Aggressive rat

Discussion in 'Health & General Care' started by oasisandbambi, Aug 12, 2019.

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  1. Aug 12, 2019 #1

    oasisandbambi

    oasisandbambi

    oasisandbambi

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    I adopted this rescued boy who apparently was never well socialized. I got him yesterday and spend the day with him. He would nib on my fingers and then bite down harder and harder until I had to move away which I know you shouldn't do but it's a reflex when it hurts really bad lol
    Today I spend the day with him ( and his brother ) and I've been letting them lick food mostly from the back of my hand. I slowly let him get food off my fingers and once the food was gone he wouldn't bite the finger so I thought he was just previously mistaking my fingers for food at first.
    I've been showing him the back of my hand and fingers without food and he sometimes nibbles really hard, breaks skin but doesn't draw blood which is a progress. Just a couple minutes ago tho I showed him my hand again and he launched at my finger kind of out of no wherer, since a couple of minutes ago he was fine with me, and bit through my nail. I removed my hand from reflex again. To not let him get away with it I made sure he could sniff the back of my hand but this time he was trying to nibble hard on it again. I was wondering if this could be hormonal aggression and not just him not being properly socialized. He does not seem to be horribly afraid of me. If I place my hand near him, he comes to me and bites. Not the reaction of a rat that is just biting out of fear, I think. He's not agressive towards his brother tho, so I'm not sure. I'm wondering if neutering him would be a good idea and if it would help. He's between 1.5 - 2 years old and appears healthy and active.
    I would also appreciate advice from people who have dealt with bitey rats on what do to and how to stop this behaviour. I found a lot of info on this where people suggest gloves but this seems pointless to me since, even if he gets used to the glove and stops biting, when I remove it he will most likely get back to biting my hand. Thank you in advanced :)
     
  2. Aug 14, 2019 #2

    Dena

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    What does his body language look like? Is he puffy when he does it? Does he bite, and quickly retreat? Do you smell like other rats, or food? Smelling like strange rats that he hasn't been introduced to is a big one. He could be trying to defend himself from what he thinks is a threat. Due to age, I wouldn't think it's hormonal, and I wouldn't chance putting him under such a major surgery. As far as gloves, my super sweet, loveable boys who give me kisses, and can't wait to be cuddled, freaked out, and bit me HARD through the glove. They lunged, and bit the glove, and tried to pull it off of my hand. Taco, my shyest boy, actually drew blood. They are about a year and a half. So they were likely doing it to defend their territory, since I had the glove on to clean up poops on their cage floor. Needless to say, I no longer use gloves! :p
     
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  3. Aug 14, 2019 #3

    Rocket99

    Rocket99

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    Does he bite the same when he is out of the cage? Most rats react much differetly when not confined to "their" home, which you are trespassing against when you cross that line from outside to inside the cage. That is THEIR space, not yours, so you get warnings which can increase in severity. But outside the cage, there is no biting at all, because now they have nothing to defend, they are on YOUR turf, and they are not at all possessive anymore. If you have yet to hold them, nicely get them out, sometimes they will crawl onto your arm, shoulder, etc, otherwise you can trick them out by putting a hideout box in the cage for them to go into, and them remove the box. Once out I st put the box down on your bed, couch, floor, etc. Once he comes out you can usually pick them up and let them sit on your arm against your stomach, or lap, or they might jump up to your shoulder. Just be careful to avoid bites just in case, but most likely they wont bite. Now you can work on trust with them much better. Good luck.
     
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  4. Aug 14, 2019 #4

    Rocket99

    Rocket99

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    Yup, exactly, territorial biting. They probably are nice as pie when out of their cage, huh?
     
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  5. Aug 15, 2019 #5

    ViciousCurse

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    I've had rats march right up to gloves and bite them as well, albeit a gentle scolding from me has stopped that habit. Now they'll just come up and investigate, but then quickly back off. Maybe a few curious nibbles, but nothing like a bite.

    As for the bites you've gotten from the rat, it sounds like you've conditioned them to taking food from the back of your hand, so when they see the back of your hand, they assume there's food there. If any of my rats are getting food from my hands or fingers, I make sure to "eeep!" when I feel teeth bite a little too hard on my hand. Make sure you wash your hands before interacting with your rat, as they may smell perceived threats on your hand and feel the need to attack.

    Sometimes you just have to "wait out" the aggression. I've had rats who spent their whole lives biting me just turn around one day and walk up, licking me and asking to be held.
     
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  6. Aug 15, 2019 #6

    Rocket99

    Rocket99

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    Absolutely! When my aggressive biters get older, they will suddenly just become the nicest love bugs. They eventually learn to love you
     
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  7. Aug 15, 2019 #7

    lilspaz68

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    Hormones can continue a long time in very masculine rats. I took in an over 2 year old rescue and he was a puffy, rubbing, bitey mess for a long time. Took him months to settle down. He was the alpha of a group of 4 boys I took in and was very suspicious of me. Eventually he worked it out in his brain with careful handling by me (respectful of his space and feelings and just gave him time). He was also in with his surviving brothers who adored me so he watched them carefully as well.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately hormonal behaviours can become a conditioned behavior as they have been doing it all their lives and they've learned "bite the hand, it goes away". Signs of hormones are puffed up fur, arched back, head down, scuttling and marking with urine excessively at the same time. Damp flanks (there's a gland there they use to rub and then mark their territories), rubbing or digging with front paws, rubbing against other items in or out of the cage. Starting with a nip that gets harder and harder then becomes a frenzy of biting. Chomping down hard then huffing or chattering their teeth.

    Fear biting is more slashy like a wolf. Dive in, bite and jump back and watch carefully, possibly chattering but the fur won't be as puffy as a hormonal male.

    Can you tell us exactly what you are seeing?
     
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  8. Aug 17, 2019 at 11:33 PM #8

    oasisandbambi

    oasisandbambi

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    He's not puffy nor he retreats when he bites. I try to always wash my hands before interacting but I may have forgotten one time or another. Thank you for telling me about the the gloves :) glad I didn't try it ahah
     
  9. Aug 17, 2019 at 11:35 PM #9

    oasisandbambi

    oasisandbambi

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    He bites both in and outside the cage. But thank you for the advice
     
  10. Aug 17, 2019 at 11:41 PM #10

    oasisandbambi

    oasisandbambi

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    He already bit before I tried letting him take food from my hands so I'm not sure that could be it. I too do the "eeep" thing and it seems to be a little affective :)
    About washing my hands, I try to ways do this before interacting with them. What would you recommend I wash my hands with? I feel like soaps leave a nice smell that can be confused with food.
     
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  11. Aug 18, 2019 at 12:39 AM #11

    oasisandbambi

    oasisandbambi

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    Oh. What a fierce mans. That poor bottle. Can't imagine how bad it would have hurt if it was a hand. I'm glad he came around eventually. I'm slowly showing my boy not to be afraid of me and socializing him. He is very outgoing and seems to be much more relaxed around me than his brother who is incredibly skittish. You mentioned he watched his brothers around you. I was thinking of introducing these two boys to my cuddliest ( spayed ) girl so they could all roam and spend time together with me. I'm thinking they watching her be confortable around me might help.

    I'm having a hard time figuring out what you mean by Damp Flanks. I tried googling but still didn't get it lol English is not my first language ahah.
    I never seen him puff up. From what said, what he does is the nibbling till it becomes a bite.
    He's not biting out of fear. He bites and keeps on biting. Doesn't go away.

    I tried to get a video of it but was unsuccessful. I might try again later. He just comes close to my hand and nibs really hard until he breaks skin. Sometimes he skips the nibbling and will launch and draw blood. There's not much more to it at least that I was able to observe.
     

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