Why do rats lick people

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Why do rats lick people

Post by GillianK on Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:12 pm

Blanche is a very licky rat, licks me all the time sometimes for ages, or sometimes she'll just run up to me, and give me a quick lick.

Is this like a dog, a form of affection? Or is she just licking something off my skin?

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Re: Why do rats lick people

Post by Francois on Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:17 pm

Licking is a social behavior. Rats groom each other to bond with their group. Older rats groom younger ones as a parenting instinct and to show that they are dominant. Younger rats also groom older ones in submission. When rats are wrestling, one that is pinned down will lick the other one in submission and to signal the game is over. Similarly, some rats recognize their owners as the dominant "rat" and will groom you. Maybe it's "love" or acceptance or simply saying they mean you no harm and don't want you to hurt them; but it is certainly more than just "salty hands." Smile


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Re: Why do rats lick people

Post by redrach on Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:06 pm

My OH doesn't spend much time with our rats, maybe five minutes of freerange every few days? And they def. lick him a lot more than me & he tends to have sweaty hands. I think it can be down to just licking for taste at times. But then again, they also lick our face and one grooms our hair.. Roll Eyes so it is also obviously a dominance/love/acceptance thing. If they are being naughty (ie. chewing the door in the hall) i'll pick them up, say no and place them away from it. When I do this, two of them start furiously licking, as if to say 'sorry mummy ):'
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Re: Why do rats lick people

Post by Zoundz on Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:50 pm

Licking can be a sign of trying to be dominant too. Do be careful - I have heard of cases where people have been badly bitten following licking. It's obviously rare, and I don't want to scare anyone, but if you've got a big, dominant buck, and you're scratching his back in well meant affection, and he's licking you, it might be time to keep on guard, as the licking can be a sign of him trying to dominate you.

As I said, very rare, and most of us have rats who are really licky sausages who would never do us any harm <3

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Re: Why do rats lick people

Post by smokierat on Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:20 am

Its defin a groomy thing with some of our girls,Smokie and Nibblet will do our eyebrows,eyelashes etc,in particular Smokie will groom Eoghan like a proper mummy rat Big Grin

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