Biting!

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Biting!

Post by FionaCassim on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:39 pm

Hi everyone,

Well, my old man Clunkers passed away on Wednesday - devastated..

My new baby Chuckles is great and I recently got him a cage mate, Merlin. Merlin wasn't well handled at all and I essentially rescued him from a pet shop that I have reported to the DSPCA.
Anyway. Merlin is about 10 weeks old and very nervous and skittish. He will take a treat out of my hand now, and let me pick him up so he can go out and play.
This morning, however, when I put my fingers through the bars to say hi (as I do every morning), he bit me! Hard! It was very sore and drew blood. He has never done this before - did I startle him maybe? Has this happened to anyone and is there any way to stop it?

Thanks,
Fiona
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Re: Biting!

Post by Zoundz on Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:17 pm

This is often quite typical behaviour for petshop rats - they're not usually handled and certainly not bred from rats where temperament is the foremost interest.

Best thing you can do is not put your fingers through the bars, certainly don't feed treats through the bars etc. Does he bite at all when you put your hand in the cage or is it only through the bars? A lot of rats grab through bars, either because they think it's food or because there's something there to do with territory. A lot of rats I've met (and many I've owned) have been very territorial over their cage bars (not at all sure why). And some rats just like to try and drag you in!

If he's biting otherwise as well, then I would get a good pair of gardening gloves and force socialise, bring him out of the cage and handle him a couple of times a day, talk soothingly to him, stroke him etc etc.

xx

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Re: Biting!

Post by FionaCassim on Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:37 pm

Hi Zsoundz,

Yes this pet shop was awful, I'm still working on getting an Inspector out to it.
He has never bitten me before, just this morning. I have never given treats through the bars - but I do usually put a finger in and say good morning to them both, and it's usually fine. He was cleaning himself when I did it this morning, so maybe I just startled him!
He's very nervous though, he backs away when I try to pet him, while Chuckles lives for petting! It will be a long road to socialise poor Merlin I think...
I will continue to handle him and give him treats when he comes to me (he did last night, for a Cheerio!) Poor little thing, it's a shame there aren't stricter laws surrounding breeding rats...
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