Rat spinning like a dog chasing its tail

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Jun 10, 2019

I just noticed my rat, Adora, doing this about an hour ago. She got into a hammock and started spinning in tight circles like a dog would do before laying down. It kind of looked like she was trying to reach something with her mouth. After doing this for about a minute or so, she jumped down and started sort of harassing her cagemate in a lower hammock. Adora kept trying to pin her and then pull her with her mouth. I thought she might be trying to force her cagemate to groom her (assuming at first that something was bothering her in a spot she could not reach). But Adora just seemed so agitated, I couldn't really tell. For the next hour, Adora continued to move about the cage, seemingly unable to get comfortable wherever she chose to lay down and disrupting a few of her cagemates in the process.

She has settled down now, but I'm still perplexed by this behavior. Her balance was good enough to climb and navigate around the cage and she has not displayed any other odd nor dysfunctional motor behaviors that would immediately suggest a PT. I also have not noticed a head tilt, but if this is anything at all, I'm leaning more towards an ear infection. But I don't know.

I caught a video of her chasing her tail:

Does anyone have any insight? I'm hoping she was just bored, but worried it could be more sinister.

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond!! :)
Last edited:


Staff member
Jul 21, 2007
Toronto, Canada, Earth
It sounds like you are dealing with a behavior that pops up mostly in girlies and out of the blue. I've always thought it was a hormonal imbalance causing it. They seem to think they are a mom, and the tail or their cagemates are babies that wandered away from the safety of the nest and they have a compulsion to take them back to it hence the grabbing and trying to drag her sisters.

I have even had one of my girls try to drag me LOL. I took pics of this behaviour but you explained it to a T. Its weird, the rat being bothered might eeep but in time whatever it is causing the Mommy Effect will pass.


Well-Known Member
Nov 13, 2018
I've even had male rats do this. They wanted to drag anybody, or any rattie that was close, into their nest. Mackie, my one who lived almost 4 years, did this up until she passed. She was a mom of two litters, but anything that looked like it may be her baby, she would drag it to her nest. She even did it with a baby mouse, whom she fed, and cared for for a little bit until I found it a home.

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