Biting during handfeeding

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pedipalp

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Sep 6, 2018
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Hi. One of my rats, Francis, is an absolute sweetheart. He’s about 2 and loves to cuddle and give kisses. The thing is, he’s sometimes a little too enthusiastic when taking food from my hand and he lunges at it & bites me (hard). It’s definitely accidental and not aggression, and he’s not food aggressive with any of his 3 cagemates. I suppose it could be because his previous owner only ever fed him lab blocks and he’s likely never gotten fresh foods or been hand fed before I took them in about a month and a half ago.

I know the obvious solution is to not hand feed, but what’s the fun in that? (Also, he’d be jealous of his cage mates being hand fed I’m sure.) Is there any way I can train him to take food more gently? I’m new to rats and don’t know much about training. Any help is appreciated, thank you :)
 

Petunia

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I've had this happen with over zealous rats too. the solution is to start off by offering the treats on a spoon. once he's used to taking food off the spoon (they quickly learn not to bite that) you can try offering somewhat larger bits of say broccoli or something you can hold out that he can take the end of, so his teeth don't get too close to your fingers, then when he's doing well with that
you can move on to offering smaller things

I had one girl who would grab at treats, and I got her to stop using the spoon method, however if there was competition- if other rats were nearby, she would sometimes revert to being aggressive to get to the treat first and to get them most of it
the greedy little lady lol
 

pedipalp

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Sep 6, 2018
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Thank you for the responses! So far I’ve been offering him larger pieces of food so my fingers are out of biting range but I’ll definitely try the spoon method.
 

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