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One of my pet rats bite!

Discussion in 'Rodents' started by SamuelPH10, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. SamuelPH10

    SamuelPH10 PetForums Newbie

    Nov 4, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Hello! Help needed from experienced rat owners. We got our rats, Barry and Nigel, from PAH and been with them for over a month now. They were 12 weeks when we got them and very skittish for a while - now Nigel has turned out sweet, but Barry started to bite whenever we are close to him and drew blood various times.
    We thought he’s territorial but he also bites when he’s outside of the cage. We have got to a stage that we are both scared to be near him and cannot imagine how bad things would get when he’s older and bigger

    Our family and PAH have told us to send them (or just the misbehaving one) back but we have grown to love Nigel a lot and breaks our hearts to picture sending them to the adoption centre at PAH. It’d be cruel to just send Barry back as well as they love each other.

    Desperately wanted to hear what people would do in such situations, would any breeder adopt? Thank you xxxx
  2. Engel98

    Engel98 PetForums Senior

    Oct 7, 2018
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    First off, don't panic, it's more common than you think!

    Don't send the 'misbehaving' one back as rats are VERY social and need to be kept in same sex pairs or groups.

    Don't listen to the P@H team when it comes to the age of the animal as it's often wrong and bare in mind a lot of them have been in many homes and taken back.

    Rats hardly bite and don't bite for no reason so this sounds like fear and to be honest a month is still considered the 'settling in' period. He is scared. Don't force him. Don't trap him or shout, rats are very intelligent and can sense if you're scared or if something's up. You don't want him to fear you. Don't grab him from above as rats are prey animals, always scoop from below. Take your time with him, it may be that he's more shy than his cage mate and will take longer to chill out.

    I've had 5 rats 3 girls, 2 boys (not at the same time) and boys tend to be more handleable and snuggly. Niklaus and Damon used to love going to sleep in my arms, in my top and even the back of my neck. Hope and charity were difficult to tame as they were old ladies when I rescued them, but they never drew blood. Faith was also a rescue with the other 2 girls and she was an exception to the rule as she loved cuddles. It maybe that your one boy may not be a fan of them while the other doesn't mind.

    When they bite, DONT FLINCH, this will make them draw blood, if you keep still they'll eventually let go and more times than not they won't draw blood.

    Patience is key with any animal but especially rodents as they are prey animals, the they automatically assume that anything bigger than them is a threat. As they are from P@H you can pretty much guarantee that they weren't handled so that makes them less tame when you get them compared to a responsible breeder. All hope isn't lost and it's still early days. It took me many months to stop my girls to stop nipping. It's not impossible, it just takes time.

    There are many videos on YouTube for taming timid rats and it was my best resource when I had mine!

    One trick you can try is put a little bit of yogurt on your hand, rats love it and can't resist coming over to have a taste. Don't be nervous as it will make him nervous. May be worth looking up common rat behaviour and body language to help you understand how they're feeling. For example boggle and bruxing (grinding teeth, sounds like chattering and having the eyes bulge out a bit) generally means they are happy and content, while a rat that puffs up, hisses and sidewalks is not very happy and will attack if not left alone.

    All I'm saying is that it's still early days and it's ok to be nervous. Completely understandable and it's nothing unusual, don't panic. You (or the rat) are doing nothing wrong. You are wanting to make friends while he's too scared to realise that you're not a threat. Rome wasn't built in a day.

    Keep us updated on their little triumphs. :)
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