To have a happy and healthy relationship with your new pet rat, you’ll want to make sure he trusts you. If you buy a rat from a shelter or pet store he may not be socialized right and may not trust you right away. But with a little time and patience you will have your rat eating out of your hands and giving you little ratty kisses.
Adopting a rat that is younger may be the first thing to think of, because an older rat may have trust issues already. If an older rat has been mistreated or just not handled too much throughout his life, he may not like the interaction. Not to say that you can’t help an older rat become used to you and coming out to play, but it may take longer.
The first thing to think about is where you are going to adopt the rat. If you get a rat from a breeder, sometimes they are more socialized if it’s a reputable breeder. If you adopt a rat from a shelter the rat may be older and if you adopt a rat from a pet store they may have socialization issues because they haven’t been treated well or handled all that much.
When you first bring your new pet home you should have the cage already set up with everything he needs and his cage should be in a nice quiet place. Loud noises may scare a timid rat. You should let your rat get used to his new home for the first day and not try to handle him too much.
On the second day he may show you he wants to come out by standing at the front of the cage when he sees you. If this is the case, take him out bye holding him under his body in one hand and cradling him next to your body with the other. You can then sit with him on the floor or the couch and let him walk around.
If however he is hiding near the back of the cage when he sees you and doesn’t look like he wants to come out. Try giving him a treat, like a small piece of apple by holding it in your hand. If he won’t take it from you, lay it down in the cage and sit down next to the cage while you softly talk to him.
If you can put the cage on the floor and sit next to it while the cage door is open, he may venture out on his own. If he doesn’t, keep trying to give him small treats while sitting next to the cage with the cage door open. Rats are very curious creatures so the longer you sit there talking to him, letting him get used to you and letting him see that he doesn’t need to be afraid of you, the more likely he will be to be curious enough to come sniff you or take a treat from you.
You may have to do this for several days if he is very timid or scared, but hopefully in time he will see you as the friendly human that brings him treats and will want to come out of the cage to play with you.