Young rat biting: Play or aggression?

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Widdershins
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Location: Montana

Young rat biting: Play or aggression?

Post by Widdershins » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:59 am

I have four females (two year-old sisters, a baby, and a juvenile). They get along well.

The juvenile rattie is SUPER energetic. She chases my hand around when everyone free-ranges and wrestles with it. I've heard this is normal.

Anyway, the other day, before I let em out and she was super hyper, she started chasing my hand-- and bit me multiple times. The bites didn't break the skin and they weren't even the slightest bit painful, but I am still paranoid that she's showing signs of aggression.

Any advice? Is this normal?

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cyber ratty
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Re: Young rat biting: Play or aggression?

Post by cyber ratty » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:24 pm

It is advisable that rats should have some same age companions so they can develop their social skills together and have someone with a similar degree of energy to play with. Since you only have one juvenile and one baby, neither of them have a same age companion, and that may be a reason for this type of behaviour - a mix of frustration and not being matched in her activity needs at this time of her development.

I would recommend looking for a second baby to prevent yours having the same issues once she reaches teenage. Ideally of the same age, but a week younger or a week or two older would be fine.

As far as your current teenager is concerned, make sure she knows that her nips are not pleasant for you by giving a high pitched 'eek' whenever she does it. Also try giving her some rough physical play with something other than your hand e.g. a cat wand with feathers on the end which she can hunt and 'kill', and she may also benefit from some 1:1 training to use her energies up e.g. running or jumping tasks/tricks.

Widdershins
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Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:51 am
Location: Montana

Re: Young rat biting: Play or aggression?

Post by Widdershins » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:03 pm

cyber ratty wrote:It is advisable that rats should have some same age companions so they can develop their social skills together and have someone with a similar degree of energy to play with. Since you only have one juvenile and one baby, neither of them have a same age companion, and that may be a reason for this type of behaviour - a mix of frustration and not being matched in her activity needs at this time of her development.

I would recommend looking for a second baby to prevent yours having the same issues once she reaches teenage. Ideally of the same age, but a week younger or a week or two older would be fine.

As far as your current teenager is concerned, make sure she knows that her nips are not pleasant for you by giving a high pitched 'eek' whenever she does it. Also try giving her some rough physical play with something other than your hand e.g. a cat wand with feathers on the end which she can hunt and 'kill', and she may also benefit from some 1:1 training to use her energies up e.g. running or jumping tasks/tricks.

Thank you, this is really helpful. I don't really have access to get another rat right now, but I will make sure she has those ways to get her energy out.

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