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LadyDreamer 06-15-2013 12:20 AM

Lonely Rat Advice
I had two WONDERFUL senior rats. They are some of the best trained rats I have been around. Just wonderful guys. Sadly one of them died yesterday morning. It was just his time. They were adults when I got them from a friend and we had them over two years.

I am so worried about the other guy. He looks so lost, lonely, and sad. It just breaks my heart. Other than looking like a gruff old guy, he is doing really well, physically. I am trying to decide if I should socialize and try to introduce one of my other rats for him, or just try to keep him snuggled and occupied. The others I have to choose from are feeders and a bit flighty right now.

I had him out in the dining room for a bit of treat hunting and snuggles tonight. He is such a sweetie. He would find a treat and run it directly back to the cage, or would come hop on my lap to eat it right there.

Any rat people on here have some advice? I have a few good candidates in my feeder group that would make great pets. I just feel so bad for the little guy. I don't want to see him lonely, but I don't want to see him stressed out to the point it would hurt his health.
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tinyliny 06-15-2013 12:29 AM

I don't have any advice. But as long as he is eating and drinking, his loneliness won't affect his health too much.

We use dto have rats as pets. We had two female Japanese hooded rats. one wa named "Napoleon" (before we knew it was not a male) and the other was "ginger" she was a blond hooded rat. Both were very docile and sweet.
they NEVER bit. even when trimming their claws.
my friend had male rats, and they bit. are male rats more likely to bite?

LadyDreamer 06-15-2013 12:34 AM

Our boys were not biters. They are very treat oriented. After creating a biter out of another rat, I have been pretty careful about giving treats.
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PastureSongs 06-15-2013 08:00 PM


Originally Posted by tinyliny (Post 2805858)
my friend had male rats, and they bit. are male rats more likely to bite?

No. In fact, male rats tend to be more cuddly and loving than female rats -not that female rats are more prone to bite, but they are more hyper.
However, an unneutered male can have hormonal aggression. I had two intact males a my first pair and neither bit, so it's really a case by case thing.
Rats, in general, do not bite, not even feeders, (both my girls came out of feeder bins) really. If a rat is biting you, it's safe to say they are either very afraid or ill/in pain.

OP, how old is your boy? Depending on his age, it may be best to just keep him good company until he passes. Give him lots of treats and toys and attention and let him come along with you when you can.
Introducing a new male, unless it is very very young, can easily result in fights unless one of the two is neutered, and if you plan to keep one as a pet, it would be best to get two young males very close in age (or spayed females) and introduce to him and see how it goes, because when he passes they will need one another. Plus, the youngsters can wear the old guys out pretty quick.

LadyDreamer 06-15-2013 11:35 PM

He's an old guy, same as the the other, pushing 3 years. He was a large adult when we got him and we hve had him over two years. The other boy was a little more worse for wear. He had an injury and was never quite the same. Always a little gimpy. No tumors on either which was pleasantly surprising. This one is much better off health wise and still very spunky.

I have a couple young dumbos in my feeder group who have potential to be as great pets as he is. They are very curious and come out to see what I am doing instead of just cowering in terror. Poor babies. I got them from another lady who I believe fed her snake in the same room as the whole group. They have a wild mouse's level of terror when I go in the cage. I haven't even pulled from their group to feed my snakes yet. That kind of fear is too dangerous, and I am we'll stocked on F/T.

I would love to have him there just as an example to the youngsters. I might set up a new cage right next to his, so he can at least have company through the bars.
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LadyDreamer 06-15-2013 11:40 PM

Yeah, our two were both unneutered and were total love bugs. I loved watching them "fight". It was like a middle school slap fight, neither one really wanting to hurt the other, until one just submitted and laid down.
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tinyliny 06-16-2013 12:31 AM

I didn't know that rats were EVER neutered.

And, forgive me, but it seems strange to have rats in your care that are there for the purpose of feeding your snakes, but then have some that you love and care for a pets. I think I might have a hard time with that. And , are feeder rats different because they are not handled when young, or is there another reason they are not good pets?

LadyDreamer 06-16-2013 02:09 AM

Well, my snakes were first. I took in these two a couple years ago when my friend went to college and was fretting to me that her mom was refusing to take care of them and she needed to find another home. She was terrified that they would go to someone who would lie and say they were going to a good home and then just feed them to a snake. She spent so much time on them, they were her babies. I took them in for her. They have been great little buddies. She did such a great job on them.

As for the feeders... Well, it is better to not get too attached. The snakes have to eat, and they eat rats. It is much more difficult to send Sprinkles to his death than generic rat A. They are not handled as much, not given names. Just cared for and fed. Luckily most of my big ones take F/T, but I have a couple that prefer live, unfortunately. It is hard. I am not a fan of death, but it is just something you have to come to terms with to keep snakes. It does bother me to feed live, and I hope it always does.

Thy all have the potential to be good pets, though they are all individuals. They are very smart and have very good memories. What I think happened with this small group is that the person I got them from fed her snake in the same room as the other rats. So all they have known is people reaching in, taking out a rat from their group, and a few minutes later hearing the snake kill it. I made that mistake once and saw the result. I will never do that again. It really screws them up.
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PastureSongs 06-16-2013 12:07 PM


Originally Posted by tinyliny (Post 2812922)
I didn't know that rats were EVER neutered.

And , are feeder rats different because they are not handled when young, or is there another reason they are not good pets?

Oh yes, rats can be spayed and neutered. In fact, it's highly recommended, even more so for them than with other animals.
Neutering males kills hormonal aggression, and buck grease, which is DISGUSTING. My youngest boy had it like nothing I've ever seen and I could've gagged cleaning him. Also when they're neutered you can have mixed sex group swhich tend to work out very well.

Females are highly prone to tumors, especially of their reproductive system and spaying highly decreases those chances, and the chances of the getting a UTI. Plus, again, you can have them in different sex groups.

The only real difference between a feeder rat and a pet bred rat is that feeder rats aren't loved. They don't get handled or played with or trained or taken to the vet. They mostly just get fed and are let to live until their day comes.
A feeder, especially a young one, can very easily be made a pet.

My first boy was technically pet bred (but in a petshop so... >.> ) and his entire family was bought to be feeders, except him because the employee liked him. He didn't get handled much but you wanna talk about a sweet heart. Sit in your lap and get scratched kinda sweet.

Both of my girls are feeders. Binx is a mink variegated capped, so she could've went as a pet, because colors are more appealing than PEWS (pink eyed whites). I had to bottle feed her from 3 weeks old because the girl who saved her couldn't keep her. I drove almost 3 hours to get this baby.
My girl's companion, Lumos, was bred and born to feed a snake. I got there the day after she arrived, put my hand in the cage, and whichever one didn't run was the one I picked -as long as it was female.
Lumos is A L O T bigger than Binx, and even has a longer tail. I'm not sure if this is the result of being a feeder (as sometimes they are bred more towards the bigger side) or because Binx was taken from her mother way way too early for another week didn't get any real nutrition.

Op, I would just let him live out his days. Almost 3 is quite old.

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