Some Ideas on Rat Restraint
Debbie Ducommun has some great suggestions for rat restraint in her Rat Health Care booklet - it's cheap and worth every penny. But perhaps you haven't ordered that yet so I'll tell you what we do:
First and foremost you must be confident. Rats sense your nervousness and they tend to be behavioral nightmares if you're not confident. I'm not suggesting you squeeze your rat silly and shatter his bones, but you must be firm.
Grounding: Grounding is most important. Your rat does not like flailing around. If you can give him some footing he'll be most appreciative.
Security: Hold your rat securely by holding him by the nape of his neck. His mom did it and you can too.
I find that the best way you can do anything is with two people. This way one person can hold the rat in her arms securely and provide distractions while the other adminsters a shot, gives oral medications, drains an abscess, trims teeth, etc.
Barring the two-people approach, I find that letting the rat run around to expend some energy, then, when exhausted, holding
the rat by the nape of his neck is the next best approach:
He may move around some but I've found that it's pretty easy to move with them - they can't go far when you've got them by the scruff of the neck.
Some activities aren't conducive to rats lying flat. Perhaps there are more, but the only one I can think of is teeth
trimming. This definitely takes two people. The person holding the rat should hold him similar to what is depicted below.
tip: When navigating through the RatTails,
clicking on the image that looks like the image above
will take you back to this table of contents!
Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not
one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed
and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes: