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Pet Rats/new male rat


Hi Irene, I did have Bella put down yesterday and her condition was worse than what I thought. Turned out that the infected tumor had worms eating away at her tumor. I felt so bad. As the vet was prepping for her to be put down, Bella was grooming my hand and cuddling in my arms almost like as if she knew it was going to happen. I did spoil her that day she actually got steak and she loved it:)

Alright now to my question. Today I adopted a mature male rat and he has had no contact with people and is new to being a pet. His story was that when he and his sibling were very young and a man came in and bought the two to be snake feed. Well the snake wasn't interested and they grew to big for the snake to eat so both rats were traded in for two young sick rats to take their place. This male has lived his entire life in a aquarium with a food and water dish on a dark basement with no contact whatsoever. He is a very curious guy and he loves to perch on your shoulder and be rubbed right between his ears. What can I do to help gain his trust? And what can I do to desensitize him so he won't think every sound is something that'll kill him?

Hi Sydney.  I am so very sorry you lost Bella...I know how much you adored her, and all of your lost angels.  I smiled when you said you spoiled Bella with some steak.  She knew how much you loved her.  

Funny about rats, once you experience life with them, you almost can't bear life without them, so I'm not surprised that you did go and adopt that boy.  Poor's so sad he had to live in such a horrible environment but you saved him and that's awesome.  

It sounds as if he is already gaining your trust because he is sitting on your shoulder and allowing you to touch him.  I'm not surprised he is very skittish though, considering his past.  It will just take lots of time, patience, and love from you and I am certain he will learn to love you too.  He may never completely get over being skittish.  Rats are skittish by nature but hopefully it lessens with time.  Try to always approach him quietly and gently and avoid sudden loud noises in his area.  But eventually he should learn to live with normal household noises like talking, a running sink, TV, vacuum, etc.  You may also want to consider adopting a companion for him, but if he was used to living alone, be aware that he may not accept another male.

I'll leave you with a link to a website that has a ton of information about trust training your rat.  There is also a world of information on many other topics if you're interested.

What did you name your new boy?  Send a photo of him sometime :)  Good luck and let me know how he is doing soon.  

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Irene Murphy


I can answer a variety of questions regarding adoption and care of pet rats throughout their lifetimes, including questions about their health and well being, temperment, diet, bedding, cages, toys, etc. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a timely manner and I have an abundant amount of resources to help me to help you with your pet rats. I love rattie pictures, so include pics with your question if you can. You may ask me medical questions, but please be advised that I am not a vet. I may use my resources to answer some medical questions, however, I will need to refer you to your local vet with medical questions that I feel I am not qualified to address.


I have been a huge rat enthusiast for many years. Since becoming a rat owner, I have educated myself in all areas of pet rats from every resource I could find including the internet, books, conversations with local exotic vets, as well as several local rat breeders.

I have a college degree but not in the area of animals. I have obtained my extensive experience and knowlege of pet rats all on my own because in my eyes, pet rats are the most interesting and fascinating creatures you can ever imagine to have as pets. I also am saddened by how mislabeled and misunderstood these amazing and extremely smart animals are by the majority, and my mission in life has become to educate and change as many people's perceptions of rats as I possibly can.

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