Help!! - one of my boys has started biting my daughter's face unprovoked!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Racholo, May 21, 2019.

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  1. May 21, 2019 #1

    Racholo

    Racholo

    Racholo

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    I've had my boys for 2 weeks, they are 10 or 11 weeks old.
    During this time there's been no biting. Things have been going well.
    Until tonight, playtime as usual the rats are out on my bed to play with my daughter before her bedtime. They were happily exploring and climbing over my daughter when one of my boys bites her lip, and then bites again - both drew blood.
    I'm shocked but pass it off as poor eye sight and we had just had dinner so maybe she smells like food - but in hindsight why would he bite a second time after discovering she is not?
    It clearly wasn't an aggressive bite as I picked him up minutes later and he was carrying on per usual.
    Well now it's 2 hours later and I've been playing with the boys on my bed and letting them run around. My daughter is asleep on the bed to. My boy takes a sniff of her face and bites her lip again drawing blood.
    I gasp and he runs to the back of my bed out of fright where after a second of checking my daughter to make sure she's ok I pick him up and say No! And put him back in the cage but I'm not sure if the telling off was too delayed to convey the message.
    Out of all the rats I've ever owned I've never had a biter and no idea what has caused this or what to do :( I'm worried this will happen again and I'm a bit shocked :(
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  2. May 21, 2019 #2

    jorats

    jorats

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    This sound more like nipping. And some rats will do that especially if they smell food or even if they relate her breath as comforting. Some rats are nippers by nature. They will nip everything but they are not being aggressive, that's how they test their surroundings as well. It's next to impossible to stop nippers and sometimes they just stop as they grow older. At their age, I'm thinking he might outgrow it eventually. So for now, no more rats having access to faces. Watch your toes too, that's usually a fun nipping spot for them. You can try to reprimand them by removing them from the out time play for 10 minutes each time they nip.
     
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  3. May 21, 2019 #3

    Dena

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    I think he may have realized he messed up when you gasped and he ran away. How old is your daughter? They probably smelled something she ate, and thought she was hiding a "treat" for them, or figured they'd try to get their piece from her mouth. Rats are silly sometimes, and do things to us, that they would do to their cagemates. If another cagemate has something in their mouth, they will oftentimes grab it, or dig it out or pry their mouths open. Mine do this to me from time to time, especially if I just ate something sweet, or just brushed my teeth. I don't think they are meaning to hurt your daughter. Lips can be sensitive, and sometimes bleed easy. You can also try to make a squeak noise, or eep at them loudly when they do something like nip. After a few trues, and being "told" (squeaked at) no, they usually will give up, or stop the behavior, as long as they aren't doing it in aggression. But like Jorats said, I'd keep them away from faces for a bit. As they get older though, don't be surprised if they lock your lips, or nostrils of they smell something you ate, that smells yummy to them. ;)
     
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  4. May 21, 2019 #4

    Racholo

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    Thank you.
    My daughter is 8.
    My boys generally nip my feet, and it is more a hard but testing kind of bite, takes socks off helps a bit getting rid of the offending item .. lol. They seem to all be nippers to test, but they are generally quite gentle in how they do this.
    All three of his bites pierced the skin - two of the bites on the skin around the lip, not on the lip and in the shape of little rat teeth - so it had to be pretty hard.
    I really hope this is just testing for food behaviour because of my young children(My daughter is 8, but I have a 4 year old), would mean if he continues nipping that draws blood I would probably rehome him while he is still young.
    Which would be devastating!
     
  5. May 22, 2019 #5

    Dena

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    If it was aggression, you could always neuter. ;)
     
  6. May 22, 2019 #6

    SQ

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    What Jorats wrote
    plus when a rat nips on the hand etc, pull back and eeeep to let them know you do not like it

    keep the rattie away from the face, and use short time outs if necessary

    I had an adult rat, Cindy, that would nip my face and make me bleed ….. she only did that when I was not being attentive and she wanted my attention. She was not trying to harm me … so I paid attention to her when she was out playing, kept her away from my face and used short time outs (which she hated) when I was not diligent enough.
    I know that your baby is not trying to harm anyone.
    Keep the babies away from faces.

    and as you mentioned, bare feet are safest around ratties
    also joinrats.com has info on socialization
     
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  7. May 22, 2019 #7

    Racholo

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    Thank you all for your replies! - my daughter just told me that one of the bites that bleed was actually from a seperate boy so the cause was most certainly smelling of food.
    I am very relieved as it's only been two weeks but I already adore all these boys.
    Your replies are most helpful, and if it happens again, I will implement.
    Thank you!
     
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