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Tail chewing!

Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:20 am
by rattyrio
I have four rats and one of them broke their tail and had to have the tip amputated. I thought it had been injured by accident but now one of the others has also injured his tail in the same way and the other two have wounds on their tails in the same places!

I don't think there's a problem with the cage as this is the fourth generation of rats that have lived in this cage. I haven't seeen the injuries as they were being inflicted but I think they may be chewing on each others or their own tails as they've been a little more mouthy with me than they have in the past. I've got them on antibiotics and metacam of course but I need to figure out why they're doing this so I can stop it!

I don't think it's conflict over food as I've watched them eat together peacefully and there are snack stations away from the food bowl so they can eat apart if they wish. There are six beds between the four of them so they don't have to fight over sleeping spots and there are four different chew toys in the cage. I always take them outta the cage for at least 1/2 hour everyday. I've increased the number of foraging toys in case this has been caused by boredom.

Please can anyone help figure out what's happening? I feel like such an awful owner :(

Re: Tail chewing!

Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:43 am
by Caza66
Oh dear, you must be worried. I haven't had this before. I did have one boy who bit the end of one other boys tail. Hope somebody else can offer advice.

Re: Tail chewing!

Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:19 pm
by rattyrio
Thanks, I do hope someone on here can help!

Re: Tail chewing!

Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:41 pm
by cyber ratty
Tail injuries can be inflicted from outside the cage... have you got any other animals in the house, or could you have a wild rat in residence?

Re: Tail chewing!

Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:06 pm
by rattyrio
There aren't any other pets but there is definitely a wild rat that's been stealing their food. I didn't realise it could actually harm them though! I'm trying to catch the wild ones but till then is there anything I can do to repel the wild ones?

Re: Tail chewing!

Posted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:29 am
by cyber ratty
I'm afraid wild rats are well known for mutilating caged pets. :(

Not sure how you can repel them, but block up their entry route(s), and make sure all food is in sealed robust boxes. You definitely need to catch them asap*, and release them at least 3 miles away in a natural location. Could you move your cage into a secure room until the wild ones have gone?

*ETA
I haven't had to catch a wildy myself, but I believe you have to bait the trap without setting it several times to convince the rat it's safe, and then set it. I've heard peanut butter is irresistible, but some sardines or fish skin would probably work too.

Re: Tail chewing!

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:43 am
by rattyrio
Thanks for the tips! I've been trying to catch it but it's not going near the traps so I'll try the peanut butter. I'll try and clear some space to move them to my bedroom. These wild ratties have crossed the line indeed.

Re: Tail chewing!

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:15 am
by cyber ratty
Good luck! :luck:

Re: Tail chewing!

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:12 am
by rattyrio
Hey guys,

I thought you’d like to have an update on the tail situation. Since the initial injuries they’re all healed up and hasn’t reoccurred. I managed to catch one of the wild rats and I think it made them wary of coming into the living room where my boys are so that’s good!

Someone on another forum suggested it could be overgrooming due to parasites so I also dosed them up with the back of the neck stuff. I’m still not reallysure what caused it but I’m just happy it didnt reoccur.

Thanks for your advice guys!
Xxx

Re: Tail chewing!

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:18 pm
by cyber ratty
Glad they're okay now. :)