as payday rolls around next week. I just can't spend a whole lot right now. This really wasn't an expected expense. I just didn't want him to have to take them back to the lab and put them down.

    Thanks again for all the helpful advice... I'm off to read those links now. Anything else (anything at all) ya'll can think of, please let me know!

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Well, they might smell for a bit, until they can give themselves a good bath. But since they are females, I'm surprised they smell so bad....unless their tank wasn't kept clean.

    I would really recommend not giving them a bath if you can help it. It might really freak them out. I've had rats for over 7 years and only bathed one once (he had some skin issues and we tried an oatmeal bath). You might have just as good of luck using a warm washcloth and giving them a sponge bath/wipe down. Don't get them too wet, as leaving them wet and cold isn't good for them either. Just maybe give them a damp wipe down, and they will do the rest themselves.

    If they are on litter now (hopefully not the pine/cedar), potty training them might be rather easy. You can line their cage with fleece or cloth, and put the litter in the box. They tend to go right for it. If they poo out of the box...just do like you would with a kitten, pick it up and put it in the litter box. If it's any consulation, I had a wild rat in our basement once....long story short, she eventually ended up in a cage for her last couple of months of life. I put a litter box in her cage....and she started using it right away. How's THAT for smart?

    You can get the hardware mesh by the roll at any store like Lowes or Home Depot. You might also go on a board like craigslist or something and see if anyone has a used rat cage for cheap. Just remember, you should have no less than 2 cubic feet per rat. More if you can.

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Here is another link for you. It's another rat chat board, that was a spin off of Rat Palace. There might be someone in your area that can help you find a used cage etc.

    Rats Ahoy!

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    I have four rats with two cages connected.

    The first cage is large enough for two rats:

    Amazon.com: Super Pet My First Home (large, green base 30'' x 18'' x 16''): Kitchen & Dining

    The second is large enough for four rats:

    Amazon.com: Prec Rabbit Cage Lg 37X18X21: Kitchen & Dining

    The rats (males) cannot fit through the bars of either, but can almost squeeze through the second, which is why I've covered it with mesh.

    I got the first from Meijer's and the second from my local pet store.

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Ok, so I built my new lil rescues a C&C cage. It is 2 grids long, 1 grid deep, and 2 grids high with 3 levels. It is covered with hardware cloth, and I put them on fleece (which they haven't started chewing on YET, thank goodness).

    On the first level they have a ratloo (haha, pigloo just didn't seem fitting), a rope, the litter box, and a ladder to the second level. On the second level is a thick toilet paper tube, a wheel, and a ladder. The third level is their food dish (very cheap cat food dish), water bottle, mirror with a bell, and log tunnel.

    Now... I have a few questions.

    I put some of their old bedding in a litter box I made for them, but they aren't using it very much... any suggestions? Should their food and water be on the same level as their litter box? I wasn't sure if that matters the way it does with guinea pigs.

    Also, does that wheel look big enough? I sent my boyfriend to go get it while I was at work, and because I've never had ratties before, I don't know if it is large enough.

    Finally, they won't eat anything! ... low protein dog food, cereal, veggies... nothing. What should I try?

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Rats don't need their food near their litter box. But they will go where it's convenient. i.e. if you have three levels, you might think about putting two boxes in it. Maybe one on the top level, and one on the bottom.

    I don't see a pic of your wheel, can you post one? I will say, if it's a wire wheel..it's very dangerous. They can break their feet and tails in wire wheels. So you should take it out. The only safe wheels are the silent spinners, wodent wheels or the ones that are all closed in. The bigger the better really.

    They really aren't eating ANYthing? Do you know what they ate in the lab? I assume it might have been blocks? If so, you might need to get some of those until they can get used to other foods. You have to keep them eating. It's a crappy brand, but you can get the Kaytee blocks at the petstore, that will work in a pinch. At least to get them eating. But then wean them off asap.

    Rats aren't as keen on the same kind of veggies we give our piggies. Mine love frozen thawed peas and corn. Seriously, they should go for those. Maybe try some of the other items I listed in an early reply and see if they go for those. Ratties also love yogurt. We give our's soy yogurt all the time and they go nuts for it.

    I would try to get them eating and more comfortable with you, before worrying too much about litter training. Just keep picking up the poos and putting them in the litter box...they'll get the hang of it, easy enough.

    Can you post some pics o your new little ones?

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rattie Mom View Post
    newpiggiemommy - it is VERY rare for a rat to bite. Unless of course they are bred for snake food, never socialized as our small pets should be, have been abused, or feel threatened.

    To be honest, yet not meaning to be rude....making comments like yours in a rat forum, would be like someone going into the piggie forum and making similar statements. I think wiggly_narco is looking for advice about keeping ratties, not a reason to get rid of them.
    Rattie Mom~I am so very sorry! I did not mean any disrespect! I was actually looking for a comment on what it is that makes rats good pets! They terrify me! And I have never heard of them as pets until I worked at a pet store! I was just curious about what kind of a pet they make!

    Again, I am so sorry! I think when I wrote the original message, I was just remembering the one encounter I had with a pet rat!

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Wow, I'm so dumb! Haha, I totally forgot to add the pics!

    Here are a few different views of the cage:









    And here's the wheel. It's a mesh-type grid and 8" in diameter. According to the boyfriend, the next largest size was huge and for a chinchilla. *shrug*



    Whatcha think?
    Last edited by wiggley_narco; 03-16-08 at 10:18 pm. Reason: add

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    And here's the girls themselves!





    They just kind of cowered in the litter box while I was taking pictures last night, but now they've explored the rest of the cage.

    Do you think the cage is big enough for the two of them?

    I don't know how well you can see it in the pic, but they are both dirty. They have reddish-brown stains on their hair--probably from living in such a tiny, filthy cage. That's why I was wondering if I should give them a bath. They're already smelling a little better, though!

    Also, if you look closely at their tales in the better-lit picture, you can see that the bio majors colored their tails (one blue, one green) with permanent markers. The marker has started to fade, but their tails are still stained with that and the same reddish-brown stuff. Should I try to clean this? If so, how?

    Yes, they were on lab block prior to coming to live with me... but I don't have a way to get any until at least Tuesday. The nearest place to get it is an hour away, and my work schedule is hectic right now.

    Oh, but today they ate a little (very tiny) bit of low-protein dog food... and cake icing, thanks to a visit by my dumb younger sister (she just got her license and was happily making rounds around town... watch out). They LOVED the icing. I hope that won't hurt them--she did it while I was in the shower. When I got out they were seriously chowing down on it.

    Thanks guys!
    Last edited by wiggley_narco; 03-16-08 at 10:31 pm. Reason: spelling

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Nice cage! I like the pink fleece!

    Their cage looks like so much fun!

    Your rats seem to stick really close to one another! Every picture has them almost side by side! That is really cute!

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Rattie Mom, thanks so much for the food advice! I had some corn sitting in the fridge because I give my piggies the husks/silks... so I decided to try the actual kernels of corn with the ratties just now.

    They went wild for it! Yaaaay!

    That makes me very happy! They were eating right from my hand! Awww, I'm a big excited dork!

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator Ly&Pigs's Avatar
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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    If you get lab blocks, get Harlan Teklad, they are the best. In the meantime, try some human foods with them like tuna, boiled egg, dried and cooked pasta/rice, etc.

    You can't just do the dog food alone, you need Suebee's mix to supplement. WR linked you to the mix in post #2. My own rats live off of variations of the Suebee mix, nutro natural dog food and Harlan Teklad blocks, fresh veggies, a bit of fruits and other human foods.

    The cage looks large enough. You can always do a search for "rat cage calculator" and put in the measurements and it will tell you if it's large enough.

    The wheel appears to be a wire one. You will want to replace it. My rats won't even use a wheel, none of them. But I have ropes, dowels and other climbing toys in their cages.

    Rats make the most wonderful pets. They are loyal and most are very affectionate. I have 3 males and 3 females. They normally don't bite unless they've not been socialized properly or if they are hurt/in pain.

    Never grab or hold rats by their tails as it hurts them.

    I think your ratties are very precious and cute. I know you will make a great rattie slave. Just socialize with them for at least an hour daily. Let them ride on your shoulder when walking around your home.

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    So after the success with the corn last night, I decided to try some other foods you guys suggested for the rats. I gave them cooked macaroni noodles, more corn, cooked rice, low-protein dog food, carrots, and a few small pieces of apple........ they ate the corn. LOL. They picked out every last kernel of corn and that was all they ate.

    I took them both out this morning (separately) to interact with them. Neither of them were happy about it. They tried to run away the whole time... but I guess I would too if the only prior interaction I'd had with big scary people involved getting shots that made my heart feel like it was going to explode. I also tried wiping the stains off of their pretty white hair with a wet washcloth but no luck there. The stains aren't budging. But I'm not so much concerned with that as I am getting them used to FRIENDLY human interaction. What would ya'll suggest to help them see that not all people want to jab them with needles?

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Quote Originally Posted by wiggley_narco View Post
    So after the success with the corn last night, I decided to try some other foods you guys suggested for the rats. I gave them cooked macaroni noodles, more corn, cooked rice, low-protein dog food, carrots, and a few small pieces of apple........ they ate the corn. LOL. They picked out every last kernel of corn and that was all they ate.

    I took them both out this morning (separately) to interact with them. Neither of them were happy about it. They tried to run away the whole time... but I guess I would too if the only prior interaction I'd had with big scary people involved getting shots that made my heart feel like it was going to explode. I also tried wiping the stains off of their pretty white hair with a wet washcloth but no luck there. The stains aren't budging. But I'm not so much concerned with that as I am getting them used to FRIENDLY human interaction. What would ya'll suggest to help them see that not all people want to jab them with needles?
    Food will definitely help them get attached to you. Try that before you pick them up again. Little pets in the cage, and treats (healthy, though.)

    Take the wheel off and just attach it to the cage so it doesn't move. It'll be just another climbing game for them.

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    Re: Two ratties just got dropped in my lap... help.

    Cute rats!

    I would love to have rats, but I don't have time for more cages, and my girlfriend hates them. I'll just have to enjoy everyone else's rats.

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