My Rat is biting me

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My Rat is biting me

Post by Peter666 on Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:33 am

Hi Everyone,

I have two rats one is older (few months), and he is like to bite, maybe is normal for rats but he biting my fingers and body also.
have you any advice how to teach him stop to biting fingers ?
Thanks is advance.Smile 

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Cringer is at it too

Post by Tribble on Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:02 am

One of our guys seems to be at it too, he's bitten Ben twice already (second time drawing blood).
He also seems to get into fits of... pinching? It's not biting, but it doesn't seem to be grooming either.
He nipped Ben last night and I gave him a little tap on the head, and a strong 'NO' (Cringer, not Ben) and then he turns around and started scrabbling at my forearm and kinda pinching it for a second (again, Cringer, not Ben).
What could have caused this? Is he trying to show dominance over myself and Ben since Rocky has gone?
He only started at it a week ago, and we are very curious, as nothing really has changed for him recently, and these events are rather far apart, at least a few days between each incident.
We put him back in the cage immediately, and just stare st him in bemusement. What can we do to curb this behavior?
There's no lunging, puffyness or any real indication of what's going on before or after any event.

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Re: My Rat is biting me

Post by Zoundz on Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:52 pm

Both the original poster, and Jack, how old are your rats that are biting?

Jack - you've given a lot of useful insight in your post - the srabbling too - I would sya it could be that he's going for dominance. It could just be play, but I would guess dominance. If it continues, or gets worse, I would personally have him neutered - but in many cases it's a hormonal surge of sorts, and should settle in a while.

xx

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Re: My Rat is biting me

Post by Tribble on Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:22 pm

Just a further update.
Cringer has broken skin on two separate occasions since I last spoke here.
He seems to bear issue only with my left hand though, as my right hand is much too macho for him to consider assault Tongue
He's getting close to a year I think, about 8=eight or nine months at a guess.
Same situations as before.. he's playing/dominating Indy and then (possibly in confusion or megalomania) decides I'm a viable target.

I have noticed a few things though;
He never bites when getting picked up from the cage, he even grooms me and bruxes in this situation.
Any instance is over in seconds, and the behavior is not seen again for a great deal of time, about three to five days.
Today I found that if I slooowly bring my hand out of reach he doesn't react at all, he just stops and goes away. It seems if you jerk your hand away he either gets surprised or thinks he just found the biggest cricket ever and needs to stop it getting away Tongue

We are heavily considering neutering, but we need to have both the funds and possibly some potential cage-mates lined up in case the worst happens under anesthesia.
We do not want another solo rat, and us panicking to get him some decent companions in time.
As if we didn't already have enough going on with money planning Tongue

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Re: My Rat is biting me

Post by Zoundz on Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:25 pm

Meh - sometimes they make life very hard for you don't they!? It doesn't sound like he's so severe that neutering is urgent though, whih is helpful.

xx

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Re: My Rat is biting me

Post by hkfiesta on Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:04 am

I was going to place a post re. biting rats as well. I've two boys and I actually don't know if it's a learned behavior. I like to approach them with treats (pieces of sugar-free muesli or a nut) a lot of times. One of them in particular though would sniff my hand when first approached (like when he's waking up, or when I come home after a long day) and then suddenly chomp down(could draw blood if I pull away too quickly, else just a hard pinch). I noticed the other starting to do it but more lightly, then quickly shrink away when he notices it isn't food. They both like to snatch treats rather quickly when offered from my hand. Could it be the hard-biting one also just thinks my finger is food? He does tend to snatch treats away a lot more aggressively than the other one, though I make sure to wash my hands before I handle them! Neither of them even nip at any other times except on the approach. If it was accidentally learned, how can I change this?

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Re: My Rat is biting me

Post by DJF on Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:41 am

@hkfiesta - this is an interesting one.

Do you always give them treats when you approach them? If so, I would attempt approaching them without treats for the next couple of weeks. Play with them, pick them and give them a treat after a while if you wish but not immediately. If it is a learned behaviour, your rat will eventually realise that you are not a vending machine, or at least a full-time one! I don't have biting rats but one of mine will pounce on my hands and inspect my fingers as soon as I open the cage.

Another option would be to feed treats from a spoon for a while. They get treats, you don't get bitten and your hand is no longer the dispenser of nice things.

These are just thoughts. I have never dealt with a biting rat but I do know that learned behaviours can take quite some time to break. Whichever way you choose to eradicate this behaviour, you will have to be consistent over a good chunk of time.

Is he in good health? When did the beahviour start? Can you think of something that may have triggered it?


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Re: My Rat is biting me

Post by hkfiesta on Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:12 am

DJF,

Thanks for the reply.

I also considered using a spoon/other utensil.

I don't give treats every time, but usually in the mornings when we all wake up and when I get home. All other times it's just to play/talk to them. I'm still not sure if it's really learned, since the other one doesn't do it quite as often and only when I shake the treat jar he'll get excited and kind of mouth my fingers (but it doesn't even hurt). I've also noticed it's only happened when he's tired/just woke up, so not sure if it's also because when they aren't fully awake it feels as though I'm a predator/biting out of defense?

He's always been the more shy rat of the two and sometimes nippy with strangers but no hard biting. This I've only observed over the last 2 weeks. I literally just got them back (was traveling) from a very trusted source who's great with small animals. I think I might just be rushing things and maybe they aren't totally used to my smell yet so he's still a little cautious? Last time I got them back I gave them at least a month to slowly acclimatize before approaching too directly (and there were no problems at all) so I'm going to try slowing things down and see if that works! Will also try changing the treat habits in case it might be that instead.

Thanks!

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Re: My Rat is biting me

Post by GillianK on Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:36 am

Biting is an annoying habit, but sometimes one which we have to live with. I've had my Dorothy since she was just 7 months old. She's now 27 months old, and has bitten since day one. She wasn't given much handling at the beginning of her life by her previous owner and was somewhat wild when I first got her. I've put a lot of work in to Dorothy, and I can handle her no problems and she runs all over me now and sometimes even licks me, but she'll still give me an occasional nip. I've never had this problem with any of my other rats, none of the others have ever bit me, they're all super affectionate so I know it's just a quirk with her. I really don't think she means any harm. Sometimes she'll nip me and then immediately cuddle up to me afterwards and go to sleep. By all means try to stop it but you may never be able to completely. We still love them! Smile
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