Sudden aggression - usual my big squish

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by pshuga03, Apr 17, 2010.

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  1. Apr 17, 2010 #1

    pshuga03

    pshuga03

    pshuga03

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    Just now I was doing my usual cage clean out *weekly or more as needed*, and once every month or two I give all of my boys a bath to knock the buck grease and "boy" smell. I had already taken care of Meiko, Mason, and Dixon when I reached in to pick up Percy and all the sudden Flick LUNGED at my hand and rapidly chomped down and gave me some hind leg kicks and as I managed to get my hand out of the cage he latched onto Percy's back and made a little gash...needless to say, blood was shed and I'm shaken up completely (as is Percy who is in my lap rolled up in a towel with a banana chip and some yogies). I managed to distract Flick with a banana chip through the bars of the cage on the left side of the FN while I let Buddha and Percy out of the right door.
    Flick, as with all of my boys, will be turning 2 on May 31st of this year so they are nearly 23 months old and he's NEVER shown ANY signs of aggression at all, much less this mean. I don't know what to do...He's not shown any changes in behavior, eating, or sleeping and I've not had any changes here at the house either.
    I'm terrified to open the cage door now and try to talk him into coming out so I can clean it out for him and refill the food bowl where it was tipped over and food flung in his little flailing aggression fit. I tried sweet talking him through the cage bars and he's just pacing and looks completely stressed out and upset. :cry3: What do I do? :sad3: **he is now chewing on the FN pan and staring at me, which he has NEVER done before**
     
  2. Apr 17, 2010 #2

    jorats

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    It might have been an isolated incident. It has happened to me as well. Pony just lunged and bit me. He did it the one time and never again but I am more careful when in the cage. I think I scared him and he felt threatened, maybe he wasn't fully awake at the time. But just make sure he knows you are around when going into the cage or always have something to give him to distract him. Or have a small face towel and place it over him when you need to go into the cage. By the time he figures out what happened you'll be done.
     
  3. Apr 17, 2010 #3

    pshuga03

    pshuga03

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    I just tried that to move him to the clean/set up bottom half of the CN and he latched onto the towel and did like a crocodile roll on it and he's huffing like mad. I closed the cage door and left the towel in there with him. With the doors closed, I walk past and he runs to the bars and huffs at me repeatedly and gnaws at the bars :cry:
     
  4. Apr 17, 2010 #4

    jorats

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    Oh boy... I sure hope it's not because he has something neurological going on. I've noticed behaviour changes with pituitary tumours.
    How is he otherwise?
     
  5. Apr 17, 2010 #5

    pshuga03

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    He's eating and drinking just fine and up until I put my hand in the cage, his behavior was normal squishy fat old manrat pure sweetness...this is killing me. He's staring at me with his head tilted down and eyes pointed up like he wants to gouge my eyes out. :(
     
  6. Apr 17, 2010 #6

    Rachael

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    Theodore is acting like this right now. We are giving him pain meds as he was sucking his sides in - his breathing got better, but now we are suspecting he might have some neurological related problem as Jo suggested. The crocodile rolling is usually a sign of ear infections.
     
  7. Apr 17, 2010 #7

    Rachael

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    Head tilting? That's another ear infection sign. I'm sorry that he bit you, it can be scary especially if you don't expect it.
     
  8. Apr 18, 2010 #8

    pshuga03

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    Not a sideways headtilt, but a nose to the ground and staring up, downward tilt. And he only crocodile rolled b/c he was attacking the towel with his hind legs, not like he was disoriented from vertigo from an ear infection. I got him wrapped in the towel just now and moved him to the bottom of the FN by himself, unless someone here suggests otherwise and backs it up with some pretty good reasoning as to why he shouldn't be alone even though he just took a slice out of Percy's back. At the moment his is pacing and running around rapidly rubbing his front paws on the entire cage, where as the other 5 boys are zonked out being old man squishies. Thank you both for being here with/for me on this... *hugs*

    ETA - I'm charging up my camera battery right now so that I can get a video up of his odd behavior. :?
     
  9. Apr 18, 2010 #9

    Rachael

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    Okay.

    I don't blame you for splitting him. If he is going to hurt the other boys it isn't worth it, the company may well just agitate him more anyway.
     
  10. Apr 18, 2010 #10

    jorats

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    Was this a second time hurting one of the buddies? If he only did that the once, then no, don't separate. He only did that because his aggression was directed at him but it was really at you. But if this is a second attack on a buddy then yes, he should be separated for now.
    From what you describe I'd say he's acting more like an 8 months old with his hormones out of control.
    I would probably start doing lots of one on one socializing with him.
     
  11. Apr 18, 2010 #11

    pshuga03

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    One on one with just him and me, making some extra special time together or one on one with his brothers? Sorry, maybe my adrenaline dropping and all the cuckoo going on is making me retarded...just need some clarification.
     
  12. Apr 18, 2010 #12

    jorats

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    Sorry... with you. He might need reassurance that all is well and this will also strengthen your bond together.
     
  13. Apr 18, 2010 #13

    pshuga03

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    Ok, I just parked my office chair in front of his cage for a bit and had a loooong talk about how scared I was, and how I was sure he was too, but that we were gonna work through this together (my husband thinks I have officially cracked and gone cuckoo talking so seriously to a rat). He took three yogies out of my hand to eat and I got a few back strokes in there as well (yay success for both of us). I gently slide the one hand that was stroking his back, around to cup his bum and went to slide the other hand under his front paws/chest. He let out a few low whines/protesting squeaks then gently placed his teeth around the knuckle of my left index finger and just sat there with his teeth on me. Didn't hurt in the least and I didn't pull away of course, then he let go and ran around the cage rubbing his front paws on everything again and is now bar chewing **siiiighs** Will it be a long haul now, getting to know each other again so that he knows I don't hate him and I am reassured he won't take a chunk out of my hand?
     
  14. Apr 18, 2010 #14

    jorats

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    When he goes around rubbing the cage, he's marking, he's claiming his space. That must have been really hard for him not to bite down on you. His hormones has got the better of him. Open the cage door and invite him to climb on your shoulder. Then move away from the cage. The cage is key here. It's his territory and for some reason he is unable to share it right now. So have him on your shoulder and go sit somewhere and let him walk around you or cuddle with you for over 30 minutes at a time. (they say that rats forget their fear after 20 minutes)
     
  15. Apr 18, 2010 #15

    pshuga03

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    He's been curled up in a fleece blanket on my lap now for 28 minutes...and he just started bruxing and fell asleep! O.O Thank you for the suggestion Jorats. Had to initially get him out of the cage with the same handtowel trick but once he was out and settled, he was good to go. I'm going to keep him out about 10 more minutes then let him get back in the cage. Hopefully this cage aggression, hormonal mess is temporary.
     
  16. Apr 18, 2010 #16

    jorats

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    I'm hoping it's temporary as well. I don't like that he's doing that at such an advanced age. Unless there's been a new rat brought into the home? If he was 8 months to 12 months, I'd say get him neutered but now at almost 2 years, it could be neurological so lots and lots of socializing should hopefully break the bad habit.
     
  17. Apr 18, 2010 #17

    pshuga03

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    I think so, especially since I just started back into the medical program at the college as well as doing clinicals for the last 2 weeks so they've not gotten as much mommy time as usual. They still got out of the cage time and treats and scritches, but definitely not as much as when I was just a homemaker/stay at home. I went ahead and popped the ladder up between the levels of the FN and have 3 boys upstairs, and 3 boys downstairs now and he's been very well behaved since I put him back in the cage about 5 min. ago.
     
  18. Apr 18, 2010 #18

    mamarat

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    I had an older boy become aggressive too. Turned out he had PT. Good thoughts for your boy. :hugs:
     

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