This is how the clever rodents become trusting

The cute rodents have moved into your home, but are they still a bit shy? Don’t worry, taming rats isn’t all that complicated. All you need is a little finesse, patience and the right tricks.

This little cutie is already eating out of your hand - Shutterstock / Kirill Kurashov

This little cutie is already eating out of your hand – Shutterstock / Kirill Kurashov

Rats as pets (usually pet rats) usually come to their owners at the age of five to six weeks. Even as young animals, they should be accustomed to human hands. Luckily, the clever rodents quickly notice that we two-legged creatures do not pose any danger. There are many tips and tricks that rat owners can use to tame their little rodents. In principle, however, you should proceed cautiously.


The biggest mistake you can make: immediately take the little rodents out of the cage and scare them away. Because new surroundings, unfamiliar background noise and strange smells stress the animals. On the day your rats arrive, do not change the cage location. In the introductory phase, you have to approach it carefully; Your rats need to recover from their journey first. Encourage the animals and initially keep a meter away from the cage. In this way, the animals slowly get used to your voice. For more tips on keeping rats, see the dedicated post.

First sniff

First, the little animal should be allowed to sniff you. To do this, put your hand inside the cage, but not too far, so as not to frighten the rodents. Feel free to repeat the “sniff” a few times. You can reinforce first contact by placing a small piece of clothing you are wearing in the cage. Then your rats associate the feeling of safety and well-being with your smell. Tip: It is best to use a discarded part for this, because you will most likely have to dispose of it afterwards.

Curls with treats

Has your rodent sniffed you enough? Try offering your rat a nut or a piece of fruit inside the cage. When things are going well, they literally eat out of your hand. If it doesn’t work the first time, be patient and slowly place the treat in the cage – she’ll definitely go for it. Rats are very intelligent animals, they will quickly realize that there is food when you are around.

In the next step, hold your hand palm up in front of the opening of the cage. Sometimes it even works that the rat climbs onto your hand by itself, for example if your rodent is a particularly curious fellow. Otherwise, place a treat on its wrist so the rat has to climb onto your hand to get the treat. You don’t know exactly what the little rascals like to eat? Then check out our article on rat nutrition.

Well, who looks so cheeky out of the laundry?  A cute pet rat - Image: Shutterstock / Pakhnyushchy
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01/29/2015 – 09:03 p.m

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The right grip

Once your rat has gotten used to you and the animal can get out of the cage without much fiddling, use slow, gentle movements. Man is a real giant for the little rat. With quick, jerky gestures, the little rodent prefers to disappear into its little house inside the cage and doesn’t come out again that quickly. The right grip is also important: it is best to grip the animal’s chest with one hand and push the other hand under the rodent’s hind legs. That gives him a stable feeling. From the human hand, the world looks pretty big for such a small rodent.

give security

The next step in taming rats is to place your little furry friend on your lap and wrap her clothes around her. Alternatively, take a towel or a small blanket. Rats like narrow cavities and corridors. A cave made of your clothing gives the animals a feeling of safety and security – and they then associate this with your smell. Hold your sleeve in front of the rat’s nose. Most likely she will crawl in and you two can get to know each other wonderfully.

increase time slowly

Your rat also needs to learn that eventually it will return to its sweet home. That’s why you keep your little friend outside for just a few minutes at first and then put him back in the cage. You can increase the period of time from time to time so that he can get used to taking it out. Who knows, your rats might be hanging from the bars of their cage when you enter the room. If the taming was a complete success, this is a typical behavior of the cute Knubbelschnuten.

The cuddly fur nose shows how cuddly the cute little animals can be in the video:

Once rats are used to human hands, the rodents have a lot on the box. They can even learn tricks and become real playmates. Check out our guide on how to keep rats busy.

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