Tail biting

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Tail biting

Post by Mel on Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:53 am

Small, one of my 23 month old Siamese girls has recently developed this bad habit. I've never seen it before in any of my rats, but she just suddenly seems to grip on to her cagemate's tails with her teeth and hold them, even when they struggle and squeak.

Small is not very well, she's stuggled with resp problems for months now and has good days and bad days. She sometimes finds it hard to sleep and I think maybe she just gets frustrated with the others running around and this is a good way to stop them!? I have no idea how to make her stop though and it's very distressing to see.

A couple of my other girls have scabs on their tails from this and Sheena, who I lost this week Cry lost the tip of her tail to this (I didn't see it happen but am assuming this is how it happened).

Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

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Re: Tail biting

Post by Zoundz on Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:59 pm

This is usually from a doe who's broody, or who had a litter and misses them - but it does happen in other cases too. It's an odd sort of thing, and not something I've seen or know much about. I know with bucks it's a real sign to separate them quickly, because it's only a matter of time before they go for the testes and they can do horrendous damage to each other. Obviously, with does this isn't the case.

I would *guess* though, that the degloved tail tip was probably not from her. Which might set your mind at ease? That's a pretty rare thing to happen caused by another rat, it can be caused by all sorts of things, catching her tail between the cage bars and a ledge for example, but *usually* the tail biting behaviour wouldn't cause it. Not definitely, of course there's a chance still.

xx

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Re: Tail biting

Post by Mel on Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:11 pm

Thanks Laura, that's sad to think of poor mum rats wanting their babies back. Maybe Small just wants some company then? It does usually seem to happen when she's in a box and the other rat is leaving.

Glad you think the end of Sheena's tail was lost another way, although that does baffle me. I can't see how it could have happened and so am not sure how to fix the problem in case it happens to someone else. That being said, in the last couple of days of her life Sheena was very careless. It was as though she had given up and wanted to end things, it was horrible to watch, but she would climb as far as she could and then just drop down with no attempt to grab anything on the way down. I think my cage is pretty safe, but if a rat seems to WANT to fall, it's pretty hard to stop them. I began to think it was an attention thing because of the reaction she got when it happened, and she did get very clingy with me in the last week or so too, but I couldn't ignore it. Maybe that's how she lost her tail tip.

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Re: Tail biting

Post by Mel on Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:38 am

Luna has a bad gash on her tail tonight, I didn't see anything happening but it looks like it's been bitten. This is getting more serious and I just have no idea what to do Cry

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Re: Tail biting

Post by Zoundz on Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:17 pm

I have to say I would be thinking of taking her out and if possible pairing her with one of the rats that she does it to least, and see if that helps.

xx

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Re: Tail biting

Post by Mel on Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:51 pm

Really, really, didn't want to have to resort to that but I already came to the conclusion about an hour ago when I saw her grabbing Ruby and not letting go. Ruby was jumping away but Small's teeth were not letting go. I opened the cage door so fast that it scared her and she stopped, but there was lots of blood. I feel so guilty now for not separating her before now.

I have a cage here. Now I just have to choose who to put her away with. Ruby was the last without a cut on her tail. Probably Siouxsie as she's the least active and is her sister? Although that leaves Scarlet away from her sisters for the first time... but she spends most of her time with Ruby as they are the most active so hopefully she will be ok.

Small sitting out with me as I type, the cage is so calm now. Doubt I'll be getting any sleep tonight!

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Re: Tail biting

Post by Zoundz on Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:03 pm

Sad I don't know what to suggest, I would guess that she started doing it for some 'reason' and it's become habit - but it definitely sounds like an idea to separate Sad

xx

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Re: Tail biting

Post by smokierat on Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:21 am

You shouldn't feel bad for waiting to seperate them,you had to at least give them a chance to work it out and doesn't sound like they were too badly hurt...sounds like you've made the right decision for them now,hopefully being with only one other rat might alleviate some of the stress that's making her aggressive,its never nice when you have the worry of them being hurt or stressed,I've been there Roll Eyes hope everything works out Smile

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Re: Tail biting

Post by Mel on Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:56 am

Thanks for kind words and advice Smile

Small passed away 2 days after writing this. She and Siouxsie had been doing well in the Furet plus cage sitting next to the big cage, or so I thought. Small just suddenly seemed really lethargic. At first I wondered if she was just tired and I'd caught her at a bad time, but decided to give her a drink of dr squiggles (she drank and drank for a long time when I offered her this, making me panic that maybe she was dehydrated, but the water bottle on their cage wasn't blocked and was easily accessibly) and also some nutrical which she ate slowly. She had passed within half an hour. She would have been 2 on the 13th of this month.

I can't believe she's gone and can't believe I've lost so many of my babies. I've lost 7 in the past 9 months and it is really taking a toll on me. Sorry to be spilling all this here but I feel you lot probably understand better than anyone I know in the real world. I have struggled with depression for a while now and while most of the time my rats really, really help me but when they die it puts me in a rut that I find very hard to get out of. I can't shake all the feelings of guilt even though I'm not sure what else I could have done. Cry

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Re: Tail biting

Post by Zoundz on Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:01 am

(((((((((hug)))))))))) it never gets any easier, I lose around 10-15 a year I'd say, probably more actually, I've never counted, and it's always hell.

Hope you feel better soon.
xx

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Re: Tail biting

Post by smokierat on Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:46 am

Don't feel bad at all for spilling,it is the one place people understand ((((hug)))) it is so heartbreaking when we lose them,and even harder when we don't get a breather in between..just think of all the love those ratties have known with you in the time they had Love I've lost three of my guys in the last few months,and don't have our gorgeous Tuffy with us for long now Sad so just remember there are people who feel your pain,you're not alone in this at all Smile my ratties have pulled me through some bad times too,and Id like to think that we only feel this bad when we lose them because we love them so much,and give them the life they deserve,and create a million beautiful memories Love

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