Biting and Being Switzerland

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Michelle_B
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Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2022 1:09 am

Biting and Being Switzerland

Post by Michelle_B » Sun Jun 12, 2022 1:45 am

I have three rats. Gerry and Tover (who are littermates), and Bandit who from the same breeder but is three days younger. They're about 6 months old and all neutered.

It can be hard to tell sometimes, because they enjoy wrestling a lot for fun, so I'm not always sure who just lost a play-match and who just got knocked down a peg in the hierarchy. But I think Bandit is generally and currently the boss rat.

Gerry and Tover have always been bonded a little tighter than either has bonded with Bandit. They're all friends and snuggly, and were housed together at their breeders once it was time to split the litters, but there have been periods where Gerry and Tover would pick on Bandit a little (joint or separately).

I've always had a policy with my pets of being neutral. You're not allowed to fight on me, and I won't interfere if I see a scrap because I can't be certain in any given interaction who is the bully, and who is victim reaching their tipping point. I don't get all the nuances of behaviour and such, and I know it.

But in the last couple of weeks Tover, and today now Gerry, have been like ... biting, but just to yank at Bandit. If that makes sense?

They're not drawing blood and I don't especially get a sense they're being 'vicious' as such. But they'll grab at his hips with their teeth and tug to try make him get off my lap. Sometimes they'll scrabble with claws as well / instead but it's the biting that concerns me.

Sometimes it looks clearly motivated by jealousy (how dare you cuddle with mother when I want to cuddle with mother, even though her lap is actually big enough for all three of us) and sometimes it just looks like they're trying to start a wrestle.

Although, as established, I'm not always certain which ones are play and which ones are serious - some are definitely serious, but some seem like play until someone yelps offense and they're sulking on opposite sides of the playpen.

But overall I'm not certain if I should start worrying, I guess? It seems they're mostly grabbing loose skin and fur so I've mostly been ignoring it and making certain not to reward it by letting Bandit be chased off my lap. The original plan was to let Bandit put them in their place once he loses patience.

But now I've seen Gerry at it too, I don't want it to become two-on-one and Bandit to start not feeling safe or 'permitted' to interact with me.

Should I worry, or is this normal brattishness?

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cyber ratty
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Re: Biting and Being Switzerland

Post by cyber ratty » Thu Jun 23, 2022 7:48 am

Probably just rats being rats - but why were they neutered and when?

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