New rat. Aggressive and bites.

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MarvelRats
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New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by MarvelRats » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:14 am

Hi, guys. I just got a new female fancy rat. I can’t get near her and can’t even clean her cage. She bites HARD and draws blood every single time. Very aggressive. What can I do?

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cyber ratty
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Re: New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by cyber ratty » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:06 am

How old is she? What is her background? Does she have companions?

MarvelRats
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Re: New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by MarvelRats » Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:46 pm

cyber ratty wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:06 am
How old is she? What is her background? Does she have companions?
They said she’s 6 months old when I got her just a couple weeks ago, almost. I got the last female in our area. I’ve been calling around trying to find another female to be her roommate, but all the female carrying locations I’ve called said they still haven’t gotten any in. They said I was lucky to have gotten her when I popped into the store that day. I didn’t want to get a male because I’m not prepared for breeding, at the moment. I have no history on her.

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cyber ratty
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Re: New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by cyber ratty » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:31 pm

In that case she's probably had an awful first 6 months of her life, has no companion rat to seek security with, and doesn't have any idea that you are going to be a permanent loving home, so it's not surprising that she's scared and lashing out.

Finding companions for her needs to be a priority - I'm guessing from your time of posting you aren't in the UK, in which case it may be harder for you to track any down, but ideally I'd suggest getting a couple of well socialised kittens from a good breeder. Introduce them to her when they are around 9-11 weeks old using the carrier method, and they will help her to feel safe and settled. Alternatively, look for mature adults who are happy and tame, perhaps being homed by a loving family who sadly can't keep them for some reason.

In the meantime, remove anything enclosed from her cage, leaving things to climb on, and open beds like a flat hammock and a basket. That should enable you to remove her from the cage without too much stress (assuming the cage has good access, if not, then swap it for one which does), and make her realise over time that despite no hides, she's not experienced anything bad. Put the cage somewhere busy like the lounge or day room, and whenever you or anyone else goes past, stop and talk to her for a bit, singing goes down well too.

Once you feel she's no longer instantly defensive when you are nearby, then start getting her out. You may need to tempt her into a tube/bag rather than picking her up, or depending on your confidence/experience you might feel able to pick her up using thick gloves. Take her into a different room so she's away from her cage which she will naturally feel territorial over, and slip her between an outer garment (e.g. loose hoody/dressing gown) and your clothes while sitting on a chair so there's nowhere for her to go. Spend at least 20 minutes together because rats can't remain scared for longer than that, and build up to having your hand in with her, stroking and massaging her gently. She will get used to this over time, and gradually start to trust you. (Browse the forum for more ideas on taming, such as offering yoghurt on a spoon.)

I can't stress enough though, that having rat companions is vital for her, and will dramatically speed up the taming process.

Best of luck :luck:

MarvelRats
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Re: New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by MarvelRats » Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:31 pm

Thank you for your detailed response!

Yes, I’ve been trying to find a companion for her ever since I get her. My intentions were to enter the shop and go home with 2 or three beauties. However, she was the only one there.

Her condo is in the main room, near our hedgehog. My daughter and I are very social and vocal with her. We give her treats and talk baby talk to her and kissing sounds. She’s at the point now where she lets us stroke her tail and she doesn’t immediately try to bite. She sniffs for a while first. I have been able to stroke her rear feet while she is distracted smelling me.

When I get home from work today, I will bring her out of her cage in a separate room, using gloves. I will come back and let you know how that goes.

I’m in Florida, US 🙂

MarvelRats
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Re: New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by MarvelRats » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:07 pm

Great news!! My local store just got 2 new females in. They had to do their mandatory 24 hours in the back before being put out for customers, so I knew about them before anyone else! I had them reserve BOTH of them and I took them home last night 😃 Natasha INSTANTLY stopped biting and became so friendly. She was running around and being affectionate to all of us. She’s like a completely different rat. Not a single bite since!

They were up all night playing with each other and being all chatty. It’s so adorable and I’m so happy for her. Thank you for all of your help.

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cyber ratty
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Re: New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by cyber ratty » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:27 am

That's brilliant news! :D You'll really be able to enjoy ratkeeping now.

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Re: New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by MarvelRats » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:26 am

cyber ratty wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:27 am
That's brilliant news! :D You'll really be able to enjoy ratkeeping now.
Interesting development: Turns out, BOTH of the new rats were pregnant and the store never told me! In less than a week of having them in my home, 2 new litters. So I went from 1 rat, to 3, and to 11 in less than a week. I have no idea what to do now!

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cyber ratty
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Re: New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by cyber ratty » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:20 am

Oh dear! On the positive side you're lucky they've only had 8 kittens between them, rats can have as many as 20 or more each.

Firstly, are you sure both new girls have had a litter? Do they seem to be cooperating together or are they excluding anyone from their nest(s)? If they seem content then they can all stay together, but watch out for any disagreements as the mums may need their own space. It's likely they may be protective over their babies, so tempt them out of the cage (pop them in a carrier with a yummy treat) before checking the babies over. This doesn't put the babies at any risk though, rats are great mums. You'll be able to handle them every day, and raise well socialised rats. :D

Babies can be hurt if mum climbs up high when they are attached or decides to move them up to a shelf or hammock, so remove all levels, and provide lots of substrate and bedding for them to build good nests with. Make sure the bars are narrow enough to prevent babies wriggling through. What cage are they in?

I presume the new girls are quite young themselves, so they will need a lot of nutritional support - give them daily fresh meals of low fat protein, cooked carbs, and veg (e.g. chicken rice and kale, or fish pasta and peas, etc.).

Further down the line, you can add some low level accessories once the babies are on the move at 2-3 weeks. Once they are competent climbers by about 4 weeks then you can give them a full layout.

You'll need to separate the sexes at 4.5 weeks, but if you are homing any, they need to stay with you until they have finished their kitten moult, going from soft baby fluff to shiny smooth coats, probably some time between 6 and 8 weeks. If you haven't got a second cage for the baby boys to move into, then would it be worth asking the shop to give/lend you one given that it's their fault?

There are articles on feeding and sexing and more in this section.

Please ask any questions you have, we're here to help :luck:

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Re: New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by cyber ratty » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:06 am

How are things going?

MarvelRats
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Re: New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by MarvelRats » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:41 pm

cyber ratty wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:06 am
How are things going?
Thank you SO much, Mary! You have been such a blessing during this unexpected development haha I have them in the All Living Things starter rat kit cage right now. It’s 3 levels and the base is deep before the wire bars start. The pet store helped me out and gave me 50% off of the rat condo, which is even larger than the 3 level cage. So they’ll all have plenty of room once I separate the males from the females.

Thank you so much for all of that information, including the time periods of when I should do certain things. I will also start feeding them chicken and other foods that you mentioned instead of only the rat foods and treats that I got from the store. I have been giving them the liquid vitamins in their water bottles ever since I had them. I want them to be as healthy as possible.

They have all been getting along just great! All 3 adults helping out. When one of the mothers is nursing, the others will bring the food down to the nest for her so she doesn’t have to get up. They are so caring for each other. It warms my heart.

Should I wear medical gloves when I do start to handle the babies? So I don’t get my scent on them?

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cyber ratty
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Re: New rat. Aggressive and bites.

Post by cyber ratty » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:58 pm

No need - mum wouldn't be fooled anyway, but she won't be unduly bothered by your scent. Also, it may encourage her to lick them clean, and apparently more licks as a baby means a better response to stress later in life, so it's good for them. I handle from day one, so start now. :luck:

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