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New Rat Behavior Doesn't Make Sense
I got my first pair of rats a couple of days ago. They are sisters, and 5 weeks old. I know young rats and females are supposed to be squirmy, but their behavior confuses me. If they are in the cage, they let me pet them and such without getting scared. It's when we try to catch them that they act scared. When we first got them, my husband was getting a couple final things ready in their cage and I decided to hold one of them since they were letting me pet them without being scared. Jake sat one on my lap and she crawled around on me, trying to explore. Then she crawled up onto my shoulder close to the side of my neck and groomed herself and went to sleep. These rats have been socialized since they were born. Do they like me or not? I can't tell. They act like they don't want to be picked up (one more so than the other), but sleep on me and nibble my hair. Are they just nervous because it's a new cage?
So, the bottom line is that I'd like it if someone could explain the way they are acting and give me some pointers on how to hold them without scaring them to pick them up first. Thanks.
Perhaps it's the way you reach in to pick them up? IIRC, when I had a pet rat many, many years ago, she preferred to crawl onto my outstretched hand (palm up) rather than be grabbed around the middle and picked up that way.
We've been trying to scoop them. They're acting better about it now, except when they have to leave play time.
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