Adopted aggressive rat. Help!


New Member
Oct 24, 2020
Jamestown, ND
A month ago we adopted 2 male rats that are about 10 months old, have always been caged together, and are supposedly brothers. They were obviously very poorly socialized and the larger of the 2 was so vicious toward his cagemate that they were immediately separated. The smaller is very skittish but we're working with him daily & I hope to house him with our other 2 males (very docile) eventually.

However, the dominant adopted rat has bitten me (drawing blood & leaving massive bruising) 7 times already! He is blind in his left eye and all bites have been aggressive attacks toward my left arm because I believe he cannot see it well and perceives it as a threat when he's on my lap. But I also believe the bites are sometimes retaliatory because I take him down off the top of his "brother's" cage when they fight through the bars.

I would like to properly socialize him, but currently he is totally off limits to the kids. I hate to discriminate because of his partial blindness and have him euthanized, but wonder how to win his trust and stop being attacked? I let him out to play daily, but am basically afraid to pet him or even move my arms when he climbs on me. I handle putting him back in cage & removing from unacceptable behavior by picking him up with my hands wrapped in a towel.

Can he still be socialized? Any advice? I want to give him a good life, but am tired of being attacked. And he will likely always be caged alone.

Thanks for any advice.


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Staff member
Jul 21, 2007
Toronto, Canada, Earth
Sounds like you have a boy that is in the full grip of hormones, which can cause this rage. I bet the injured eye was either from running into something while chasing his brother or his brother defended himself.
As for Hormone Boy, if he's digging, rubbing, furs up, head down, jumps and gets set off by a touch to the rump you have hormones.
With hormonal rats, get them as far from other rats as possible. No access to other males cages in particular or he will just huff and wind himself up outside the other rats cage. When handling be very careful. Don't let a hormonal rat climb over your arm as they often will bite as they try to "dominate" you. They can't help themselves, the rats these days have been poorly bred and hormonal aggression pops up more and more. No touching of rump or lower back, this can set them off. Letting them wander on a couch or bed for Out time is best but if they start to try to climb over you do not push them away, but remove yourself from there instead. If you have to use a towel to pick him up and put him back that's fine.
The only true cure for hormonal rage is getting him neutered. The hormones go away and usually you end up with a nice calm boy again.

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