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 Post subject: Toffee bit us! New behaviour
 Post Posted: Tue May 24, 2016 5:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:07 pm
Posts: 34
Hi all

I've been a bit quiet since we lost Puzzle and Pocket and our lovely girls have been wonderful.

Toffee is normally a loveable, lazy girl! She loves a cuddle and to groom us and she is constantly wanting our attention. She occasionally will 'grab' at our hands if they smell yummy and we put them in the cage but never aggressively.

This morning I went to check on them both before we went to work, I opened the cage and gave Buttons a stroke as normal. I then moved over to Toffee as usual, and she flew at me before I even touched her, breaking the skin! I tried again thinking she must have made a mistake and I had woken her up etc. and she did it again - really aggressive and painful.

I then asked my fiance to try, thinking that it might be my soap or something she didn't like and she was the same with him - just attacking and breaking the skin.

I really don't know what to do with her or what could be causing it. She was out last night playing as usual, and I checked her over as I always do and she didn't seem to be in any pain or have anything out of sorts - so I'm not sure what could have happened overnight.

Any tips?

Thank you all!


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 Post subject: Re: Toffee bit us! New behaviour
 Post Posted: Tue May 24, 2016 7:11 pm 
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Fancy Rats Team
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
Posts: 5731
Location: South Cambridgeshire
If she was taken by surprise, it could have given her a rush of hormones that made her effectively blind to who or what was approaching her - and those hormones would take some time to subside, so might explain why she continued to bite for a while.

However, she might have had a fall during the night which could explain her biting if she was in pain, or perhaps some other physical condition had become an issue overnight (the most serious probably being a brain tumour), or maybe she had just been choking.

Another possibility could be a phantom pregnancy.

How has she been for the rest of the day?

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Mary x

Zephyr Rat Stud


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 Post subject: Re: Toffee bit us! New behaviour
 Post Posted: Tue May 24, 2016 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:07 pm
Posts: 34
Hi Mary

Thanks so much for your reply. I was at work for most of the day, but this evening she let me stroke her and groomed my hand as normal, no biting thank goodness as I was nervous.

However, she has built the biggest nest out of her substrate that I've ever seen her make and she is hiding all her food down there, Buttons is also being quite aggressive with her and mounting her a lot which is unusual so I'm thinking its a hormone thing?

She is a bit hyper and seems like she has a million things to do in the cage which is unlike her as she normally wants to get out for a cuddle, but today just wanted to stay in.

I'll keep an eye on her and see if anything develops. She is eating well and drinking, not puffed up and moving around normally so I don't think she is in pain - although I know how good they can be at hiding this.

Could it just be hormones?


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 Post subject: Re: Toffee bit us! New behaviour
 Post Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 7:44 am 
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Fancy Rats Team
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
Posts: 5731
Location: South Cambridgeshire
That does sound like a phantom pregnancy, yes - but unless she's been mounted by a neutered buck, then the cause of the rise in hormones could potentially be a tumour somewhere, so it's worth keeping an extra close eye on her. Hopefully it will pass and she'll be completely back to normal soon. :luck:

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Mary x

Zephyr Rat Stud


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 Post subject: Re: Toffee bit us! New behaviour
 Post Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 7:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:34 am
Posts: 21
Location: Holland
How is Toffee doing now?


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 Post subject: Re: Toffee bit us! New behaviour
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:07 pm
Posts: 34
Hi everyone

Just an update on this. Toffee is still occasionally lashing out at us like this. She's been to the vets and been checked over and is fine - she's now had an implant to help prevent her getting mammary tumours as Buttons had one after her tumour removal and we thought we'd get them both done together.

What she does is lunges at our hands when we put them is the cage, grab us with her paws and bite hard. I am wondering whether she is expecting us to have food, although we never feed her through the bars and never have so I don't know where she'd get this from.

The other day I was feeding her from a teaspoon with some banana I'd mashed up, and she did the same with the spoon biting it really hard and trying to grab it away.

My main worry is now that Buttons has started copying her. Last night I went to get them both out for playtime and Toffee bit me hard and drew blood, I approached her from the other side of the cage and managed to get her. Then I put my hand in their fuzzbutt (thinking I was safe with Toffee out) and Buttons bit me too! Also drawing blood. Buttons didn't lunge like Toffee - but waiting until I had my hand on her and then went for it. I got them out anyway and they were totally fine free ranging - I picked them up and cuddled them, then put them down multiple times and there was no indication of biting or aggressiveness.

It's getting to the stage now where I'm scared to put my hand in their cage, and they are staying with family for a few months from January while we're out of the country and I don't want to leave my mum with two aggressive rats to care for!

Any ideas?!?


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 Post subject: Re: Toffee bit us! New behaviour
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:57 pm 
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Fancy Rats Team
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
Posts: 5731
Location: South Cambridgeshire
I would go back to basics - remove all enclosed cage accessories, and leave just flat hammocks and ropes (and toilet corner and wheel). Make a point of going into the cage several times a day to move stuff or just potter about, so they come to accept that there's no point in being territorial. I'd also pick them up several times while you're in there and check them over (thus invading their personal body space too) before putting them down and carrying on with cage 'chores', and if you prefer to wear gloves at first then that's fine. After a couple of weeks I would hope that they will have given up trying to keep you out of their space. :luck:

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Mary x

Zephyr Rat Stud


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