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 Post subject: Advice for potentially aggressive behaviour
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:22 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:02 pm
Posts: 6
Hi all, I haven't posted here in a while, but I am really stumped about the behaviour of one of my rats.

The three rats we adopted last year have had a pretty rough time of it in their little lives. We are their third owner and fourth home, because my friend took them as rescue rats who had them because their first owner had to give them up. We had some settling in issues when they first arrived, I think because my friend had a dog they were in constant fear of predators. After a few months of initial sofa surfing and other bonding activities they began to trust us. They now come to us when we call them, even to the noise with no food association; I never thought that I would get where we are with them now.

One of them, the beta who constantly challenges the alpha, started playing with me (belly tickling and chasing my hand) a few months back, which was sweet. Now, however, every time he is touched he gets on his back paws to bite my whatever is touching him, and is not thrilled about being picked up by either of us - he was previously fine with that. It's grown worse over the past few weeks, so I started stroking him with a sock, but he just bit that. I have tried giving him time to decide he wants to socialise and also tried giving him peanut butter while stroking him so that he associates it with something he likes.

Anyways, he has started spiking his hair and siding up to the sock, and today had a bit my hand in a way that if it were not for the dual socks, I would have had a really bad bite on my finger, so I flipped him. This just seemed to piss him off as he carried on with spiked hair, so I flipped him again, but while on his back he bit harder than I've been bit by any animal and pulled at the sock while on his back while I rubbed his belly. After he stopped biting, he got up slowly and just sat beside me for a few minutes and then skulked off, before happily (and normally) going about his playtime. I should probably note that he isn't as hostile with my partner, but her interactions with them are more food-based.

I was wondering if any of you have had similar experiences with your ratties, and if you have any advice. Online seems to be suggesting that I have him neutered, but I am absolutely reticent about doing anything that is going to cause him further stress; I would really like to try and resolve this without going down that route, but I'm kinf of at an impasse with his behaviour at the moment.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for potentially aggressive behaviour
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:57 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:03 am
Posts: 2704
Location: London
Sorry I can't offer help with the aggression problem. I just wanted to warn you not to give rats peanut butter. They can choke on it and it's the one thing we never have given ours.

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Willow, Skittle & Ruby

43 past ratties, 16 boys, 27 girls


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for potentially aggressive behaviour
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:02 pm
Posts: 6
Squirrel wrote:
Sorry I can't offer help with the aggression problem. I just wanted to warn you not to give rats peanut butter. They can choke on it and it's the one thing we never have given ours.


Thanks man! I didn't know this. The friend from whom I adopted them had always given them peanut butter, so I thought it was fine. Just read up on this and felt terrible and lucky that nothing had happened to them. Would you recommend anything that I could put on my hand for them to lick off?


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for potentially aggressive behaviour
 Post Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
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Location: South Cambridgeshire
Yoghurt is popular :luck:

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Zephyr Rat Stud


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for potentially aggressive behaviour
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:36 pm 
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Location: London
Agree on the yogurt. Whipped cream for a special treat too (from a can).

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Willow, Skittle & Ruby

43 past ratties, 16 boys, 27 girls


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for potentially aggressive behaviour
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:38 pm
Posts: 18
Rats don't often bite unless they are under pain, fear or simply undergoing hormonal changes. You want to consider these factors.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice for potentially aggressive behaviour
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:31 pm 
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I wouldn't rule out neutering just because you're worried it'll stress him. Excessive hormones cause stress too, so if they're the cause of his aggressive behaviour, then he's already constantly stressed. Neutering may not be a super fun experience, but it's a short term discomfort that helps hormonal rats feel more at ease in the long term.

However, there could be other causes of this new aggressive behaviour. Do you know approximately how old the aggressive rat is? How is he with his cagemates? Has he developed any other symptoms which could indicate illness? If you suspect it's hormones but you're not certain, and you don't want to neuter without being certain, you could try a Tardak injection which is essentially a temporary chemical castration: if his aggressive behaviour improves, then you know he's hormonal and neutering is a suitable permanent solution.

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Fondly remembering: Falere the contrary NLA36, Mirala the best and finest NLA36, Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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