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First time with male rats, trying to understand biting.

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:17 pm
by ned schneebly

Apologies for the big essay.

Used to keep does a few years back, never kept males but me and my GF have been helping clean out/socialise a group of 4 rescue boys, only been twice so they're not used to either of us yet.

Did the usual hand wash in soap they know, wore the same clothes, closed hand/forearm, let them approach us.

First time, two of them were very curious and friendly, two of them couldn't care less but I kept my distance because neither of those two left the house and I didn't want to approach them and make them feel threatened.

1 rat was a bit tense around the others, a little squeaky when touched but very friendly towards us, got a little tenser near the end of our time there but nothing major.

Second time around it was just me, all very friendly, the two most curious chasing the rag playfully while I cleaned out, climbing on me, up my arms etc, all very nice, they were letting me pick them up when I had to (like when they're about to climb on top of the cage and run off).

Suddenly, one of them just went for me, but despite the quick bite, he didn't fully clamp down, went through the skin but let go fairly quickly (I stayed still and made ouch/eek noises).

Then he kept doing it, sometimes he stopped early like when they test bite, sometimes he applied pressure slowly, so he didn't break the skin immediately, just kept adding pressure until he popped through it, I did the usual squeak/ouch and at no point did he really injure me,but it wasn't pleasant!

As I put the last hammock in, he got in while it had one clip holding it up and attacked me every time I tried to add the rest! I had to lure him away by pretending I was playing in the food bowl.

He was clearly quite tense at this point, was boggling but stressed boggling and tense body, still wanted to climb on me, sniff my face etc, but I think he wanted to do this near the cage, he seemed less happy to just be on me if I walked away to get something.

I finished cleaning the cage, chatted to him for a bit, gave him some banana and left them to it until next time.

Is this just a male/testosterone thing? Only other thing I could think was first clean we wore latex gloves, this time none, but first clean we took them off to spend time with the boys.


Re: First time with male rats, trying to understand biting.

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:32 pm
by cyber ratty
They sound distinctly hormonal to me, so I'd recommend they consider one or more neuters.

Re: First time with male rats, trying to understand biting.

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:47 pm
by ned schneebly
Thanks Cyber Ratty,

Having spent a little more time with them, this one rat is definitely very unsettled/aggressive, however out of the cage for a few minutes he turns into an absolute angel!

He met some new people today after we'd lured him out with some banana to stop him attacking the timid one, we were obviously concerned he might bite but he was so nice, even fell asleep in my GF's scarf with everyone stroking him.

We couldn't beleive the switch in his behaviour so I guess as you say, it's a hormonal thing and he's just throwing his weight around in the cage.

Thanks again.